Another Plunge Into The Depths. 6th September

Stoke Lock to Hazelford Lock low side

Oleanna likes Stoke Lock

A volunteer was spotted this morning and when we were ready to push off Mick radiod ahead, ‘Come in on the green’. I hobbled to the bow to be on rope duty, Mick slowing Oleanna right down for ease of passing the rope around the riser without having to step onto a locker. Down we went to the next reach of the river.

Hazy hazy out there this morning. Looking back up stream a chap was waist deep fishing in the froth near the weir. We soon heard on the radio that someone was on our tail approaching Stoke Lock.

Tilly’s Level Crossing

Onwards down stream in the haze, Tilly wasn’t bothered about waving to the lovely ladies in Burton Joyce who’d rescued her, I wonder if that’s the level crossing she was found near.


The banks were filled with Egyptian Geese, Lapwings, Mallards, Egrets, Canadians and Cows. Such a lovely stretch of the river.

At Gunthorpe the gates were open ready and waiting for us. I hobbled to the bow, passed my rope round THE riser. We then had a wait as the boat behind us had just about caught up, the lockie reopened the gates and we had a five minute pause. Down we both went thankful of there being a Lock Keeper on duty today, the pontoon below sits right in the current from the weir so is hard to access on a normal day with two able bodied crew.

As we headed further northwards the sun was doing it’s best to burn through, our view clearing all the time. What a pretty reach. Now we had Herons and sheep sheltering in the shadows from the sun. Cruiser Brenda overtook us, his pace just a touch more than ours. I sat and wove ends on on the socks I’d knitted for Mick and myself.

Approaching Hazelford Lock we were asked to slow down as a boat was about to come up. Brenda and Oleanna slowed our pace and ended up treading water for a while. With the green light we were in the lock and descending down. Here Brenda carried on towards Newark, here we pulled in against the lower part of the moorings.

Shady sheep and Harry the Heron

At the moment it takes time for us to moor up. I’m not able or confident about stepping onto the bow to tie us up as I normally do whilst Mick sorts the stern out. But I can lasso a bollard and hold the rope until my glamourous assistant is available. The bank is high, the river level low currently, so getting on and off the boat is that bit more tricksy. As I stepped back inside I heard a clunk splash clunk. What was that? Mick’s two month old phone plunging into the depths!

We’d just been saying if it wasn’t for Gunthorpe Lock and if there were a few more moorings along the Trent we’d really like it! Not anymore!

Tilly was read the rule book from cover to cover and then given five hours shore leave.


What NO Fishing! Pah!! Oh hang on I remember, up the top it’s really really good! Apart from returning to stock up on Dreamies and have a little bit of a cool off she made use of her hours of freedom and thankfully stuck to all the rules today.

What to have for tea tonight? Here we’d thought a barbeque would be good, but how would I get off the boat? A trial attempt was needed. The bow is higher than the stern and after sussing out walking backwards along the gunnel would give me more room to get my bum on the bank then a big pull up aided by Mick it was possible. However the rest of the big steps were quite hard going to reach the wider area at the top. Maybe, maybe not.

A hitchhiker, a Red Veined Darter?

Mick then set to with net, pole and a torch to see if he could at least retrieve his phone from the depths. It actually worked, even with the depth being nearly deeper than our boat hook! At least with the sim card retrieved he could use an old phone until he gets a new one.

Base camp

In the end we decided to set up bbq base camp a few steps up the bank, it would be a shame not to watch the sun set. The steps made for a good table and seat for me. If only the weir wasn’t so loud it would be so tranquil here. Well until we heard what we thought was a microlight. How wrong were we! Two speed boats came round the bend below the lock racing high up on the plane!

They had to slow down otherwise they’d crash into the lock or weir. Such small boats can stop very quickly and did so right alongside us. Such small boats can make one very big wake, poor Tilly sat inside being buffeted about all over the shop.

One chap headed up to work the lock, which seemed to take forever, especially as the two boats zoomed round in circles! The paddles were lifted, then dropped, the gates remained shut. Then the lights went out, had they broken the lock? Ten minutes later the lights came back on and soon the gates opened, we heard a zoom into the lock, then the gates closed. Ten minutes later we could hear them speeding off into the sunset.

Sunset medication

Peace and quiet again (excluding the weir) to enjoy our chilled medication just as the sun was saying goodnight.

3 locks, 9.7 miles, 9.75 digits still, 3 lock keepers thankfully,1 low mooring a touch too high, 1 soggy shivering phone, 3rd drowned phone, 5 hours of long awaited freedom, 1 big haul of blackberries, 1st pair socks finished, 2 pork steaks, 4 veg kebabs, 1 hobbling chef, 2 high speed morons shattering the peace, 2 plans maybe 3 for next year, 1 including the Trent, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.