Saturday, May 29, 2010

Torksey to Lincoln

With nice weather its an early start on the way to Lincoln.  Once away from Torksey you come to the straight bit.  This particular one is two miles long.  Very boring really with the flood banks hiding all that is beyond.

The outskirts of Saxilby appear and through the railway bridge to the moorings. There is a new display board gone up on the road by the mooring to show where the shops etc are located.

My favourite mooring along here is at Saxilby.  Nice and quiet and I have some fond memories of being here in the past.  Stop for an hour to make a cuppa and visit the charity shop.  Picked up a couple of CDs and a DVD for Abz to watch while she is on board this weekend.

Chugging on slowly.  I found a way of fixing the knocking sound.  I wear headphones and listen to music.  Sorted.When I reached the Pyewipe Inn the Brayford Belle was turning around to take her passengers back into Lincoln.

Just after the inn the cathedral came into view through the trees.  It stands out on the hill and shows up on the sky line  for miles around.

Lincoln is approached in the beginning with the long line of residential moorings on one side and the golf course on the other.Things don't seem to have changed a lot since the last time I was here.

After the BW Service block there are more moorings outside the university.  It is somewhere along here that I will be having a temporary mooring for a couple of months.

Now the exciting bit of Lincoln :-) Into the Brayford Pool with the quayside cafes and bars along with the Barge restaurant.  There are moves afoot I read to start making some improvements here for boaters.  All I can say is that its about time.

The famous Glory Hole with the shops above and gents loo on the other side.  I mention that as you used to be able to see the medieval footings inside it. 

The view from the bows looking down to Stamp End Lock.  I am staying here for a while as I wait for Sandy to get back to me with the mooring details.

All the photographs I took on the trip can be found at

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cromwell Lock to Torksey

Having turned the boat to face the right way its into Cromwell Lock feeling rather insignificant.  There is almost as much room astern of me as there is in front. A mere 60 foot narrowboat is quite lost in here.

There are wharfs along the Trent that were used to load gravel and the one at Besthorpe is still in use.  Battlestone is almost finished loading so I put my foot down a bit to try and keep out of his way further along the river.

One that is not in use is that of Carlton Wharf.  There was at one time a ferry here too.  There is evidence left behind with a Ferry Farm on both sides of the river. 

Other wharfs are totally derelict.  This one at Girton Gravel Wharf even has a few sunken barges next to it.

Half way to Torksey is High Marnham power station..  The rumble is still there but the engine is running fine. I just can't figure out what it is.  The noise even stops now and again but all that does is start me wondering what is about to drop off :-)

Shortly after the power station is Fledborough Viaduct.  This railway bridge was use to transport coal to the power station at Drax I believe.

There are a couple or three places to watch out for according to the guide.  Two of these are sunk islands but don't worry that you might miss them and end up aground.  They are marked with large yellow signs to keep to the left going downstream.  The third item is Butler's Island which needs to be passed on the eastern side.  It becomes obvious when you get near with a fence coming down into the water on the western side.

Getting near the end now as Dunham Toll Bridge comes into view.  Dunham was notorious for flooding at one time.  The flood banks put an end to the fairly regular occurrence of 10 foot of water in the house.

Now I know I am back in Lincolnshire.  The Red Arrows are up doing the practise flights ready for the season of air shows around the world.

Having been overtaken by the cruiser Jigsaw I have to wait a few minutes while he is locked up into Torksey and the chamber emptied for me.

As I rounded the corner I heard the noise of an engine astern and I have managed to keep in front Battlestone as it takes a load of ballast down river.  Much of the traffic has finish for the time being.  The used to be half a dozen or more carriers making a trip or two every week but with the recession it is down to one boat.

Thank goodness that's over. With just one person on a narrowboat it is impossible to travel and check out the annoying vibrations. Peace and tranquillity inside Torksey and back on the canal.  There do have some really very friendly lock keepers here.  The one on duty today is ex BR and joined BW as a seasonal lock keeper.  An ideal job after BR and its in-fighting.

I have a very pleasant weekend in prospect.  Abz phoned up yesterday and we were on the phone for over an hour while she planned out the program of events from Saturday to Monday.  Biking, walking, DVD, DSi, shopping and baking are all lined up to be done. A visit to the arboretum on Sunday is a must with the weather looking to be good.  The cafe there is very reasonable.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Newark to Cromwell Lock

Newark Castle is the most obvious thing when one arrives on the canal.  Looming over the canal it is very different on the other side of the wall.  Peaceful and quiet as I found when I took a quick walk this morning.

Wiki - Newark Castle, in NewarkNottinghamshire, is said to have been founded by Egbert, king of the West Saxons, was partly rebuilt and greatly extended by Alexander, consecrated Bishop of Lincoln in 1123, who established it as a mint. His rebuild here was probably the model for that at Sleaford Castle, also built by Alexander.
It rises picturesquely from the river, and from its position and great strength was for a long time known as the 'Key of the North'. Of the original Norman stronghold the most important remains are the gate-house, a crypt and the lofty rectangular tower at the south-west angle. The building seems to have been reconstructed in the early part of the 13th century. King John of England died at this castle on 19 October 1216. In the reign of Edward III it was used as a state prison.
During the English Civil War it was garrisoned for Charles I, and endured three sieges. Its dismantling was begun in 1646, immediately after the surrender of the king.

One gets views down from the castle of the Town Lock.

The Rotary Club has put in a relief of the town complete with a Braille inscription.  The river is in the foreground with the castle to the right of the bridge.

Can't put it off any longer.  Time to move.  It was a bit fraught this morning.  I spotted the cat disappearing up a drain pipe in the wall of the mooring.  He could only just get in and I managed to grasp his tail and drag him out before he went too far in.  If it not worrying about the cat its wondering what mechanical item will go wrong next. I wonder if I have dented the propeller in all the grounding that I have had.  That could be the cause of the present vibrations. 

There are several bridges now with the bypass in the background.

Only one lock before Cromwell and that is the Nether Lock.  The approach is very winding with a sharp right hander yards before the lock gate and immediately after the Nottingham to Lincoln railway bridge..  The width of the canal has been restricted by a large barge moored up.

Through Nether Lock and then under the East Coast main line.

The last bridge for a while.  The A1 doesn't seem very busy today.  Perhaps they are all going by water.

Apart from flood banks there is a mooring point at the pub in North Muskham

Reached Cromwell Lock and turned the boat to face upstream to moor.

Had a word with the lock keeper and the high tide tomorrow means that I am able to leave here between 1100 and 1130.

17 miles to Torksey should take me about three hours.  I will pleased to get it over with.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hazelford Lock to Newark

Up and about early.  Dash decided that my face was just the place to sit at five in the morning.  I thought I saw a Chinese junk go past but sadly no such luck.

Down in the engine room and got the can cut up and fitted round the prop.  I used a Dr Pepper can as its a power drink and I could do with some power at the moment.

Spun the boat around and headed off to Newark.  The first place that can be seen is Fiskerton.  I was going to make a stop here but with the recent hassles I have had I thought that I would carry on.  There is limited mooring with room for only a couple of boats but it is worth the stop for the Bromley Arms.

Opposite Fiskerton is the battle field of East Stoke 1487.  You can't see it due to the flood banks but a bit further on a quick glimpse of Stoke Hall.  The Battle of East Stoke and the Red Gutter is the other side of it.

Flood banks all the way until the marina at Farndon.  Plenty of wildlife all the way down.

After the corner at Farndon the huge power station at Staythorpe comes into view.  

At the weir at Averham I met up with the St John Ambulance boat Newark Crusader.  Gave a big wave to the trippers on board.

Another bridge.  The first since Gunthorpe.  This is the Newark bypass and while on the road it feels close to Newark it will still take some time to get to the lock.

Newark proper turns up with new and old buildings alongside the canal.  The new builds fit in rather nicely I think.

The Town Lock and,  bugger, the light is on red.  At this rate I am going to have to go astern.  The dreaded moment passes and I did do a bit of astern entering the lock.  The can seems to be working. I put a jubilee clip on the mid point of the shaft and as far as I can see the shaft hasn't moved.

The castle is still there and beyond it the bridge that is stopping larger craft from coming up.  As a listed building the central arch cannot be changed.

The pontoon outside the BW offices are full so I turned the boat up stream and moored astern of the barge restaurant. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stoke Lock to Hazelford Lock

After taking a look at the prop shaft and trying to figure out why it keeps disconnecting I went for a walk on the bank.   I saw while I was walking the Common Blue Damselfly doing a-what comes naturally.

There are plenty of Banded Demoiselles about and I am fairly sure that a Beautiful Demoiselle landed on the boat yesterday

Walk over and then out through the lock taking care to miss the crane on the way.  The weir is to the right so the flow takes the boat that way. BW are working on some moorings by the look of it.

Around the corner and it is the outflow from the large Sewage Farm at Stoke Bardolph.  What I would like to know what exactly do the swans expect to find coming down.  There are dozens of them here and just one or two all the rest of the way along the river.

At Burton Joyce the river makes a 180 degree turn to take the river to the other side of Trent valley. Plenty of wind blowing and the cool breeze is very welcome.

There are young birds every where.  The domestic type of goose seem to have a creche here for there are several couples with all the young mixed together and a load of slightly older ones on the bank.

The moorings are on the other side of Gunthorpe bridge.  Very handy for the pub but I only stayed for a few minutes to make a cuppa

More youngsters at the mooring.  Is it just me?  You see goslings, cygnets and ducklings and smile - Aaah.  Young Coot on the other hand look a bit scruffy and dare I say ugly :-)

On the way out of Gunthorpe Lock I catch a glimpse of the layers of gypsum in the red bedrock behind the trees.  Gypsum is dug not far from here in large quantities to make plasterboard.

On the left bank is the towpath.  It looks as though there are going to be some conversation pieces placed along it.  These were being carved as I went past.

Getting near now to Hazelford Ferry and then the lock.  All woods on one side and the valley on the other.

Behind the hills is an airfield from whence comes the gliders both towed and engined. They haven't reached much height by the time they are overhead here.

Hazelford Lock.  Straight in and through.  Then the problem starts again.

I decided to turn the boat around to go along side against the flow of water.  Bang goes the shaft while I am astern and I drift slowly into the bank.  I tie the bow rope to the anchor and drop it over the side.  Not to dig in but enough to hold the boat steady while I do a quick fix and get alongside.

Posted the question "How do I stop the shaft disconnecting till I can get a replacement" on the Canal World Discussion Forum and almost immediately got a reply - Try wrapping a drinks can around the shaft and inside the clamp.  Fingers crossed.