Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Nottingham to Newark

Tuesday 25 March 2008
Nottingham to Newark Day 5
River Trent

Miles 23
Locks 7
Hours 6

The mooring beside Sainsburys proved to be noisy with cars zooming up and down the adjacent road all night. It is best avoided if possible. It was also a cold night with temperatures down to freezing and the fire needing stoking part way through to maintain a reasonable temperature.
It was an early start at 6.00am to get Tilly ready for school. It’s a good job we didn’t leave the car in the Sainsburys car park – it is locked overnight an
d they apply a £50 charge for all stays over 3 hours. We reached School for 8.45 and a very helpful Bag Lady ran the Capt back to the boat having left our car outside their house.

We set off at 11.00 am, past the impressive Magistrates Court and Fellows, Morton & Clayton warehouse which sits right in the middle if a major regeneration scheme. Two locks took us down to River Trent, opposite Nottingham Forest’s football ground. Form here on the Trent got bigger and bigger and demands that you take it seriously. Whilst it wasn’t in flood, the current was strong and was bending trees over at the margins. The run down to Newark took 5 hours but, with the current against us, this will probably climb to 7 hours for the reverse trip. We saw a couple of narrowboats toiling their way upstream, all foam at the bows and little progress to show for it. It looks hard work but that is a problem for another day.
This section includes an interesting reach under the cliffs which comprise the southern edge of the Trent valley. There is an active airfield on the top of the escarpment with a steady procession of gliders being towed and winched into the air against the blustery breeze.

In my opinion, the Trent is not a beautiful river at any stage. That said, it drains a huge swathe of middle England and can carry vast quantities of water to the Humber. Floods are common and the trees and hedges which line its course bear testimony to past deluges with branches strewn with debris from last year. We only saw two boats on the way down and the Lock Keepers reported a mere six movements for the whole day. With so few boats out on the water the Lockys know exactly where everyone is at all times and each radio’d ahead to the next who set the locks for immediate entry. The weather remained bitterly cold all day, sometimes adding sleet and hail to add to the misery. The weather has got to change soon… I felt sorry for Belle and Jeff because boating isn’t much fun in weather like this.

We reached Newark’s pontoon moorings just below Town Lock at 4.45 pm. This is a good spot to moor, with water and electricity laid on. Very posh. Sausage and Mash was followed by a trip into Waitrose for supplies. The narrowboat Verity moored above us had come all the way up from Keadby and the skipper was very happy to share his extensive knowledge of these waters. He places great store by his VHF radio and if we ever come this way again it is an item I will invest in.

With Primeval finished, tonight we made a start on Life on Mars, Series 1 which has Jeff very excited. As for me, I am looking forward to packing away my sleeping bag and rejoining Helen in the back cabin now that Tilly has gone. Tomorrow it is the Tideway to Torksey and have booked a penning out slot for 10.10am so we need to leave Newark at 9.15 to be at Nether Lock when it opens at 9.30 am, and then complete the 4 miles to Cromwell.

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