The time was set for locking off the Chesterfield at 9am this morning, to catch the tide as it turned to take us down to Keadby.
So no dithering this morning, up and getting Tacet and ourselves ready for the last leg of the Tidal Trent. Into the basin where we filled up with diesel, cleared the prop, hauled out the anchor, and squeezed into life-jackets. It was raining, and we were not looking forward to 2 hours on the river with the rain in our faces, but as we started to go down in the lock, the clouds started to clear a little and the rain stopped, and that’s the way it’s been almost all day, just a couple of little light showers, not bad at all.
Leaving the safety of West Stockwith basin, and out onto the wide falling tide of the Trent.
East Stockwith on the right and West Stockwith on the left, two separate communities, divided by the river.
At one time linked with the passenger ferry crossing, marked by Ferry House on the bank, but no longer.
The River Idle joins the Trent at Stockwith too, it is navigable up to Bawtry, though navigation rights have been lifted and special arrangements including the exchange of money, have to be made before one can do that today.
An old windmill made for a bit of interest too. Other than that a few ducks and the willow lined banks were all we could see.
Till you get to a bend and see the Keadby combined road and rail bridge. It was built in 1916 and had a section that lifted to allow the large river barges with their tall sails to pass through.
Water was pumped into the large counter-balance tank you can see on the right of the bridge, and when the weight of the water was sufficient it would tip to allow the boats through.
When we came this way in June 2011, there were still gravel barges working along here, and scrap metal was being loaded at Gunness Wharf, but I think this trade has stopped now, apparently it is cheaper to move by road.
The empty Gunness Wharf today.
And then the Port of Keadby comes into view, port sounds a bit grand now that no working boats are using it, but the cranes are still there and you can just make out the white building in the centre of the picture where the lock-keeper is keeping a look-out for us, with the lock gates already open waiting for Tacet to turn into. The white painted wall guides the way into the lock as it is hard to see otherwise.
As always a feeling of relief is experienced once into the lock and in the care of the lock-keeper to bring us up to the canal level.
Once up, then there is a swing bridge to negotiate, again operated by the locky, then we were on our way along the Keadby and Stainforth Canal, in Humberside now heading into South Yorkshire.
Just a few minutes away is the sliding railway bridge, which is winched to pull the rails sideways to clear the navigation for boats to get through. Boats have priority over trains here and the bridge is operated from the signal box beside it, the signalman is employed by C&RT not the railway company. Last time we came through we were able to stop and look inside and chat to Ellis, you can read about it here.
No more locks to work today, but quite a few swing or lift bridges, some needed a good push, some were automated, the roads were not busy so I didn't score very highly on the number of cars held up!
Maud’s bridge, just look at those threatening clouds all around,
and at the weed that the warm weather has encouraged to cover the canal.
West Stockwith – Thorne
22.5 miles, 2 locks, 7 bridges