Saturday, 11 October 2008

Belated update - Thursday 9 October

We were finally allowed out of Redhill lock and onto the Trent at 9:30am on Thursday morning - somewhat frustrating, having jumped out of bed at 6:30, but still far preferable to wasting yet another day sitting around staring at water level indicators.

The first thing that struck me about the Trent was the sheer size of it - from the onset, it was far far wider than any waterway that I had cruised on before and the moored boats were far bigger than any that I had passed until now. From here on in, the water just got wider, the boats and locks got bigger, and the current got faster.

Despite being allowed onto the river, Thursday got off to a slow start. We made very good time down to Beeston lock, due to the amount of water on the river. By this point, I had begun to learn to keep the boat sitting on the channel (fastest/deepest part of the river) to get an extra couple of mph for free. This is quite fun, until you get it a bit wrong on the corners and the sweeping current causes the boat to list like crazy. OK, it's fun then too......but I don't really want to sink Muddy Waters! Sadly, we got stuck for 1.5 hours at Beeston lock, waiting for the BW men to clear loads of debris from the lock that had been washed down by the floods of the last few days. Still, the time wasn't wasted - we went into the chandlery there and kitted ourselves out with lifejackets. On the canal lifejackets feel like overkill, but on moving water they are definitely a good idea, as those currents are strong, and I can see really easily how difficult it could be to get back to the boat (or out of the water at all in most places) if you were to fall in.

We finally got through the lock at Beeston with another narrowboat on it's way to Lincoln, and then followed the canal through the centre of Nottingham. On arrival at one of the locks (castle lock?) , I was slightly intimidated to see a big crowd watching us work through the lock. It turned out that their office fire alarm was going off, and the bit of car park by the towpath was their assembly point. They took photos of us, so we took a couple back of them and then turned our attention to working the lock nicely.

After the Nottingham canal, we rejoined the Trent and followed the navigation all the way to Newark, tying up in the dark on the BW moorings near Newark town lock. These moorings were rather odd as they were up against the pavement which reminded me of a harbour wall - the roof of my boat was on a level with the towpath. It turned out that the bar we spotted next to these moorings was a Pizza Express. We were both too tired to venture further, and so ended up eating there before returning to the boat and passing out at about 9pm!

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