Space Dust. 21st April

Birstall Lock to Kilby Bridge

P1020241smWith quite a bit to do today the alarm was set and we refrained from our customary cuppa in bed before getting up. It still took us a while before we were ready to push off at 8.20am. First lock of many was Birstall, this lock was closed for maintenance this winter, apart from quite a bit of orange spray paint about the place it was hard to tell what had been done that took so long. Looking back over our stoppage notices they had found a void under the lock that needed grouting, no wonder we couldn’t see what they’d done, it was all under water.

P1020244smThe locks would keep us busy today as there are few pounds over a mile long.The river sections are bendy and we were glad that we’d started early as the number of kids playing at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre meant that there would be plenty of canoes out later on. Here we got a very warm welcome from the kids waving and shouting “Hello!”, wishing us a nice day, they’d catch us up. But the most unusual comment was “I hope you have a nice dinner!” Hopefully we will.

P1020255smBelgrave Lock is where Canalplan had us mooring last night on our original plan. It is a shallow lock with a wide weir and a view towards the National Space Centre which looks like a giant inflatable. On first viewing it seems like a pleasant place to be. However a recent fire by one of the top beams and the amount of graffiti on the edging to the new towpath suggested that we’d made a good choice of staying one lock further back.

P1020267smP1020289smP1020269smThe river now flows through an old industrialised area. The old Wolsey Factory has been demolished apart from one of it’s chimneys and the water tower. A scheme to build houses and apartments incorporating the landmarks was given conditional planning permission last year. If you want to see what the sight was like before demolition here is a link. Other old factories have been refurbished and are most probably offices and apartments. This stretch must get a lot of silt dumped in it from the river as it is usually quite black and bubbly. As Mick jumped off to set Limekiln Lock the noise was almost deafening, it sounded like I’d just put a whole packet of Space Dust (popping candy) into my mouth. I was reminded of kids in the 80’s saying that if you ate too much Space Dust it would give you brain damage, certainly the smell coming off the river could do you some damage.


P1020295smP1020302smThe river to the north of Leicester has an abundance of graffiti. Much is your bog standard tags, you really would think some of them would have perfected it by now and not have to keep practicing it on every facet of walls, or they would simply have got bored with it, but no. Then around Frog Island there are large walls where the graffiti are works of art. Leicester has given permission for several walls around the city to be legally painted on. Short Street is a whole (short) street were anyone can come and leave their mark, the general idea is that you have to better what you are painting over. Certainly the ones by Lock 42 would be hard to beat. Apparently graffiti artists from around the country come to Leicester to make and leave their mark legally.

P1020306smP1020314smP1020316smHere Mick was offered help by a young lad who had ridden shot gun on his Grans mobility scooter. He was thrilled to be helping and Mick allowed him to open and close the top gate all by himself, it took a bit of doing for such a little chap, but he managed it then jumped back onto the back of the scooter and they sped away.

P1020312smP1020338smP1020351smThere was plenty of room at the moorings in the centre of the city. One boat on the new pontoons and two on the old. The new pontoons look so much more inviting. It was still morning so we carried on and worked our way past the huge weir by Leicester City ground and on up three more locks to Kings Lock. Here we stopped for a bowl of soup each as the day wasn’t that warm. Somehow we didn’t walk back to the tea room to collect some chilled medication though!

P1020363smP1020376smP1020377smIt being still early we decided to carry on to Kilby Bridge the next good mooring. Now that we were off the river and on canals all the way to Crick our life jackets were hung up and the locks took on the familiar look of the Grand Union with a set of steps either side. We’ve broken this journey up before by stopping in Leicester, today the last few locks were just (dare I say it) boring! Mick nearly got another helper at one lock, a bit bigger than his assistant earlier in the day. Good job he wasn’t wearing red. It got chillier and chillier so the stove was lit as soon as we pulled up for the day.

DSCF7114sm16 locks, 11.87 miles, 62 waving kids, 1 unflatable, 1 bonfire, 6 packets of Space Dust, 33 tags, 1 super strong lad, 3 swan near misses, 1 sleeping man, 0 grass cuttings, 0 chilled medication!!! 2 bowls soup, 2 weeks, 1 strawberry nose, 2 strawberry cheeks, 1 fat dog, 2 weeks is up, 3 hanging, 1 bull behind you!, 2 weeks Hello! I’m still here!! 18 inches down, 0  freedom for 2 WEEKS, Did you hear me 2 weeks is up now!!!!

Joa will you please adopt me!

This is a dual post with NB Oleanna’s blog.

In a few days time our cruising blog will only be posted on NB Oleanna’s blog and NB Lillyanne’s blog will only be updated when something significant happens. So if you would like to continue to follow our travels please click to follow Oleanna.


It Always Snows At The Hope and Anchor. 20th April

Zouch Lock to Birstall Lock

An unexpected wet start to the day, the BBC weather app hadn’t mentioned rain! So it was on with the layers to keep dry as we pushed off to gradually climb up the River Soar.

P1020139smP1020140smHeading out of Zouch you pass a lot of small river huts. These are the river equivalent to beach huts at the seaside, only they tend to be that bit bigger and built on stilts for when the river floods. One such hut was being turned into the Russian Doll version with a larger hut being built over and around it, how many more huts were there inside?

P1020152smBishop Meadow Lock was the first of the day on the outskirts of Loughborough. Once up we decided to top up the water tank so pulled over. This tap was slow, not helped by it having a very big leak before it reached the hose connector, so most of what water there was was being sprayed onto the freshly cut grass. A C&RT chap filled his kettle from the leak as we tried to fill our tank. Before we gave up we noticed a number checker walk by, is this the first sighting since Oleanna has been licenced?

P1020165smWe decided to see if the next tap was going to be any better. This is on the side of a pub and as we pulled up Mick had to move on a mum and her offspring who looked like they had settled for the day. This tap was only slightly better so we decided to have lunch as the tank filled.

P1020173smP1020178smP1020180smThere is a long stretch before passing through Pillings Flood Lock and arriving at Barrow-on-Soar. Here there is another deep lock. As we pulled up a wide beam was just finishing coming down so we saved them shutting the gates. We were being followed by some canoeists who pulled their boats out of the water and walked them up to above the lock. By the time we had filled the lock they were putting their boats back into the water just as the gates opened. Canoeists are normally faster than narrowboats as they don’t have to abide by any speed limits, so we expected these four to zoom off into the distance, but no they slowly paddled their way along chatting, certainly not aware of 20 tonnes or so of boat  behind them! Luckily they pulled in soon back where they’d hired them.

P1020202smNow the river seems to get narrower and there are more bends. At times it is hard to know which way the navigation is turning and boats moored off on side channels just confuse you. But looking behind us we could tell we were heading the right way as that view was familiar.

P1020214smP1020216smAt Sileby Lock Mick had two dogs shadowing his every move. We were very glad that the river was behaving itself more than the last time we were here. Last year we ended up mooring above the lock and watching the river rise around us at an alarming rate. The next couple of locks were slow going, leaking bottom gates and they were unpredictable as you filled them

P1020232smA short distance on we passed The Hope and Anchor. We’ve been this way twice before and both times were in June. At that time of year the Hawthorne blossom has just gone past it’s best and is fluttering down into the canal. The water is white and the air filled with snowing petals. Today we had a smaller version of the snow shower, maybe the cut here has trees that blossom all year round so that the air is continuously filled with petals.

P1020237smNot far now to reach todays destination, just one more lock. Two boats were being worked on at the MGM boat builders, both various shades of green. People think that Lillian is bright but I think the bright green upstages her Rapeseed yellow. A few more bends on the narrow river and then the bollards of the moorings at Birstall came into view. They have always been full before, but there was space for two more boats. Our first attempt at mooring was thwarted by lumps under the water. The stern of Oleanna was at least four foot out from the edge so we moved up to try further up and succeeded.

DSCF7114sm8 locks, 14,84 miles, 1 flood lock, 1 left, 1 kettle, 2 water points, 8 babies moved on, 1 bucket of flowers, 2 boats in Amsterdam, 1 calm river, 2nd attempt, 2 Crick moorings sorted, 1 canal Narnia, 1 chocolate deprived boy!

This is a dual post with NB Oleanna’s Blog.

In a few days time our cruising blog will only be posted on NB Oleanna’s blog and NB Lillyanne’s blog will only be updated when something significant happens. So if you would like to continue to follow our travels please click to follow Oleanna.

50 Hours. 19th April

Trent Lock Pontoon to Zouch Lock

P1020067smThe decision of which way to get to Crick was made last night. Over the last couple of years we have done the Trent and Mersey from Sawley a lot of times, whereas we’ve only done the River Soar heading north, never south, so the Soar and the Leicester section of the Grand Union it was. Initially we set off this morning with the aim of getting as far as we could towards Leicester so that on Thursday we could push through the city. We’ve stopped in the centre before but the route in and out are renowned for being troublesome.


We winded leaving one boat on the pontoon and headed downstream to the junction with the Soar. Mick upped the revs so that we didn’t get the opportunity to know the weir. Immediately the feel of the river changed, a slower flow and narrower. Through the first flood lock of the Soar we passed Redhill Marina. We were wanting a bag of coal, but the chandlery didn’t look that inviting so we carried on looping round Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station passing many moored boats. I wondered what Ken would have thought if I’d asked for Oleanna to be painted in leopard print.

P1020102smP1020105smA short distance further was Kegworth Marina which had bags of coal on display. We pulled over and after checking that their advertised price for diesel was correct we filled the tank. This is the cheapest we’ve seen this year if not longer, luckily we had enough cash on board to pay.

P1020110smThrough another flood lock and then we arrived at Kegworth Deep Lock. This is deep (strangely enough) and has been the scene for quite a few boats getting caught on the cil over the years. A sign warns of three sinkings in the last twelve months and suggests using the blue risers. With this in mind I decided to have a go at working the lock and Mick could cling to the rope on Oleanna. I was as careful as I could not to push with my right foot when opening and closing the gates and stayed on the one side of the lock to work it, crossing lock gates can involve big steps on and off them.

P1020114smP1020118smMick brought her in and passed a  rope around a riser only to find that it wasn’t attached at the bottom, so it would be of no help what-so-ever! We passed our long rope around a bollard instead. It took forever for the ground paddle to raise Oleanna up to anywhere near the cil, we got bored and I gently opened a gate paddle. No sign of the friendly fox who reportedly lives near here but there was a Lillian imposter moored above the lock!

P1020131smToday was looking like it would be a long day to reach our goal and Oleanna’s engine had by now reached 49.6 hours, her first service was due at 50. So our plans changed, once up Zouch Lock we pulled over had a leisurely lunch before Mick donned his overalls and bent himself double to get intimate with her engine.

P1020126smI spent the afternoon starting to work on a cover illustration I’ve been asked to do. After a couple of failed attempts I had to resort to finding images of body language on the internet for a bit of reference. When I searched for awkward body language I was quite surprised at the number of images that came up of the Trump Merkel meeting at the White House, my word that was awkward!

DSCF7114sm3 locks, 2 flood locks, 6.08 miles, 1 wind, 1 right, 50 litres, £10 coal, 15 years in the water, 0 survey! 1 broken riser, 1 change of plan, 2 rough sketches, 50 hour service, 1 oil filter, 9 litres oil, 1 wet bum cheek,  1 sore foot, 1 empty yellow tank, 1 toy prison!

This is a dual post with NB Oleanna’s Blog.

Our blogs will be changing, as we now have built our boat and NB Lillyanne will be up for sale in a few weeks. We’ll let you know what is happening once we know.

Restocking. 18th April

Sainsburys, Nottingham to Trent Lock Pontoon

P1010836smThere were still a few things that we wanted to get supplies wise whilst we were in Nottingham. Firstly our new wine cellar was looking very empty, so needed stocking up. Finesse must have known that we tend to buy six boxes of wine at a time as there is the right amount of space under the back steps. Then Mick walked up into the city centre to Whittards to stock up on my morning brew, Afternoon Tea.

IMG_20170418_112755379smOn his way back he popped into Ultimate Outdoors in the next retail park to see what they might have in the way of 20 litre plastic containers. As Finesse have called it our Yellow water tank (wee) is 20 litres and under the bathroom floor. There is a gulper pump to empty this through what looks like a standard pump out fitting. We have an attachment that fits to this with a length of hose on it. So far we have been lucky on our moorings as to where we could empty our Yellow water tank, but not all moorings will have a handy hedge to water! The pump certainly kicks out our yellow water with force so a suitable container to contain it was needed. Ultimate Outdoors came up trumps with a 23 litre black water tank. The only downside is that it would be handy to be able to see how much we produce over a couple of days so that we can gauge when it will need emptying.

P1010842smP1010849smWhilst Mick was out I had a tidy, washed the port side windows and had a tinker with our blogs. NB Oleanna’s blog has had a bit of a make over and I suspect we’ll keep tinkering with it for a while. In a weeks time our cruising blog will only be posted on NB Oleanna’s blog, leaving NB Lillyanne’s blog behind. It will only get updated when anything significant happens to her. The build of NB Oleanna will be moved to a blog specifically to do with the build, which apart from a few snagging bits and bobs, oh and batteries is also complete. So if you would like to continue following our travels please sign up to follow us on the NB Oleanna blog.

P1010855smAfter lunch we pushed off and made our way through Nottingham towards Beeston. The last couple of miles was slow going as we had caught up a boat who seemed to like travelling on tick over, he then somehow managed to slow down even more to pass boats. We don’t travel fast by any means, but his progress was at a snails pace. We pulled in to deal with rubbish before we continued.

Beeston Lock takes you back out onto the Trent and is normally only about a foot difference in water levels. Paddles are left open at both ends to let water flow through Nottingham to keep the pound to Meadow Lock constant.

P1020007smBack out on the river we could speed up. The afternoon was sunny and the Trent calm, a lovely day to be cruising. Properties along the river all seem to be summer houses with moorings. We were disappointed not to have a wave from a lady who has always been in her garden when we’ve passed, but to make up for it there was a toddler behind a large picture window who’s arms must have been falling off with the amount of waving he gave us.

P1020016smA dry dock has been created to house the restoration of a Dunkirk Boat, we did wonder if they had needed planning permission to erect such a large structure on the water.

P1020027smThe river narrows and gets confused shortly before Cranfleet Lock, Mick doesn’t like this stretch, but soon we were by the pontoon ready to set the lock. Cranfleet is quite a deep lock and has windlasses welded onto the paddle mechanisms, the gates have long beams but are still very heavy. Mick went up to set the lock whilst I watched quite large waves going the wrong way on the river. Once in the lock I passed a rope up to Mick who tied Oleanna off to a bollard, then he started to fill the lock very gradually. The paddles on the lock don’t quite do what you expect of them and even though we’ve been through here quite a few times we can never remember which is the best way to do it, or even if we’ve sussed it out yet!

P1020033smSigns along the cut show the proposed location of a viaduct that is proposed when HS2 comes through. The building of it will take quite some doing and the cut won’t be the same. At the end of the cutting we had choices as to which way to continue, to the left and the Soar, straight on to the Trent and Mersey. We went straight on and as there was space on Trent Lock pontoon we pulled in and moored at one of our favourite places. Tomorrow we need to find some coal as the weather forecast is for very chilly nights.

P1020053smDSCF7114sm2 locks, 8.16 miles, 6 boxes of wine, 3 lots of tea, 23 litre container, 2 cheese twists! 2 blogs altered, 1 side clean windows, 1 very slow boat to Beeston, 2 bin bags, 3 boats on lock landings, 1 black cat, 1 space on the outside pontoon.

This is a dual post with NB Oleanna’s Blog.

In a weeks time our cruising blog will only be posted on NB Oleanna’s blog and NB Lillyanne’s blog will only be updated when something significant happens. So if you would like to continue to follow our travels please click to follow Oleanna.

It All Happens at Gunthorpe. 17th April

Gunthorpe Visitor Moorings to Sainsburys Nottingham

Last night Mick popped out to check the ropes before we went to bed, as we were on a river he was actually checking the ropes! Someone from one of the cruisers on the pontoon asked if we had a good torch as someone had gone missing off one of the boats. Mick got our big torch and went out to see what was happening. From inside Oleanna I could see flashing blue lights outside the pub, the gate onto the pontoons was constantly opening and closing. Blimey I thought, had someone gone in!

I went out to see if I could help also, but then realised I hadn’t got a torch and couldn’t see the edge of Oleanna to step off. There was a group of people at the other end of the pontoons, a policeman stood talking into his radio and firemen walking in the direction of the lock. Large beams of light swept across the river. A lady on one of the cruisers hadn’t been able to find her daughter, she was rather pissed and was getting in a panic. Other people had suggested checking through the boat again, but the lady was certain that her daughter had fallen in and been swept away by the current.

Mick soon returned, the daughter had been found, on the toilet, on the boat. At least she was safe and dry!

P1010745smP1010746smThis morning we took even longer to get going so had a bit of cooked breakfast. Strange noises were coming from outside, it sounded like a dog seriously out of breath. So we opened up the hatch to look. There on the pontoon stood a Muscovy Duck bobbing, dancing and wheezing away looking at his reflection in the side of Oleanna. Either he’d taken a fancy to our new boat or he’d taken a fancy to the rather attractive bird that was dancing along with him. He carried on for quite sometime.

We eventually moved off and carried on towards Nottingham. Everyone seemed to be heading in the opposite direction, the breasted up narrowboats and several cruisers had left before us all heading to Newark.

P1010765smOn the next reach of the river we passed Burton Joyce, this is where I came from! Plenty of trees were in blossom through the village and up the hill. The low banks of the river here are very pretty, a gang of lambs were jumping on and off the grassy banks down onto the little beeches.

P1010764smP1010783smStoke Lock soon came into view. We stopped here for a night a couple of years ago and had a lovely walk around the lock. It has a character all to itself. Instead of the horrible blue risers on the lock walls it has large wooden pillars with metal rails attached for your ropes. It is surrounded by woodland with a large variety of trees. This and Hazelford Lock are our favourites.

P1010788smA short distance on and we approached Holme Lock. Here the large weir stretches across the river, it has sluices so that the level of water can be controlled in Nottingham quite easily should the river rise. This lock is deep and we seemed to stand holding onto our ropes for hours as it was gradually filled. The hydroelectric station seems to have been completed as there is now no sign of a building sight. But the island is still waiting to be landscaped and the permanent moorings return to that side of the cut.

P1010802smAbove the lock there is a sailing club and there has always been either sailing or rowing going on along the next reach. But today no-one was out on the water. The trip boats have a new home a bit further out of town with a new building to keep them company. Their old home always looked down at heal, now it looks even worse as all the windows have been smashed.

As we rounded the last bend before Meadow Lock, Trent Bridge came into view and I could hear chanting. A large group of was crossing the bridge heading to Notts County Football Club. A single hander was coming down the lock , Mick helped and let the chap get back on his boat. We were now on our own again, no lock keepers from here until Foxton or Sawley depending on which way we go.

P1010820smChanting followed us all the way up to the sharp left turn. Crowds were making their way to the ground from all over. Two chaps started pointing at us and chanting. At first we couldn’t make out what it was, but then we realised that it was “Rosie and Jim, Rosie and Jim”.

P1010826smAs we approached the left turn a boat shot across in front of us at quite a speed, did they know to turn towards us? They were winding and kindly let us turn the bend first, just as another boat was coming towards us. Gosh an almost traffic jam on the Nottingham and Beeston Canal. The second boat also winded and they both waited for us to go up Castle Lock on our own so that they could share. The moorings by Sainsburys were quite full, but we found a space long enough for Oleanna. I really need to pace out how long she is for future occasions so we know if she’ll fit into tight spots.

P1010831smThis afternoon has been spent in Sainsburys, filling a shopping trolley to almost overflowing and then wheeling it back to the boat. A chicken has been jointed some of which has been frozen for later. Tomorrow we’ll have to return to stock up on wine boxes, they wouldn’t fit in the trolley today!

DSCF7114sm4 locks, 11.37 miles, 1 right, 2 fire engines, 1 police car, 1 teenager on the loo, 1 amorous duck, 1 lady in dark glasses, 0 sharing, 2 day boats, 5000 Portsmouth fans, 0 Rosie and Jims on board Oleanna! 6 ducklings, 1 large shopping trolley, 1 lonely Tilly look alike boat cat, 1 pack citonella candles.

This is a dual post with NB Oleanna’s Blog.

Our blogs will be changing, as we now have built our boat and NB Lillyanne will be up for sale in a few weeks. We’ll let you know what is happening once we know.

Nine and Three Quarters. 16th April

Cromwell Lock to Gunthorpe Visitor Moorings

A slower start for us today after yesterdays major cruise. A top up of water from the tap on the pontoon proved that a stainless steel tank once nearly full makes a booming noise. We now have a water tank gauge but an audible sound prompts you to go and stand by the tap waiting for the over flow to happen.

P1010651smDespite the weather report being for rain the majority of the day with wind we decided to set off and see where we’d get to before we got fed up. The river all the way up to Trent Lock is very familiar to us so we don’t feel the urge to stop and explore. A shopping list of things that Boyes in Newark would almost certainly provide us with will have to wait for Nottingham as shops would be closed today because of Easter.

We pushed off shortly before 11am and worked our way up the river. There were no fishermen lining the banks as we approached Newark. We found this odd for a bank holiday, but it turns out that it is the closed season from 15th March until 15th June.

P1010662smOver the radio we could hear that there were boats on the way from Nether Lock, so Mick radioed ahead as we got to the A1 bridge so that the lock could be made ready for us. Each lock along the Trent is manned for most of the year, so a vhf radio makes it a very easy cruise. The light was on green as we approached so we could go straight in.

Going up these locks it is always best to sit as far back as you can and have both a bow and stern line around the risers as they can normally be quite fierce towards the top gates. We have done these with just a centre line and with me pushing buttons when they haven’t been manned in the winter. We never rush getting ourselves sorted and with a new boat we are taking it slower still, hoping to keep the gunnels looking nice.

The Lockie kept popping out of his little house to look at the top gates, it seemed to take forever for the level to start to rise. But rise it did very slowly. As at all the locks we were asked our name, number and where we were heading to today, they radio ahead to the next lock for you. I’m very glad they didn’t ask me as Oleanna’s number is not embedded in my head yet, but Mick being a boy the number has already been put into his mental filing cabinet where it can be accessed with ease.

P1010666smWe spent three months in Newark winter before last and it feels like coming home. On the banks just above Nether Lock were these little huts, they are new since last year. You can hire them for a weekend to fish from for £50. They come with a 12 volt kettle and a few basic home comforts. Of course they were empty today, a good idea but I can think of better places to sit for the weekend that don’t have two rail lines and the A1 nearby.

P1010682smP1010675smAt Kings Marina it looked quite full and in our old space was the old Marina Supervisor’s boat Camelot. To our great surprise Kiln Pontoon moorings had plenty of space even at the end with electric and the low wall was empty too. Newark had always tended to be really busy, where was everyone?


P1010686smP1010688smTown Lock was ready and we were joined by a tug from Newark Marina called Friar Tuck. He had just been moving an historic Humber Keel down to moor next to the Castle Barge. We were envious of his wonderfully thick ropes that he just hooked over the bollards at either end. Oleanna came with quite narrow ropes, with my impaired grip I find them hard to cling onto. When we get near Braunston we’ll visit the rope shop and replace them with thicker ropes.

P1010691smP1010712smPootling out of the town there was something  missing. Where had Blackbird gone? An old workboat, it hadn’t looked like it would be going very far without some serious work, but it has now vanished. The Cormorants sat as always on top of the poles warning of the big weir and showers came and went. Passing Fiskerton there was space on the pontoon, Naughty Cal was moored right at the end leaving enough space for a narrowboat. Despite the pub being appealing we wanted to get further today so carried on.

P1010727smAt Hazelford Lock we waited for Dutch Barge Anja to catch us up. They had big hooks attached to ropes which they hooked onto the risers and then tied off, leaving them free to do as they wanted as the boat rose in the lock. Last year long pontoons had appeared above the lock, it looked like there was so much mooring that it would never get full. But today it was reaching capacity.

P1010656smDB Anja sped off ahead leaving us to pootle along admiring the trees on the hillside next to the river. Yesterday and today we have started to see a rather attractive bird flying around a bit like a Tern. A hunt on the internet and it turns out that they are Oystercatchers with their orange bills, red eyes and a striking white band across their black wings.

P1010739smNext was THAT LOCK! Even though DB Anja had arrived well ahead of us they were waiting to go up and had taken the lefthand wall. We pulled in along the right wall slowly, I passed the end of my rope around the riser and signalled to Mick that I was ready so that he could do the same. I then looked up at the Lock Keepers hut, it was very familiar. I then looked at the riser, this had to be THE RISER! I took a deep breath and concentrated as we rose. When the gates ahead opened and I’d coiled my rope back up I turned to Mick and held up all 9.75 fingers, they were all still there, THE RISER hadn’t taken any more from me.

By now we were quite cold from the wind so hoped that there would be space on the pontoon moorings above the lock. It was pretty full a couple of narrowboats were breasted up, but there was space for us on the inside. We drifted back into the mooring and tied up for the day. Well ahead of ourselves we’ll be able to get to Nottingham tomorrow and do a big shop at Sainsburys and maybe even go hunting for a few other bits.

IMAG3308smDSCF7114sm4 locks, 18.45 miles, 4.6mph at the same revs as yesterday, 1 lie in, 2 Easter eggs, 1 packet of mini eggs, 3 oystercatchers, 10 showers, 2 centre lines attached, 2 gas bottles attached, 3 hours rising too long, 2 compliments on Oleanna, 1 scraped gunnel, 2 damp pink faced grins.

This is a dual post with NB Oleanna’s Blog.

Our blogs will be changing, as we now have built our boat and NB Lillyanne will be up for sale in a few weeks. We’ll let you know what is happening once we know.

Record Breaking Day. 15th April

Keadby Lock to Cromwell Lock

P1010482smIt’s a good job it’s spring with light mornings as this is helping us to wake before the alarm goes off each morning. Today we needed to be up and ready for the off by 7.30am, we were ready and waiting when the lock light turned green. The Lock Keeper came over to check everyone was okay and where we were all heading to, all three boats were hoping to reach Cromwell today. With an early start and a high tide it would be possible, but we all had the idea that if we’d had enough we could stop at Torksey for the night.

P1010486smOnce the road swing bridge was open we pulled in to one side of the lock, NB Lazy Jayne the other and then NB Anchor Management slotted themselves in between us both. There was lots of chat going on as the water started to be emptied out of the lock. Then shouts from the chap on NB Lazy Jayne, he thought that his rope was caught and his boat was starting to list. Everyone shouted and Mick bipped our very loud horn to alert the Lockie. The paddles were dropped and the boat sat at quite an angle, it wasn’t the rope, but it was hung up on something. Then whatever had held it gave way and the boat righted itself with a jolt. It was a horrible feeling for us, never mind for the couple who owned it! Everyone was okay, no time to have a restorative cuppa, the tide wouldn’t wait.

P1010493smP1010499smNB Anchor Management led the way and we brought up the rear of our flotilla. We’ve been out of Keadby once before back in 2015 when the Trent was a mill pond and we got sunburn, today there’d be no sunburn just windburn. Having said that there were moments where the river was wonderfully calm, but then a bend would take us straight into the wind and white horses faced us. Before the A18 bridge NB Lazy Jayne passed NB Anchor Management then soon after the bridge they waved us past. The last we saw of them was around Owston Ferry.

P1010546smP1010574smOur VHF radio sprung to life as two cruisers came into view ahead, they were informing each other of our presence and both slowed down. Downstream of Gainsborough there isn’t a speed limit so they had both been ‘riding the plane’. Their wake was the biggest we’ve ever encountered, hitting it with the bow of Oleanna had spray coming onto the roof. It was like the end of an episode of Hawaii Five O! It really is a good job I’m not prone to seasickness! As soon as they felt they were at a suitable distance they opened the throttle back up and sped away. Their wake continued for quite sometime, keeping us bouncing around, listening to the prop in the changing water for a good 15 minutes. Then turning round one bend the water calmed down again.

P1010572smAt West Stockwith a cruiser came out from the lock surprising NB Lazy Jayne, both boats slowed down and then the cruiser crossed in front of us and headed towards Keadby. A mile further on and we’d reached the halfway point to Torksey. We’d been told that if we reached Torksey between 11.30 and 12.30 we’d be fine to reach Cromwell, we were well on track. The channel through Gainsborough gets quite narrow, this has the effect of speeding the incoming tide up. Mick checked his speedo ap on his phone, we were doing 9mph. Good job there were no moored boats about!

P1010592smP1010610smApproaching Torksey we decided that we’d continue, NB Lazy Jayne carried on too. From here we kept a closer eye on our Trent charts, sholes, sunken islands hide waiting to catch you out, although with the depth of water we now had we were unlikely to have any problems. One problem we did have was as I opened the hatch to go below, Our second mate had decided to elevate her cruising position and sit on our Nicholsons shelf, it’s a tight squeeze, but the highest feline position in our new inside.

P1010612smAt about 10km to go the tide stopped coming in, it just stopped. Our speed had already dropped, but now we pootled along. With 5km to go I noticed a cruiser behind us, then another. They both sat patiently behind us as the river bends a lot along the last stretch before Cromwell and we’d all end up sharing the lock anyway, so why hurry. The cruiser that pulled in behind us in the lock was Naughty Cal, we knew we’d come across them today as they had come down Torksey Lock at lunchtime. So Mick had a chat as I tried clinging on for dear life at the front of Oleanna. I strongly suspect Cromwell lock has grated off some of the paint on our rubbing strips! Oh well it was going to happen sooner than later.

P1010644smThere was space for us on the inside of the pontoon as well as NB Lazy Jayne. We were all moored up almost a day ahead of schedule by 2.45pm. Today is the furthest we’ve ever travelled by narrowboat in a day, so a record for us. Mick walked to the local shop (A1 service station) for our Saturday paper and some milk, NB Anchor Management was just coming up the lock almost two hours behind us.


2 locks, 44.34 miles, 1 swing, 2 close for comfort, 2ft waves, 7 going that way, 2 slices Tidal Trent Toast, 9 mph, 1 ski jump, 2nd mate being cheeky, 1 blogging boat, 3 cruisers on the outside, 1 thin bow rope, 1 bad grip, 1 sunk yacht, 2 hours behind, 2 racing boats, 2 red wind burnt grinning faces.

This is a dual post with NB Oleanna’s Blog.

Our blogs will be changing, as we now have built our boat and NB Lillyanne will be up for sale in a few weeks. We’ll let you know what is happening once we know.