Nottingham to Newark
2nd August 2011
24 miles - 7 locks - 6 hours
Castle Marina is a bit quieter than outside Sainsburys as there is no parallel road, but its still a bustling city location. The canal side is undergoing something of a regeneration, starting at the city warehouses and moving eastwards. The end result is quite pleasing but to my mind retains too little of the old.
However, the old bits which have been kept, like the old BW warehouses are quite beautiful in a Victorian sort of way. I am very familiar with Nottingham but its centre always seems removed from the canal, set up behind the Castle on its rocky sandstone outcrop.
The old and the new in Nottingham
Before long we were out on the Trent and as we had time we decided to take a look upstream, an area we had never explored. There is a mile or so of navigable river which is fronted by Nottingham City Hall, with a riverside park on the north bank which was being prepared for a funfair.
This stretch of river offers some great views of the city, and some good moorings outside the Council House providing you watch you don't get grounded on the steps.
Nottingham's old warehouses
We made our way to beyond the footbridge and turned, heading downstream past the National Watersports Centre where a steady procession of brave white water kayakers, carrying their frail craft up to the top of the slalom course which runs alongside Holme Lock.
Nottingham's arch of remembrance
Then it was down the river through Stoke Lock, where the fire brigade were testing their kit.
Then Gunthorpe and Finally Newark Town Lock to the visitor moorings opposite the iconic castle. This was all very different to our last visit at Easter in 2007 when the sky was a leaden grey and the water was flowing high in the amber zone and kilometer posts were counted off on numb fingers. This time the sun was bright, the thermometer was settled in the high 20's and the flow was gentle.
My trip down the upper Trent provided an opportunity to test my new VHF radio but I was disappointed to hear absolutely nothing from the lock keepers and to receive no answers to my hails. A little bit of research revealed my problem - and the futility of using channel 76 when the keepers work on 74! By the time I realised my error, the battery was dead - another lesson, charge batteries the night before.
Sonning, an ex Salters Steamer from the Thames
With the visitor pontoon moorings all taken we resorted to the wall mooring beneath the castle walls, a bit tricky to get on and off from but very quiet and with an excellent view.
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