Cruising along to the Chesterfield

Our goal was to get onto the Chesterfield Canal by mid April so we could meet with family and friends. But we don’t do anything quickly and although we could have done Cromwell to West Stockwell in one go, we opted for an overnight stop outside Torksey Lock. We’re usually quite proud of Firecrest and used to gongoozelers asking how long she is -60 foot, but there are times when we get a real inferiority complex. Yes that’s us moored behind that “ocean liner”

Entrance into Torksey Lock

It seems that that the Trent is the place to build your power station, I guess there was a glut of coal and water. I know their days are numbered but I find the cooling towers a wonderful sight.

Cottam Power station

I wonder if they will survive like the old buildings like Torksey Castle

Torksey Castle

And this folly known as “The Chateau” a wealthy Georgian lawyer’s picnic palace

The Chateau

Of course not all the sights we saw along the Trent are to be envied

But we were paying close attention to our Boating Association Trent Maps which highlight the cruising channel so we avoid the shallows, although we could see the deep and shallow areas by looking at the chopiness of the water. And with the wind that was blowing, it was quite choppy at times.

Choppy and shallow water

We’d made good progress from Torksey but had been advised to moor in Gainsborough for a few hours until the tide was in our favour to enter the lock West Stockwith

Arriving at Gainsborough

Scarily high wall, but the Trent has a tidal bore called the Aegir that reaches Gainsborough and can be 1.5m on a high spring tide. I was quite happy to wait in the town as there’s a wool shop called the Wool Loft in the red brick building at the top of the pontoon and they invited me to join their knit and natter group

Visitor mooring at Gainsboroug

We were expecting it to take half an hour down to West Stockwith but once we hit the incoming tide it really slowed us down, we’d been travelling at nearly 6 mph and we felt the water flow change direction it slowed us to just over 3 mph without any movement on the throttle. Another word of thanks to the extremely helpful lock keepers. We’d let Stockwith know we’d left Gainsborough so he was waiting on the lock landing for us and ready to give Eric directions to manoeuvre the boat across the water into the narrow gap. It takes nerves of steel cause the advise is to do it at full throttle and it’s near impossible to see the actual gap . Even so most boats bash the wall, including us.

Entrance to West Stockwith Lock

Once through the lock we were able to moor up in the basin. It’s a lovely small marina basin, we spent 2 nights there, dismantling the anchor and radio and all the river paraphernalia.

Our Journey from Foxton Locks has been 115 miles and 65 locks, we have taken 24 days, at a leisurely pace with time off the boat for family and friends and we still have a few more days in reserve before our next commitment.