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Sunday, June 29, 2008


Just for something different I have made up a short photo album with music attached so click on the video and follow me along the River Trent as we enter the Nottingham canal opposite Nottingham Forest football ground. Passing on the way some nice old canal buildings and reaching Beeston Lock for the last section of the Trent to Sawley and onto the Trent&Mersey canal through Shardlow a proper canal orientated village with many buildings had or still have boat access alongside or between them.
Down through Burton and Alrewas last visited July 28 `06 and July 26 `06 respectively and can be read by clicking on the blog archive on the right.
So hope you enjoy the album which is an experiment as the normal video is not to good from my basic digital camera. Let me know if you like it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Having left Keadby our overnight stop on this 40 plus miles of the tidal R. Trent was Torksey some 26 miles away. The idea of stopping at Torksey is to make use of the tides and our leaving time the following day was a more respectable 10.30am unlike Keadby, cor it felt like the middle of the night, all this info is available from the very knowledgeable lockeepers.
On the trip down the tidal part are hazards that boaters should be aware of these take the form of islands some underwater but not to worry all are well signed and also marked in the Nicholson guides.
Cromwell Lock stands next to the largest weir on the Trent and marks the end of the tidal section but still you are going against the natural flow of the river as it makes its way to the Humber and the North sea. As this second day was only 15 miles to Cromwell we pushed on to Newark for a few days rest.
Managed to get on the pontoon moorings outside the BW offices at Newark. The pontoons had water, electric hook up and lighting, so over the few days there I gave the engine a rest and let the shore power take over using the immersion heater for hot water. My only criticism was no rubbish disposal still just a small niggle and you can just make out 2 carrier bags on the bow so I`m hardly buried in rubbish.
This is the view from `Valerie`, the pub boat on the left was busy at night but far enough away not to be a bother. Left over the bridge brings you into Newark town centre, the 7 arched stone bridge is listed as an ancient monument.
Newark Castle or what`s left of it. What you see is what you get just the river and side walls nothing of the internal structure remains.
An 18thC Trent navigation Co. wharf & warehouse building now a wine bar/bistro the part to the right is now a museum. The museum is very interesting and covers all sorts but one interesting thing i read was that in 1903 4 people in Newark owned cars and i wondered what the figure is 105 yrs on.
It sure was hot the few days we moored at Newark and the people swimming were off the moored cruisers opposite me.
This is a clapper gate many examples of which can be found along the R. Trent. They were installed so that a horse pulling a barge could pass through the gate but livestock could not wander from the field. It`s a double gate opened by pulling towards you and so as you entered from where i`m standing you push open the second gate, both gates would swing shut like clapping your hands the horse carries on and the livestock are in the fields the farmers put them.
This is Averham weir 2 miles south of Newark and it was here that John on NB TUI following behind us had a major engine failure. He had just passed the weir when his engine seized and following a phone call from him both Tina/Andy on `Ytene` and myself quickly turned around to assist him. The worry was with the river flowing towards us he would go over the weir but all was well and i tied his boat alongside mine and towed him to a marina where the bad news was a replacement engine was his best option.
Had an e mail in response to the printing blog from Eric who together with Patsy are touring in an RV in the mountainous regions near San Francisco USA. Eric tells me he was an apprentice compositor for a short time many years ago here in the UK. So a big hello to you both and hope to see you if poss when you return. In fact it would be nice to meet any reader so if you think i`m heading your way you only have to say.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Leaving Selby we re-trace our route back along the Selby canal to travel 41 miles to Keadby where we can access the R. Trent. The journey takes in the R. Aire then turning S/east along the Aire&Calder navigation to Southfield Jct where we turn into the New Jct. Canal one of the last canals to be built and completely straight for 6 miles. This will bring us to the Sth Yorkshire Navigations and the Stainforth & Keadby canal into our destination of Keadby.

Above and below one of key operated lift bridges and from the 2 different views can be seen just how big they are. In the top pic i am taking `Valerie` through and to the left is the grassed edge of the original bridge and i would guess the larger bridge now in use was the result of road widening and so has to span a wider part of the navigation. It can be seen clearer in the lower pic with the bow of `Tui` just passing the original bridge gap.

Below the only freighter we met while cruising, this one was coming from Goole along the Aire&Calder.

Above & below is the Vazon sliding railway bridge built in 1915 and said to be 1 of only 3 in Europe. Winches slide the bridge complete with rail track sideways to allow boats through. We waited about 15 mins till the signal box operator had a gap in rail traffic but worth the wait to see a wonder of the canal system in operation.
The following picture shows Keadby lock taken with my back to the R. Trent. Take note boaters the post office/stores has moved from the location in the First Mate guide it is now in the opposite direction just past the chippie.

Above i`m sitting in Keadby lock with Tina/Andy for our 6.30am, yes 6.30am the tide waits for no one even boaters to exit onto the Trent. Below i am coming out (Tina pic) and that ship will have to wait even if he is a little bit bigger than me, ok you guessed it`s actually moored and discharging a cargo of timber.
So safely out and turning south the river has a bit of mist hanging over it and the first sight is
keadby road and rail bridge. This bridge was built in 1916 and when it was operating the tank seen to the far left curving upwards would be pumped full of water causing the bridge to raise and allow shipping through.
I`ll just leave you with this Perch that took a fancy to nibbling the weed around my rudder one evening while moored.

Friday, June 13, 2008


When in York and again in a small museum somewhere along the way i came across a section on printing in the past and it brought back memories from 44 yrs ago. At the tender age of 16 i was an apprentice at a printers in NW London as a compositor and in the picture below you can see racks with the trays of typefaces , the second pic shows the tray, and my job was to compose using the stick shown in the 3rd picture .
Each letter would be placed in the composing stick and then pieces of lead strips of various thicknesses would space each line of type to make a business card or letterhead , wood strips would be placed each side of the composed typeface and then it was clamped in a metal frame using i believe quoins to hold it all in place.
The frame would fit into the printing press and i would on some machines feed paper or card by hand and print off perhaps 50/100 cards or letterheads. On longer print runs I would use an automatic machine , the name Heidelberg comes to mind but if any blog reader has any print memories let me know.
I enjoyed this life for 2 yrs but could not get used to being shut inside all day long and the rest of my working life was spent in jobs where I was out and about seeing different scenes and meeting people as in bus driving, milkman etc and finally 20 yrs working self employed driving a van doing 80/100 deliveries meeting people and taking a break as i wanted.
Maybe that`s what i like about life on a boat, new places, meeting people and not being in the same place day after day.
Anyway not anything to do with boating but as you good people have told me it`s my blog and so i thought i would share a reminder of my past.
A print shop display in a museum showing racks containing trays of typefaces of all sizes and styles and in the centre an old printing press,
Close up of the tray, this one is displayed wrong way round, the top edge would be closest to you when composing.
The comp stick as it was called.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Having been in York from Mon-Fri we left and spent the night on the moorings at Naburn lock to await our booked passage onto the tidal Ouse back to Selby. Below Tina has taken a picture from her position at the front of the lock where 3 narrowboats are abreast of each other and as you

can see i am with another plus a cruiser. You may remember I mentioned before the lock at Selby only takes 2 narrowboats at a time so there will be a queue when we all arrive.
Several cruisers were due to leave after we all left Naburn but they are capable of cutting through the tide more efficiently than a narrowboat so will overtake us on the 2/3 hour journey and clear Selby lock ahead of us.
On the way a sharp eye is needed to avoid floating debris like the large tree trunk below and also

to be aware of the cruisers catching up and wanting to pass. Also being a w`end a large number of cruisers were out heading for Naburn lock that seems to be a regular gathering point as the

w`end before we went into York Naburn was busy with cruisers holding a barby on the lock island. In the picture above can be seen some of about 20 cruisers we passed on there way to Naburn and below the cruisers who left after us are passing under Cawood swing bridge that has been opened for some of the very tall cruisers. This point of the journey is about halfway so I am hoping they will all have entered Selby by the time I get there.
I know I keep on about Selby only taking 2 boats but to be honest it`s the only part of the journey I`m worried about the thought of having to turn against the current and sit out in the river waiting my turn and then making the sharp left turn into the lock with the current trying to push the boat off course, maybe i`ll keep going but then again that means Trent Falls getting swept down the Humber out into the North sea. Guuulp!

So the decision was to go in at Selby as the North sea can be a bit cold and in the picture below taken by Tina from the lock side i have made the turn and I am sitting holding the boat against the flow waiting for the lockeeper to open the gates, another narrowboat is doing the same behind me just out of picture. On the lockeepers signal i edged forward and across stream keeping the bow to the right of the lock and at what i thought was the right moment pushed the tiller over with a little acceleration and the flow brought the bow nicely into the centre of the entrance and in I went without touching the lock walls. Sadly you`ll have to take my word for it as Tina`s camera batteries faded at my moment of glory.

So folks I`ve not been swept out to the north sea and the blog goes on.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


It`s been 5yrs since I last visited York by train but this time arriving in York on water instead of rails was so much better.
All the following pictures are just a small sample of the many places to see and visit in this fine city and were within a 10min walk from the Museum Gardens moorings run by York council on a 48hr max stay. When I phoned the relevant council dept. about the 48hr being too short a time to visit the many attractions i was told the moorings were not policed, welcome to York, enjoy your stay. A bit different to the replies i got when phoning my local council when i lived on the land. Well done York council. So if you stay a little over the 48hrs.........enjoy!

Well i suppose the first picture had to be the famous York Minster 250yrs (1220-1472) in the building with it`s central tower 197` high. The religious aspect of the Minster does nothing for me personally but the stonework both inside and out has to be admired and the many magnificent stained glass windows all this work with the minimum of tools.......breathtaking.
My £8 concessions ticket gave me access not only to the minster itself but the Undercroft, Treasury&Crypt and the Tower, still puffing now following the climb.

This is the best picture i could take of the Minster as its close proximity to the streets of York makes it hard to picture the whole building at ground level.

The Great West Window 1338

Above and below shows just part of the inside of the Minster.

Above and below shows Beauty & The Beast, ok it`s Tina and Yours truly on top of the Minster Tower having climbed 275 spiral stone steps to get there.

Above one of the all round views from the Tower.
Above and below the Shambles where in 1872 26 butchers shops were located and a lot of the shops still have the hooks from when the meat was hung outside. Not much in the way of Health & Hygiene laws in those days.

Above the oldest surviving row of houses in York, built 1316 in the churchyard of Holy Trinity that stands to the rear. Below one of the many alleys to be found in York.

Part of the 4 kilometres of city walls that can be walked to get another view of York and below one of the gateways to York some have a portcullis gate in them.

Above Clifford`s Tower once the stronghold of York Castle.
Above and below how could I being a steam train lover not visit York Railway Museum opened in 1975 and contains not only steam engines and Japan`s Bullet train but a warehouse full of railway artifacts saved from stations and lines now closed. I liked the display above where the museum has cut a loco down the middle and numbered each part to correspond with a detailed explanation on the display boards.
Also in the museum can be found Royal Trains with eye level viewing platforms so you can share the luxury our Royals travelled in. The Museum is Free!!! Hi Bill hope you liked the pics, say hello on the comments.

So that`s just a snapshot of what York has to offer. Far to many to picture.
The Castle museum housed in the city`s former prison where Dick Turpin spent his last night before being hanged in 1739.
Ghost walks with a knowledgeable guide to point out and tell about some of the interesting happenings in York past.
Or if your feet won`t stand the walk hop on one of the tour buses where an all day ticket allows you to get on and off as you please.
The Jorvic centre that became established when building of a multi-storey car park revealed a Viking city in layers of mud whilst the foundations where being dug.
The list can be endless so come to York and see for yourselves.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Just a quick blog as promised last time to show the problem of getting a quart into a pint pot. I am standing on the lock and this lot have come down from Naburn lock with the tide in fact youcan see some still arriving from the left of picture. The way it`s done is come down past the lock and turn back against the flow to enter the lock at an angle allowing for the tidal flow as the cruiser nearest to me is doing. All ok but the problem is they won`t all fit in the lock together. The first one is coming in on the signal of the lockeeper and until that one has a rope up to the lock side the one behind is just sitting with enough throttle to counter the tide coming against it, get it right and the boat will just remain stationery. So looking down river you can see the cruisers parked up waiting to move up for their turn and with on average 3 of these cruisers in the lock at a time the last ones to arrive can be out there half an hour or more.
All these 8 or so cruisers managed to enter the lock without hitting the wall, not bad with the tide running fast against you. Well as you know the blog is always behind so how did I do getting in?
Your`ll have to wait and see.
This cruiser had engine problems and a narrowboat from the nearby boatyard had to go out and rescue it. Now these guys are experts so they don`t go past the lock and turn against the tide but turn and come down to the lock sideways. Remember that cruiser is plastic not steele and the way they are breasted up together if they don`t get in perfect that cruiser will end up crushed by the narrowboat against the lock wall.
The narrowboat came sideways gently edging towards the lock until the bow nudged not banged against the lock wall and as the tide moved them to the right it came straight in without touching the lock sides.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs