There Is Only One Way. 8th April

Stoke Lock to Trent Junction

Needing to catch up and the sun being out meant we were happy to push off this morning. Blue skies lift the heart and thankfully there were blue skies back in Newark too making life that bit easier.

Radcliffe Viaduct

Three sunny miles cruising up to Holme Lock. Mick tried radioing ahead in case there was a Lock Keeper on duty, but officially they start back next week. No reply came so I was to work the buttons.

Holme Lock is huge and always takes an age to empty and even longer to fill. Add to that the button controls and their flashing lights! Well we were there for sometime before I could even open the gates. With Oleanna in the lock I started to press the open button to bring her up, water gushing in, yet the level taking forever to fill.

It takes forever!

All of a sudden the towpath opposite there was a todo! A family had been walking their dog on a lead when another dog appeared and attacked it, it kept coming back for more no matter what the people did. The lady said things to me which I really couldn’t hear and I was trying to concentrate on Oleanna. I think she thought I was a Lock Keeper and would know which boat the dog eventually ran off to. Unfortunately I couldn’t help.

Now on our way into Nottingham, the reach was quiet, no sailing boats out today and despite the cricket season having started there was no-one playing at Trent Bridge.

Hang on! Were there people in the garden of Southfork? This is the first time we’ve ever seen anyone near this house! New builds are still going up along the river, including a new development overlooking Meadow Lane Lock.

Meadow Lane Lock

A widebeam was coming down in the lock, the lady saying they were going up the river, so I signalled to Mick that they would be turning upstream. Well that’s not what she meant at all, they were heading downstream to Stoke. Fortunately Mick had moved so they could pick up crew anyway.

We pulled onto the water point where I jumped ship and headed off to Hobbycraft to buy myself a sketchbook and some tracing paper so that I can be ready to start Panto when the next version of the script arrives.

The writing’s on the door

Mick topped up the water, emptied the wee tank and rinsed off the roof before I got back.

Along the next stretch I stood in the bow with a tape measure. We’d offered to measure the height of the new rail bridge for David to see if he’d be able to get under it. When on the River Wey a few years ago we managed to work out our air draught to the top of the horns. The new rail bridge was 88cm above them. The tape came out again once round the 90degree bend as some of the bridges seemed low too. In fact one of them only measured 75cm above our horns.

Approaching the Sainsburys moorings we were surprised at the number of boats moored up near the student accommodation. We pulled in to the last gap we could see, just as well as round the corner it was nose to tail boats! Yes we moored right in front of a no mooring sign, yes we had lunch, yes we went shopping and no we cannot work out why there is no mooring there!

Nest making, we also saw a pair necking today

Mick called round to check on diesel prices. Castle marina £1.75. Mercia £1.78! Then Shobnall, if we wanted over 50 litres it would be £1.20. Being twelve hours cruise away we should be fine until then and at that price it will almost certainly save us £50! We did however pull into Castle Marina for some coal £13.50 for 25kg of Excell. They had some Marine 16 too but at over £30 Mick decided to leave it and see how much it might be at Shobnall.

Beeston towpath full

Back onto the Nottingham and Beeston Cut we pootled our way westwards catching up with an extreamly slow boat who thankfully let us pass. Starting to get cold we wanted to stop so tried pulling into a gap. The wind did it’s best to push Oleanna away from the bank and even with both of us clinging on we couldn’t get her into the side, we’d try further along. Well there were no gaps further along. Nottingham seems to have had an increase in local continuous cruisers, we reckon there’s about five times the amount of boats than there used to be.

Beeston Lock where windlasses are welded onto the paddles

Only one thing for it we’d have to carry on along the river and hope for space on Cranfleet cut or at Trent Lock. It was cold and threatening to rain, but we had no choice.

We did our best to keep towards the western bank, after hearing the story of NB Legend getting stuck on an old submerged wall last year we really wanted to avoid any possibility of re-enacting the incident.

Soon Cranfleet lock was in view and we tried to remember if we knew which paddle to lift first. No recollection at all. Having four gate paddles it’s confusing, thank goodness you can hang back in the lock. It turned out that I guessed correctly choosing the paddle on the same side as Oleanna, but in the middle first followed by the outer one.

Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station just across the way

At the junction we popped out far enough to see if there was space on the pontoon at Trent Lock, there was, but on the inside so no view. However there was a space on the wall at the junction so we pulled in at 7:30, stoked up the stove and got warm again.

5 locks, 15.2 miles, 2 rights, 1 junction, 1 beautiful day, 5 times as many boats, 3 bags coal, 0 diesel today, 8ft 8inches we think, 1 inch too low, 2 boxes wine, 1 shopping trolley back to the boat, 0 shore leave, 1 tidier boat, 1 more good day for David.