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Friday, 6 June 2014

Too much fresh and not enough salt.

The start of the day made us feel to set off, so we did. We arrived at Torksey about 90 minutes later and went to the water point near the lock to fill up and dump the rubbish. I had a chat with the Lock Keeper and he said that we wouldn't have a quick passage up to Cromwell Lock. I knew that it is neap tides at the moment. This means that the high water is not so high and the low tide is not so low. That means that the water flooding in from the sea is less and so the current pushing us along would be less too. On top of this there was a lot of fresh water coming down the Trent. This would mean that although the level in the river would go up the fresh water coming down would overcome the salt water going up so there would be no help at all pushing us along. Would have to stay several days before the tides got bigger, and we didn't really want to wait.

Torksey Lock, the Trent is the other side of the of the gates.

The original lock here was opened in 1671 this canalised the Fossdyke that the Roman Emperor Hadrian had dug in 120AD and Henry I deepened in 1121AD. That is a fair bit of history gone by.

The present lock is not the one from 1671 but is a mixture of old hand-a-matic and electric pumping. The inner gates are opened/closed with the capstan and the sluices worked using the similar gear to those on 'normal' canals.

On the way up the Trent there were several places where old fords or islands and sandbanks meant that you had to watch where you were going. Our draft is only about 2ft but it is always best to err on the cautious. The river became very curvaceous in places and narrows and widens in various places too. 

The wide bit near Marnham Ski Club.

There are few bridges across the Trent on this stretch and the first we came to was Dunham Bridge. There was a ferry here until 1832 when the original cast iron bridge was built by a group of local businessmen. They charged a toll for it's use. The new bridge was completed in 1977 to carry the A57. The present toll is 40p each way. A little further up the river is the Fledborough railway bridge with a many arched viaduct across the river valley and a steel trough type span across the river itself. The line is disused now and it seems a shame not to have the feat of engineering used as a cycle way or something else useful.

The nearest bridge is actually for a pipeline bringing water from Nottinghamshire to Lincoln. The far bridge is the A57 Dunham Bridge.

We seemed to have the river to ourselves but we did pass on cruiser heading down river and one very large cruiser heading up the river. It made a very big wash and couldn't have done the wildlife on the 'beaches' any good.

Fast enough to ski behind I reckon.

We passed several old wharfs and gravel loading points, and one that looked pretty new as it had only been out of use since last year. There is no more regular cargo carried on the Trent now after this regular aggregate trade to Goole and the Humber finished. We saw kingfishers, Shelduck, cormorants that were catching eels and fish, kestrels and plenty of duck, heron and geese.

 As we got closer we passed Carlton on Trent Mill that stands 60' and was built before 1821. It is now just a shell with no floors in it.

There is the weir on the left and the entrance to the lock on the right. The weir marks the end of the tidal Trent so from here we just have the current of the river with no tide, in or out.

Cromwell Lock is fully automated and worked by the Lock keeper in his control tower. There vertical wires positioned at intervals along the lock walls for you to put your rope round so that they slide up and down as the lock fills/empties.

It had taken us about 4.5 hours and we didn't do anymore than 3.5 to 4 knots at any time on the passage. It did get a bit of a trudge by the end but we are glad that we came today as the weather is set to change tomorrow and the trip would be much worse standing in the rain as once you leave there are few options other than to carry on.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony and Helen, A good decision to go on Friday given the thunder and heavy rain today! The levels on the Trent rise very quickly I understand, so I hope you aren't trapped!
    We are moored up a mile out of Willington, and can now see some blue sky among the clouds so are going out for a walk.
    Cheers, Marilyn & David