Wide, sweeping, with almost no boats but thousands of birds. The weather was excellent. It was a glorious experience.
We met up with NB Treacle while were waiting to go into the huge Holme Lock.
While we were waiting, Grace and I went to investigate the nearby canoe slalom, which looked like great fun. I'd love to have a go at that!
We went down Holme and Stoke Locks, two very small narrowboats in huge chambers. These locks were built for sea-going and river craft much bigger than Kantara, and they're manned, and electrically operated. Did I mention they're big?
We moored at the floating pontoons above Gunthorpe Lock, where we met Dave and Mary from Lady Catherine again, though they set off shortly afterwards. We didn't take offence.
Gunthorpe is a lovely spot, and the mooring was a delight. It's just a simple, floating platform with a locked gate which gives entrance to a village green and a nice-looking pub. The village is nothing special except to those who live there, but it's given status just by being by the lock and weir, and a good place to stop on your river journey.
NB San Fairy Ann (English distortion of the French "ça ne fait rien" - "it doesn't matter") pulled in behind us, and the next morning, we set off together.
As the water level in these big locks falls, there's minimal disturbance of the boats, but it's standard practice nonetheless to have a rope from the boat threaded around a bar which runs vertically down the wall, just to prevent the boat from drifting around. At the next lock, however, Hazleford, the water was far more turbulent - a gate paddle had failed to close apparently - and Sandy from San Fairy Ann had the rope pulled from her grasp. The bow of the boat swung instantly out across the chamber towards Kantara. Dave at the helm released his rope, too, so that when the boat struck Kantara, it was with her entire length and not just the point of the bow. No harm was done at all, but the two of them were very apologetic, and quite shaken.
We sped on (8 mph!) to Newark Town Lock, which we both descended without incident. To my surprise, the Nicholson map at this point has the castle remains and the three sets of moorings on the wrong side of the river.
We both moored against a high wall right opposite the castle, although San Fairy Ann moved on shortly afterwards to a floating pontoon mooring just a few hundred yards away. They needed easier access for a visitor they'd be having on Sunday.
Grace and I explored the town a bit after lunch. We didn't find it to be quite as special as Nicholson reports, but the castle and castle gardens are beautifully done, and we were most impressed by the complete lack of graffiti and litter.
|The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene|