Total Pageviews

Friday 21 August 2020

Boats and Trains, but no Planes.

 Hard decision had had to be made about where we went from here. We had been going home for a few days, but we decided that we would have a month at home rather than go back and return to the boat for a few days, before having to come back north for the Heritage Open Days, in which I am involved locally. So we are leaving the boat at King's Marina for a month.

We set off about 0930 and went up towards Town Lock to wind as we had a couple of cruisers astern of us and the bridge was then quite close too. With the current and wind both pushing us towards it it was only prudent. Only the central arch of the seven is now used for navigation. This bridge, Trent Bridge, was built in 1775 to replace a wooden one originally erected in the 12th century. It carried the Great North Road over the Trent. and the span here is 170'.

Immediately through the bridge is the floating pub known as the Castle Barge. It has a name on the bow but I couldn't read it as we passed, but it was registered in Hull and worked for Spillers carrying plying between Gainsborough and Hull. It was converted to a pub in 1980 so has been a long time resident. However it disappeared earlier this year as it had it's hull replated in Hull. It was 30 years since the last time. It was delayed a bit during the heavy rain periods of January as the river was too high for it to fit under the bridge by Nether Lock. It was taken n its trip by two tugs.

On the opposite bank is Willaim Newzam Nicholson and Sons Iron Foundry. What a splendid set of buildings, unfortunately some of it hidden behind the scaffold. It was opened in 1825 and they were makers of agricultural equipment, exhibiting at all the big shows, locally and nationally. By 1913 they had branched out to building four stroke internal combustion engines of 5hp and trade named BULLDOG. It was closed in 1960 and has since become attractive housing.

Just a little further on, past the visitor mooring pontoon, which now obviously had space for us to moor, now didn't want to, is the Jubilee Bridge. So named as it was opened in 2002, the Queen's Golden Jubilee year. It is a single span cable stayed bridge that handily connects the marina to the shops and pubs on the other bank.

Just after the Jubilee Bridge is the turn into the marina under the Kings towpath bridge. I think the marina was opened in 2002 also and seems to be very busy with folk. We were soon given a berth and backed into our slot and all rigged up. 

We were supposed to be hiring a car as we had planned to come back for a few days. It was all booked from Burton on Trent, where we thought we would be, but with the collapse of Meadow Lane Lock we had to rearrange. In the end I was waiting for a pickup and when nobody arrived I called them. Needless to say they had no knowledge of the booking!! When I pushed them they could see that for some reason at a little past midnight the booking had been changed back to Burton on Trent. The manager was not very 'user friendly' and in the end it  wasn't worth arguing the toss there and then, as they didn't have a car at the depot anyway! I quickly got a train ticket and was at home by 16:30, and back aboard by 19:00 with the car. After getting packed up we we were sitting with a cup of cocoa at 22:00. Mind you they will not be let off without a 'fail to understand' email etc to the complaints department. On top of that it seems it takes them two weeks to refund my money!! We have always had such good service from Enterprise previously too.

So that is it for four weeks, but we will be back following that break.

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Rushing before the Rain.

 After our walk into Fiskerton we had a quiet time and decided to go for a walk round Nabbs Island as the sun went down.

The sun set behind the trees on the far bank as we climbed up the ladder from the boat.

The moorings are on the lock island that is not accessible from the 'land'. Supposedly there was just the rabbits but we did find a couple of tents with guys who didn't look like they were fishing, but not living there, so may have come in kayaks etc. On the other side of the lock is another weir and it looked very peaceful in the evening light. I find that there is a planning application in for a propeller type hydroelectric scheme on the lock side weir that will feed enough electricity into the grid for 1540 homes.

The rain was forecast for later in the day so we were ready for the off at 0930. Just before a boat had come up the lock and when I spoke to the Lock keeper he opened the gate and we were off. Once clear of the lock, taking a hard a port turn out of the lock to clear the sand bar, we were soon at Fiskerton with the current behind us. I'm sure that there were only two pontoons the last time we passed this way. Now there are three or four. 

Fiskerton is found in the Domesday book and seemed to be mainly agricultural with a fishery. What is now called the Wharf was built in the early 1800's when the village became centred about its waterfront. It was a maltings built for  James Hole, a brewer from Newark. It was closed in 1904 but was reopened as a grain store for Southwell miller in 1919. It remained until 1974! It then became a boat builders. In 1976 they were offering hire boat holidays through Hoseason's. By the 1980's at had become a private residence like you see today. 

The Bromley just opened as we passed on our walk yesterday so we went and had a coffee. It is next to the Wharf. The pub dates from the 1700's and was originally  called the Wagon and Horses, and at one time the Ferry House, as there was once a ferry here. In 1877 it was sold to Sir Henry Bromley of East Stoke. Allegedly he bought it so he could hunt on both sides of the river and still wine and dine. It had a stable for 27 horses as it was was one of the stages where the horses pulling the barges were trained. It was sold to Hardy and Hanson's Brewery in 1933. The building just next door was also a pub, the Spread Eagle until 1912.

When the railway came in 1846 slowly the river lost its wharfs and warehouses and the big houses were built. I love this one where the wall dips down so as not to spoil the view. Maybe it is the big houses that have secured the heavily piled bank and a flood wall atop it. There are steps over the new wall in most places, but in others there are gates, and not with flood gates either. That seems a little daft to me.

I love the stone steps that are the fishing pegs along the banks of the Trent. I would love to know the history of them as there has been a great deal of trouble and expense to place them here, about every 30 yards apart. Many of them are of Matlock Stone, so not even that local.

It never ceases to amaze me how many and how varied the anglers are around our waterways. When we came up the piscatorial adventurers were casting out from the bank and fishing on the bottom. Today the majority of them had set up little perches out in the water and were using poles to fish at the surface. Something for everybody it seems.

At Newark Marina they have created even more berths with a new lagoon. Their other moorings are actually on the River Devon (pronounced Deevon).

Just above Town Lock is the Bristish Waterways dry dock which they claim is the largest inland dry dock in the country. It seems that the area is going to be developed somewhat.

We were soon through the lock, after another chat with voluntary lock keeper Kieth who drives from Hull to do his duty. He was very interesting as he used to work on the fuel barges that ran from Hedon Haven, and later Immingham Oil Terminal Finger Pier, to Newark and Nottingham. I wonder if we will ever see meaningful freight back on the Northern rivers and canals? We decided to run down to the visitor pontoon to see if there was room. There wasn't, so we swung round and went back to our spot in front of the castle. By the time we had moored up and had a bite to eat it was raining and hasn't stopped. Hopefully it will ease off enough for us to go for a pint later.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Footpaths to Fiskerton.

I think I had my best night aboard so far last night! I'm not sure if it was the subdued roar of the weir, the temperature, or just a general sense of well being, and more likely to be all three and more. I also wonder if it is the weir crashing over and producing all the foam that also releases ozone into the atmosphere that is the culprit as that is supposed to be good for you too, I think.

If anybody is looking for a 'do'er upper', or a project for a houseboat, there is the 'Selby Michael' sat at the top of Hazelwood Lock. I think that she was built between 1954 ans 1957 at Dunston's at Thorne. She was one of 17 built by them for BOSM Selby to carry bagged cargoes between Hull, Goole, Selby and York. They were named after some of the children of the managers of BOCM. They were to carry 250 tons and I think were 97' x 17'. I'm not sure if they were originally dumb barges for towing and fitted with engines later. This one certainly had an engine. It is in a bit of a sorry state and looks like everything has been tatted off it.

As you can see it was fitted with a towing hook, so at sometime it would have towed dumb barges herself. You may not believe it but her last voyage would have been about January of this year as she made the news. She had been moored roughly where she is now, but C&RT had moved here below the lock for some reason and on the 26th  January 2020 she broke adrift in the dark. It seems she was half full of water and careered down the river causing £20,000 damage at the moorings at Fiskerton and Fardon. She was rescued and moored up by the tug from Newark Marina 'Friar Tuck' and tied to a tree. So that would mean her last voyage would have been back here. One of her sisters that has been converted is for sale at the moment  for £55,000 if your interested and don't want to do the work!

The sun came out and we went for a walk across the fields to Fiskerton. We were then back on the bank to walk past the house that overlook the river. We carried on past them and to where the River Greet flows into the Trent. We walked up near the Greet and came to Fiskerton Mill. This mill was originally built in 1790 and more than likely on the same spot as the one that is noted in the Domesday Book. The mill doesn't look like it has been converted into apartments. It started life as a cotton mill, but by 1788 it was for sale as a corn mill with the auction guide price of £43 3s 0d. From the mid 1840's Joseph Marriott ran the mill and in 1881 he was able to buy it and later left it to his son. It stayed in the family until 1921 and continued as an animal feed mill until it closed in the 1980's

There are several houses and cottages around the mill, and attached, and are accessed up a drive. The public footpath goes right across the front of the mill. It looks in good nick on the whole. I wonder what is planned for it long term.

As you can see the Trent Valley Way Long Distance footpath was created to celebrate 100 years of the formation of Nottinghamshire County Council. Then the route had two starts points, Thrumprton and Attenborough and went to West Stockwith, the limits of the county. It was extended a little from near Sawley to make 84 miles and there are now plans to extend it from Biddulph Moor, it's source, right through to Alkborough that overlooks Trent Falls where the Trent meets the Ouse to form the Humber. I reckon that would be a good walk as it will be mainly on the flat!

Along the path by the river these sloping gates were a feature. I don't recall seeing them anywhere else. They are clearly constructed to be self closing and at one point there were two of them back to back. I thought they had just adjusted the gate to fit a leaning post on the first one I saw. I like them as they do look 'wrong' but are right!!

Monday 17 August 2020

Halting at Hazelford.

 Helen went into town for a few last minute bits and pieces and by just gone ten we called the lock to ask for a pen up and were obliged almost straight away. Once the lock the Lockie asked if the boat was moored at Hedon Haven. It turns out he used to work the fuel barges that would fill up in Hedon Haven before the mid 1960's at Salt End. I would have loved to chat to him longer but we had to leave. Maybe we will bump into him on the way back.

Newark has a great skyline. Not quite New York or London, but full of interest non the less. It seems that they are revamping the dry dock area above Town Lock. We have never moored up here, but they look as if they would be quite quiet.

Looking back at Town Lock it is a bit special to have the castle in the background. I suppose there is Fotherighay on the Nene, York on the Ouse and Lancaster on the Lancaster, but like this. It is special.

Between Newark and Farndon is this old building. The OS Map calls it the Maltings and the road it is on is called Mills Drive. There is obviously a wharf next to it so it used the river for commerce. It is a large building and you may have thought that it would make great apartments. If it is Maltings in mkay have low ceilings between floors. Bit another building that would be good to save somehow.

Averham Weir is over looked by Staythorpe Power Station. It is the third on the site. The first was built by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Electricity Board in 1946. The first reached max. output, 2000 GWh in 1958 after the generation was Nationalised in 1948. The second station was opened in 1962 and reached max output in 2500 GWh in 1963/64. It achieved an efficiency of 33%. These two power stations used coal to power them, brought by rail. This 3rd Power Station is powered by gas. It was originally planned and started construction in 1998 but was halted in 2000 due to saturation of the market. It was restarted in 2008. It is a combined cycle gas turbine and has an efficiency of 58%.

By the river can be seen this sculpture called 'Power in Trust' by Norman Stillman. It was made for the opening of Staythorpe B in 1961 and is made to represent a hand using boiler pipes and a turbine.

This is an old wharf and is where the old Roman Road, the Fosse Way comes closest to the Trent. It is an interesting construction. The slope has steps, to accommodate the different levels of the river I assume. I'm not sure how they would have used barrows to offload/load bulk cargoes.

Partly hidden behind trees and distance from the river is Stoke Hall.. It was built in 1812 and incorporating older buildings, possibly some of the St. Leonards Hospital founded in 1135! It is now a wedding venue, and is smaller now as some was demolished in the 1920's.

This boat is high and dry and must have been here for a while. It looks like it is lived on. I'm not sure what the land owner thinks of it.

Following the heavy floods in the country over the winter sandbanks have built up below some of the Trent Locks. The lock keeper warned me of the buoys. The little pellet buoys you can see in front of the lock mark the bank in front of Hazelford Lock. You have to sail right up to the lock, clear the buoys, and then turn into the lock.

Below the lock seemed to be full of boats so we did wonder if there was space above. We went up to fill with water and there was plenty of room. We walked across the weir bridge to drop off the rubbish and had a good view of the weir itself.

We tried to moor just around the corner but we got moored up and realised that there must be a massive wasps nests behind the piling as there were plenty of them flying out of small holes. It is very peaceful on the lock island with rabbits and blackberries. I picked some, blackberries, not rabbits, to go in some jam with some damsons and plums I had picked on the Chesterfield.

Sunday 16 August 2020

Sitting Out a Sunday.

With no need to be anywhere, and no No.1 daughter aboard, we had a lay in and drank tea 'til it felt time to make a move.

After breakfast was dealt with we set off for a walk into town for the Sunday newspaper and a few other bits and pieces. I think that Newark is like a mini York, without the Vikings, Romans and Japanese/Chinese. There are some lovely buildings and the local council are doing their best. It seems the spike in COVID here has been caused by an outbreak in a food factory and most of the workers do not live in the town. So with luck the place wont get a local lock down.
We were heading for Boyes. Southerners may not know this shop but it is better than Woolworth's was (In my opinion) and always well worth a visit. Helen wanted some cotton yarn for a project and one or two other bits and there is always something you didn't know you needed.
Just up the Great North Road from the Trent Bridge is the Ossington Bridge. It looks very impressive and is known as Ossington Lodge. It was completed in 1882 and was designed by architects Ernest George and Peto to the account of Viscountess Ossington who was the daughter of the 4th Duke of Portland and was married to the speaker of the House of Commons. It's original name was the Ossington Coffee Palace and was built as a Temperance Hotel to lure folk away from the pubs of the market town. It was designed as a 16th Century Hostelry. It had a coffee room, assembly rooms, club room, reading room, billiard room and kitchens. Upstairs were dormitories for travelers. Outside there was stabling for forty horses, a cart shed, bowling green and a tea garden. Over its life it has been several things like an hotel and in both World Wars it has been taken over by the War Ministry. The building, garden wall and summerhouse are all listed.
It seems that it has a reputation of being haunted. The story goes that the portrait that had always hung in the building started to fly off the wall the building was sold and started to sell liquor. Bottles and crates of drinks seemed to fall off shelves etc and beer barrels were found empty with puddle. When workmen were brought in to make alterations a three day job took over two weeks due to them not working due to being scared and having their tools moved and messages been left! Maybe we wont be going for a pizza!

The day has been gloomy and wet at times so we may not step out of the boat again, but hopefully the rain will stop and we can go for a pint. After reading the paper and listening to the radio for a while I started to get itchy again and thought of a couple of jobs I could do. I had thought of a way of piping the fan for the compost loo directly to the outside vent through the roof space. It seems to have worked well and is even quieter now. Flushed with success I decided to take the ceiling mount for the stove flue off to check if it would reveal where the slight leak is from. No such luck there. It may be the damp and gloomy weather but I thought I had better get it sorted in case we needed the fire so re-sealed the flue outside and put everything back together. All in all a nice lazy Sunday. We will be off tomorrow. We have heard our first thunder today after it being foretold for our area for the best part of a week, and it was only a rumble really.

Saturday 15 August 2020

Next stop Newark.

 The keeper came on duty at 0800 and it was obvious that there was a lock full coming down. Rather than pick up the three waiting boats at the bottom, he went back to let down another boat. They had 'T'd him off the evening before and he decided to get his own back. We were in no rush so it was fine with us

I was chatting to the guy fishing near the end of the pontoon and he told me that all the blokes in tents up and down the Trent were fishing for barbel and he had got a couple of whoppers through the night. He also told me that he had got a crab like a dinner plate, and had the photo to prove it. He was off next weekend paddling down the Nene from Peterborough and round the Wash to Boston in his kayak! There seems to be a counter current runs along the pontoon and with the wind it made it a little complicated to get swung round and heading into the lock, but all went smoothly.

Once through we pulled up on the wall for breakfast and filled up with water and dumped the rubbish before heading off up the non tidal Trent.

There were hundreds of little tents alongside the river all the way down from West Stockwith, and again today. I could understand that the peace and quiet of the fishing and camping out over night, but this pair and pitch up right next to the A1M. Surely this spoils the peace and quiet aspect, unless they are stone deaf of course.

Here we are in Newark Nether Lock. Wwe were hanging about for ages waiting for them to open up, and with the strong current coming doen the side river and a gusty wind from the other direction it made it interesting. It was only once the gates started opening that I remembered that I should have called them on the radio!! I somehow thought that they had a camera or something. I felt such a berk, but the lady lockie was good about it.

We were wondering wheter there would be moorings in Newark being a weekend and with the Meadow Lane Lock out of action for now. The pontoon was full but there was nobody on the park wall so we tied up so the stern was right next to a ladder and this will do us. There is not many moorings you can look out at the remains of a castle.

It is a tradition now that we have a photo taken outside Porter's shop. It is also tradition that we buy some triple treacle smoked bacon as it is so gorgeous. Lunch on Sunday sorted.

This is the side of St. Mary Magdelen Church to the west of the Market Place. I liked the little chimney to the right that was for the boiler of the church heating that was installed in 1854!

This is the arcade that links the Market Place to the Butter Market that passes under the Town Hall. During a past visit we had a tour of the Town Hall etc and it would be a great place for a wedding.

The castle at Newark was defended by the Royalist and suffered three sieges. It was only when the King was captured and he ordered them to surrender that they left. The Parliamentarians were ordered to blow up the castle. They however did a rush job as the plague was rife in the town and they didn't want to hang around. It is only the north wall that was left standing. but does make a great view point for our boat.

The local swans came a knocking and were feed with porridge. If it is good enough for me every morning it is good enough for them. We noticed that the cob had a fair bit of fishing tackle around him. It didn't need to be restricting him but Amy reported it to the relevant people.

The real reason we are in Newark is for Amy to catch her train home. A bargain direct train for £10. We went to the Prince Rupert pub for a meal, which was very nice, before walking her to the station and seeing her off. It is sad to see her go, and she did do 90 locks during her time with us, so that saved us a bit of effort/ Thanks alot Amy and see you soon.

Friday 14 August 2020

A Right Trek up the Trent

 We set off at a little after 0900 as we had a date at West Stockwith

We got underway a bit after 0900 as we had a date at West Stockwith at 1200.

This section of the Chesterfield always seems to be the slowest, whether that is because you have just arrived and not used to it's ways, or you are hurrying to get to West Stockwith for an appointment, or it may have something to do with the reeds!

We got to our destinatio in good time to get our glad rags on and head down to the White Hart for lunch we had booked when we were last here. It was very nice and would sustain us on our trip up the Trent. The winch in the foreground was used to winch the sailing keels and sloops in to the lock after a rope had been sculled ashore by their cog boat.

After our meal we filled up with water and then went in to the ready lock. First of flood was supposed to be 1440 but there was already a rise and they had our draft over the cill so we got off straight away. It was 1430 when we cleared the lock and set off with the flood. I must say there wasn't much in the tide and we struggled to make a decent speed. It was quite tame going round Morton Bight above, as I was half expecting to fight to keep off the concrete!

By Gainsborough we had been over taken by two cruisers that must have come from Keadby, or even further north. There were lots of folk pout and about who wanted a wave. So we obliged.

Trent Port came and went. It didn't seem that long since we were heading in the opposite direction for Thorne and our winter moorings.

The reaches and points have some fine names. Just above Dunham Bridge is the red bank called Dunham Dubbs and the straight along which the sheep are spread is known as Lollipop Alley!

This around the bends getting towards Sutton on Trent with another strange name of 'Milking Boat'!

At 1900 I called the lock keeper at Cromwell Lock to let him know that we wouldn't be there by 2000, as that was his knocking off time. I confirmed that there would be enough space for us on the pontoon, outside and plugged away, ever southwards. The sun was going down and gave us some lovely salmon pink skies.

s we cleared Besthorpe New Gravel Jetty the sun was setting and we were pleased to make fast at 2050, 6hrs and 20  ins since leaving West Stockwith. A long old flog. To get our end on the pontoon I had to swing, but we were glad to be alongside and celebrated with a hot chocholate!. The Lock keeper comes on at 0800, so I suppose I will have to be up and ready for then!