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.

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