Wednesday 27th May 2015 Very long wait at Torksey lock today, due to the neap tide. We finally (surprisingly) enter, descend and cruise out of Torksey lock at 5.00pm. Leaving the Fossdyke Navigation as we join the magnificent Wide Tidal River Trent. Water levels are approx. 5′ (1.5m) lower compared to the level during our downstream journey North, of two weeks ago.
The bow light is transferred from the engine room to forward mounting position, connected and tested for operation. It is starting to get dark. Not yet arrived at Cromwell lock. GETTING NERVOUS !!!
What a Fun (mostly) cruise we have had today on the Tidal section of the River Trent. Quite slow going at times, wind increasing making river a wee choppy. Also quite soggy at times. Felt like we were wading through mud or treacle for periods today, even though old Lister was wound up more than ever before, for a while, here and there.
We advise all boaters cruising this waterway use a copy of The Boating Association ‘River Trent (Tidal)’ charts for continual reference through their complete journey. Very detailed, informative and helpful. ‘A musical’ tenor very well spent. Can be bought at CRT office at The Kiln, Newark (adjacent to the floating CRT visitor pontoon). Other suppliers are, possibly available, sumwear, sumhou, i guess.
Lock keeper is contacted to let him know we is struggling to arrive at Cromwell lock before he is due to leave at 9.00pm. Not much can be done about that, obviously. He’s gone when Bart finally arrives at the pre-lock floating pontoon. We moor ‘safely’ at 9.30pm, for the night. Those Trent waters are roaring over that monstrous weir, just round ta corner. Wonderful. Relieved and feeling sumwot tired. It were starting to get dark. Worried that time was starting to get a slightly bitly tight for us & our Bart on this cruise. All OK though. Sigh !!!
Thursday 28th May Slow start for Skip & Crew this morning, recovering from yesterday’s long tiring day. The lock keeper is on standby for whenever Black Bart & crew are ready to escape those neap tides, until another time.
Bart gently slips away from the night’s haven, through the now open lock gates. After a short wait two plastic pigs arrive, gates close & we ascend, stop for water & now ready to continue our journey to Newark-on-Trent.
Bart makes relaxed progress to Newark Nether Lock, where our two previous locker sharers catch us again. Lock lights change from red to green as we near, so we proceed, entering the lock to the port side. unfortunately plastic pig 1 overtakes Bart as were are entering lock, which is extremely annoying, particularly as wind & water flow is now pushing us to the starboard side, which is now blocked by the other boat. A little courtesy lacking from the other skip, not letting us position properly first. Anyway good reactions & efforts from all bow & stern crew members plus assistance from one of the four lock keepers (yes four) pulling the centre rope, is ALL much appreciated by Skip. Black Bart is finally, safely ‘tied’ to the vertical safety rails/bars. These kind of experiences are inevitable with a long, deep drafted, heavy narrowboat, and many varying influences (excuses !! Excuses !!!!) that all such boaters experience on occasion. What FUN !!! ★★★ !!!
We follow our lock sharers out this time, now making our leisurely chug the last mile into Lovely Newark. A Little busier than last time here, but chugged through the central arch of the splendid old Newark Town Bridge before mooring up opposite what remains of the Castle. Loads of space here. Fantastic position !!!
Pizza’s at the Castle Barge Inn. Yum Yum. Followed by – Wii time. Neil amazes all of us with his ten-pin-bowling talents. Trick ‘shots’ !!! You have NEVER seen anything like it. Darned A-Maza-ing !!! Impressive stuff. Alex’s jab-it throw technique is incredibly effective, while Judith’s picking up the trick stuff with real deftness. Difficult just trying to keep that Boule straight, & aimed correctly.
You might think it’s easy, But NO – it’s NOT. (anyway, Castle looking fab outside int’a darkness. Beautifully lit).
Then we all try and hit the target with the bow & Arrows. What Fun. Not safe to have the camera out for this one. Far too close for such ‘weapons’. Could have been very dangerous if we’d had the real (sharp pointy) thing(s).
Friday 29th May Extremely wet. Persistent heavy rain, not clearing properly until well into the afternoon. Then we have Fab Sunny, mostly blue sky.
Saturday 30th May No slouching this morning. Up sharp & all ready to go. Ascending Newark Town lock before the lock keeper is even up. He’s not due here until at least 9.00am. We pass our favourite Aversham Weir, after leaving Newark enroute to Nottingham, with 24 miles on the schedule today. “Is that all” we hear you shout. Yes mate !! Get over it !!! Move on !!!! That’s quite sufficient for a slow old narrowboat, especially one as Fantabuloususly Lovely as Black Bart.
We make steady progress in dry cloudy, breezy conditions. Neil demonstrates one of his many boating skills, helming Black Bart for a few miles. Testing that recovering body of his. The boy done good !! After ascending the deepest & last lock of our day’s cruise we moor for a water break, which includes some white water practise at the National Water centre.
We decide to stay on the River Trent as we cruise into Nottingham, mooring at the Victoria embankment, in front of County Hall (again, as before). Great position to moor. We walk to the very local Indian restaurant. Fab Food !!
Sunday 31st May Slow lazy day. Scrumptious brunch enjoyed by all on board Black Bart. We decide to leave the magnificent Wide River Trent mid afternoon, ascending Meadow Lane lock as we join the Beeston & Nottingham Canal which bypasses an unnavigable section of the trent, taking us into Nottingham proper.
We continue to and strangely enough, then ascend Castle lock. Silly skip is soo slow, bringing Bart out of the lock, he gets Bart ‘stuck’ on the weir’s (right by the lock gate) wooden barrier. The flow of water is so strong, even winding old Lister up to full revs (which admittedly is not that high anyway) doesn’t get Bart to move. We is stuck fast (not sure how that statement works). All the crew jump-too, and through all our combined strength we manage to start pushing Bart’s bow away from the barrier, as Lister is called upon again. We finally break free !! Yippee !! That was Fun !! After a few deep breaths we progress to our mooring position.
We are all very tired (eh !! Roxy). No rest for the crew though, as after a short while, we had to tweak Bart’s position due to (surprise surprise) unpleasant crunching noises in the water, below. Depth gauge (wooden stick) was bought out of storage to determine viable relocation positions. Following investigations, sufficient clearance was finally determined for Bart’s draft or bottom (some might say ‘bum’).
Monday 1st May Up early today. Our guests of the last two weeks are off this morning. We escort them to Nottingham railway station and wave them off. We was going to stay ‘ere for the day, but decide to trogg along the Beeston & Nottingham canal a short few miles to near where it’s Southern end rejoins the River Trent again.
Wind speeds are increasing significantly as we approach Turnover Bridge, slowly, trying to see if mooring is viable. No clear towpath past the bridge so we reverse a few lengths to moor (just as the evening’s continuous heavy rain starts descending on us) against the three foot canal wall/bank. Clear of covering trees, and a six foot wall ‘runs’ along the wide towpath. Quite good here. Should afford some protection with the 40+ miles winds projected this evening and tomorrow afternoon.
Tuesday 2nd June Day of rest (or is that recovery). Very strong winds today, especially this afternoon. Go for a walk to Beeston to get some windy fresh air. Good for the lungs.
Wednesday 3rd June Today we traverse along the last few miles of the River Trent after leaving the short but lovely B&N Canal via the strangely (almost shockingly) named, Beeston lock. Cruising, and ultimately, saying goodbye to a most Wonderful Waterway. The River Trent. Wonderful weather is provided for our final ‘stretch’ of our Trent cruise, for now at least. We are feeling a little sad to be leaving our enjoyable river (s) cruises of past weeks. Those narrower waterways, the olde canals are going to be our cruising companions for the coming weeks. Seems like ages since we be travelling them mild sedate waterways. The rivers have been mostly wide, and even Very Wide. The Locks have mostly been Big or Very BIG. Them Winds & Rains have been wild at times. Those water flows & currents have been trying on occasion. But when is all said & done – It has been Most Fantasticous.
We leave the river (temporarily like) as we pass along Cranfleet Cut to avoid having to negotiate the Very Large, Powerful, Scary Thrumpton Weir located just South East of the junction with the River Trent, Erewash Canal and River Soar. The strength of the current was increasingly significant as we steadily cruised towards Cranfleet lock, to dodge that wee weir. At the Big junction we head West on the (still) wide Upper Trent, making our way ‘through’ Sawley. Goodbyes are finally waved to the River Trent at the (next) Big-ish junction with the River Derwent and the Trent & Mersey Canal. At the Derwent Mouth the Trent heads off on a short treck to it’s navigable end at Shardlow marina. The river then meanders on, staying close to us as we continue, cruising with our new travel companion, the waterway known as The Trent & Mersey Canal. We have experienced some of her water flows. We now join her after nearly three years, to experience the old and some that will be new to us, although Black Bart already has experienced some of these waterway miles before our own paths met in the year two thousand and twelve.
Black Bart has re-cruised 55 + the most recent 5 miles of the Most Marvelous River Trent (including the Beeston and Nottingham Canal), passing through 14 mostly BIG locks. A Great UK Inland Waterway.