After a peaceful night just by the railway bridge – I always knew living for several years near a busy railway line must have some advantages – we were rudely awakened by someone who obviously thinks that because he’s on a river that he longer needs to slow down.. When I got up to cast off the two mooring pins which were 3/4 hammered into the ground were both so loose that I could remove them without even trying.
Cranfleet Lock No 3 is one of those locks that if you could you’d take it out and shoot it. The gates are heavy and don’t seem to be well balanced, the bottom paddles are a complete pain and why is the bottom gate walk way so damned narrow? For such a deep lock it really needs a wide bottom walk way – unless forcing you to keep walking to the top gates and back is some secret forced exercise plan.
The next lock ( Beeston Lock No 4 ) isn’t much better – the lock itself is easier to work but there is a permanently open bypass valve which dumps its water back into the canal right under the lock moorings, and that along with the fact that you have to leave one paddle at each end open all the time means that there is a lot of water washing round and trying to push you away from the lock landing and over onto the sanitary station moorings.
But once you’ve picked your crew up it’s a pretty easy ride – there are lots of visitor moorings before you get to the grimness that is the “Boots Estate”. Once the home to Boots the Chemists most of the site is now derelict although there did seem to be some activity going on and towards the far end of the site there were new office developments, and in many ways the approach to Castle Lock is a lot better than it used to be although it’s still a little grim round Chain Lane Bridge. There are some good moorings just beforeCastle Boulevard Footbridge and a very handy, and large, Sainsbury’s which includes a pharmacy.
Last time we were at Castle lock there was a local football derby about to start and the side of the lock which doubles as the pub beer garden was full of rather rowdy, slightly pissed, but not really dangerous football fans. Although their behaviour might have been different it if hadn’t been for the two police officers. This time the beer garden was deserted and the only accompaniment to the sound of the water in the lock was from the Pub’s juke box which has speakers bolted to the top of the wall.
Below Castle lock, and indeed the whole run down to
Meadow Lane Lock, used to be pretty grim but now all the derelict buildings have gone and there are new offices and new apartment blocks (some standing empty) and the towpath is well maintained and used by a lot of people including people out for lunch time runs from work. Gone is the security fencing by the lock and the whole place is bright and open and much much nicer than it was when we first came through here.
It was good to see some commercial traffic on the river – OK it was only restaurant boats but we saw two of them before we got to Holme Lock No 5 and the lockie there said that some times they go through the lock, but luckily this time they decided not to. The white water canoe facility parallel to the lock seemed to be full use with a lot of water being run through it.
The Trent, like the Severn, really is primarily seen as a way of getting from A to B but unlike the Severn the Trent has much lower banks and there just seems to be “connection” between the river and the surrounding communities – be that villages coming up to the river edge or large open public areas with people sitting and watching the world go by.
So it was a pleasant afternoon down to Hazelford Lock No 8 where we had to wait for the lockie as someone had forgotten to tell him we were coming. We got through the lock but he advised us not to go and stop in Newark as it can be “a bit noisy” and there were a lot of boats coming up to Nottingham for a festival so moorings would be limited.
We decided to push on to Farndon Ferry and try the public moorings there…. ha ha ha!
Nicholson’s makes a big thing about how C&RT (and BW before them) have done a lot to make the river more visitor friendly – well maybe they have but it’s still pretty bad. There is 100 foot of public mooring between Hazelford Lock and Newark Town Lock – and 50 foot of that is taken up by a permanent mooring for a charity trip boat.
They have also made the locks operable by boaters out of opening hours (which might be 09:30 to 18:00 [Nicholson’s] or they might be sometime round about 9am to 17:30 (last penning at 17:15) [personal experience] but you need to understand that it still means you having to climb onto the roof of your boat and then get onto the bank..
So we pulled onto Fardon Marina moorings and stayed there for the night (overnight mooring is permitted but it costs).
Oh, and blame Nick for the terrible title!