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Tour 2002


2 - West Stockwith to Haxey Gate via Bawtry - Tidal River Trent and River Idle

Wednesday 26th June 2002

Pat, John's wife left that morning as she still had her part time teaching job to do - and anyway we were approaching narrowboating of a slightly more salty flavour. John had managed to drum up some more trade for the River Idle cruise, another pair of Chesterfield narrowboats were going to join us. At 10.25 Frogmoore and Earnest left the moorings to be the first pair locked down onto the Tidal Trent, by Sue the West Stockwith locky. Martin W had been requisitioned as crew by John Chapman. A quick fone check to Barry the Idle sluice keeper confirmed that the outer sluice was up and he was ready for us. High water was around 11.00 At 11.05 we were locked out, with the other pair ready to lock down. Earnest, having the lower air draught  was the first to enter the River Idle cut. 
The road bridge was cleared by a couple of feet, but the outer sluice gate was another matter - only some 3 inches! We were now on a falling tide, so the others would have no trouble. The other three narrowboats soon arrived and the outer sluice started its normal slow descent. The River Idle would be a lower level, so the upper sluice was cranked up to drop the level in the rather large "lock" chamber. The fall was about 3 feet. As we passed through the upper sluice Barry did the time old method of extracting payment from boaters, a string was lowered, for payment to be attached. We did not have an old tin, so instead used one of Neil's (clean) socks! A receipt for the 76 returned the same way. By 11.30 we had all cleared the upper sluice and were heading upstream at a fair pace. 
Mick Sheehnan aboard NB "Samsabode" who had done the River Idle before warned us to get up as far as we could, quickly as the level does vary, even at Bawtry, depending upon whether the Idle sluices were dropping water. The two guest narrowboats went first and Earnest went last. Haxey Gate bridge was passed at 12.00, Neil did a depth probe - 4ft. North Carr Farm Bailey Bridge was passed at 13.00 - depth 6.5ft. The depth came down to about 3.5ft at Misson, but stayed at about 4ft until Bawtry Bridge. 
We arrived at Bawtry Bridge at 14.30, there being somewhat more depth of water than John and Neil had espied a couple of days ago. Neil realized That he would not be winding here and hung back and watched the longer of the two guest narrowboats attempt a wind below the bridge. By this time NB Samsabode had got just above the bridge and had got stuck. The other guest narrowboat then went though the bridge hole, got stuck and hit hand rails on arch of bridge. Neil then took Earnest up to the bridge and although could not wind, blew out a hole for the other three boats to wind in. This they all did - then left Earnest behind as Neil did a valiant bit of reversing back to the previously spotted winding point, some quarter of a mile back. 
We thought by this time (15.30) that the level was beginning to drop. The wind was fairly easy and off shot Earnest to catch up with the others. A tangle of narrowboats greeted us at Misson. John Chapman had got off Frogmoore and had posted a letter through the door of the house (people out), whose end of garden mooring we would be on! Eventually the boats moored up, all in one raft, blocking the river (16.10) Well, we weren't expecting  any other boats on the river. A guy came down to meet us, he was looking after the mooring owners house. He said it was OK to moor there overnight and thanked us for at least asking. That night the whole lot of us went out to the previously checked out "The Angel" pub, which turned out to be OK. The other pub in this, quite posh little village seemed a bit too much of a restaurant type establishment. That night, when we came back, we found that the inner narrowboat was rather up the bank, the level had indeed gone down, just as well we did not want an early start, as hopefully, by the time we wanted to cast off, the level will have gone up again.

Thursday 27th June 2002

Indeed it was a late start (12.05), as we only had to get to Haxey Gate that afternoon. The water level had indeed gone up again. Rather short and uneventful cruise the day, we arrived at Haxey Gate Bridge at 13.30. After a lot of faffing about, Frogmoore moored up to the bank / lower bridge pillar, with Earnest on the outside. The other two boats moored up between the two bridges. That afternoon the rest of the crew went for a walk about, while Neil did some research on new laptops. We ate in that night ( I seem to remember it was one of the much talked about "Beeky Stews"!) Upon arriving at the pub -  "The Gate" we were asked if we wanted to compete in the pub quiz. Fortunately we declined as it was the hardest we have ever come across. Pub seemed OK. The other crews had eaten there and thought it was alright. 

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Having locked out of West Stockwith onto the Tidal River Trent, Earnest makes the turn to the River Idle Sluices. Picture Martin Wilson.

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Earnest makes it under the road bridge and Outer Entrance Sluice of the River Idle. Picture Martin Wilson.

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Looking back at Earnest and the Outer Entrance Sluice of the River Idle. Picture Martin Wilson.

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Upper Entrance Sluice and pumping station. River Idle. Picture Martin Wilson.

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Waiting at the Upper Sluice for the levels to equalise. River Idle. Picture Martin Wilson.

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Frogmoore II and one of the guest narrowboats make it under the Upper Entrance Sluice. River Idle. Picture Martin Wilson.

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Bawtry Bridge, the end for us. Earnest grinds out a winding point for the guest narrowboat that has been under the bridge, but could not wind. Picture Martin Wilson. River Idle.

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The four narrowboats that made the passage onto the River Idle moored up at Misson for the night. River Idle.

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Mick Sheehnan, John Chapman and Neil discuss the days events. Misson. River Idle. Picture Martin Wilson.

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Earnest with Martin Wilson at the helm makes off from Misson. River Idle.

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Bailey Bridge. River Idle.

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Haxey Gate Bridges. River Idle.

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The Gate pub at Haxey Bridge. River Idle.

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Earnest and Frogmoore's moorings at Haxey gate. EA slipway beyond. River Idle.

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The four boats on the River Idle. Haxey Gate. Picture Martin Wilson.

The Tour Continues...

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