Monday, 14 September 2015

Newark on Trent

Hi all,
Our blog for this week comes to you from the Nottinghamshire Market Town of Newark on Trent in the East Midlands. As the name suggests it is situated on the River Trent but it is also on a couple of other former major highways, the Great North Road, or A1, between London and Scotland and The Fosse Way, the Roman Road from Exeter to Lincoln. We got here yesterday after cruising up the River from Cromwell Lock where we'd spent a couple of days doing what we do best, relaxing. Our current mooring is outside the CRT offices here and once again we have water and electricity available. The four of us, Lisa, myself, Val and Pete, have had a gentle stroll around the town and it's quite a nice place to stay. The Market Square is surrounded by some lovely buildings and reminds me of some of the towns in Europe that we have visited. There's also the Castle Barge Pub moored almost opposite us on the river. It's a former Spillers grain barge which used to travel between Hull and Gainsborough, carrying, surprise, surprise, grain for flour and it was converted into a public house in 1980. It's very nice inside and there was live music outside when we visited it yesterday, they also serve a nice Real Ale or two, what more could you ask for ??
The Market Square here at Newark. There was a bit of an Antiques fair today.
We left Keadby Lock as planned last Tuesday and made our way up the River Trent for some twenty seven miles or so till we reached the mouth of the Fossdyke Navigation at Torksey, where we turned off the river and moored on the Pontoon below Torksey Lock. Our first ever journey on a tidal river had been excellent, Chyandour and Tadpole 2 performed faultlessly and the river gave us no problems whatsoever. The Lockeepers at Keadby, Mark one and Mark three, had given us sound advice on the best time to set off and as the tide traveled up the river on Tuesday afternoon it took us with it. There are three Lockeepers operating Keadby Lock and they are all named Mark in case you're wondering, Mark two being on holiday. I must admit that I know very little of how tides behave on the river and I understand even less but we did have the benefit of a Neap Tide which, as I understand it, is the most gentle of the tides and also Tuesdays was one of the lowest tides recently, so that's another couple of reasons why we had such a good cruise. I have to say though, anyone entering the river at any of the locks should always consult the Lockeepers about tides and times to be sure of getting the best out of their journey, as well as having a safe one. There are no Commercial boats operating on the river now so that was another problem we no longer had to worry about.
Keadby Lock, first used in 1802 and if the Lockie is to be believed, the only wooden Balance Beam remaining, that's the one in the middle this side, dates back to then
Val and Pete at the helm of Tadpole 2 as she leaves Keadby Lock last Tuesday.

Sally Earl with Martin at the helm as he overtook us on the river after we left Keadby. Sally Earl is better suited for river cruising. Martin gave us a lot of useful advice about mooring etc.
The following day was spent around Torksey and we walked along to the rather large Car Boot Sale that they have every week throughout the year on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We didn't buy much but Lisa does love a Car Boot Sale. I've always wondered though, why would anyone with a car want to buy another boot ??? Anyway, as you would expect of us, we also managed to enjoy the delights of the pub close to the lock, The White Swan, where they serve some good food at reasonable prices as well as a nice pint of Real Ale, the name of which escapes me. It must be an age thing, it couldn't be the ale.
On the Fossdyke Navigation looking to it's junction with the River Trent.
On Thursday we checked things out with Neil, the Lockie at Torksey, with regard to our anticipated departure at about seven o'clock the next morning. After that, armed with our trusty Bus Passes, we took ourselves off for the day and traveled to the nearby City of Lincoln, where we had another good time enjoying the sights. It was graduation day so the the city was pretty busy but we managed to get into the Cathedral and Castle Grounds to have a look around.
Looking at Lincoln Cathedral from a different perspective.
High Bridge in Lincoln, called the Glory Hole, it's on the River Witham and is the oldest bridge with buildings on it in the UK. Built around 1160, the buildings on it are from around 1550.
 The next, and final, leg of our journey on the Tidal Trent started as we expected on Friday morning. Just after seven o'clock, the pontoons on which we were moored began to rise as the tide came upriver and, after casting off, away we went, with the tide helping us against the rather gentle flow that was coming downstream. We think the gentle flow was due to the recent long spell of fine dry weather 'cos we've been told that the Trent can be a bit of a devil after heavy rainfall and we're all glad we didn't find out first hand.  After eighteen miles we came upon the lock at Cromwell, which was ready and waiting for us as I had phoned the Lockie when we were a couple of miles out. All the locks have landlines and mobile phones and the lockies appreciate a call to let them know you're getting close and each Lockeeper also notifies the next if you intend to continue your journey onwards. A quick word with Shaun, the lockie at Cromwell, regarding our intentions for the next day or two and we moored up on the pontoon above the lock where we had the pleasure of electricity and water if we wanted it. Cards to pay for the electric being available from the lockie at a reasonable price.
The two of us in Cromwell Lock, plenty of room for a few other boats. We keep back as far as possible to avoid the turbulence as the lock fills.
A sad sight at Cromwell Lock. It's a memorial to ten Volunteer Paratroopers on night training in September 1975. They were washed over the weir, when a power cut shut off the warning lights, and drowned.
We set off from Cromwell Lock yesterday morning having decided that Saturday should be an easy day because rain was forecast and, as allways, we didn't want to cruise in the rain if we didn't have too. It was another  good trip up the river and we arrived at Newark Nether Lock after about an hour and a half cruising. After leaving the lock we cruised for another three quarters of a mile till we got here at The Kiln moorings on the West bank of the river, there was enough room for us to breast up so here we've stayed, today being a bit damp and dismal, with heavy rain and thunder as I write.
The approach to Newark Nether Lock from Cromwell. the red lights ask us to wait for the gates to open, once they go to green in we go.
Well that's it again for this week folks. Since last week we have gone through 3 locks and cruised 51 Miles, that gives us a Grand Total of 1,306 Locks and 2,294 Miles since we set off on our journey in October 2012. Please take care everyone.

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