Category Archives: Humber

Embankment Congregation. 10th May

Bridge 14, Stratford Canal to Rowington Embankment, Grand Union Canal

No relaxing in bed this morning, there were miles to cover and locks to work. Just ahead of us and a little bit quicker at getting away this morning was a hire boat. A stool and music stand to aid the helm. On the music stand was an enlarged version of a Pearsons guide, laminated and clipped on so it wouldn’t blow away.

Boat cat

We followed and pulled in at Lady Lane Wharf to top up on deisel, we’d hoped we’d be able to buy some more charcoal from them as we did last year. It was very cheap and good stuff, but this had been a one off sadly so we’ll have to restock by other means.

Pootling along under the tree cover was very pleasant, plenty of blasts of reverse needed as the lack of depth meant we had the potential to pick things up on the prop.

Up ahead in a dappled spot a blue boat, no sign writing. We always look carefully at such boats because it could just be….. The licence in the window faded but ……. Blue, then a person busy doing the washing up……. it was! Graeme on NB Misty Blue!

Graemes back

We pulled in for a chat and a catch up, we’d last seen him in Thrupp last year. He has plans for later in the year which sounded interesting, maybe we might want to join him? Maybe! As ever it was lovely to see the man who can’t help but smile, just too early in the day to stop for longer, after all we’d only just got started.

Fancy meeting you here!

Now the two lift bridges, time to flex those muscles, the first one a doddle to wind up, but winding it back down took far more effort. The second one goes on and on forever.

Not very Narniaesque today

Narnia Lock (Lapworth Top Lock), one of our favourites. I managed to get a photo from a different angle today, it may just end up being a painting.

For Sale on the Lapworth flight, click photo for details

The first four locks of Lapworth are spaced out and by the time we reached the bottom two boats were coming towards us. NB Hunky Dory that had been at the Electric Boat Show, because of the landslip on the North Oxford their lock count to get there had risen from 40 locks each way to 120, quite a lot of effort for a couple of days at the show.

After Lock 5 we paused, hammering in spikes, for lunch. On a normal trip this way this would be an overnight stop, but not today much to Tilly’s disgust.

Obligatory photo

Now to the flight proper, another fifteen narrow locks all down hill. No uphill boats to swap with, photo opportunities, no volunteers. We soon got into our rythmn. I’d open up a lock, walk down to the next one to set it whilst Mick brought Oleanna in, close the top gate and a paddle, he’d then lift a bottom paddle and return to the helm, as I walked back up to lift the second paddle and open the gates. Mick then closes the off side gate with a boat hook.

At the bottom of the thick of the flight

Then it’s repeat, until there are no more locks.

We made good progress. A boat was filling it’s water tank so no stopping there to do ours, down we continued. Taking the left hand lock towards the Grand Union I spied the nice new paintwork on NB Red Wharf, very smart.

Twit twoo! Nice paint job

Right onto the Grand Union, locks finished for the day, we just hoped the water point at Tom O The Woods would be free, it was. As the tank filled I had a shower, so that there would be enough hot water for Mick to also have one later when we’d moored up for the day.

Last Lock of the day done

Now there was a race on for moorings. This morning NB Lottie Jane had moved to the embankment above Rowington, our rendez vous point. Also we’d heard from Chris The Pink Hat Man, he was working his way up Hatton today teamed up with a hire boat. We’d checked Chris’s webcam at various points during the day to check on their progress. It had been good and topped off with a pint before they set off towards the embankment. Would we get there first? Clare and Graeme had been primmed that they may not hear Chris arriving, but they’d certainly see him!

I wonder if that pink boat has pink food inside?

NB Lottie Jane sat on the prime mooring on the embankment, a boat arrived just infront of us, pipped us to the next best spot, we pulled up infront. Our ropes were just about secured and Tilly given shore leave when up ahead NB Elektra came into view followed by NB Pip the hire boat Chris was travelling with. All four boats managed to moor up together. Introductions crossing three continents, then it was time for tea.

What a good name for a boat!

Out came the chairs and conversation over a cuppa and a slice of cake whilst Tilly checked out the friendly cover close by. That pheasant didn’t really want to come and play! Then we had a tour of NB Elektra, I impressed myself that my socks matched the interior colour scheme, just as pink as the exterior. It was very good to finally see his boat in person, Mick and Chris have known each other since their teenage years and we’ve followed his travels over the last couple of years. If you’d like to follow him cruising he quite often has a live feed via youtube. Just a webcam, slow tv from your armchair. We quite often tune in to have a guess at where he might be.

Time to settle down for the evening. So we all retired to our boats for food and the comfort of our sofas. I also had a bit of melting, mixing and baking to do ready for tomorrow and the Hatton flight.

19 locks, 8.4 miles, 1 leftish, 1 right, 2 lift bridges, 66 litres, 0 charcoal, 1 music stand, 2 Graemes, 1 rendez vous, 4 boats, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp, but please could I have another three days here!

Three Months. 10th January

Viking Marina, Goole

They don’t normally get up in the dark! What’s going on?!

It’s been just over three months since we moved off Oleanna back to the house. Mick has had several visits to check on her, turn the engine over etc, but I’ve not stepped onboard in three months. Northern Railways had a flash sale of train tickets for three days a week ago, some single fares down to £1. So we booked ourselves a trip to Goole, slightly slower than normal, a half hour wait in Hull for a slower train to Goole, but not bad for £12 for the two of us, I think it’s normally around £17 for Mick with his Old Git’s Card.

Tides out on the Humber

The 9:01am train took us to Hull stopping at all the familiar towns, but they always seem to be in the wrong order to me, surely Driffield is nearer to Scarborough than Brid! We had a chilly half hour wait for the slow train to arrive and take us to Goole. We’d brought a Brompton with us incase the puddle of doom near the marina entrance was still there, Mick could ride through get a pair of wellies and return for me. Thankfully the road was just about dry, no puddle of any concern. Apparently a ditch behind the road has been cleared, the puddle had become so deep that even 4 x 4’s were nervous about going through it, far deeper than any wellies would allow!

Hello! It’s been too long!

There she was behind the mesh fence of the marina. More splashes up the cabin side from the nearest puddle in the parking area. Would it be worth washing her down? It’ll only happen again and anyway we’d more important things that needed doing today and a limited time before our train back.

Poor Oleanna

Three months with minimum heating means things tend to stick a little. The front door being the first thing that needed some brute force. The side hatch was the next thing, the swivels that hold the glazed doors closed were very stiff, we may need to add a washer to them until she’s dried out.

She needs a good tidy and clean

I was pleased to see no sign of water coming in through the bathroom mushroom vent, there’s still a coat of paint to go on the outside when the temperature improves. However, somehow water has got in through our double skinned flue! Tracing the faint water marks up the flue brought me to the elbow joint, there were no marks above it and it looks like the joint has moved by maybe a couple of millimeters! Hmm. Mick likes to leave the chimney on for extra ventilation whilst we’re not on board, has this been the cause with all the heavy rain that’s happened in the last month? One thing it does mean is that the top of the stove will want cleaning and a coat of stove paint applying, an extra job before we’re back on board.

Not so good!

Mick lifted the engine boards. I stuck my head in ‘The Shed’ cupboard. This is on the port side, the same side as where the leisure batteries are in the engine bay. Our new batteries will have a bigger footprint than the existing ones, the battery tray was made to fit these and won’t be big enough for the two new ones.

I got the tape measure out to see how much room we had in the bottom of ‘The Shed’. The swim of Oleanna comes round in this cupboard so the bottom is narrower. Only one battery would fit. Above the swim there would be enough space for two side by side. But this would leave us with a funny gap below, only accessible when you take the stern steps out and would eat into the useful space above for life jackets, hats scarves, tool kit and hanging rail that is only actually used to store coat hangers!

Wonder how much they want for it?

A spare cable was passed through from the engine bay into the cupboard, there’s an inch gap behind a panel of wood where I could just feel cables wiggling around. This will be the route in from the engine bay. 3m cables will be required to connect the new batteries.

Curtains down

Decision is to have one battery in the engine bay, the other in the bottom of ‘The Shed’. These would both need battens adding around them so they can’t move more than 10mm to meet BSS requirements. We also need to add a shelf above the one in ‘The Shed’. There will be a gap above the battery so we can fix battens to the sides of the cupboard to rest the shelf on. Then the rest of the cupboard can be used as storage again. We may swap out the full width hanging rail for two hanging rods, meaning we’d be able to hang our life jackets up and have somewhere to store hangers (these only get used to hang washing in the pram cover). We will also need to find means of hanging the handheld and window vacuums, then the tool kit and other bits can sit on the shelf.

Lint rolling time

I got busy removing all the curtains, so that they could be washed. It’s been a few years now since they last came down, having a rod at both top and bottom of them makes them a slightly time consuming job. Last time they were down I relined them. I know the curtain fabric is okay to wash, but was the thermal lining? The place I got it from recommends dry cleaning, but we’re going to risk a hand wash and then rehang them whilst they are wet. Back at the house they have been de spider pooed, de Tilly furred with a lint roller. They’ll head back to the boat for a wash and rehanging.


Time for a bowl of Heinz Tomato and a cuppa. Not in front of the hatch today as the dinette is currently without cushions, so we didn’t have such a good view from the sofa. With the heating on Oleanna, had warmed up quite well. We’d aimed to fill the water tank just enough to do some washing up, but forgot the hose was connected and ended up with a three quarter full tank. I suspect we’ll be able to use much of this for cleaning, so that we can disinfect the water tank before moving back on board.

We plan on a week of visits once we have the batteries. Hopefully with the heating on each day, possibly the stove lit we can get Oleanna warm and dry enough for me to re-oil the floor and window surrounds. This job needs to be done when Tilly isn’t in residence. It’s also quite smelly, so we’d rather not be around either.

Amy our neighbour

I checked to see how the corner galley cupboard had been put together, a couple of screws hold the pull out pan drawer in position and then I believe the cupboard is mounted on a couple of rails which will just need removing from the back of the dinette. I’m wanting to give the wheels of the cupboard a good clean and oil the floor beneath it.

Quite a few jobs to be done on board. Then there’s the dinette cushions to recover too along with a bit of painting in the house before lodgers arrive again!

Ship in bound

With our train due to leave at 15:31, I needed a while to get to the station, I have a hobbly leg at the moment. Thankfully the chap from NB Bruce was just leaving in his car and he offered me a lift into town, Mick would close up Oleanna and cycle to meet me. Mr NB Bruce plans on heading off on his travels soon, he’d checked for stoppages over the Pennines, I mentioned about Goole Caison being closed for works for a few weeks. In my head they’d already started the work, but it doesn’t start until Monday, so I hope his planned departure was going to be this weekend.

Yummy donated yarn arrived in the post, thank you Naomi!

The journey back was uneventful, one ship heading upstream on the Humber to Goole in the fading light. Another change of train in Hull but thankfully not a long wait as it was chilly. The knitting needles came out and I managed to get up to a heel of a sock before we arrived back in Scarborough.

About time too! I’ve been shouting at nobody since I woke up at 3, it’s way past my DingDing!

Hang on, She smells of BOAT!!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 trains, 1 bike, 1 hobbly leg, 4m cables, 9 curtains, 2 blinds, 1 shelf measured, 2 bowls Heinz finest, 2 cuppas, 3.5 hours on board.

1.25 Pairs knitted

18 Pairs spoken for

50.75 Pairs to go

£455 raised

07:30 The Time To Go … Somewhere. 22nd September

Torksey Bottom Side to West Stockwith, Chesterfield Canal

The first boat to go past us this morning was at 6am, most probably a small boat being used by a couple of fishermen that we would see several times today. The next boat to head off was the chap with no idea (NB NI), this was just before 7:30, maybe he’d been in touch with the Lock Keepers further downstream, maybe not. Ten minutes later two more boats pulled away to head up stream, they’d be pushing the tide for quite some way. The first boat pulled out at the junction and you could see the push from the tide immediately as the boat skidded round, pushed sideways, the small fishing boat almost certainly not helping matters. The following boat reversed all the way to the junction, picked up the revs and winded. They were off. 7:30 certainly a popular time to set off today.

8:10 a widebeam then pulled off, heading up stream, less of the out going tide to push through. We waited a while longer, just us and the boat with the missing cat left, hope it had returned and they were just waiting for the flood to come before leaving.


Breakfasted, well deck cleared, weed hatch checked, life jackets, anchor checked, chart. We were ready fifteen minutes before we’d planned to push off at 09:30. Mick’s plan was for us to arrive at West Stockwith at slack water which would make our turn into the lock easier than having to turn into the current and then work our way back into the tide. He’d checked with two Lock Keepers that there would be enough water to get us over the cill, it being a neap tide we’d be fine. We set off ahead of schedule.

Two power stations in one photo

Back in January we did this trip and onwards to Keadby, we had a display by the Red Arrows and a wonderful if chilly day. Today there was no frost on the pontoon at Torksey, but we did have jumpers and coats on, maybe a pair of gloves will be on hand for the next section of the tidal Trent.

Torksey Castle

The river is now quite familiar. Torksey Castle and Viaduct.

One post to line up with

Trent Port where white posts need lining up to stay in the channel. Littleborough where a Roman causeway crosses the river, used in 1066 en route from Stamford Bridge to Hastings.

The Folly or Chateau

Reaching the Folly we’d caught up with the fishing boat. They lifted their lines and sped off into the distance. Maybe when we’ve retired from boating we’ll treat ourselves to a few days stay at the Folly and watch boats cruising with the tides.

We passed the fishing boat near Knaith Rack. Bob the wandering buoy has made his way to near the 83km post, in January it was in Gainsborough. Past West Burton Power Station all with the tide aiding our journey.

Boating Association charts with Waterway Routes

Wet mud along the banks showed how far the tide had fallen, the red line was to be followed to keep us in the channel. Some km markers are missing so we not only use the charts (version 18 now) but also Waterway Routes to show us where we are on the river, quite handy.

Turn Post Corner, a sharp bend in the river with a sand bank protruding out from the inner of the bend. Mick slowed us right down here, the water to both sides of Oleanna bubbling away indicating shallow water, then a cross over to the west bank to miss the next submerged bank.

Checking timings on our progress Mick decided that we should slow down, the revs knocked back.

Just where are they?!

Gainsborough Railway Viaduct, time to give West Stockwith a call. The Lockie said we’d be about an hour he was there waiting for us. Had we seen NB NI? We told him that they had left Torksey at 7:30 this morning, maybe they were planning on stopping at Gainsborough pontoon. Apparently yesterday the Cromwell Lockie had tried to explain to the chap about the tidal Trent and booking locks and going with the tide etc. Then Mick and another boater had done the same at Torksey, giving him the phone numbers of locks. So far NB NI had not been seen!

Onwards now at a slower pace past Kerry Mill, no-one looking out of windows to wave at. The now overgrown building shortly before Gainsborough Road Bridge and various old wharf buildings really need some TLC, the riverfront not that inviting. Mick kept us at a steady pace not wanting to beat the tide to West Stockwith, the current as always running fast through the aches of Gainsborough Road Bridge.

Gainsborough Road Bridge, the current runs through here so fast

NB NI was not on the pontoon. Where were they? Mick tried calling the Lockie at West Stockwith, NB NI had just zoomed past heading for Keadby! They must have either been dawdling on the river or had a break in Gainsborough as we’d gained at least an hour on them. The Lock was sat waiting for our arrival, jolly good.

Cranking the engine up

As we carried on at our leisurely pace the current appeared to have stopped, had the tide turned earlier than expected? Our pace slowed, Mick cranked Oleanna up a notch, then some more. Were we now facing the flood?

The red line ends here

After the big bend with new flats and concrete footing the red line on the chart runs out just by a big sluice. I could now sit down and leave Mick to judge where he should be positioned on the river. He cranked the engine up some more, the last 2 miles done at speed, maybe we’d not needed to slow earlier.

West Stockwith Lock

The Lockie called just before the lock came into view, how were we doing? Mick slowed us brought us along level with the lock. Thinking the tide had turned he’d positioned Oleanna in such a way hoping the current would help us turn in, but the lock was at a more acute angle to the river than he’d remembered and the current wasn’t there. We had arrived at slack water ‘perfect timing’ the Lockie said as Oleanna’s front button nudged the entrance to the lock. Not a clean entrance, but not scary either. Thankfully most people up top were chatting so didn’t notice.

Time to hold a rope at the bow. I remembered this from eight years ago. The Lockie passed ropes down to us to hold onto. Back then we shared the lock with another boat, today we didn’t, today the water coming into the lock pushed us right over to the far side of the lock no matter how hard we clung on to the rope. It wasn’t that the water gushed in, it was just what the lock does, at least we could stop Oleanna from biffing into the side. Slowly we rose.

Just about up on the Chesterfield Canal

We asked the Lockie if there was any news on NB NI? Not yet. Two boats had just come past from Keadby heading up stream, they’d most probably seen them fighting against the flood. We strongly suspect with the Lock Keepers aware of the boat on the river someone stayed at Keadby looking out for them even if they weren’t booked in. But would the boat be looking out for the lock? We think the map the chap had was Open Canal Map, which doesn’t mention anything about tides, phone numbers, channel. The blue line continues down to Trent Falls, up the Ouse and out onto the Humber.

We really hope they turned in at Keadby and are safe. We’re also quite relieved that we hadn’t come across them stuck on a sandbank needing rescuing. Preparation for tidal waters is important, they are not like the tranquil canals of the midlands!

Land hooray!

Now where? We carried on a short distance along the Chesterfield Canal and pulled in on the first stretch of armco. Here would be good for Tilly and us. Five hours and the rules read. Tilly returned on her own three time during the afternoon and didn’t have to mubble at us once!

Russian Naval locks leak too

Mick walked to Misterton Co-op and butchers whilst I sat and watched Kursk (2018) based on the true story of the Russian submarine disaster in 2000. Were the Russians so unfeeling towards the families waiting for news? Was their rescue equipment so badly maintained and were they far more interested in keeping their secrets than saving the crews lives? I think tomorrow I’ll have to find a comedy to watch.

Sunset over the basin

During our cruise today I’d came across the Fish and Chip Appreciation page on Facebook. Crisp golden batter had made me hungry. A look at the local pubs menus was needed. The Waterfront Inn is just in the process of changing hands (reopening 3rd October). Then The White Hart just on the other side of the River Idle. Their menu just so happened to mention gluten free fish and chips! Bingo result!!!

Fish and chips!

They were busy and it took quite a while before we could order, the staff did keep us informed and apologized for our wait. Mick had a very good beef, mushroom and ale pie and I had a very crunchy fish and chips. All very nice. We decided to refrain from a pudding and have a second glass of wine back on Oleanna.

Now if you read the blog, you obviously have an interest in the waterways and our life on them. For a few weeks now there has been a link on the right hand side of the blog which will take you to the petition ‘Fund Britain’s Waterways’ which is urging the Prime Minister to safeguard Britain’s Canals and Rivers now and for future generations. This isn’t a petition just for boaters, but for everyone that enjoys being by the water, wildlife, watching youtube vloggers or reading about the canals and rivers. If everyone who reads this blog signs the petition that would be brilliant. Thank you.

1 lock, 14.9 miles, 3 hours, 1 new waterway for Oleanna, 1 boat without a clue, 1 of each, 1 pie and chips, 1 portion of peas please, Louise! 2 glasses wine, 2 lamb steaks, 1 Saturday paper, 1 happy cat.

The Gates Of Goole. 8th February

Bramwith Junction to Viking Marina, Goole, Aire and Calder Navigation

Good Morning

Sunrise on this mooring is wonderful, the windows needed a touch of decondensationing before we could really appreciate it with a cuppa in bed. It was another chilly morning, a breeze had got going which would help with winding when we set off.

Mick’s Christmas present

The VHF radio was turned on in case we could hear Exol Pride or one of the gravel barges radioing the bridges. It crackled a few times, but nothing was audible we decided that we were unlikely to meet a big barge mid channel today, anyway we’d likely see them miles off as most of the canal we’d cover today have very very long straight stretches.

Left straight on not right straight on

Sadly my back hadn’t improved overnight, so Mick was on duty for anything low down, but I’d see how I did operating the bridges along the New Junction. We winded and headed left. The Don doors open and waiting to let us across the aqueduct.

Don Doors

The step up from Oleanna to work the first bridge was a touch high, but I managed it without too much of a problem. Key of Power in and the bridge turned.

Next Top Lane Lift Bridge nobody held up here. The road surface had big chunks out of it waiting to be resurfaced. Then Kirkhouse Lift Bridge where I managed to hold up two cars, one a C&RT van.

Now the long long length with little to break it up. A zoom in with the camera wasn’t clear enough to make out what colour light there was at Sykehouse Lock. The house that had been for sale last year now has two big barges moored outside it, both in need of a bit of money spending on them, wonderful shapes though.

Sykehouse Lock with Sykehouse Lift Bridge partially open in the background

As we got closer to the lock we could see that the volunteer who must just about live in the control tower had spotted us, the light was green, but the swing bridge was still closed. We pootled on up closer.

A Great Egret

On one of the banks was what looked like a Heron, but it was far too white. When it took off we agreed that it was the size of a heron, held it’s legs and neck like a heron. So it must be a heron. Now I’ve been able to look at the photo closer I believe it to be Great Egret. According to the RSPB website they believe there to be 8 to 12 breading pairs in the country and around 72 birds that winter in the UK.

Lock open but not the swing bridge

The chap came out from the tower with his dogs, crossed the bridge to close the barriers and then pushed the bridge clear for us. Another C&RT chap walked past, a number checker, and asked if we’d seen a big barge moored by the house. We had, along with a second boat. He set off to walk the near 2 km to take down their numbers, then walk back again. That job must keep him fit around these parts.

Thank you

Down the lock we went. We spied people at the next swing bridge who looked like they would operate it for us, which they did. The chap in high-vis was taking photos of the bridge, it was having an inspection.

Up ahead at Sykehouse Lift Bridge there were three C&RT vans and four chaps. The hut by the bridge suddenly sprang into life as we arrived a cloud of black smoke coming from an exhaust in the wall. There must be a generator in there for emergency power. They left us to work the bridge, taking notes of things as it raised and lowered. It’s apparently the time of year when all the bridges are inspected. They all headed over to check a barrier after I closed the bridge and didn’t seem too phased by the huge biff the bridge made when it finally made contact with the ground! It certainly made both Mick and myself jump.

Norf ahead

Straight on to the junction with the Aire and Calder where we turned back towards the east. This stretch, well all of today’s waters are so very familiar, yet things have changed since last March. Drax was churning out power and the breach site still looks in good order.

The giant log cabin by the Alpacas has windows now and an almost completed roof. Then the building nearer to Rawcliffe has new windows and it’s roof is finished, it also has some new render and looks quite smart.

Goole ahead

The last slight bend and we were on the three mile straight to Goole.

Back through the gates of Goole we were back where we’d spent so much of 2020 and 2021, stuck due to the breach and lockdowns. Hopefully the gates won’t close on us this time! The visitor moorings were full, but across on the 14 day moorings there was plenty of space. The big grey boat that has been moored outside the Auction place is now for sale, if you’ve got £350,000!

Left by the black and white boat please

Mick swung Oleanna to the left into Viking Marina and we made our way into the corner where we’d moored before. On our pontoon a big cruiser, but to the other side of it a new pontoon. We pulled in, meeting our new neighbour, tied up and headed to the office to check in.

Hello Viking, Hello Lisa!

It was good to see Laird again and Alastair who did some work for us last year. Mick has a short jobs list for Alasdair whilst we’re at Viking. Once we’d paid our mooring fees and got a fob it was time for lunch, do the chores and pack our bags. Due to my bad back we actually left with less than we’d arrived with, Mick carrying everything.

Goole Station

There was just under half an hour before the next train, so we power walked it along Albert Street, through the docks to the station. We had five minutes to spare, unfortunately not enough for us to get Advance tickets. The ticket machine wanted us to pay for the route to Scarborough via York! Thankfully the train guard would allow us to buy tickets from her instead at half the price.

Dusk over the Humber

It was a pleasant journey back to Scarborough, no need to change trains, just sides so that we’d get a view of the Humber Bridge followed by the sea at Bridlington.

As we walked up the steps to the house the new security light was triggered. This also triggered a reaction from Tilly. As soon as she realised it was us there was SO much shouting, the whole street could hear her! Many cuddles and chin rubs later things calmed down to a very loud purr.

About time!

Claire She had been nice, kept offering me Dreamies, but she hadn’t let me out so I wasn’t entitled to any! I felt I had to turn my nose up at them. That’s the longest She and Tom have deserted me for. They should have been back soon after the second flap on the magic food bowl opened! And when they did come back they smelt of Bramwith Junction outside. How dare they!

At least it meant I got lots of head nudges and cuddles.

With our mission accomplished and Oleanna now tucked up in Goole we have our own winter maintenance to do in the house. So blog posts will be as and when we visit Oleanna for the next few weeks. We have cruising plans, but not a definite date to set off yet. So the blog will be tucked up for a while too. See you soon.

1 lock, 11.8 miles, 5 bridges, 4 held up, 2 bridge inspections, 1 volunteer, 2 woofers, 1 mooring, 0 Joan’s Chinese! 1 boat plugged in, 1 train, 1 very VERY pleased cat, 1 hour of cuddles, 1 feline shadow.

A Day Adrift. 6th February

Torksey Pontoon to Keadby Visitor Mooring

Another morning with the alarm clock going off, at least this morning there wasn’t much of a view to miss out on. One side of the cutting looked to be above freezing, our side was all frosted over. Brrrr, an extra layer required today. As I got up and started to move around my back felt remarkably improved from yesterday, thank goodness. I still refrained from leaning down or lifting anything heavy so as not to aggravate the improving situation.


Four years ago yesterday we did exactly the same journey. Then it had also been an early start and a very cold one too. We’d had to wait for the Stainforth and Keadby Canal to thaw and for the entrance to the lock to be dredged. I was ready to pull the balaclavas out today but thankfully even though the day had started off with a good layer of frost on Oleanna we didn’t need to keep our cheeks cosy.

Torksey Viaduct

We needed to push off a while after the tide had started to come in. Yes we were heading down stream, so we’d need to punch the tide for some time, but this was needed for us to reach Keadby when there would still be enough water to get into the lock. At 9am Mick reversed us out onto the main river, an EA rib had just come past us from Torksey Lock but it headed upstream.

The hazy Norf

We winded to face down stream and the tide. Engine revs increased and we were on our way.


Another wonderful day to be out on the river. Blue blue skies. Trails high above us in the sky, plenty of people jetting of on their holidays. Looking behind us the sun low glinted on the water and our wake. Gorgeous.

Taking off

I checked the charts, our course kept in the channel. This next stretch had been reported as being shallow last year.

Hawks just finishing their loop

A glimpse over Mick’s shoulder, a loop of vapour trail. The Red Arrows must have been out training. The V formation of planes scooped round and out of view. They were at such a distance to us to be silent, you had to scour the sky to hunt them out. One wave of vapour, then another loop the loop. Around this area and along the Fossdyke and Witham you quite often see them practicing. Your own private airshow. Time to concentrate on the charts again.

Busy with something

A man sat in a bright red rib coming towards us. His boat looked to be filled with equipment, maybe he was charting the river bed?

The Chateau at Gate Burton came into view. You can stay here with the Landmark Trust. It makes for a pretty view, I bet the view back towards the river today was a much warmer one. We waved in case anyone was watching as we passed.

Power ahead

West Burton Power Station came in and out of view. The large cooling towers dormant but the gas fired end churning steam out by the bucketful.

The tide had turned by the time we reached Gainsborough. The same revs were now giving us 2 to 3 more miles an hour heading down stream. The sharp bends speed the flow up through Gainsborough, not the fastest we’ve been under the bridge there though.

Earlier this year when we’d planned on doing this journey, we had to cancel our lock bookings due to being stuck in Shardlow as the river was in flood. When Mick called Keadby Lock to cancel our booking, the lock keeper said that we weren’t in the book! Yesterday afternoon Mick had tried calling the lock to check they knew we would be arriving today, he’d got no answer. He then tried calling a couple of times this morning. Thankfully he got through and Tracey was expecting us. Mick checked that the river level would be enough for us to get into the lock. It would be and she was expecting us from around 12:30.

The charts now dispense with the red line for stretches. My back wanted a sit down in the warm so I retired inside for a while, making sure I was watching as we passed West Stockwith Lock. Mick slowed us down and waved to a chap then picked up our pace again.

With a map suggesting we still had 2 hours to go before reaching Keadby we decided to up the revs a touch, it was now getting on towards midday and Tracey was expecting us pretty soon. We really didn’t want to run out of water. As we were now off C&RT waters there are few markers. Instead you rely on landmarks. Will the new build with big windows (still to be fitted) appear on new charts. Owston Ferry with it’s two pubs. Mooring Dolphins where owls are positioned to deter pigeons! Another mill.

The river now wide, sprawling out in front and to our sides. The M180 bridge. Time to call Tracey with our location, she’d expect us in twenty minutes, we were still good to get into the lock.

The span on the right used to open up

Keadby Bridge, under the bascule span. Up ahead Keadby Lock tower with it’s look out. The light was red. Would it be ready for us?

Keadby surrounded by wind turbines

Mick brought us over to the west side of the river as our red line suggested. Then as we were just about level with the lock he started to turn. Not into the lock, that would be foolish with the tide still heading out towards the Humber. He turned Oleanna round to face upstream, this enables you to have more control to enter the lock.

In we go!

On the downstream side of the lock we could see the start of the silt build up above the water. Mick faced Oleanna’s bow towards the upstream side of the lock forcing her against the tide. As we got closer, we both wondered if we’d have enough power to turn the stern away from the silt and enter the lock. An extra bit of umph at the right moment and into the lock Oleanna slid. Phew!! She’d made it. Always a relief.

Leaving the lock

I walked up to the bow to pass a rope around a chain as Tracey closed the lock gates behind us, then the outer lock gates got closed too. The amount of water coming over the top gates started to slowly rise us. Then a touch of a paddle was added, gently does it. Then a bit more which caught the bow a touch before I managed to pull her back in.

Stainforth and Keadby Canal ahead

Once at canal level the top gates opened and we waited for Tracey to open the swing bridge. We pulled in just past a couple of boats on the visitor moorings at the far end. Ahead of us is Vazon Sliding Bridge. This is operated by Network Rail and following the high temperatures last summer it is now only opened to boat traffic twice a day, we’d already missed the second opening. Time for lunch and a well deserved warm up.

1 lock, 27.8 miles, 2 winds, 1 reverse, 2 why nots, 1 cheeky pigeon, 2 ribs, 1 beautiful day on the river, 1 air show, 1 day adrift from 4 years ago, does this mean we’ll have another February heatwave?

Bloomin Maud! 18th January


First there was ice. Then too much water. Now it’s a bridge!

Our plans may have to change. We’d been hoping to reach Yorkshire by now, but obviously the River Trent being in flood hasn’t helped that. All part of boating through the winter especially where rivers are concerned. Now as the river levels are dropping, gradually, we’ve been looking further ahead.

1.5m today down 28cm from yesterday

Vazon Sliding Bridge had problems in the heat last summer, since then the bridge is opened twice a day to boat traffic at 9am and 1pm, apart from when Network Rail are on strike. If the river hadn’t been in flood we’d have had a days wait before we could pass through.

When Mick had phoned to book passage in at Keadby the Lock Keeper mentioned that Maud’s Swing Bridge was also closed. A date for it to open unknown! Hmm. Here’s a link to the stoppage notice LINK. It has been closed since the 23rd November, the notice hasn’t had an update.

Maud’s Bridge 2nd April 2022

Mick rang C&RT and worked his way though to the right part of the country and got to talk to a lady regarding the bridge. Apparently the bridge was struck by a vehicle back in November causing a lot of damage. It has been taking time for the drivers insurance company to sort things out and as yet the engineers haven’t come up with a method of mending the bridge. So at the moment there is no known date for it to open, it could be months! The lady was trying to get someone to do an update.

Poo bar bum!

A re-think is needed. Options.

  • We continue downstream and exit the River Trent at Keadby, then sit and wait for the bridge to open. Not a popular option.
  • We head downstream on the Trent and wait for a suitable day to head round Trent Falls. Not a popular route in the winter months.
  • We continue downstream and find somewhere to moor that isn’t in Yorkshire, but as close as we can get with good transport links. Maybe.
  • We stay put in Shadlow, easy access to transport. Maybe.
  • We turn around and once Stenson Lock reopens, with its new gates, we head up the west side of the country to cross the Pennines over into Yorkshire. A lengthy journey especially in winter, juggling it around work, stoppages and weather. Hmmm.

We’ve got some thinking to do. One option is looking the most likely at the moment.

Today I managed to work through the alterations on another pair of overalls. These were size XS, but still needed the arms and legs shortening. One pair left to do. Mick returned from Scarborough with a few bits I’ll be needing for #unit21 in the next few weeks.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trains, 1 bus, 1 broken bridge, 1 river coming down, 5 options, 2 pairs overalls finished, 7.5 inches, 5.5 inches, 1 still to do.

Surveyed. 6th December

Alvecote Marina

The 25tog duvet kept us warm last night, maybe even a little bit too warm! Time for some porridge, except we didn’t have any golden syrup. That was soon rectified.

Just gone 9am there was a knock on the front door, on the Arctic side of the house. One of several reasons for this trip to the house. A surveyor had come to give us a free EPC inspection and recommend what we might be able to do to improve our insulation, windows and if solar panels might be possible. This would then be reported to someone else who would decided what assistance we may get as our income is very low.

The chap was a very jolly soul from West Yorkshire, he’d surveyed numerous houses like ours and it would take him a couple of hours. That was until I showed him into the kitchen and then through into the other side of the house! Yep it would take him longer, he’d be late to the next house in Whitby.

He measured windows, asked questions, checked roof spaces, looked outside, took photos. After three hours he was done and had a list of recommendations. One of which is to add insulation on the insides of the external walls. This will take 4 inches out of the rooms but may be worth while as we don’t have cavity walls. Two of the rooms in question I’d planned on redecorating this winter, I may hold off doing that until we know what assistance we may get. Well worth both of us being about for.

Goodbye Mick. The station having lots of work done, including the new stained glass windows

Sadly something had disagreed with my system. The most likely candidate, last nights fish and chips, even though they were meant to be gluten free! Or can it take a couple of days for it to have an effect and have been caused by the Chinese takeaway? This did mean my return journey back to Tamworth looked a little bit iffy.

The flat before the Wolds

We both walked up to the station. Decision made, I’d sit near to the toilet and hope for the best. Tilly needed feeding and I’ve some work to do. So I waved goodbye to Mick, he’s staying to see the plumber, I retraced the journey from yesterday. The sun shone over the Wolds, I got to see the sea, big boats were two deep in Goole and by the time we reached Doncaster the light was fading fast, the moorings still chocka.

Todays trains worked very well, only a few minutes to wait for one to arrive, then a cab back to the marina.

Licked clean

Tilly was waiting for me, the magic food bowl totally empty, the day before’s dingding also finished off, some biscuits left over just in case. After a big hug the heating was turned up, then the fire laid and lit. We had another big hug for good measure. Soon we were pushing back the chill inside Oleanna and getting cosy in front of the fire.

That’s better!

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 trains, 3 hour free survey, 2 weeks to hear,1 broken downpipe, 1 cuddly Tilly, 1 stove, 1 bowl of roast chicken pasta, 1 cosy boat.

Trucking Family. 24th May


This morning we had a visit from a friend of Heathers, Sallyann. We got to meet Monty her newly acquired dog. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to chat as we had trains to catch, hopefully our paths will cross again in the next few weeks.

There’s Oleanna

The magic food bowl came out from storage, the ice block popped in along with a portion of beef gravy cat food, we were likely to be eating beef tonight so it only seemed fair. Tilly was then left in charge of Oleanna as we walked to the station.

In St Stephens

Mick had worked hard a few weeks ago in securing cheap train tickets for us, then I’d hunted out a cheap hotel room for a nights stay in the centre of Hull. We’d been invited to the Guest Night of Teechers Leavers 22 at Hull Truck. John Godber has updated the show which he originally wrote 35 years ago and it was to be part of Hull Trucks 50th anniversary productions. I’ve designed the show twice for the company some years ago.

Our journey north worked out fine, retracing our route across the Middle Level and passing through Goole where we’d been 2 months ago.

It took sometime to find a member of staff to check us in at the hotel, but I think the lady upgraded us, putting us in a room at the top of the hotel which was vast! An old hotel that has had a make over with some fairly awful furniture, but all we were after was a bed or the night, so it was fine.

Burgers from Grilla

We spruced ourselves up and crossed over to HOH which used to be Hammonds department store. Here we were to meet up with Bridget and Storm, we went in to see what the deal was with food and drink. As we ordered ourselves burgers and drinks we started spotting some very familiar faces, actors who’d worked at Hull Truck through the years.

Bridget outside the building we both used to work in

Over at Hull Truck we arrived to join the masses for guest night. Several comments were heard that they’d not seen the place so full for the last ten years, which is when John stepped away from the company. On the guest list were many Truckers from John Godber’s time as Artistic Director. A speech welcoming us was made by Mark Babych the current Artistic Director. As our attention was drawn over to the entrance towards the studio space we all spotted a change of signage. The Studio space had been renamed the Godber Studio a wonderful tribute to the man who managed to rescue the theatre company from the brink of bankruptcy by writing plays that the Hull audiences loved, the first one being Up ‘n Under.

Mark Babych

More and more faces joined the crowded front of house, so many people to say hello to and share the evening with. Our normal careful mask wearing and keeping distances thrown out of the window this evening. Here’s hoping we didn’t pick anything up to take away with us!

The show had been updated with references to the pandemic, tiktok, party gate etc. Plenty of the old show also remained, it’s quite remarkable how much of the script comes back to me, although I’m sure several people in the audience knew it way better than me.

Nikki, TP, Sarah, Sian, Mick and me, just a few members of my Hull Truck family

There was plenty of time to chat to old friends, my Hull Truck family, after the show when eventually the bar was reopened. Another drink would have been nice, but sadly everyone’s hotel bars had closed at 11, we retired back to our cheapo upgraded room. I had had a couple of people making comments about our hotel during the evening and how you could get a room by the hour! I have to say it seemed to be okay and the only mirrors on the ceiling were in reception!

Mirrors on the ceiling, in reception

We slept relatively well, although the curtains could have done with being a touch bigger to keep the light out and traffic below on Anlaby Road did start up quite early. The hunt for breakfast that I could eat without taking out a bank loan eventually found us in Subway which did the job before we climbed on trains to make our way back southwards.

Our giant room!

As our train slowed approaching Ely station we could see that Oleanna was still moored where we’d left her, Tilly had done a good job. Our 48 hours on the Ely moorings was up, it was time to move on.

The Ely giraffe

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 trains there, 3 trains back, £45 hotel room, 1 acre on the third floor, 1 bath with bubbles, 4 burgers, 1 wonderful evening catching up, 2 many people to talk to, 35 years brought up to date, 1 newly named studio, 1 olive branch, 11pm closing time, 0 hotel wine, 50th anniversary celebrated.

An Inch Short. 16th March

Bramwith Junction

What a grey day! Even Tilly wasn’t impressed, preferring to spend much of the day asleep inside. With rain forecast for 1pm we had a choice of moving off this morning or staying put. The next proper mooring can be quite popular, this time of year especially so as there is parking, water and bins. An hours cruise to find out and if full it would be another hour back again, bringing us into the window of rain opportunity!


We decided to stay put, we like this mooring even on a grey day. A walk around the junction was on the cards and there was enough time before we’d get wet.

As we walked down to Bramwith Lock we could hear an engine, then see a flag between the trees, coming along the New Junction. It was Pax a kind of cross between a Dutch barge and a trawler that had been in Goole. They turned towards the lock where some friends had already opened the gates for them.

A narrowboat arrived below the lock, pulling into the lock landing, as we walked past we had a chat with the chap. This was to be his first solo lock, the boat new to him, maybe only by a few days. We wished him luck and carried on to where a footpath heads off to the Don Doors.

The side you don’t get to see from the canal

Water was spilling over the edge of the aqueduct, more so than yesterday when we’d crossed it. I was amazed at how little space there is below the trough to the river flowing beneath. The sides of the trough have plenty of extra support to help it withstand sideways pressure when the river is in flood.

We climbed over the top to the other side, sadly no view along the New Junction as the guillotine gates were in the way. But it being so grey the pictures wouldn’t have been too appealing anyway.

Looking up the New Junction

Was that a Chiff Chaff? It was! A sign of spring.

I so love Blackthorn blossom

We crossed back over the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. The first Blackthorn blossom opening up hunting for the missing sunshine. Bees buzzed round. Was that a Woodpecker we could hear? Spring with all it’s new life.

A small boat in an expanse of water

The single hander came round from Bramwith Lock heading towards Long Sandall. He’d been helped up the lock so still had his first solo lock to come. We wished him well, his next obstacle being Barnby Dun Lift Bridge.

Pootling along

A looooonggg LOUD horn could be heard. Was that someone annoyed to be held up at the lift bridge?

Then another blast. Within a few minutes we could see where it had come from, Exol Pride! I so hope the single hander had been warned about the big blue boat, suspect the Looooonggg blast had been suggesting he got out of their way!

There she goes

We stood and watched as Exol came past, a slight change of engine note before the junction, was that for us or just an adjustment before crossing under the Don Doors? The canal took a good half hour before it returned to calm.

A little after 1pm it started to rain. With whistling wind accompanying it we were glad we’d decided not to move today. Instead I sat in front of the stove and knitted, nearly a whole sock today, just short by an inch or so. Mick pottered on the computer whilst Tilly inspected the insides of her eye lids.


Today we added another option to our escape routes southwards.

  1. Out of Keadby to Cromwell
  2. Head across the Pennines, most probably by the Huddersfield Canals.
  3. Head down the Ouse to Trent Falls and onto the Trent that way.
  4. Cancel a trip to York by boat to meet with family and get through Thorne Lock before it shuts. Have a day trip by train instead.

The jury is still out.

It’s time to add a recipe to the Baking section. Tonight we enjoyed the last slices of my Bakewell Tart.

Click on the photo to get to the recipe

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 walk, 3 waterways crossed, 1 solo boater, 1 Pax, 1 big blue boat, 4 signs of spring, 1 reluctant cat, 1 inch short of a sock.

Knocking The Drawer

Opposite the Concrete works to Sykehouse Junction, New Junction Canal

You could hear Franks brain already at work when Mick got up to make our morning cuppa. To give the freezer more ventilation should the drawer be raised? This would involve raising the whole dinette, trimming the cushions to fit, then they wouldn’t fit to make up the bed. A solution with far too many knock ons.

Why won’t it come out!

First thing though was to be able to get the freezer drawer out of the dinette. For a while it’s been sticking part way out, only just enough space to get the lid off and access the contents. Was this down to something underneath the drawer on the floor? We knew there was a problem with condensation in the drawer as the freezer isn’t particularly well insulated, so that might be causing the problem.

Give it an hammer!

In the past we’ve tried pulling the drawer out to access little catches on the sides which would release the drawer from the sliders, but we could never find the catches. They were possibly on the part that was no longer sliding far enough out to be visible. Frank brought his hammer out and started hitting one section of the sliders back in to the dinette. One slider was obviously having issues and the drawer had quite a bit of play on it.

Eventually the slider gave in releasing the drawer. It moved out just that bit more, then nearly all the way there, then out to it’s full extent! We haven’t had this happen for at least a couple of years!

Freezer out in the open air

Mick disconnected the freezer then it was lifted out of the drawer. Time for breakfast! A bowl of blueberry porridge all round to celebrate.

The sliders were unscrewed from the base of the dinette. There had been no little catch on them, just a lot of screws and you needed the drawer to be fully out to access them all. The troublesome slider was examined. It was bent out of shape. The problem was that the drawer once pulled out of the dinette had nothing to rest on, it was hanging in mid air held only by the sliders. The combined weight of the drawer, freezer and it’s contents had bent the slider, stopping it from working correctly.

New sliders 650mm long and heavy duty sliders were needed. Nothing was available locally, just online. If replaced something to support the overhanging drawer would be needed to stop the situation from recurring.

The outside workshop

For now we could slide the drawer in and out without the sliders. Frank took the drawer outside and cut redundant sections out of the sides whilst retaining it’s structure, hopefully this will enable more air to circulate. Holes were also drilled in the base of the drawer, these won’t help at the moment as the drawer will sit on the floor for a while, but once it is lifted up a touch then air should be able to flow underneath it better. Everything was given a rub of candle grease to help it run more freely.

The floor under the freezer is made up of quite a few sheets of wood, possibly three. This isn’t necessary and a section of at least one (dinette structure) could have sections removed giving more air circulation. Then Frank decided that we’d be better off if the drawer ran on wooden runners, the front edge of it would need some support when it gets pulled out. We may add gliss domes to the leading edge, these are frictionless. Frank hadn’t brought his router with him, the easiest way to cut out the floor, so the remainder of the job will be finished another time.

Thank you so much Frank for your help and leaving us with some of the Bakewell Tart!

Just as Frank was setting off to head back to Scarborough, Lisa and Al arrived for a quick catch up. Their boat was a close neighbour when we moored at Viking last year, Al keeping an eye on Oleanna when the breach happened.

Ooo a yummy yarn donation

Lisa and I have quite a few other things in common, Scarborough and knitting. Lisa is an Indie Dyer and had seen I was busy with my sockathon, she’d come to make a donation. What a generous donation it was too! A bag of interesting bits and bobs, three 50 gram skeins and some baby yarn for my baby socks, far better than anything I could find in Boyes. Thank you so much Lisa for your wonderful donation! Link to Lisa’s Etsy yarn shop there’s some lovely yarn. Best keep my needles knitting!

1978 Austin Allegro for sale at Spicers soon

Two weeks into the challenge and the total amount that has been raised by knitters across the UK so far is £102,000. Brilliant!

Tilly had been making the most of the morning, dipping under the new fencing to head off and explore. It is thought that with the new Siemens factory close by, the rail track that runs along the side of the canal will be used to test the new Piccadilly Line tube trains, it may also be reinstated up into the docks. Today people were working on the track, sounded like they were cutting back vegetation. Tilly had been keeping an eye on them!

By the time we wanted to move Tilly had claimed most of the area including the VERY dusty road as her own.

With water supplies very low we pushed over to the water point to fill the tank. The bins here haven’t been emptied in the last couple of weeks, so we kept our recycling for another bin on another day. We then winded and headed out from Goole.

Goodbye blue Goole for now

Was this to be the last time in Goole for a while, well as there are few places to fill with diesel around the patch we aim to cover in the next few weeks, I suspect we will be back to top up.

As we pootled back along the same stretch of water we discussed our escape plan. At the moment the Huddersfield Narrow is looking like the most obvious route. The Trent still our preferred route. If everything were to fall into place, good weather, tides, amount of fresh, lack of wind, Keadby Lock opening hours it would be silly of us not to have a plan in place to go round Trent Falls again. So we shall work out two routes to cover all eventualities.

Hello Wendy and woofer

At Sykehouse Junction we turned left towards Doncaster and pulled in where we’d been a few days ago. We used outies just in case Exol Pride turned up. Sure enough just as the sun was setting it did, slowing to turn towards the New Junction and the Went Aqueduct.

Here she comes

Once they had just about crossed the aqueduct the engine was switched off, a generator kick started, this was where they would moor for the night. Suspect we’d get complaints if we blocked the navigation in such a comprehensive way.

Handy mooring for the night

0 locks, 6.01 miles, 1 left, 1 wind, 1 holey drawer that moves! 1 road claimed, 1 grey cat, 3 bags of yummy yarn, 1 full water tank, 1 very full bin, 1 clean pooh box, 2 outsides, 1 big blue boat, 2 plans to plan.