Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Near Miss at Cromwell Lock - Tuesday 31st May

This morning we reversed out of the moorings in the entrance of the Fossdyke and onto the main river in a very strong wind, thank goodness for the hydraulic bow thrusters which made light work of it. As we set off there were white horses on the waves of the river and the gusts could be felt knocking the boat sideways. Fortunately the wind was behind us for most of the way which helped us make reasonable progress against the outgoing tide. This photo was taken in one of the calmer spots as I did to want to take risks in the full force winds.IMG_7626

After Dunham Toll bridge comes a very tight S bend and there is a wall of sand bags jutting out into the river making it even narrower. I am not sure why they are there but it looks as though it is to deflect the heavy flow away from the bank.IMG_7628

Further on is the impressive Fledborough viaduct with it many arches spreading across the flood plane.


This defunct oil terminal provides a great resting place for the cormorants which were finding it difficult to fly against the strong wind.IMG_7631

One bird that still managed to fly alright was this military Chinook which flew low overhead.


There are several water ski clubs from Torksey to Cromwell although non were out today.


Of course there are still more windmills most of which have been converted into domestic residences and look very attractive.IMG_7636

Buffeted by the strong winds we eventually reached Cromwell Weir which is the largest on the Trent and was the scene of an accident when 10 members of the 131 independent parachute squadron of the Royal Engineers lost their lives whilst taking part in Expedition Trent Chase.


As we arrived at the lock there were two narrow boats exiting the lock so that we able to go straight in and roped up fore and aft to the hanging wires as is normal practice. The lock began to fill normally and then suddenly there was a surge of water from the paddles being opened too quickly and I suspect unevenly which catapulted out boat across the lock into Nb Autumn Years. At the same time they shot forward as they could not hold their ropes. June was controlling our bow rope and was nearly pulled out of the boat into the lock. Fortunately the cratch cover saved her but was torn beyond repair in doing so. This was a terrifying experience for June and it took her the rest of the day to get over it. In all our years of boating we have never had such an experience particularly when under the control of a professional lock keeper. They are normally so careful and safety conscious when narrow boats are in river locks to ensure such incidents don’t happen. The Lockie was unapologetic and just dismissed our protests saying he had only opened the paddles half way. IMG_7641

We motored on to Newark and through Nether Lock where a Volunteer was on duty and who operated the lock correctly so that we went through in a safe and secure manner without the slightest problem.

Initially we had to moor up to the high wall opposite the Castle but the girls found it difficult to climb up the ladders as they were not where we needed them to be to get off the boat. Graham and I walked back to the Pontoon Moorings and had a chat to two narrow boat owners and asked if they could move up slightly so that we could get one boat in and then breast up with the other. They were very helpful and moved up even helping us to moor. A big thank you to them both.

Later we went out for a nice meal with Graham and Carolann and their grandson Sam and his girlfriend Hanna. It was a great night and good to meet Sam and Hanna at last.


  1. Oh dear that was a scary experience, hope it doesn't spoil your memories of the lovely river Trent. You must go back and explore the Chesterfield and Fosdyke and Witham, both are well worth a trip.

  2. Hi Ian and Karen
    If we had more time we would have loved to explore the areas you suggest so next time we will have to come down the Trent and explore them first. Should have bought the boat years ago.