We planned to go as far as Worksop on this trip, but as we have learnt, waterways plans are very fluid. Beautiful though this area is, it’s a slow canal. The centre channel is narrow and the banks shallow which means our average speed 1.5mph and makes grounding was an occupational hazard if we had to pass an oncoming boat. Several times we came across boats mooring directly opposite winding holes which just created an extra difficulty. Consequently because of our family commitments we decided to call it a day and wind at Retford. Still, it gave my brother a taste of our life with a few days gentle cruising before we took advantage of the mooring at the Retford and Worksop Boat club.
Retford itself provided us with a decent bank with rings, supermarket. It’s an old market town that is mentioned in the doomsday book. There’s a strong continental influence in the architecture as the flat landscape required drainage ditches to manage the flooding, and who better to advise than the Dutch.
And the town centrepiece is the Sebastopol cannon brought over from the Crimean war. I’m not quite sure why.
We did wonder if it was significant that the bank was right next door to the police station
The Chesterfield Canal trust has been restoring The 46 miles of this old canal since 1989, however housing estates and railways have somewhat hindered progress and there is still 9 miles to rebuild in order to join up with the prestigious waterside developement in Chesterfield town, itself. The goal is to complete the work by 2027 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of its original completion. I hope we’ll still be boating in 8 years to enjoy this exceptionally beautiful canal all the way.