Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Along the Fossedyke Navigation to Torksey & onto the Trent to Newark

To Torksey
7th August 2014
9 miles, 0 locks

It was off again this morning in yet more wonderful weather.  Just a short run today to Torksey lock.  This bit of waterway is called the Fossdyke Navigation.  A Roman Canal that, like their roads, is long and straight.

As you leave Brayford pool there are a few C&RT moorings and then a very large floating village of residential boats of all shapes and sizes which stretches a long way.

Where decorated 4 x 4’s seem to be the vehicle of choice

Next came some really lovely moorings at The Pyewipe Inn.  If we come this way again we will definitely spend a night there and visit the pub – it was the first place Chris took me to for a meal (Scampi in the basket I think!!).  I won’t call it a date as he had been stood up by someone else, came back to the Mess at RAF Scampton to find that I had not been in to dinner and as we were both hungry  off we went.  7 weeks later we were engaged and married 9 months after that.  We have been married 41 years, so  my thanks go to whoever she was for not turning up!

As we approached Burton Waters marina we were ‘buzzed’ by this quadradopter  not far above our heads.  To be honest it was quite threatening – a loud buzz like a very angry bee.  Whoever was operating it wanted a good look at us as it came round a few times.  I was glad when it was gone.

We called into the marina for diesel which was a good price and they let you decide what you declare for tax purposes.

 It is a big watery village with many houses with moorings

And a clubhouse

There are some more good 48 hour moorings just past the marina.

On past a huge self-storage depot

And so on to Saxilby that has a good number of pleasant 72 hour moorings with a selection of shops

It looks as though they used to have a large Co-op – The No 8 Branch of the Lincoln Equitable Co-operative Society built in 1907.  Sad that such shops are long gone, but at least they kept the frontage

This was something we have not seen before – an area of towpath adapted for people in wheelchairs to enable them to fish in safety.  No one there as we went past, but I like to think that it is used sometimes.

Then two tractors cutting the grass with an invitation to pass on the right!  Maybe not!

Before we knew it Cottam Power Station hoved into view which does dominate Torksey

We moored a kilometre away from the lock behind nb Chouette

An exploration was required down to the lock.  Would there be room for us to move up? 

Could we go through the lock this afternoon and then moor up below the lock to proceed onwards in the morning.

It was no on both accounts.  We are definitely in cruiser land and there was no space anywhere.  So lunch became the priority.  Nicholson’s recommends the sausage rolls at the lock side tea shop, so that was our destination.  It has lovely tables outside, with teapots on the walls.

 Inside was just as quirky

With some interesting signs

‘Four sausage rolls’ was the request, but the answer was very disappointing.  ‘We have run out’!  Apparently they make 5 dozen every day.  They open at 11am and they are nearly always sold out well before 1pm!!  It was nearer two by the time we got there, so it was scones and tea (which comes in a good teapot and with the question ’is it for a lady or gentleman’ - a cup and saucer for the ladies and a mug for the gentlemen – all good china of course) or coffee.  Not quite what we were expecting, but we had to eat something.  If you come this way and know you are going to be late they suggest you phone ahead and place an order.  I guess we will have to come back one day just to find out if they really are that good!!

Next a look at the lock

With different winding gear – all done electronically now, which I am sure the lock keepers are grateful for.

What are you lot looking at?

On the way back we spotted this boat moored at a water point with someone fishing off the back

 Right by sign that states ‘No fishing in Torksey Basin’!

To Newark
8th August 2014
22 miles, 3 locks

An early start to get the tide  – we were down at the lock before 07:00 

to find a very upset cruiser (yes the one fishing on the water point last night).  He was heard to complain to the lock keeper ‘But I have been here since last night so I should be going through first’!  We think he thought he should be going through on his own as I am sure he would not have wanted three narrow boats behind him!  Needless to say he had to wait and tuck in behind us with the assurance from the lock keeper that he would be able to go past us once we were out of the lock. 

In we all went

Once we were out the cruiser, as we expected, overtook us, but none of us were expecting his excessive turn of speed – his wash rocked us far more than anything we encountered crossing the Wash.  Instructions were issued on the VHF channel for him to slow down, but inevitably, he took no notice.  He was just intent on catching up with his friend and never mind the rest of the world.  I am sorry to say his boat was flying an RAF pennant. 

Still onwards we went onto the tidal Trent.  The latest edition of the River Trent (Tidal navigation notes) produced by the Boating Association were purchased by us all and followed religiously with nb Chouette leading the way with us in the rear. 

Areas to be avoided are well marked

Sunken boats

Here the instructions are to go under the ‘England Graffiti’.

 A few boats passed by going the other way – this one took my fancy

Past the gravel shoot – we were told at Cromwell lock that the gravel works are now closed, so thankfully there were no big trawlers to avoid.

A while before we arrived at Cromwell lock we were joined by two cruisers, but on so different from the one this morning – they made it clear they would tuck in behind us so we could all share the lock

I am sure there are bigger locks, but this was the biggest we have been in to date.
Chouette and Cleddau went in first

And we were the filling in the sandwich with the cruisers safely behind us and we still no where near filled the lock

Once out the cruisers did overtake, but at a sensible speed and distance from us. 

One more lock (Nether)– we had to hang on tight – the jets of water were fierce indeed

Newark was just around the corner and Cleddau found moorings before the bridge by the Castle Barge – a good place for them with visitors expected.  The Castle Barge we can recommend for a drink on the nice summer evening, but don’t bother to eat.  We had lunch there one day and it was the worst meal we have had in a long while – indifferent roll, very poor quality sausage, nothing on the side – not even a tiny bit of lettuce and very greasy chips.

The loo also gives cause for concern!

We went under the bridge and moored on the other side of the river opposite the castle

What a view

All lit up at night

The only downside (this was the same everywhere in Newark) is the challenge of getting a dog on and off the boat as the side are so high.

Onto the rear locker and launch him to get off

But much more complicated to get back on – walk along the plank

Lie on the roof whilst I get onto the back deck

Walk along the roof (this bit he hated) and onto the back locker. From there onto the back deck.  You really had to need to go!!
Considering two months ago he would not walk the plank at all (we had to do lots of training with the plank on the towpath with sausage and cheese all the way along to try and get him onto the plank and then we raised the plank onto bricks - first one, then one at each end and then one at one end and two at the other!) he has come a long way and copes with most things now.

A good mooring for us as the Riverside Park was just across the towpath with a lot of green space (good for ball games) and access to more towpath to explore
 We were surprised to see horses grazing in the park by the play park
 There is also a rather interesting sundial

Which does tell the correct time if you follow the instructions

 Exploring further afield we came across this Sensory Garden – a fantastic idea, but sadly it has been neglected and is just a rather sad place now

 There is a water feature here 
That works in the summer – surely August is summer? This sign says it all I am afraid.  Definitely in need of some serious TLC.

A walk round the castle had to be done.We arrived to find a wedding photography session is progress.  The registry office is in the castle grounds.

 There is a bronze (?) model of the town complete with Braille as well as words.

Opposite our mooring was the river trip boat which did very well whilst the weather was good – it is for sale if anyone wants to start a new business.  

On the Friday night there was a Scout Jamboree trip along with all sorts of chants and fun – it made for an entertaining evening.  

On the other hand on walking round one evening the security measures became obvious.

On Friday morning Chouette went on her way, but stopped to say farewell.  We hope to meet again.
Friday evening Cleddau and Tentratrice crews went to Zizzi’a for dinner.  The food and service were exemplary; however, it took a while to get used to the level of noise.  Showing our age there I am afraid.

A quick postscript – as we were proceeding along the river towards Newark on Thursday we noticed a stowaway on the roof.
It moved across surprisingly quickly, disappeared down the side and we assumed it had fallen in the water en route.  Not so – we were lying in bed that night when we heard an odd crunching noise coming form the saloon.  Chris went to investigate to find the Monty had crunched the shell, leaving the rest of the snail for Chris to dispose of!

We were due to move on on Sunday, but Hurricane Bertha

made us decide that discretion was the better part of valour and we stayed put.  It was a very wise decision.  So what else is there to do on a wet Sunday – supervise the reading of the Sunday papers – such very hard work?’

1 comment:

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Brilliant post Jennie. Back in 2010 (before I met Les,while still living Stateside) I mapped every canal and navigable river on Google Earth. I remember traveling along the Fossdyke and the Witham, wanting so much to actually be on the water. your blog and Sue's, are making that wish a little bit more real. Stay warm and dry.