The Goole Escape, The Cooler King Rides. 27th May

…….. to Trent Falls to ……..

Sitting on anchor at Trent Falls.

Trent Falls

Wow! Wow!! WOW!!!

No other boat in sight, no road noise, the occasional bird. Hardly a breath of wind. Some cloud cover, but warm sunshine breaking through. Beautiful.

Looking back at the Apex Light

Our wait for the tide to turn would be so so different than that of a couple of boats who’d come this way a couple of weeks ago. They tied up at Blacktoft Wharf for hours in howling gales.


Here in the calm, Oleanna drifted around her anchor, tending to stay on a slight diagonal to what we thought would be the direction of the flow. Our wait for the tide would only be a couple of hours.

Ribblesdale goat, Yorkshire Blue, Wooky Hole Cheddar, Ribblesdale sheep

The side hatch was opened up, the deli cheese broken out of their wrapping and we had a wonderful couple of hours waiting for the next leg of our trip.

Is she wanting to be off?

Oleanna seemed to start to move round that bit more, was the tide turning early? She slowly swung round so that her stern faced upstream.


Should we make a move to be ready to enter the main channel whilst we seemed to have slack water?

Was now a good time to lift the anchor?

Would we be able to lift the anchor?

It was certainly going to be easier to lift it without the flow of the tide starting to rush by. Mick started the engine, Heather stayed at the stern should we need to over run the anchor to dislodge it from the river bed. Mick pulled us towards the anchor and then pulled up the rope, chain followed by the very muddy anchor. No need to cut the rope or struggle too much.

Two markers

We were now drifting, not much as it seemed to be slack water. We pootled back down stream a touch to await the incoming tide. Where we’d been anchored sits behind a sand island at low tide, the main channel on the other side, which we could see was still flowing out towards the Humber, it was after all still too early for the tide to have turned.

Was that a boat that got stranded on the sand banks after beaching?

In the end we pottered about until we thought the flow on the main channel had slowed. This meant we had time to find three markers which we’d need to line up to navigate the correct route. The red one on the eastern bank was easy, then I spotted a white post ‘Winking Willy’ on the hill, but where was the third one behind us? Was it by the houses on the north bank of the Ouse? Was it just out of view due to the river banks being so close, this turned out to be the case.

Mick took us back down stream and turned Oleanna into the channel doing his best to line up the markers. Were we still too early? There seemed to be little flow upstream.


Then the water just ahead of us started to boil, was this the tide meeting the fresh coming down stream? It carried on all around us. We sat in the channel, should we push onwards or should we wait to be certain the tide was coming in.

In the end we pushed onwards the tide having meant to have turned a good ten fifteen minutes earlier, the water continued to boil around us for a while before it calmed down.

The sand island was very obvious now sitting well out of the water. Good job we’d studied the charts and had lined the markers up.

Once we turned the first bend the tide was obviously now with us, starting to push us upstream, passing Burton upon Stather where a crane stood idle and crews of ships have left their marks.

It being Thursday it was time for the Scarborough Chums zoom. I managed to join in using my phone as we reached a long straight. Four attendees today, with a couple of gate crashers, Mick and Duncan! Thank you Ali for the screen shots.

Next the wharfs of Flixborough. More big ships all sitting on the bottom, one with it’s wheel house lowered. Next we could see the familiar shape of Keadby Power Station, no cooling towers here as it’s gas powered.

The Lock Keepers tower sits on the edge of the river, definitely favours travellers from the south, it seemed to have it’s back turned to us. We rang just on the off chance, but only got the answer phone. It was 18:30, just as we’d thought, two hours after the Lock Keepers shift had ended. Onwards.

More cargo

Now back on familiar water we passed under Keadby Bridge. These cargo ships were certainly taking advantage of the spring tides.

Landmarks are now Windmills, the occasional wharf and pubs.

The two pubs in Owston Ferry looked like they have survived the pandemic with popular outdoor areas.

By the time we reached West Stockwith it was 20:00, the heat from the days sun had certainly gone, coats needed in the slight breeze as we sped along with the tide.

Evening sun

Not far now to the Gainsborough Pontoon. The tide was still carrying us at pace, should we stop here for the night or carry on making the most of the push the tide was giving us? Decision was made, it would be another hour and a half to Torksey, but the thought of mooring on the pontoon there was far more attractive than at Gainsborough.

In the past we have been zoomed through the bridge at Gainsborough, the river narrowing speeds the flow up. As we came round the bend where the not-so new apartments stand Oleanna tipped slightly with the change in direction and the speed we were being carried along at.

Gainsborough pontoon

Winding to moor on the pontoon so as to face the incoming tide in the morning might be tight before the bridge, maybe below would be better, but it didn’t matter anymore as we were carrying on, I know I was relieved at our decision, we’d all certainly sleep better.

West Burton Power Station

Which power station were we now aiming for. That one, no that one! The cooling towers came and went with the meanders of the river. The navigation lights were turned on, but we refrained from using the tunnel light as we could still see fairly well.

More warming tea and cheese scones were needed to help keep the chill out. My camera started to complain at the lack of light so the phone camera took over. In fact checking things with the phone camera worked quite well.

At last Torksey Viaduct at 21:50

With a red light showing through Torksey Viaduct we knew we’d not much further to go. The above photo looks quite light, but by now it was really quite dark.

Cottam Power Station

Just over half a mile further on and we turned left into the lock cut of Torksey Lock. A couple of boats were moored up on the pontoons and we soon joined them, arriving as we thought at 22:00.

Torksey pontoon at 10pm

Glasses of wine all round as we warmed back up and gave Tilly a cuddle.

After all the concern of new tidal waters, anchoring for the first time, the planning of our trip, postponing it, being vigilant of the weather, disappointment of not being able to break the journey at Keadby, it all came good in the end, what a spectacular day!

1 lock, 64 miles, 2 rights, 1 left, 3 straight ons, 1 anchor, 12 hours, 10 cruising, 1 shouty cat, 3 crew, 3 cakes, 4 cheeses, 3 cheese scones, 1 spectacular day, 1 record breaking distance, 786 photos!

6 thoughts on “The Goole Escape, The Cooler King Rides. 27th May

    1. Pip Post author

      You are correct. But you and Mick had not planned to anchor, your anchoring was in an emergency situation. This was planned, so therefore I count it differently.

  1. Anonymous

    Well done! A long day and some interesting photos which have bought back memories.
    Tom & Jan

  2. Anonymous

    Wow just wow, what a trip and a great post and photos.
    64 miles must be a record for a Narrowboat in a day?
    iPad not liking the photo layout again unless you designed them in various sizes in groups? Actually you probably did as it was just the set on turning downstream after anchoring.

    1. Pip Post author

      Hi Ade. It was a rather special day. I’ve just made a change to the setup of the page (turned on the latest Gutenberg Plugin). Can you reload and see if anything has changed? Thanks. Mick

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