Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day trip to Cromwell Lock

Friday morning, and we left the mooring, headed for Cromwell Lock, the gateway onto the tidal Trent. We passed San Fairy Ann at her mooring further down the embankment. Did they want to travel with us and share locks? They declined, wanting to spend the day there. We'd see them later, and moor next to them if we could.

On we went then, down through Nether Lock alone, the last lock on the Newark section before getting back onto the Trent proper. And the Trent proper was windy, with a strong current, both of them behind us, so it was another rapid trip. The river was wide again, and quite winding. A fabulous experience.

As we approached Cromwell Lock some hours later, we saw the floating pontoon on which we were wanting to moor. There was plenty of space for us. Which was just as well. The wisdom is that, on a river, you moor pointing upstream. We were pointing downstream as we approached. Grace tried to slow down as we got closer, but the combined forces of wind and water wouldn't let her. Reverse gear had no effect. She did get the boat close enough to the pontoon for me to jump off onto it, however. At which point we both realised that we were going to have to turn Kantara there and then. I wound the bow rope a couple of times around a dolly, halting the advance of the front of the boat. Whereupon the stern continued at high speed and the boat swung around 180 degrees until she finished up alongside the pontoon, facing downstream. I have honestly never before seen any part of the boat travel that fast. It was all over in a matter of seconds. Very exciting! A perfect bow-spring. Almost immediately, a plastic cruiser came and moored behind us. How fortunate it'd not been there when we arrived! We tied up and went in for lunch.

Before returning to Newark, we walked up to see Cromwell Lock and weir. The lock is enormous, and the weir occupies the entire rest of the width of the river. Water rushed over at the rate of thousands of gallons of seconds, yet the river was relatively low that day. The sense of sheer raw power is immense. And the view of the weir from a little further up the river brought to mind the edge of the Disc World in Terry Pratchett's novels.

We took advantage of a drop in the wind to return to Newark, and we did, indeed, moor up next to San Fairy Ann. After shopping at a very convenient Waitrose, and supper, we spent a brilliant evening with Dave and Sandy from the Fairy, with lots of chat and laughter washed down with a fair drop of wine. We got to bed late. A lie in tomorrow, methinks!

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