Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Retford and down to West Stockwith

After a few days outside Asda carpark its time to head back to West Stockwith and the Trent. Its only a few yards to the first lock and all the tight locks are behind us and wide locks are to come.

There are still a few bridges about that are a bit on the low side and I think its this one that the wind genny tail had a meeting with earlier. The other side of the bridge is a mooring that looks ok and only a short walk to the centre of Retford.

Its not long and its back out in the countryside. As usual as soon as a lock is reach someone turns up to chat.  This time its a boat owner who kept their boat up at Shireoaks.

The canal closes in again and there is only a few feet either side of the boat.  Now and again the very tight bends take a bit of getting around.

Stopped for the night at Clarborough and went out for a walk.  There are some lovely places to wander about all along the canal.

The view from the bows tonight.  The pub is  The Gate and plenty of room to moor up and with so few boats about there is always lots of space available.

As a change from wheat and oilseed rape there is a field of broad beans and they are nearly ready to be picked :-)

Every so often - ok every mile :-) - on the towpath side can be seen the new mileposts that have been put in and occasionally on the off side the original ones can be seen.

The canal isn't very wide anyway and the floating islands of weed taking up half the canal doesn't make life easy but does make it interesting :-)

Forever winding and going from fields along side then wooded areas turn up.

The twisting course allows one to see ones destination a short distance away across the fields but there is still a long way to go before arriving there.

At Clayworth moorings nb Jophina II is spotted. She didn't look all that happy at being left and is waiting for Chris to keep her company :-)

Another boat not far away has a heraldic theme and very effective it is too.

The swans that live around here have really come on in the few weeks since we last went past.

  Moored up close to the facilities so that there is plenty of room left if anyone else wants to stop here.

  There are a couple of nice walks here as well. This is part of an old trackway we found while out and about.

I should have got a copy of the Richlow book as it would have saved me some time looking for the Post Office marked on the map.  This is another shop that has closed.

Back into the woods

and through tunnels of trees

with the clear water one can try to count the thousands of fish that are here.  Fry without number right up to 18 inch monsters by the dozen.

Under the Old Man Bridge.

Spent the night at Drakeholes. There has been an event somewhere involving dozens of old bikes.  One of them pulled up next to us.  Marvellous sounds as they go past. Called in the pub which is close by. More of an hotel really but a decent pint anyway.

Sun is out again and we wait while a boat enters the tunnel

then its our turn.  Many Martins flying in and out to feed all the young inside.

With the boat going in front of us all the locks are empty so its a bit slower going having to fill the lock first.

There are several disused brickworks with the chimneys still standing. Alone in the middle of a field and looking odd in an agricultural landscape.

Stopped below a lock for lunch in the sunshine.  Kept an eye out for other boats and when one turned up I opened the lock ready for him to enter.

Passing rather a nice house with land running down to the canal and good use made of the canal by putting a narrowboat on it.  As we went past we are thanked for our speed (low ) and discover that the owner is from Swansea. Another immigrant flying the flag :-)

Ooops.  The canal becomes a dyke at one point with gaps measured in inches rather than feet.  Plenty of weed about and happily not a lot getting around the prop although others report otherwise.

Nearly time to stop and dash into Misterton and visit the Co-op and butchers.

The last lap down to the Stockwith basin has a long straight. Very unusual for this canal.

The view from the bows tonight with the lock dead ahead.

Moored with stern to the bank.  A couple of 'Tupperware' come in and do not impress the lockey or us. 

The next day we took a walk down to the River Idle to see what the possible moorings for hire are like.

This is the problem. The EA govern the use of the guillotine gates and access to the river. However.  When the Retford boat club wanted to get in in 2009 in cost nearly £500.  This will be a major stumbling block to getting the mooring working as a going concern.

Its well worth the effort of a short walk down the road to the footpath along side the river.

The path comes out in a field but it continues on through the hedge.

Some Ragwort on the edge of the field and I found the caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth on it.

and the field goes on......

Another disused brickworks but this time turned into a home.  A superb site and very well renovated.

Then its back along the river bank towards Stockwith and the basin.

Flat out here with the highest points being the flood defences.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shireoaks at last and return to Retford

 So we escaped from Worksop and right next to the Town Lock is a pub and as the weather is good the patrons keep their eye on the boaters and may or may not :-) give advice as to where you are going wrong.  We got through unscathed :-)

Moments after the lock is the Priory shopping centre.  A decent mooring here but width is restrictive so you are unable to just moor up anywhere.

Arrival at Morse Lock and it looks a bit different to the usual due to the metal bridge with what looks to my jaundiced eye like a couple of Phoenix type birds stuck on.

and then I was stuck before I had even got through the gates.
  so I pushed and pulled and managed to get the small fenders up that seemed to be causing the problem and
  eventually got in.  I was soon to be got at by Rojer with a J who complained that blog was badly in need of updating.  Rojer travels up and down the Chesterfield canal recording all that he sees of interest and also searches the internet for mention of same.  Sandra complained that I was being lax in the blog area and put this down to tiredness on my part. The main problem has been lack of internet access according to Lee. :-) and who am I to argue but signal has been poor in places.

I keep my eye open for winding holes just in case.  This one has a bridge over nothing that leads nowhere.

Good mooring and the Lock Keeper pub to frequent while here.  There is also a Sainsbury a short walk away and near the pub.  All you need from a mooring.  The boat sat there at the mo is nb Dreamcatcher from Shireoaks and is flying the Red Dragon.

Had to pull in and get the two flags together.  :-)  The owners were kind enough to offer us the use of their mooring in the marina but as it turned out it was rather windy and easier to just spin the boat and moor on the usual mooring.

We have come across a lot of youngsters this trip.  Always happy to help and open or close a lock gate.

Managed just the once to see the masons marks in a lock.  This one had just the one and it was on most of the stones.

A little further and very near to Shireoaks now and we have some more help from some very polite children.  One young lad was very taken with Dash and I think he would have stowed-away given half a chance.  We did meet them later on in the trip while moored up back at the Priory Mall :-) 

They had a look inside and are all going to pester their parents to buy them a boat each :-)

The entry into the marina is very tight and  takes a bit of getting round.  Its all very quiet so take all the time you like as you wont be holding anyone up.

Masses of room inside that could be used for moorings at some stage. 

Next morning we took a walk upto the end of all the locks that have been reinstated over recent years.

 First boat we have seen since Dreamcatcher the other day. They had been up to the end.  We had decided not to as we needed to be back in Retford and 31 locks in a couple of miles might slow us down rather a lot.

It was one lovely peaceful view after another.  In the sunshine we were soon ready for a sit down

when we arrived at a seat put in place in memory of a lady who had lived many years at the canal cottages nearby.

 The locks are in some cases in groups of two or three and a couple are staircase with the top gate of one lock being the bottom gate of the next.

Crystal clear water due to the lack of boat movements and the thousands of fish from fry 5mm long up to the huge things crossed with Moby Dick can be easily seen as we walk.

Not far now from our turning point.  Plenty of people us the towpath and  up here there is the absolute minimum of rubbish to be found.

Stopped here for a while and had a read.  Got some grass stains.  My first for years but only cos the grass was damp! Honest :-)

and we return to Shireoaks and move on back towards Worksop.

On the way back spotted this bungalow and the owner is proud of his canal and along with the sign telling of the opening of the canal in 1777 there is a small signpost to the Giants Staircase.

Back at the marina.  There is a project underway to build, using traditional methods, a Chesterfield Heritage Narrowboat.  They have a long way to go yet by the looks of things. 

And we are off.

Wow!!! Another boat coming up Happily they were not in a hurry as I got stuck again :-) Another quick flush to get out.

Moored for the night out in the middle of nowhere.  Dash soon ashore and after the wildlife.  Mice, Moles, Rabbits, and Shrews.  All become presents that need to be spotted before leaping out of bed onto them first thing in the morning.

The Lock Keeper and stuck again in the next lock.  This time it took over half an hour to get free.  

Moored up outside a large warehouse that sells furniture.  Looking to redo the inside of the boat to make it more homely and comfortable. Took the opportunity to wander over to Sainsbury to top up with the goodies of life.

Spent the night outside the Priory. Quite peaceful and no problems. Down through Worksop and the inspectors are still outside the pub.

We stopped here the night on the way up.  Three pubs very handily situated for the thirsty boaters and there didnt seem to be any problems associated with them.

Every so often the weeping willow hides the view.  Lee is collecting branches of it and muttering about saunas :-)

Almost back to the facilities at the Forest Locks.  Some people really make the most of the access to the canal.  Boaters most likely take advantage of the fact the the apples, pears and plums over-hang the canal and would drop onto the boat as one passes.

Lee went off cycling earlier and ended up with a puncture.  The resident boaters took pity on her and gave her the choice of Guinness or tea and while it took her just a short while to get her I was taking so long she parked the bike and walked back.  Still low water level and lots of weed.

Spent the night moored between the two BW boats and in the morning crossed over to water ship :-)

The Dragonflies are coming out at last.  There have been plenty of Damselflies and spotted this one laying eggs.

Occasionally one sees evidence of the past as in the grooves cut in the wall from the ropes that were attached to the horse towing the boats along.

Must look this one up in the book :-)

and finally we make it back to Retford. Almost feels like home now.