Day 62: the tidal Trent

September 6th, 2010

“Keadby’s like the end of the Earth”, people told me. Bleak and desolate, supposedly. Well, it may well be bleak and desolate to them, but they haven’t been to Denver Sluice! I went for a stroll round in the morning – the place has definitely seen better days. There’s a gas-fired power station, a small commercial wharf, another larger wharf that’s closed down, two pubs (one open, one boarded up) and then down the street is a row of houses, a school, a chippy, a workingmen’s club and several garages. At the end is a railway station and the very striking bridge over the Trent that carries both the road and the railway side-by-side. It once had a lifting section (it’s now fixed) that worked by pumping water into a counterweight tank to tip it open.

I trundled back to the boat, dipped the diesel tank and concluded that there was a third of a tank left and this wouldn’t be a problem unless it got really choppy and all the fuel bounced around in the tank and did some more thesis work until lunchtime, when I repaired to the Auld South Yorkshire Inn and had a fine Sunday lunch of roast beef and many kinds of vegetable. Mmm! At 1430 the lock-keeper was finally ready for us, and we locked down into the river. Once on the tideway we made steady progress on the rising tide. The Trent is more interesting than I expected because the villages stand close to the channel and you can see the top halves of buildings over the flood wall. There were no gravel barges or really very much other traffic at all, and when Evening Star turned off at West Stockwith I felt I had the river to myself. I zipped through Gainsborough at what felt like a massive speed, enjoying the refurbished waterfront but noticing that the rowing club was derelict. Just north of there I found another narrowboat behind me, nb Stalwart, and they gradually gained on me until they overtook just before Torksey. We finally arrived about 200m apart at the Torksey moorings to find it almost full. I moored next to Stalwart – the chap on it said “I’d have felt bad about overtaking you and then having the last mooring” and he and his girlfriend mooched off to the pub. I had dinner and joined them later for a pint and the pub quiz…

Day 62: Keadby to Torksey, 28 miles and 1 lock.

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