Summer trip 2015 (1): Fossdyke, Trent and Chesterfield

This is the first of a number of postings covering our summer holiday trip in 2015. Subsequent posts cover:

  • River Witham from Lincoln to Boston, including the Witham Navigable Drains, a visit to the BBMF, and a climb up Boston Stump
  • Wash crossing, from Boston via Wisbech to Peterborough
  • Wisbech to Dog-in-a-Doublet, and then the Middle Level back to Ely

Total 249 miles, 51 locks (50 if you exclude Grand Sluice, as we went through on the level).

Our main summer trip this year started at Burton Waters marina near Lincoln. An early Sunday morning run to Torksey, where we locked out onto the Trent,  60 minutes before High Water, for the run down to Stockwith. There’s lots of information on the Trent – I found the note from the Chesterfield Canal Society and this chart from WW many years ago particularly helpful

See map and log data here. We did about 3.5 kts on the Fossdyke, about 2 kts when we started down river, and 5 kts plus once the tide turned (6.5kts maximum, I think). See the video below to find out if SG hit the wall on the way in at West Stockwith.

We then spent four days on the Chesterfield, which was fantastic – great scenery, lots of wildlife, lots of vegetation on both banks, and some  good moorings. On the downside, it was quite shallow and weedy, I think mainly due to very few boats being on the move (we saw about six).

We didn’t get to the summit at Kiveton Park, as one of the locks near Worksop (#47) was too narrow. This is the first time we have ever got stuck, and rather than try to force our way through I decided to turn around – we only had to reverse through one lock to get to the next winding point.

A gentle run back – Hugh did a long cycle ride and was surprised to find himself in Yorkshire – and a very pleasant stay at Osberton. Then we were back onto the Trent just after the flood, for an easy run back to Torksey. Stopped on the pontoons for 30 minutes to explore Gainsborough, but I don’t think we found the most interesting part of the town. Pushed on through Lincoln (and reports of low water levels between there and Bardney) to moor at Washingborough on the Witham.

Overnight stops:

  • Saturday: Burton Waters marina, Fossdyke, after shopping and Chinese takeaway in Newark
  • Sunday: West Stockwith, Chesterfield Canal
  • Monday: just west of Retford
  • Tuesday: Osberton
  • Wednesday: Retford again
  • Thursday: Gringley-on-the-Hill
  • Friday: Washingborough, River Witham

Captions are above the photographs to which they refer.

Leaving the marina – we have managed not to hit any of the rather expensive plastic.
A very well run and friendly marina – I would recommend it!


Saxilby – the only village on the FosdykeDSCF5699

We didn’t have time to explore this side channel.
The bridge had a number but even so I suspect it is not formally navigableDSCF5702

We must be getting near to the Trent …DSCF5705

Approaching Torksey lockDSCF5708

Boats locking through earlier for Keadby – they waited on the pontoon for a bitDSCF5714

Flood defences at Torksey lockDSCF5716

Into the lockDSCF5719

Since our last visit in 1990, the lock has been extended significantly, with two new sets of gates being added below the road bridge. These ones face inwards, and beyond there are some monster flood doors facing outwards – you can just see the balance beams. Fortunately there were risers to tie up to.DSCF5720

In addition to the other narrow boat we had locked through with, two more had been waiting on the pontoon and set off just ahead of us, bound for Keadby.
We all set off at 1100, 60 mins before HW at Torksey, so we spent
the first 30 minutes or so punching the tide.DSCF5723

Cottam Power station (EDF info here)DSCF5727

Being overtaken by a Dutch barge, also transiting from Torksey to Stockwith. We had to wait a few minutes for the lock to be turned, after they had used it.DSCF5731 DSCF5733

West Sutton B power station (EDF info here)


Gainsborough Railway ViaductDSCF5740

Kerry milling at Gainsborough (some info here and here)


Gainsborough road bridgeDSCF5745

.. with a short video showing the tide

Skipper plus gadgets – 3.6m on the depth sounderDSCF5748

Approaching West StockwithDSCF5749

Drifting with the tide – just about to start the turn (to starboard, as the stream shoud be weaker on the inside of the bend)DSCF5752 DSCF5753 DSCF5754

The entry to West Stockwith – short video

Safely into the lockDSCF5757

Moored up just along from the basin – past a very pleasant and tidy set of residential boats


West Stockwith basin (info here)DSCF5763

Rather fine workshops – still in useDSCF5765

East Stockwith – Hugh cycled through it later in the week (after crossing the river at Keadby)DSCF5767

Pumping station and sluice on the River Idle – the space between this sluice and the next forms a huge lock for the trips down the river. See TNC log hereDSCF5768 DSCF5772

The first of many rather fne churches – St Mary’s West Stockwith (info)DSCF5774

The outer sluice at Stockwith – opened at low water to let the water out of the River Idle.DSCF5775

Chesterfield Canal – new waters for SG.
Approaching Misterton locksDSCF5776 DSCF5777

My first proper canal bridge for over a year …DSCF5778

Removing the chimney – plan A (sledgehammer and crowbars)DSCF5783

Plan B –  hacksaw and then junior hacksawDSCF5785

GringleyDSCF5788 DSCF5790

Drakeholes tunnelDSCF5792 DSCF5794 DSCF5798 DSCF5802

Whitsunday Pie lockDSCF5804

Retford warehousesDSCF5806

A pleasant waterside park – I rather liked RetfordDSCF5807

Retford: the first narrow lock after five broad onesDSCF5808 DSCF5809 DSCF5811 DSCF5813

East Coast Main line  – I have been over that bridge many many times on the way to Doncaster, Leeds, York, Darlington and Newcastle …DSCF5817

Peaceful overnight mooring, just west of the railwayDSCF5820

Approaching Forest locks – this was the section with most weed and least water.
Just one trip down the weed hatch.DSCF5823 DSCF5825 DSCF5829 DSCF5832 DSCF5834

Another boat – of course we met them on a blind bend ..DSCF5840

WorksopDSCF5846 DSCF5850

Straddle warehouse, WorksopDSCF5852 DSCF5854 DSCF5857

Deep lock – No 47. This far and no further …DSCF5858

We reversed back through one lock to this winding hole.
It didn’t look too promising, but in fact there was plenty of waterDSCF5859

Back through  WorksopDSCF5863  Three generations of arched bridges.
Original canal (C18th), railway (C19th), road (C20th)DSCF5871

Osberton Hall (history)DSCF5872DSCF5874

Scofton – a lovely estate village (history)DSCF5875DSCF5879DSCF5842


Another boat – Forest locksDSCF5881

Retford, after a very easy trip to Asda for supplies.
I subsequently found a proper butcher and baker etc in the town.DSCF5888

Clayworth – home of the RWBCDSCF5893 DSCF5894 DSCF5901

I walked up to Clayworth – another church open to the public and some amazing murals dating from 1905DSCF5904

DrakeholesDSCF5908 DSCF5910

Gringley-on-the-Hill: Grandpa Hugh listening to the cricketDSCF5911

Please note that we only overlapped the lock moorings by nine inchesDSCF5912

The view from the Beacon – 82m above sea level (information).
I couldn’t spot Lincoln cathedral.



Back at Stockwith, filling up with dieselDSCF5918 DSCF5921 DSCF5924

GainsboroughDSCF5925 DSCF5926

I wonder what lives in these burrows?DSCF5931

Someone heading downstreamDSCF5939

Back into the Fossdyke – you can see the flood doors here


Now back in Lincoln. The journey continues hereDSCF5949


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