Last Friday afternoon we arrived at Newark and tied up at the town moorings near the bridge and the floating ‘Barge’ pub. The high wall, alongside which we were moored, made getting off and on the boats rather difficult but the benefit here of having the Sun all day on our solar panels soon outweighed the disappointment of finding the floating pontoon opposite, where there was fresh water and electric points available, fully occupied.
A passenger on my after deck
In Stainforth I had been boat sitting for Janis while she needed to be away previously in Newark for a few days. But on her return we were swiftly away on Wednesday 20th. I for one was glad to move away from the unfortunate, barren little town even though the mooring itself had been very quiet and pleasant and it was somewhat ironic as well for my companion that she would be back in her home town in only three days time.
We covered the distance to Keadby, our exit onto the River Trent, in the one day and were very glad to have the passing of Thorne Lock and the re-filling of our diesel tanks at one of the nearby Marinas to alleviate our otherwise tedious arrow straight passage across a dull flat landscape, relieved only by the monotonous turning blades of an enormous wind farm.
The canal down to Keadby
In various canal literature I had read that Thorne possessed the shortest lock on the waterway system at 57’ 6” and consequently had been anxious as to whether two 57 footers would be able to pass through at the same time. It would have posed a problem had the cill appeared when the lock was empty. But this was not the case here and I was able to reverse the boats with ease over the cill so that they touched the gates astern to enable Janis to open the forward ones.
‘The bowling green’ at Keadby
Close-up around the rudder
As we approached Keadby we were beset by a thick floating weed which made the going difficult. It wasn’t the trailing variety that entangles the propeller but consisted of small floating circular leaves of algae which built up to such a degree that it seemed as if we moved through field of green pack ice or thick pea soup. In Keadby itself at the moorings the surface area of the water was completely covered giving us the eerie feeling of being moored on a fine cut bowling green, enough even to convince a nearby boat owner’s dog that he could walk across it.
The following day the optimum time for locking down onto the river was late in the afternoon and there were so many of us wanting to do so that it was over an hour after that time before the two little ships were able to pass through. Consequently they didn’t have the full benefit of the flood tide and it was after dark when they arrived finally at the pontoon moorings outside Torksey Lock and these were overloaded two or three deep with the amount of traffic in transit. We managed to find a couple of safe spots nonetheless and were glad to turn in almost immediately ready for an early getaway at six in the morning.
Little Egret on the Trent
Sunset behind West Burton Power Station
But even then Janis and I missed a good chunk of the flood tide, since having arrived into the heavily accommodated Torksey Cut bow first the night before we had no room to turn round and on Friday morning, until some of the smaller cruisers had left, the situation did not improve. To compound the challenge the previous low water in the river had reduced the Cut to a trickling ditch at 6am with a bar across the entrance meaning that even the smallest of us had to delay our departure. Consequently by the time we reached Cromwell Lock, at the tidal head of the river the water was beginning to ebb again and we were well overdue.
But after this the remainder of the passage to Newark was most pleasant in the warm sunshine and even the anglers at the waters edge were smiling benevolently as we tied up in the early afternoon.
The moorings at Newark
Newark being Janis’s hometown has plenty to offer us in the way of her numerous friends offering their hospitality and we in turn inviting them aboard. Though we are fast approaching September and swiftly running out of Summer cruising time, I do anticipate a stay here longer than we originally intended.