Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thank Goodness for Keadby

Never has a lock been more welcome than the view of Keadby coming into sight.

Coming out of Ferriby on the high tide at 0730 I skirted the south side of Reads Island. To begin with there was not much of a problem with the island plain in view. As the trip progressed the wind and waves got higher. Some of the waves were really quite big and not for a restful journey with a narrowboat.

No time to listen to the radio or have a cup of tea from the flask with all my time taken up with looking for changes in the water to indicate the sandbars. At the end of the island the channel became a bit narrow it seemed.

Once into the Humber proper the wave became even bigger and more of them started spraying over the roof as the bows cut through the water.

I reached the line of red buoys and then used the GPS to follow my previous route in reverse.

After a while I met up with the Humber Survey boat working from side to side of the Humber. I slowed to let him through and with the waves coming head on and his bow wave coming at an angle the boat started to roll and there was a lot of violent movement up and down as well as from side to side. Very scary. After changing my underwear I followed the GPS track up to Trent Falls. All the way here the waves were large and moved the boat about quite a bit. I felt rather sorry for the cat who was hiding below.

Trent Falls presented me with yet another problem. The waves were coming head on and the River Trent was to the south. I now had to turn the boat side on to the waves to get round and in to the river. This was worrying. As I reached the line of stakes a calm patch appeared and I turned with much rocking and rolling around.

Into the Trent. The tide was now starting to ebb and my speed dropped and not wanting to thrash the engine I kept the speed to 3.5 mph.

The big boys were still at home. Thankfully. Whether this was because someone had mentioned that there was an idiot on the Humber with a narrowboat or not I cannot say.

On the way down the Trent I had found that the speed would drop if I was too close to the bank. On this part of the trip I used this to keep the speed up slightly. Towards the middle of the river my speed would drop to 2 mph.

Wonder of wonders. Keadby Lock came into sight at 1230 and I was inside safely by 1330.

An item I will have to get is a hands free gizmo for the mobile. The wind makes it impossible to hear anyone.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back to the HUMBER

The mooring at Brigg can not classed as salubrious. However the locals, at least all those I saw walking the towpath, were friendly enough and would say hello or stop for a chat. On the two nights I stopped there I had no problems whatsoever but beware of weekends. It is just one minute away from Tesco and filling station and handy for the local shops.

A reasonable start and another trip around the island to face the right direction for Ferriby.

Brigg was at one time called Glanford Bridges and these are the two that are on the main road.

Just the other side of the town bridge is the rowing club where I ended up on Monday.

The second bridge is next to the Leisure Centre with some gated moorings to the right and the M180 bridge beyond.

There is not a lot of interesting items on the voyage but there is a bridge.

And shortly afterwards there is another.

After two and half hours steaming the boredom is broken by ---- a bridge.

Not long after one arrives at South Ferriby.

Chatting to Mick the lockkeeper I am assured that the Ancholme is much much nicer in season and full of boats and people enjoying themselves. Sunshine and a bit of warmth would certainly put a different light on things I must say.

Apart from the extremely helpful Mick there is a similarly helpful and accommodating chandlery who do their best to fix you up with what ever you need. Paddy and his hard sell method of giving 10% sold me a VHF radio which I was going to get but with the cost of £80+ to stay on the Ancholme for a month I found a week was more than enough. I decided to get one after the extremely gentle tutting from the rescue volunteer.

Next step – The Humber at 0830 tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Into the Ancholme

An early start from Keadby. A very early start in fact. The keeper was ready for me at 0600 and twenty minutes later I was out on the Trent. At this time in the morning it was still not yet quite light and it was difficult to judge distances but having found the far bank I followed it until daylight took over.

Before too long I found the wharfs in the area around Flixborough and some of the big boys that inhabited the area. Happily for me they were staying at home at the moment and again I was the only one afloat.

For a good while it was plain sailing so to speak. Then I got lost. I know it is difficult to get lost on a river but I managed it. I was looking out for the western channel around The Island Sand but missed it completely. I was looking for the island which was marked on the guide but the first thing I realised that I had missed it was when I noticed the line that had been planted to show Trent Falls.

At this point the Humber proper is encountered and following the red buoys seemed to be the best course. The sand banks get quite close as the tide goes out. Eventually I spotted the lock. The cement works has been visible for ages but there was always a sand bar between me and it.

I thought of going past the entrance then move in to the bank in the hope that there was a channel but this was soon proved incorrect when the bows hit the bank I was trying so hard to go round.

The only doubt that crept through my mind up until now was ‘How steep is this bank?’ Not very is the answer as I ended up 100 feet from the water sitting almost upright.

Before too long I received a visit from the Humber Rescue craft. They were checking up on me to ensure that all was well. It’s nice to know that someone is keeping an eye on things.

With the boat high and dry I descended onto the sand to check the prop as there had been a mass of weed coming out of Keadby with me. After all the ice recently I wish I had some bitumen on hand to do some housekeeping on the hull. It also gave me an opportunity to have another look on the ‘How do you get back on board if you fall in’ scenario and found a foot hold above the rudder for the job.

By the time the tide had turned the Humber Rescue were back to show me the channel into Ferriby lock. I had the company of one of the crew which meant a very pleasant end to the trip in the Humber. There is a sand bar in front of it that means a long detour to the second of the green buoys then head for the white board and from there it is skirting the coast. I was told that there is the other channel that runs from red buoy 32a but needs caution when used.

I finally arrived into the lock at just after 1600 then straight through to Brigg. By the time I arrived it was dark and there is no visitor mooring to be seen. I eventually slung a rope around a tree at the Brigg Rowing Club and left first thing in the morning. I must admit to not getting a lot of sleep due to one thing and another.

At 0200 I was woken by the draws all opening as the water went down an I settled on the bottom. I managed to push the boat out further and the ships cat escaped ashore. After a couple of cups of coffee he returned and made it back on board without falling in.

An early tour of the island which is made up of the canal and the old course soon showed that there were no visitors mooring at all. I eventually moored at the facility point near the by-pass bridge. It has no facilities. Popped into Tesco and on my return found that I was aground again.

I do hope to have a peaceful night but I was warned by several passers-by that the mooring is not very safe during the week-end with youngsters doing what youngsters do under the bridge.

I hope that I am floating by Thursday when I want to leave.

I don’t recommend a visit at the moment as it is bit of an effort getting in and an even bigger one getting out. When I leave it will have to be on a high tide which means that I shall go hell for leather past Reads Island and hope to make it out of the channel before the water drops too much. Then a steady plod for lord knows how long to get to Keadby.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

So far...............................

Having reached Keadby lock it was immediately noticeable that the water level was still low or the bottom of the lock was a bit high. Either way I was pushing a load of silt out of the lock as I went in.

A very agreeable trip down the Trent with the river being totally empty of other craft I really have trouble seeing why some people are so wary of a trip up or down the Trent. Although one must treat the river with the respect it deserves with just a modicum of care it is safe enough.

On the way down I was debating with myself the effect of keeping to the centre of the river or cutting the corners. As I had the GPS on hand I soon found that my speed dropped by half a mile per hour as I neared the bank on the inside of the bend. Not a lot if you are doing 60 but a good percentage while doing 6. There is also the added chance of grounding on the ebb if the corners are cut.

My arrival at Keadby coincided with the arrival of my boating partner, better known as Abz. She spent the evening on board and the following day we explored the surroundings. Nicholson’s Guide says of Keadby “A dull settlement which has declined since the canal traffic ceased”. Well they are right there. Mind you there is a handy fish & chip shop just up the road that is also quite close to the play area with what was christened Eiffel’s Tower. A very interesting climbing frame that was enjoyed to the full. It also has seating for the picnic that becomes obligatory during the summer.

In the other direction along the canal and away from Keadby we end up, I was told, in the middle of nowhere. Very flat this part of the country. My mother disliked Lincolnshire a great deal. It has too much sky!! I was told.

The route took us past the Vazon Bridge. Even at close quarters I have trouble figuring out how it works.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The move is on - at the moment!!

At last the snow has gone, the ice has disappeared and water levels are getting back to normal. And this means that a move to the Ancholme may be in the offing.

To get to South Ferriby from Torksey in one move is possible but it does make for rather a long days boating. The idea therefore will be to move to Torksey on Friday evening then first thing on Saturday morning travel to and then into Keadby lock. Over the weekend I will moor up on the canalside at Keadby. Very early on Monday morning there is a high tide when I shall be leaving for South Ferriby lock.

The problem then is that the smaller gates at Ferriby are not working and the large gates need a high tide. So for most of Monday I shall be admiring the scenery of the Humber bank and waiting for the tides. Watch this space for the odd photo or two.

Who knows but by Monday evening I could be nearing Brigg.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Water, Water etc!

One of these days I will get to Brigg. Maybe!

With the weather as it is the sluices are being opened as the river rises and it makes the depth of water somewhat unreliable. It therefore – I have been told – makes it difficult to get boats in and out of the lock.

To sort of prove my point. Here at Saxilby two days ago the boat started to lean more than just a little to port and on inspection of the ropes I found the water had risen more than I had realised.

Today with the snow starting again the water has dropped and the line of ice left on the bank is the previous level of the water.

As you can imagine the ropes are now just a little bit more on the slack side.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Never put things in a safe place!

At last the inverter has appeared. It was delivered as promised but as the office was closed the inverter was put somewhere safe for me to find. It was that safe that no-one could find it until there was a search of the clubhouse yesterday.

Today I was going to go to Thorne and pick it up but with the canal being frozen last evening and the fall of snow this morning I think I will give it a miss till the weekend and then see what the weather is like.

One thing to watch out for here at Saxilby is the rise and fall of the canal. I have noticed that there is at least a foot rise over night with the water sometimes going over the footpath and have been told that on one occasion it was four foot deeper than it is today.

An item I had been meaning to mention for visitors to Saxilby to look out for is the view one gets while the Red Arrows are practising. They do come close to the village but a hundred yards from here there is a view almost to Scampton along the edge of Lincoln Cliff from where the planes take-off and land.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Update on Brigg

I was hoping to travel to Brigg next weekend after a period of waiting due to there being too little water in the Ancholme after it had been dewatered to allow work to be undertaken.

The trip will now have to wait at least another week due to there being too much water in the Ancholme as a result of the melting snow and rains running in through the river system.

As they say It never rains but it pours!

I will get there eventually then I can dispose of the car and move to pastures new on a more permanent basis.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Cold Trip through Lincoln and Beyond

With Abz on board a trip through the Glory Hole and out through Stamp End Lock I thought was in order. Ian and George came along for the ride. It was a lovely day in general with the sun out but very cold.

The trip to Lincoln goes past one of my favourite pubs – The Pyewipe Inn. Nicely placed right on the canal side it has decent beer and a good menu. I once had a free meal there. I don’t now if it is still done but one would put a business card into a jar and every month one of them would be pulled out – contacted – and free meal arranged. And very nice it was too.

Into the Brayford. But where have all the moorings gone? The sign next to the Visitor Moorings sign says dangerous – keep off and all those at the end of the pool have gone but no new ones signed.

Through the Glory Hole is always a pleasure for some reason. It is brilliant being able to moor up right in the middle of the city and do the shopping. Well there were Chips for lunch anyway.

Out through Stamp End Lock and then along as far as Fiskerton. It is possible to turn a 60 foot narrowboat along here but with care as the banks do get just a little bit shallow as we found out. A bit of prodding with the boat hook and we were off again.

We, that is, Abz and I spent the night at the visitors mooring at the start of the University of Lincoln. A handy mooring for Toys R Us I found.

The next day a call at the refuse bin and on towards Torksey to have a chat with the lockkeeper there about tide times and the possible trip to Brigg now that water seems to be back in the Ancholme.

Saxilby for lunch and after a few flurries of snow behind us on the way west our return journey was colder and I admit to being a touch on the glad side to finish the trip.