Tuesday 22 September 2015

Tidal Trent

Today we blew out of the water all previous "longest day" records. My Garmin tells me we've done 33.3 miles, most of it on the River Trent.

The lock-keeper at Keadby had said there was a guide to the Trent with charts and advice, which could be useful, especially on the last stretch where there are dragons submerged islands. He lent us one to read and see if we wanted to buy it.

The picture on the front was all the persuasion we needed that this would be a tenner well spent, though see Halfie's comment on yesterday's post expressing amazement that we'd actually seen a commercial vessel on the river.

The tide began to run around 11 a.m. so they brought us into the lock at that point, through the carpet of duck-weed. I think it must have been an inch thick in the lock itself.

We dropped down, the gates opened, and we saw what lay ahead, with the tide rushing upriver.

You nose out, put on some power as the bows begin to swing, and suddenly you are faced with this huge expanse of fast-flowing water, glittering in the morning sun.

Up to the first bridge. Which arch? Fortunately the newly-purchased guide had clear instructions about the line to take, all the way down today's route.

We were so glad we'd postponed our journey from yesterday – which had been dull and drizzly and cold. The clouds got in the way of the sun from time to time today, but generally it was very warm, and that gave us space to really enjoy the trip.

We passed the turn-off to the Chesterfield Canal (save it for another occasion).

We passed a couple of sail-less windmills, which looked identical though they were miles apart.

We passed somebody's folly, peeping out from behind the trees.

We passed the site of a Roman ford across the river which, by all accounts, was used by King Harold on his march from defeating the Danes to his fateful encounter with William at Hastings.

And so, with several hours boating behind us, we turned into the cut that leads after a hundred yards or so to Torksey lock, at the junction with the Fossdyke Navigation, where we expected to spend the night before pushing on through the rest of the tidal section tomorrow.

We found that (a) it's not a very strong tide tomorrow, and (b) it would mean leaving about 3.30 p.m., with a very late arrival. So we decided to revert to something we had thought of earlier but discarded – to take a diversion up the Fossdyke to Lincoln, and we back in time to catch an early morning tide on Saturday.

The long, straight stretches of this canal test the concentration pretty severely.

We understand it's pretty much like this all the way to Boston, over 40 miles away, with just a couple of locks.

But it's not without its interest, when you can see over the hedges. We wondered what these structures are. Chimneys? Surely not. Ventilation shafts. What for? Buckets left by mistake. Answers on a postcard, please, or in the comments section.

And meanwhile my best beloved fed me useful and useless bits of information, in equal quantity, from Nicholson's guide, as we cruised the extra few miles to moor up tonight at Saxilby. No prizes for guessing the origin of that name.

One thing is certain: we're off the tidal Trent – for the moment.


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