Sunday, 11 September 2016

East Mids Exploration: Day 11

A fantastic day's boating today in really nice sunshine. We had a quiet night on the Nottingham moorings and set off at about 8.15 -- exactly the same time as the boat moored in front of us, called The Sergents' Mess. We were to end up sharing all seven locks today. The first of them was just a few minutes away, Castle Lock, and shallow at just 4ft 6in.

After passing some impressive new buildings, the canal takes a right angle turn, before arriving at Meadow Lane Lock, which takes you down onto the Trent. Our companions moored up briefly below for breakfast, while we turned right to go under Trent Bridge, and have a look at County Hall.

We did a U-turn and began our journey downstream. As we approached Holme Lock the traffic lights changed from red to green and we could go straight in. We'd seen that The Sergents' Mess was a little way behind us, so told the lock keeper, who waited for them. The lock is big, and quite deep.

At each lock the lights changed for us, the gates opened, and we could go straight in. All the lock keepers were friendly, and our descents were uneventful. After each lock, the river seemed to change character: sometimes with wooded sections, sometimes with cliffs on one side, and sometimes with lovely big skies.

We passed a whole range of different boats during the day, from a big trip boat near Newark, to cabin cruisers, rowers, and sailors.

There are a few settlements along the river. Fiskerton is one of the prettiest.

We had lunch on the move, as we passed Staythorpe power station.

At Newark Lock, we had to wait for a big plastic boat coming up.

I asked the lock keeper on our side of the lock if she happened to know how busy the moorings were. She said the boat that had just come up had said the pontoon after the bridge was busy, but the wall opposite the castle was clear. So we moored on the wall -- the land is the same height as our roof, but we are positioned with a ladder at the well deck and the stern; we have a fantastic view from the side hatch, but looking back from the bridge we look tiny!

We went for a walk round Newark, which being Sunday afternoon was mostly closed. But it does have so,e impressive buildings around the market square, and we had a choice of cafes for tea and coffee.

We walked back to the river, and diverted to have a look at the pontoon mooring. Our companions from today had got a space, but the outlook isn't anything like as impressive as where we are. We then walked along the opposite side of the river, below the castle and bumped into the sailors we'd passed earlier, who'd stopped for tea. We then cross the lock and returned to the boat. There's a blues festival in the castle ground this afternoon, so we've had a musical accompaniment, but it's all due to finish by 6pm.

24 miles, 7 locks. (163 miles, 111 locks)


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