I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Monday 18th June

We are now back on Mary H as Mr. and Mrs. Gifford-Hull :-) The wedding was fantastic, our Italian honeymoon was perfect and the family party in Devon was lovely. Now it is time to get back to our alternative “way of life” and continue on our travels on the canals of the United Kingdom!

We arrived back in Newark on Friday and spent the weekend getting ourselves ready for our trip. I have a cousin (Stephen) and his wife (Anne) who live locally so we went over for dinner with them on Saturday evening and stayed the night leaving Millie in charge of the boat! Sunday was pretty hectic with me racing around Newark trying to get the last minute things while we still had the car. We took the car to Stephen and Anne’s in the afternoon as they are very kindly looking after it for a while – I think until we get to Skipton. They took us back to the marina and then we were on our own – no car!! It’s always a strange feeling when the car goes but I soon get used to it.

Today we had to go onto the tidal River Trent so had to leave the marina at 8.30am to make sure we caught the tide. We arrived at the first lock before the Lock Keeper so I had to operate it. At Cromwell Lock (where the Trent becomes tidal) we shared the lock with three other boats – the Lock Keeper he hadn’t seen so many people in his lock this year!

We passed High Marnham Power Station which is a former coal-fired power station, currently undergoing demolition. It was the most southerly of three power stations which lined the River Trent, the others being West Burton and Cottam. The station was opened in 1959 and closed in 2003 after nearly 45 years in operation, with a loss of 119 jobs. The station's chimneys were demolished on 15th December 2004, its 150 feet high boiler house went on 5th October 2006 but the five cooling towers still stand – which do look quite odd with nothing around them except for sheep. On doing more research on the internet I discovered that plans were put forward by E.ON in 2009 to build a new gas-fired powered station on the site with a capacity to power two million homes. If planning permission is granted, the new plant could be operational by 2018 and would play a key role in helping to keep the UK’s lights on at a time when new power stations are urgently needed.

At Torksey Junction we turned off the Trent and onto the Fossdyke Navigation – or at least we wanted to turn off! When we got there we saw a BW barge right across the entrance and weren’t too sure if the Fossdyke was actually open or not. Suddenly the barge started to move and we were able to get through. It looked as if it had been lunchtime and they were all sunning themselves on deck and not paying attention! We went through the lock, onto the canal and moored up at the visitors moorings.

The Fossdyke is reckoned to be the oldest canal in England that is still in use. It is usually thought to have been built around 120 AD by the Romans, but there is no consensus among authors. It was refurbished in 1121, during the reign of King Henry I, and responsibility for its maintenance was transferred to the city of Lincoln by King James I. Improvements made in 1671 included a navigable sluice or lock at Torksey, and warehousing and wharves were built at Brayford Pool in the centre of Lincoln. Unlike many waterways, the Fossdyke never closed, and continued to carry grain traffic until 1972.

We had a quiet afternoon and then went for a nice walk in the evening back to the lock and out onto the river
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