Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thorne to Retford and a new beginning

I like the mooring at Thorne. I have met some very interesting people there and some of those were on Sobriety. A number of children on board.  It was a delight to watch them ashore playing rounders, cricket etc.  A very polite bunch they were too. When Sobriety turned around there wasnt a deal of room left.

A few days ago I was visited by this mad woman :-) Honestly she, that is Lee, must be mad as she has decided to come and travel the canals with me.  It has been a long time since I have laughed and enjoyed myself so much.  Long may it continue.

Just outside Thorne and on the way to Keadby and a field with lots of poppies in it.  Not a very common site these days.

Lee soon gets the hang of the different types of swing/lift bridges.  It makes such a trip so much more with a companion and I don't just mean the ease with which I now get in locks and under bridges.  

For a start there is the large number of young of various species to point out.

This felt like the fastest trip to Keadby I have ever made.  With Sunny Scunny in the background our destination shows up as the chimneys of Keadby power station.

Didnt have time to take pics at the lock.  We had booked to go out at 1700 and when we arrived at the lock at 1430 we were told we were going straight out with three others. Two are going to Torksey.  The other is going into West Stockwith and as this was his first trip on the Trent was going to follow me. Brave man :-)

West Stockwith and inside the lock.  I hadnt realised just how fast the tide was moving us.  After the turn to get into the lock it was flat out to make the entrance.  The only way I could get around was to put the nose on the wall at the left then bring the stern slowly around.

The people operating the lock have it all sorted out and it works a treat. Sue the lockie warned us about the lack of water and the excess of weed. What is even worse the pub is closed on a Monday.

Stopped at Misterton to get some sun-screen.  Lee went off to the shop and they had sold out.  A very nice gentleman went out of his way to pass a bottle of his own over.

The lock leaks a bit and the duck and young dont seem at all phased by it.

It is a bit shallow. However it is a lovely canal and well worth a visit. All the sluices are locked up and you need a key to get through along with a windlass.

At Clayworth we stopped to pop into the village to pick up a few necessities such as wine and stayed here for lunch. A chatty lot of locals go past us.

As you can see the canal is well weeded up.  In places there is only a few feet spare on either side.

There are a few rather low bridges. The wind genny is now on the stern and the bike rests on the gunnel

This is the approach to the lock. It has the feeling that it is a drain that we are travelling down.

The mooring for the night.  Not where we should be but as the going is so slow we are running a bit late in the evening. Moor as far away from the lock as possible so that if anyone does come there is room to get in. Lee decides to go of exploring while keeping an eye open for nettles :-)

The canal now takes on the look that I remember.  The view ahead is never very far which makes for an interesting life for the helmsman.

A lot of time is spent dodging the small islands of weed coming along.

The number of greens is a delight. Only to be beaten come autumn by the reds.

Lee has become at home onboard and has been here for ever.

A bit more excitement with Drakeshole Tunnel.  Not much as tunnels go but its the longest on the Chesterfield canal in use at the moment.

Inside and a large number of Martins are flying about and as we get to the exit the nests start to appear.

Old Mans Briidge and an old man is on the center stone.  There is another on the other side.

No. Lee is not bored and and nodded off already.  She is busy answering all the messages from friends suggesting that she isnt really giving up work :-)

We arrive at Clayworth. We had walked up here earlier from the exit to the tunnel. A lovely walk with poppies, linseed fields and lovely views to be seen.  We found on the towpath what looked like a load of fish scales.  These were about the size of a finger nail.  It must have been a large fish but what must have taken it out.

There is a nice pub in the village and the club house opens at 2000.  The facilities are just after the club.

We spent the night at Hayton where there is a mooring. Very pleasant and

another pub just feet away on the bank.

We stopped for a while at Clarborough which is another nice mooring.  There does seem to have been a lot done to enhance the trip since my last visit.  The shop in Clarborough is closed so it is Retford or stock up earlier.

The outskirts of Retford. I am sure I have picked up some rubbish on the prop.

Retford has a nice look about it.  Industrial countryside with lots of trees.

The mooring for a few days above Retford Town Lock.  There is a large Asda here and a really nice town with plenty of shops five minutes walk away.

The water is very clear and the fish are easily seen.  This one is about 18 inches long and one of at least nine in a group.

You can compare this one with the two ducks in the background.

The view while I sit in the bows.

Opened up the weed-hatch today and took out the first of several loads of rubbish I shall get during the visit no doubt.

Mexborough to Doncaster

There are still some good kids about.  These four just stopped for a chat in Mexborough.  Very well behaved and polite.

The next day a group of young cyclists called in asking if I had a bike pump (I did) as one of them had a puncture.  I was thanked and they went happily on their way.

 While getting ready to start the trek back to Sprotborough Little Shuva came past.  Always in a hurry I managed to get one of the mooring pins pulled out.

 On the way down stream I spotted another statue on the bank.  I must say though that I do prefer the one at Bardney which is well worth climbing on or even in.

 Stopped for a short while to make a cuppa at the lock.  No rush but it seems such a waste of water.  Just the one narrowboat in a lock that size.

 It got a bit choppy down at the Mexborough Bottom lock.

 Happily for me nb Mega Jules was moored up and I was give an easy ride through the lock while he operated it for me.

 Out on the river and glimpses of Conisbrough castle keep popping up.

 I am not sure what they are but I have spotted several large bags floating down stream.  One foot plus square on the end and 5 ft long. A number had been fished out at the lock.

 At the disused mooring there seems to be a really interesting and unused playground. An ex-colliery landscaped to what? I thought it was Magma and closed looking at this or is this somewhere else.

 The Conisbrough Viaduct is impressive from either direction.

 and must be even more so to the people on it waving to me.

 As I went under I spotted some people abseiling.  I assumed that is what they are doing as they had all the gear.

 At last the church tower at Sprotbrough comes into view. There are signs up to avoid the weir but you must really have problems if you end up down that part of the river.

The next day and I have the joy of a visit from Izzy.  We decide that you are never to young to grab hold of a brush and start cleaning up :-)

 Abz stayed with me and the ice-cream van was well attended on the other bank.

 But eventually we head off to Doncaster.  Having shown Abz how to work the locks she does a magnificent job and was very careful moving about. Never running was the first thing I passed on.

 Its not all that far to Doncaster and the rain soon stops - almost.  Its a lovely trip with lots of trees on both banks.

 The lock at Doncaster and my assistant is very much at home with the controls now.

Thanks for the help and the thousand cups of tea Abz xx