Saturday, July 18, 2015

From River Soar to River Trent

With rain forecast for the afternoon, we set out at 8:30 on Tuesday morning in an attempt to get onto the Trent before the rain hit. After Zouch Lock, the river opened out again into a broad expanse of beauty. We had the river to ourselves again as Kantara nipped along at a smart 5 to 6 mph. Only innumerable birds shared the water with us.

At Kegworth Deep Lock (or Kegworth New Lock, the old one lying, filled in, just a few yards away) we met a broadbeam community boat coming up, with an excited crew of young handicapped people enjoying every moment. They left the lock and a small plastic boat came in. A man and his daughter. The man gave the eight year-old his windlass and told her to go up to the lock and wait for him. He drove the boat in, and climbed up the steps with a rope to tie the craft. He had no idea that the girl, wearing flip-flops in which she couldn't walk, tripped and fell, very nearly over the edge of the lock.

I told her to move away from the edge, and she did. Until her dad called her, and she tripped again. And yet again. She was in tears by now. Shocked, I think, by the realisation that she'd nearly pitched into the lock chamber. I suggested this to dad, and remarked on the unsuitability of her footwear. He grunted, ushered her into the boat, and buzzed off. Well, it was the boat that buzzed. He left with it.

A couple of locals, out for a stroll, told us about the vixen which frequents the area, with no fear of humans, and a great desire to be fed by them. They'd seen one woman literally feeding the fox by hand. Another boater, Dave from Lady Christine (a beautiful old, wooden sailing boat) recalled being at the lock once as dusk began to fall. The fox appeared, and followed him at his heel as he moved around, taking the boat down Kegworth. He was really spooked by her, he said. We're hoping we'll see her when we go back up next week.

Below Ratcliffe Lock, we stopped for me to check the engine mountings. The boat had an annoying, unidentified rattle at a particular engine speed. We'd tried every other possibility, we thought. And, fortunately, it wasn't the engine mountings, either. On then to Trent Junction, passing dozens of riverboats making us feel small, 

and on to the Cranfleet Cut which took us onto the River Trent. And it was amazing! The Soar was good, but this was something else again! The river was wide, deep and awesome. Kantara could cruise along at 7 to 8 mph with the current behind her. The smiles on our faces said it all.

Cranfleet Lock

As we approached Beeston Lock onto the Beeston Cut through Nottingham, a small crowd was gathered at one side of the river. Cameras flashed and people cheered and clapped, and we, a little surprised, smiled and waved. The subject of the applause, however, was not our humble selves, but a man who was doing a sponsored swim up the Trent and the Humber in 10 days. Accompanied by three canoeists, he made his way onto dry land, presumably for a scheduled break.

We had lunch just past the lock, then moved on into Nottingham, and found a mooring close to Sainsbury's at The Meadows.

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