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Tidal Trent to Lincoln and Boston


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No VHF on the boat Matty, I was helping the new owner take it to Thorne as he had no tidal river experience. 

As I said though the keeper knew exactly where we were, because he looked straight at us heading for his open lock. Some keepers ask you to ring them on your approach as you pass under the M180 bridge, but this wasn't mentioned either when I booked us in or when he spoke to Cromwell the previous day. 

For some reason on the day he just thought it was more important to drop another boat down from the safety of the canal than to get us in off the river. That's definitely something that one of the old boys wouldn't have done.

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All very useful - still undecided whether to go, as have other issues to sort out - will aim for Newark anyway.

I'm in the odd situation of having a VHF licence but no radio! Be nice to borrow or hire one for the trip.

We have those Boafeng handheld walkie talkies but they are programmed for domestic use.

 

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On 4/24/2017 at 16:15, Scholar Gypsy said:

Thanks, just ordered the chart.

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My Trent charts are Ripon Motor Boat Club ones published 30 years ago.  When I asked the Cromwell lockie last September if he had anything more up to date, he said "Well, it hasn't changed much.  I can sell you some in pretty colours but you might as well save your money."

Does anyone disagree?  (I used the old charts down to Keadby.)

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On 4/25/2017 at 11:27, noddyboater said:

Although the Trent is a great place to go boating, I feel a word of warning should be given that many of the current keepers have less actual boating experience than my pet greyhounds. 

The volunteers above Newark can be helpful but some 'real world' training should be given, including a boat trip through their own lock!   One of my personal favourites is their insistence to secure the boat at fore and aft when decending, even when boating single handed. I've pointed out that this is dangerous as ropes often snag on the cable sleeves and you can't keep check on them both, but the usual response is "Do as I say or you won't be passing through MY lock"

It's always fun to remind them at this point that they'll be knocking off in an hour and then you can let yourself through - quite safely, with a bit of common sense - as you have been doing for years.

A more serious problem was highlighted on a trip down to Keadby last summer. I'd booked in advance, and been told to arrive from Torksey at 9am sharp to meet the flood. I double checked this as we passed through Cromwell (no complaints here, excellent advice and always friendly) and he rang Keadby on my behalf who confirmed the booking. The following morning we made perfect time and approached the lock from the far side of the river at exactly 9am. A boat emerged from the lock heading towards us as the keeper watched from his balcony, all good so far we thought..  What we didn't know at this point was the keeper had now decided to shut the gates and turn the lock against us as we cut across the river towards it!  Anyone who's spent time outside Keadby lock will know it isn't the best place to be hanging around, especially with a flooding tide and all the oil drums, timber, etc it brings. I held the boat against the gates while he filled the lock and dropped a boat down from the canal above and then politely asked why he didn't let us up first, while the lock was in our favour. His response believe it or not was "I didn't know it was you." Despite the fact that we were the only boat heading downstream, on time and halfway across the river heading for his lock when he saw us! 

Call me old fashioned but I think that on a tidal river where things can quickly go wrong, some boating knowledge should be compulsory for a keeper.

I am in complete agreement with your assessment of the part time, Summer only, apologies for lock keepers who are left in charge on the Trent locks nowadays, but in defence of whoever it was on duty at Keadby on the day you mention I would ask you to consider if he might have had good reason to believe that getting the upriver bound boats on their way with the absolute minimum of delay, even down to a matter the saving of just a few minutes by turning the lock round on you, took priority over penning you up, which would inevitably add some time to the process.

If flood at Keadby was at around 0900hrs then Hull HW would be around sometime shortly after 1100 hrs, and therefore the tides would be only a day or two away from the smallest Neaps. The lock keeper may have been anxious to get the upriver bound boats away as soon as possible on what might have been a poorish Flood in order that they would be as far on upriver as possible before they ran out of 'push' from that tide, and came under Ebb a long way from their destinations.

Edited by PhilAtterley
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You're right Phil that turning the lock against an incoming boat would save maybe 5 minutes or so on the journey of the upstream craft. In the real world though that wouldn't have made any difference to them, most boats are quite capable of pushing against an ebbing tide if need be, despite what the keepers seem to think. Getting a boat off the river, especially at Keadby should always take priority. To be honest I wouldn't have been so pissed off with him at the time if that was his excuse, but "how was I supposed to know it was you?" was absolute crap. 

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7 hours ago, noddyboater said:

You're right Phil that turning the lock against an incoming boat would save maybe 5 minutes or so on the journey of the upstream craft. In the real world though that wouldn't have made any difference to them, most boats are quite capable of pushing against an ebbing tide if need be, despite what the keepers seem to think. Getting a boat off the river, especially at Keadby should always take priority. To be honest I wouldn't have been so pissed off with him at the time if that was his excuse, but "how was I supposed to know it was you?" was absolute crap. 

Your estimate of 5 minutes saved by turning the lock round without penning a boat could be a little on the conservative side - 10 minutes might be nearer the mark in 'the real world', but the issue is not the actual time lost at Keadby, it is the time lost as a proportion of the already short period during which the Flood runs up - as opposed to merely causing a rise in water levels - especially on tides closest to the smallest Neaps, such as would have been occurring at the time. However many minutes of Flood are lost at Keadby can translate into boats coming under Ebb many times more than that number of minutes sooner than they would have done, after having traveled a number of miles upriver, but still far short of their destination. I cannot agree with your view that today's so-called narrowboats cope well when having to overcome any sort of river current or tide, but in any case, any boat underway at the sort of speeds we are talking about here will have its speed (over the ground) reduced when stemming the Ebb to around something like between a half and a third of what it was making when being pushed along by the Flood.

Neither can I agree that - "Getting a boat off the river, especially at Keadby should always take priority" - especially in the conditions which there would have been on the day in question, namely negligible current/tide, and no shipping on the move. The lock keeper's explanation of his actions was unarguably a poor one, but he might have felt that a better and more comprehensive explanation, such as above, delivered by way of shouting it down to you over the bottom gates was neither practical nor achievable. Given sufficient time, a willing listener, and of course assuming that he knew himself, he might even have gone to the trouble of explaining how boats  traveling upriver to Torksey or Cromwell and coming under Ebb when still well short  of Torksey face the hazard of grounding early on what could be a 9 to 10 ebb at places such Marton Rack where a boat grounding on the hard steep-to edges of the very narrow deep channel not only has, at best, a very long wait for the next tide to float them off, but could also be at risk of either rolling over as the tide falls or flooding as the next tide floats them off. As you rightly say, boating knowledge is a 'must' for lock keepers - perhaps even more so than for those aboard the boats who use their locks!

Edited by PhilAtterley
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I had no axe to grind with the keeper on duty that day, and would have gladly listened to his explanation for his strange actions if he tried to give one, but he didn't. I've reported it on here as a warning to any newcomers on the Trent to always expect the unexpected!

In my opinion however I would insist that waiting outside Keadby lock is a grim place to be -especially for an inexperienced boater, and the quicker you're in the lock the better. It could be very daunting if you've never seen the entrance before, and unlike Torksey/Cromwell and to some extent Stockwith there's no easy place to 'hang on' and wait. 

Maybe I've been lucky over the years but have never really had a problem punching a flood or batting against the ebb. Yes you'll be going a lot slower, maybe for hours if heading for Cromwell but I've always preferred that to sitting it out another day if you need to be somewhere. I've often wondered why many boaters are worried about losing the push between Torksey and Cromwell when the flow really isn't much worse than the upper Trent in some places after a bit of rain.

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Ok, thanks for all the info, if not all on topic.

I'm guessing that the trip Cromwell to Torksey is no great shakes and can be done regardless of tides.

I was just looking for some guidance on the optimum time, so that we spend the shortest time on the tidal bit and don't waste fuel or risk going aground!

We might not bother now and maybe just head for Newark.

Little bit shaken finding a police officer standing 100yds away by a cordoned off area on the towpath, here in Nottingham!

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Profzarkov said:

Ok, thanks for all the info, if not all on topic.

I'm guessing that the trip Cromwell to Torksey is no great shakes and can be done regardless of tides.

 

 

 

Cromwell to Torksey is indeed much less a worry than say stockwith to Keadby. That stretch is greatly affected by such as a big spring tide.

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21 hours ago, noddyboater said:

In my opinion however I would insist that waiting outside Keadby lock is a grim place to be -especially for an inexperienced boater, and the quicker you're in the lock the better. It could be very daunting if you've never seen the entrance before, and unlike Torksey/Cromwell and to some extent Stockwith there's no easy place to 'hang on' and wait.

It's pretty grim at Selby (or was the last time I was there) - we had to basically sit facing upstream on a falling tide using the engine to keep us in position and at the same time ensuring that we kept away from the mud as the water level dropped. I think we were out there for about 20 minutes....

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1 hour ago, StephenA said:

It's pretty grim at Selby (or was the last time I was there) - we had to basically sit facing upstream on a falling tide using the engine to keep us in position and at the same time ensuring that we kept away from the mud as the water level dropped. I think we were out there for about 20 minutes....

Neither location is nice to be " Locked out " far more can go wrong on the river especialy with large floating debri around than can go wrong at the top of the locks at each of those locations. I will agree with you that whilst not wanting to be hanging around at either location Selby has to be the worse of the two.

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1 hour ago, Profzarkov said:

Thanks again for all the replies.

What's Newark like to moor in? Is it easy to stay for a week say?

 

There are pontoon moorings outside the CRT offices with power hook up but have a reputation for overstayers. There are other options but you need to climb up the wall. We opted to stay in Kings Marina.

Newark a lovely town. Shopping wise there is a Waitrose at the back of the CRT office and an Aldi just down river on the other side. The castle is worth a visit as Ks the Town Hall.

Edited by pearley
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4 hours ago, Profzarkov said:

Thanks again for all the replies.

What's Newark like to moor in? Is it easy to stay for a week say?

and prior to that said :-

I'm guessing that the trip Cromwell to Torksey is no great shakes and can be done regardless of tides.

I was just looking for some guidance on the optimum time, so that we spend the shortest time on the tidal bit and don't waste fuel or risk going aground!

We might not bother now and maybe just head for Newark.

If, after spending some time in Newark you felt like reverting, at least partially, to your original plan, then you do have the option of a few days pottering about between, say, Cromwell and Gainsborough and so getting to know the river and it's tides. Contrary to what seems to be the commonly held belief that boating on the tidal Trent is only to be regarded as necessary evil just to get you from the non-tidal rivers and canals of the Midlands to the broad Northern canals, but is otherwise to be avoided at all costs, the Trent between Cromwell and Knaith does not have the high flood banks that hem you in further downriver, and passes through some quite pleasant countryside.

If you do like the idea of spending some time on and exploring the stretch between Cromwell and Gainsborough, then the tides are getting smaller through next week with the smallest Neap expected in the early hours of next Friday (5 May) morning, so you could not have better conditions in which to do so. There are floating pontoons for pleasure craft at Dunham, Torksey and Gainsborough where you can spend the night moored safely, and these days, sadly, no commercial traffic for you to worry about. 

Edited by PhilAtterley
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3 hours ago, Profzarkov said:

Thanks Pearley

We have a dog, big chap so a high wall is a no go.

We will try the CRT place but wanted to spend a week there.

Any CAMRA folk around to guide us to the best pubs.??

 

Cheers

I'd recommend "just beer" micropub and "the flying circus" for pubs....both near the river. There's also a bottle shop that I can't remember the name of. 

Good luck with a mooring on the Cart  pontoon....think most of the boats are welded to it despite it being a 48hr mooring right next to the CRT office.

i think all the other moorings involve a lift off a typical narrowboat. You might get a temporary (paid for) mooring in the marina  

 

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13 minutes ago, frangar said:

I'd recommend "just beer" micropub and "the flying circus" for pubs....both near the river. There's also a bottle shop that I can't remember the name of. 

Good luck with a mooring on the Cart  pontoon....think most of the boats are welded to it despite it being a 48hr mooring right next to the CRT office.

i think all the other moorings involve a lift off a typical narrowboat. You might get a temporary (paid for) mooring in the marina  

 

We moored opposite the castle, and the roof of the boat was level with the ground.  We tied up in such a way that a ladder was next to the front deck and the stern.

IMG_2065.JPG

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Thanks for that, looks ideal. Unfortunately we do have a biggish dog:

And it proves difficult to get him on and off. We'll have a look see. Be nice to stay for a whole week.

Nottingham also does very little to welcome boaters, yes it has the 48 hr mooring but like you say it always has boats glued to it. Further down there are rings but it gets more dodgy and it has shallow bits near the path. At the very centre opposite the Fellows, Clayton wharf there are bollards but no facilities! Big sign saying Welcome to Castle Wharf but this is an expensive CRT sign for pedestrians. The facilities at the meadow lane lock are still out of action.

Luckily and rather oddly nearly all the big locks on Trent seem to have facilities toilets and showers! More than the whole of the T&M. I guess it's a history thing with working boats stopping at locks.

Very windy today, gust > 35 mph so will stay put and have a roast lunch in the Unicorn!

off tomorrow, pump out at Fardon, maybe.

IMG_0162.JPG

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Re Newark... we stayed at the marina overnight last year. We would have stayed in the town but there were no moorings suitable for the dog due to the high walls and as others mentioned, the pontoons were full of boats that looked like they rarely went anywhere. The marina is fine. Gated for safety and there are washing machines you can use too. Dog walks nearby.

 

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Wind seems to be not so bad but we're staying put and having lunch in the Unicorn.

Will look at Fardon on our way past. We're trying not to hurtle everywhere as if we are on some itinerary! Monday to Friday in Newark sounds good, leave Friday or Saturday to do the stretch to Torksey on the neap ebb.

Fardon are open tomorrow so will call in for a pump out, lighten the load for the tidal bit!

Had a neighbour here in Ocean Mist, a Broom 455 (£600k?) with 4 - 5 foot draught and he's benn down there at low water.

So fears being allayed. It is different when it's your home.

Thanks for all the help, so far.

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On 4/26/2017 at 06:55, adam1uk said:

Follow the chart, not someone else.  It was the guy in front of us, supposedly with 35 years of Trent experience, who ran aground.  I was glad I'd made my own decision and moved over a bit.

VHF is very useful on the Trent too.  You can radio each lock as you approach -- I did it when about a mile away -- and find out what the situation is.  By the time you get there, the lock will likely be ready for you.  It also means you know if you're likely to meet a big white plastic boat coming out of the lock as you approach.

We followed the chart and ended up on the shoal just after Torksey. The Sissons chart showed a red line on where to go, but on this chart showed a red line to go to starboard on the one page and on the other page go to port. Fortunately no damage was done and i got to to have a good look at the hull. After contacting a Mr Took who issued the chart i was informed that the new charts will have photographs as well as the line to take. This chart was bought at Newark marina and should now be replenished with the new ones. Some good came out of it as the couple living in one of the houses just beyond the ruins who tried to help us invited us to dinner on our return a few years later and we have kept in contact since. 

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