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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Narrowing our horizons.

We were still inside when we had a shower of rain and by the time it was just about cleared we were off to follow the Retford Heritage Trail using a leaflet that we found at the Tourist Information. It was very good to make you look a little harder at the buildings and also explained the various bits of modern touches around the place.

This is a better photograph of the Retford Town Hall that shows why it made me think we were in France. The ballroom on the first floor looks very grand. We found the Butter Market at the back of the Town Hall so will have to explore that on the way down.

It seems that Retford blossomed when the Great North Road was diverted through the town, and the Chesterfield Canal was built, and then later the railway. All the buildings of stature seemed to have come from these eras.

With the market stalls all cleared away you can see how big the Market Square really is. There are some notable Georgian houses that surround the square too. All in all a very pleasing aspect.

The walk took us about two hours to travel round. We then walked over to the station to get Helen's tickets for her trip home when we are next passing through. Once back at the boat we had some lunch and then set off towards the summit. The first lock was just round the corner and it was the first of the narrow locks. It seems ages since we passed through one of these and they look very small indeed. However they are nice and easy to use as I can step across the double lower gates and when on the boat I can usually close the off side gate from the boat too. That saves a lot of walking round the lock for us. There are  a few little aqueducts on the next leg and before getting to the West Retford Lock there is a lovely old warehouse that was owned by a local furniture dealer, Fletchers. I can't quite make out the 'ghost writing on the building but I think it dates from that Victorian era.

Fletcher's canal warehouse, Retford.

West Retford narrow lock with some new houses built on the off side. They have added fake bricked up windows on some of the walls and painted the ground floors black on some of them to give them an industrial flavour to fit in with the canal and the site.

After this we were soon back out into the countryside. There were a few boats moving about and we were keeping an eye out for a likely mooring spot for the way down, and for now. In the end we took water at Charlie's Lock on the Forest flight. There was no room on the visitor moorings so we continued on. Where there was piling we tried to get along side but it was too shallow. In the end we moored with our bow on the end of the long lock mooring for the Forest Top Lock and the stern on the piling. The stern is a little off the side but we can get ashore okay. There is still plenty of room for a full size boat on the lock landing. The sun has come out and it is a lovely evening. With a bit of luck we may stop here another day as we want to be in Worksop on Thursday.

Evening spot at Forest Top Lock.

Oh yes, I believe the reed that I posted a photo of the other day was a Lesser Pond Sedge. Any confirmation from out there?

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