Monday, 19 June 2017

Keadby and Ghosts Laid

Today's Navigations - Chesterfield Canal, River Trent, Stainforth and Keadby Canal

Another baking hot day and when we awoke there was almost no cloud to be seen. Later on, same haze arrived but that did nothing to dent the temperature.

Possibly the last instalment of the saga of the two swans and Canada goose: Christine was chatting with the people at Clayworth yesterday and was told that the three have been together for several years. The Canada goose takes its turn in sitting on the eggs at nesting time.

We set off with what would normally seem like a short trip but just the two Misterton Locks left us quite drained with the heat!

Before the locks we moored so that Mike could pop to the shops - alas the butcher was closed but, in any case, his pork pie was not top of our best but league table. The Co-Op is the main shop for the village and we did not really need mush beyond the newspaper an some shower gel. If would have been good to find some brie as we had just run out but, alas, their shelf was very bare at the point where the label said it should be.

The road through the village is quite busy with traffic and at one time there were more shops and services but most of these buildings have now found other uses, The grand fronted Methodist Church is still open with a more modern hall alongside.

Not only do we no longer have village blacksmiths, but we wonder whether, if we did, would communities still honour such people anyway?

What as once quite a large village school - complete with splendid clock, not unlike that at Kiverton - now has various other uses although it was not clear how many of them, apart from an active Childrens Centre and Nursery, have survived the ubiquitous cuts.

By noon we arrived at West Stockwith basin where our first task was to contact the diesel and gas man (he took over running the service from CaRT about two years ago). Once we had completed that (which involved turning the boat around 180 degrees at one point so that the front and back were in the correct places - don't ask!) we reversed back out of the basin to the water point, just beyond the entrance bridge. The lock keeper advised us to stay there until it was time to go down onto the river. As we waited a couple of boats came up the lock and onto the canal.

There was plenty of time to empty elsan and drop off a load of rubbish as well as have lunch. By the time all of these had been completed there was not much over an hour to wait! In the meantime, Angie on Rumboogie, together with Ian and another local boater had arrived and tied up opposite as there was no space in the basin itself.

As Mike returned from one of his trips to the service block, the lock keeper told him that there was a problem at Keadby -the heat had expanded the swing bridge just above the lock. the Keadby keeper had had to call our the Fire Brigade to hose it down so that he could close it and open the road to traffic! We would be able to go down river but might have to spend the might in the lock! (there is barely a boat's length between the top gates and the swing bridge)

At the appointed hour both boats made there way across and into the lock. The news was that we were free to go but would have to wait until we arrived at Keadby to find out what was to happen to us tonight!

A little later than planned we were let out to make our trip down to Keadby. With a light breeze picking up as we started and the slight haze, it was a really great trip.

In truth there is not a lot to see as high flood banks mean that we could see little of the flat land alongside, much of which has been drained so that there are frequent pumping stations and outlets for various drains. On both sides there are frequent small hamlets and occasional villages - from the map there is then little immediately away from the river bank.

At first the flow was slack and the floating debris all the more obvious. A couple of items we had to prise small branches from under our bow. We did not workout what this object was or why someone had thrown it into the water.

A couple of former windmills have been converted into houses, the first appeared to be part of a very substantial home.

We had been keeping a listening watch on our VHF (sadly rarely used since Mike did his qualifying course for the tidal Thames, so he was a tad rusty on protocol. No worry as no-one seems to keep to closely to the official practice!) As Rumboogie passed under the motorway bridge, about twenty minutes away from Keadby, we heard them report in. We added our position - it was comforting to know that the system still works despite our lack of practice!

A short distance before we reached reached Keadby Bridge, Christine took over steering, mainly to lay one of our ghosts. With a much less forceful stream it was a chance to understand the flow of water around this bridge and it was no wonder that it proved so challenging under the conditions we experienced five years ago.

Mike took over for the entry into the lock and followed not only the path taken by Rumboogie but also how we approached last time. With the extra engine power we were rather pleased that we made an almost text book approach and entry, hitting neither side of the walls on our way into the lock.

As we came up the lock we had confirmation that we would have to spend the night just above the top gates. The lock keeper, who has several decades of experience here, did not want to risk opening the bridge only to find that he had to call out the fire bridge once again. This has to be probably the strangest overnight mooring we have ever had! Fortunately, Christine had prepared our evening meal whilst waiting at West Stockwith. After chatting to the lock keeper and the people on Rumboogie, time was running way and it was later than usual when we eventually sat  down to eat. at least by now it was a more comfortable temperature for eating.

16.5 Miles - 4 Locks


  1. The item floating in the river is a punch bag. It has been in there for a few months now!

  2. Glad we kept well away . . .

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