Safe and sound in Staniland Marina at Thorne on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal with the rain lashing down all day. We are warm and dry and have a bar, restaurant, chandlery, and launderette at hand. We even have an electric hook-up.
Looking back it has been an eventful, not to say exciting, last three days. On Thursday (26th) we left Stoke Bardolph and made our way towards Newark. The stream was strong but following the lock keepers advice we made good progress downstream.
Gunthorpe Lock, River Trent
Passing Fiskerton, River Trent and the Newark Crusader going upstream
I was a little nervous seeing the enormous amount of water discharging over the Averham side weir where the Newark cut starts but we passed without incident. We finally moored up on the floating visitor moorings just below Newark Town Lock. Good spot.
Averham Weir, Newark, River Trent
Gas Power Station at Staythorpe, Newark
The moorings were almost full but we managed to reverse in to the upstream end of the pontoon, with a little help from our new neighbours. We explored Newark in the afternoon and found it to be a delightful town with great facilities and interesting history.
Mills at Newark on Trent
The Castle, Newark on Trent
Moored up at Newark
After consulting with the lock keeper at Cromwell Lock we decided, despite the increasing water levels to make our way down to Torksey on Friday (28th). The weather was cold dull and quite unpleasant. There was significant flow, or "fresh" as the keepers refer to it, going downriver and lots of debris with it. We had to leave locks with care to avoid fouling the prop. We moored up for the night on the visitor moorings at Torksey, just below the lock entrance to the Fossdyke Navigation, and chatted to the lockeepers about our prospects of travelling down to Keadby and leaving the Trent.
Rampton power station, near Torksey
Torksey Lock Gates and visitor moorings on the River Trent
Torksey Lock Mechanisms, windlass to open gates
Torksey Lock and basin
The ruins of Torsksey Castle, River Trent and Rampton Power Station
Our choices for going down to Keadby appeared to be leave at 6:30 AM or 11:30 AM. We went for the latter. That night we ate at The White Swan close to Torksey Lock and met our mooring neighbours Pete & Ann from the widebeam Tamora. They asked if we could go down to Keadby together. We naturally agreed and it turned out to be a very good move. The food in The White Swan was good, homely and good value. We both had fish.
The weather forecast for the next few days was interesting. It was quite clear that Sunday would be wet and windy. Amber weather warnings were being predicted but on Saturday it was predicted to be dry with "noticeable" wind. As it turned out we certainly noticed the winds, particularly on reaches aligned to the wind direction, which was north easterly. There were rollers with white tops which pushed spray over our cratch canopy and the wind even displaced our hinged engine exhaust several times. It took us around 5 hours to reach Keadby with Albert, being the slower boat, going first. It was fast journey, covering a lot of ground, but a struggle, particularly in the wind. My GPS on the mobile phone indicated that we were doing around 10 kph.
Burton Chateau, River Trent
Passing West Stockwith, entrance to the Chesterfield Canal
Tamora ploughing along the River Trent
Keadby Bridge, River Trent
Keadby Lock and Docks, River Trent - Tamora approaching the lock
When we got to Keadby the tide was ebbing and there were strong flows particularly by the lock entrance. We were in for the most difficult boating episode we have had in sixteen years. Tamora went first and with difficulty got into the lock. They went first because they had been through the lock before. It was then our turn. Firstly, turning was not easy and we found ourselves very close to some mooring dolphins along the dockside. We then found that we were still going downstream despite having quite a lot power on -what I normally consider to be full power. I had to increase the power to levels I had not yet used - absolute flat out (around 1000 rpm). Miraculously we managed to inch ourselves along the dock wall towards the entrance and get in to the lock without touching anything! To say we were relieved is an understatement. The lock keeper greeted us with "We thought you were going to Goole" - our reply was "Yes, so did we!".
We locked up with Tamora and found that above the lock there was another boat. It was NB Lockhart who we found out had travelled down from West Stockwith. They were the first boat we had seen moving all day.
Waiting for Keadby Sliding Railway Bridge
After going up Keadby Lock we immediately approached the wonderful Keadby Sliding Railway Bridge. We waited as a train crossed and the operator in the "signal box" operated the bridge. This was the first of many bridges we met on our way along the Stainforth & Keadby canal. Our aim was to make it to Thorne where Pete & Ann from Tamora had arranged for moorings - our haven from the storm. The weather by then had improved and we had a pleasant trip along this wide and largely straight canal - the journey punctuated by each of the three boats (Tamora, Albert & Lockhart) operating the bridges in turn. Some were power operated, some were manual, some difficult to use, and only a few were easy.
Swing Bridge, Stainforth & Keadby Canal
Wind Turbines & Bridge, Mauds Swing Bridge
We finally moored up at Staniland Marina in Thorne safe, sound and relieved at 8:30 PM - a long very eventful day.