Thursday, 4 May 2017

Managed the Trent and now heading to Boston

Well we survived our trip on the tide from Keadby to Torksey on the River Trent.  We had some wind and a little rain to start with on Monday but the waves were not too bad.  We did hear the prop come half out of the water a few times because of the waves which is pretty unusual on a narrowboat.  We managed the 31 miles in about 4 hours and hit 8.5 mph for a time when the tide was doing its best.  Here are some pictures of our Trent trip:

Here we are in Keadby tidal lock with another narrowboat, Annapurna, who have done this trip more times than we have.  So we let them lead!  The lock gates are just opening onto the River Trent.

Here is Ian with a slightly worried expression as we leave Keadby.  

As we set off, the current was still running downstream so it took us about a quarter of an hour to reach the first bridge at Keadby.  The left span of this bridge used to lift.  The bridge carries a road and a railway.  Soon after we cleared the bridge the incoming tide started to run up river to assist our passage.

This is the River Idle joining the Trent at West Stockwith.

And here is the lock at West Stockwith which we passed after an hour and three quarters.  Last time we came this way we used the lock to come off the river here to cruise the Chesterfield Canal.

Soon after West Stockwith you come through Gainsborough and under the centre arch of its fine bridge.

This is West Burton Power Station by the River.  You can now see two boats ahead of us.  Two more narrowboats had come out of West Stockwith and we slowly caught and overtook them.

Though the Trent has high banks which mostly hide the view, this flock of sheep and lambs found their way down for a drink.

This is Torksey viaduct so nearly there!

Another landmark is passing Torksey Castle which is best seen from the river.  From the land it is difficult to see as it is private and hidden from the road.

Coming off the River at Torksey is quite easy as there is a wide mouth into a long cut before you reach the lock.  So no turning against the current is necessary - you simply drive in.  Here you can see Leo coming into Torksey Lock to go up onto the safe non-tidal Fossdyke.

We arrived at Torksey for lunch having set off from Keadby about 8.30 a.m.  After running at 1800 to 2000 revs for four hours there was plenty of very hot water for showers!!  We ate at the White Swan just across the road from the lock.  The food was very good and we'd recommend it.

On Tuesday we cruised the 11 miles into Lincoln, stopping at Saxilby for shopping and lunch.

Every year we see Kingfishers and often try to take pictures of them.  This is the best we've managed so far.  It's not absolutely sharp but this bird kept flying ahead, sitting on a fence post and posing until we got closer.  Drifting along with the long zoom we managed something approaching a good photo of him.

The Fossdyke has the distinction of being the oldest canal in the country having been built by the Romans.

We love Lincoln with its very steep streets leading from the water up to the Cathedral.  This road is called Steep Hill and it certainly is.

Here is the west front of the Cathedral seen in the evening light.

As we walked back to the boat we saw a lot of people with red and white scarves on the bridge.  We had happened upon the victory parade for Lincoln Football Club who were celebrating getting back into the football league.

At Lincoln the Fossdyke joins the River Witham at a large open stretch of water called Brayford Pool.  This is the view across the Pool and up to the Cathedral which dominates the city.

We only stayed one night in Lincoln as we intend to do our sightseeing on the way back.  So on Wednesday and today (Thursday) we have pressed on along the River Witham towards Boston.

Here is Leo setting off across Brayford Pool.  There are lots of boats moored here as well as a floating restaurant.  The scenery is changing as the University is building two new tower blocks at one end of the Pool and a third big building is also being built by the water.

At the end of Brayford Pool the River Witham flows through the Glory Hole under medieval shops and the High Street.  Leo is just coming to the Glory Hole whose clearance excludes many big cruisers from going this way.

On the way out of Lincoln is Stamp End Lock, the first of two between Lincoln and Boston.  Here Leo is going under the top gate which is a guillotine.

Beside a cycle path which runs alongside the Witham there are a number of attractive sculptures including this one of ears of corn.

Last night we moored on a floating pontoon at Bardney and walked into the village.  We were the only boat moored there and indeed we have not seen any boats moving in the last two days!

We liked the painting of Postman Pat below the windows of Bardney Post Office.

Some remains of the old railway still exist.  This station and signal box is now a private house.

Tonight we are moored on another floating pontoon at Dogdyke outside the Packet Inn where we hope to eat later.  This afternoon we walked into Tattershall.  The castle at Tattershall was built in the 1400s by Ralph Cromwell and was by far the tallest brick building in the world in its day.

An interesting feature of mooring here is that you are just a few hundred yards from the end of the runway of RAF Coningsby.  Every so often a Typhoon roars overhead (well I think I'm right in saying this is a Typhoon).  Fortunately they don't carry on all night.

Tomorrow we hope to meet one of our objectives for 2017 - to cruise the Sleaford Navigation (known also as the Kyme Eau).  This runs for seven miles to and beyond a village called South Kyme.  We tried this waterway two years ago and became bogged down with a heavy growth of water weed within 200 yards of its start.  We are hopeful that we have arrived this time before the weed growth gets too heavy.  Fingers are crossed for a successful venture up this little known waterway.  Helen has just been reading the guidance which includes the helpful summary: "Navigation Authority - none".  Like many of the little frequented waterways round Boston this is more of a drain than a canal.


  1. We have often walked along the Sleaford Navigation and wished we could see boats making use of this little known waterway. I hope you make it this time 😀

  2. Fabulous blog! Plenty of memories there for me especially of coming up the Trent and going through Gainsborough fighting the tiller doing just under 20mph! Going round the corner was like being on a camber and I remember us desperately standing on one side of the boat as she tipped round the corner!!

    I loved the Fossdyke and would have liked to have done that Kyme Eau but I had no idea it existed!! Enjoy!