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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Decisions made, hopefully.

There was a fair bit of rain through the night, but there has been plenty of sunshine today and the solar panels have replaced all our use. There was no rush to get up today really as it was a small jobs day. I was up at 0720 to make the tea etc and enjoyed it in bed having a leisurely chat. We have voted by post so didn't need to worry about that. However we do miss the occasion of going to your own polling station, handing in your card, getting the voting paper and hiding in a booth with a stub of pencil to make your cross. It makes it all more 'real' somehow. I would like to know what percentage of votes cast are postal? On the one hand it will make sure that a vote is cast, but is the percentage large enough to make a difference as you can not be a floating voter with a postal vote!

About 1000 the rain had stopped and the back deck dried out a little so I set forth to check the engine etc ready for the trip on the tidal Trent on Saturday. I checked the coolant and oil levels and then took out the primary fuel filter to check all was okay. It was as clean as a whistle. By the time I had done this it had started to rain once again.

When the rain stopped again we decided to have a walk up to the lock to have a word with the keeper about our trip on Saturday and check we were in the book. There are berths for shipping on either side of the lock entrance to the river. On the down stream side is the Railway Berth. I assume so called as it may well have been owned by a Railway Company. I don't really remember seeing much on it, and once or twice this was a god send as I was able to use it as a sort of standby berth as it was vacant! Wharton's have the 10 or 12 berths a bit further down river too.

You can see that the Railway Berth has not had much cargo over it for many years as there is sedum growing on it, in the mud from the floods a few years ago. Just past it, at the green lights is a small jetty that is/was where barges brought gas oil for the power station.

After our chat were were in a bit of a quandry about the best course of action to take on Saturday. Plan A; leave at 0600 and punch the flood for the best part of two hours. This would get us somewhere down the Trent and much more likely to be able to get in the marina in Hull. If we didn't make it we would have to wait over until the next HW. Plan B; Set off at HW Keadby and take the ebb all the way to Hull. We would then definitely miss the lock at Hull and have to wait over, but would save fuel etc getting there. When we got back to the boat I phoned up the marina for confirmation of the last lock. Basically the standard time is 3 hrs after HW. This is for much deeper boats than us, and we were told that it would be possible for us to enter to 1100 and even after, at the lock keepers discretion. I also checked whether there was sufficient water at the pier in Hull and was  told it had been used recently. At the moment we are set on Plan A as it would be better to get in the marina straight away if possible, winds are lighter first thing in the morning, rain is due later in the day, and there seems to be a fair bit of fresh water in the river at the moment.

Next job was to get the anchor and chain and the lifebuoy out. It fits beautifully under the pullman dinette table. We have a big gauge chain, and it was a trade off between a longer lighter one, or this shorter heavier one. The chain is there to stop the weight of the boat pulling the anchor out of the mud. A heavier chain is more likely to achieve this. There will come a time when it is too heavy for me to heave in, but really it is for emergency use so bigger is better.

I have had the debate about whether to stow the anchor at the bow or the stern, and where best to secure it. I think I would prefer to have the bow to the wind as the most likely emergency when it would be deployed is engine trouble. With the anchor at the bow the engine hole would be sheltered. Then there is the decision as whether to have the anchor at the stern ready for chucking over so that nobody has to make their way to the bow to chuck it over the side, or at the bow. I obviously choose the bow. My thinking was if it needs to be used less damage would be caused to the paint work from the front and there would be less shock load on the securing point as the rope can be paid out.

This wide beam arrived just before 1600 and was to pen out at 1710. We decided to go and check it out as it will be roughly the same state of tide as when we leave. Here you can see that there are two sets of outer gates at Keadby. Normally the lower gate, seen closed here, is used and uses the pressure of the canal to make it water tight. However as the Trent is tidal and liable to spring tides and surges there are some tides when the river water is higher than the canal so the very high outer gates are mitred the other way so that the pressure of the river water makes them water tight.

Up stream are the berths at what we used to call 'Top Gunness'. I was interested to see the barge alongside. It is the wrong way round, as usually it would be head out having swung on the flood tide. It is obviously loaded and has a digger or crane in the hold. Believe it or not we also used to moor ships alongside the steel pile at the end of the gangway at the extreme left of the picture.

Just past Top Gunness is the King George V Bridge, of jsut Keadby Railway Bridge. It was built by the Great Central railway Co. between 1912 and 1916 and replaced a swing bridge. It has a double track line on the south side and a two lane road on the north side. The type of bridge is Scherzer rolling lift bridge and I think they had similar ones on the Aire and Calder between Pollington and Goole. This bridge was driven by batteries as the Vazon bridge was and the counter balance lifted the span and rolled the curved arms along a toothed track. It has not been lifted since 1956. And in 1960 it was widened by the addition of the road span. When I first started on the river we took the occasional ship under it for Gainsborough. We had to bounce along the bottom of the river to get to here whilst there was still an air gap for us. As soon as we were clear we swung head to tide and either put the bow into the bank easy steaming ahead, or put a rope up at the dolphins at Althorpe until there was sufficient water to proceed.

As the wide beam left the lock about 21/2 before HW Keadby you would have expected the flood tide to take quickly up river but it didn't seem to. I think this shows that there is plenty of fresh water coming down the Trent. In times of plenty of rainfall in the huge catchment it is possible that the ebb tide doesn't stop at the surface but the tide comes in below. This would be very good for us as we wouldn't have to struggle so much against the flood on Saturday. I shall have to check the gauges at Shardlow etc to see what is happening down there. It is about the only time a lot of rain would be good for us.

They certainly seemed to be taking their time to head down to the King George V Bridge.

We have also done the toilet stuff as the facilities and one more job is to check the lifejackets ready for an early start on Saturday. We now just to need to keep an eye on the wind speed now before our final decision to go.

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