We left Muskam Ferry pub early yesterday morning as were booked to go through Cromwell Lock. After the sweltering heat on Friday, the forecast was for storms but we were lucky and only had a couple of quickly passing showers all day.
We had a bit of a wait at Cromwell while the river level reached optimum depth
but then we packed into the lock with our travelling companions on n.b. Vagabond plus 2 other narrowboats and a yoghurt pot
Cromwell weir is the largest on the Trent. Upstream it has a safety boom plus safety buoys but this is the view as we came out of the lock. It's just a sheer drop of cascading water. I bet it's quite a sight when the river is in flood.
Once we got out of Cromwell Lock we were onto the tidal section of the river. I'd been quite scared as I'd heard some horror stories from other boaters, but as usual they were exaggerated and we didn't have any problems. We had a really good guide book which showed exactly the route we needed to follow to avoid the sand banks which started to appear as the tide dropped and the couple of sunken islands which were below the water level.
Just follow the red line ......simples
As the tide dropped the cows started to paddle in the mud banks
Navigation notes are given by kilometer markers down the river plus landmarks such as fences or gates and derelict gravel wharfs.
Plus the odd landmark you really couldn't miss like Cottam Power Station
It took us 2 and a half hours to do the 16 miles to Torksey Lock
but the water levels weren't right for the yoghurt pot to get over the cill so we had to breast up and wait an hour while the tide started coming back in again. It worked out just right anyway as we had lunch and a walkabout while we waited.
Torksey Lock is a strange shape, narrower by the top gate - that's me in red on the left hanging onto the rope
Now for the tale about my rescue by the lockie
We'd moored on the extensive visitor moorings above the lock and I'm not sure what caused it, maybe hanging onto that rope in the lock, but something made my sore back go into spasm (remember I'd fallen on goose poo on Thursday). Now I've normally got a very high pain threshold but I have NEVER been in such pain. I couldn't sit, stand or lie down and Roger decided I needed hospital treatment. It's never easy when you're in an unknown village and have no car but we decided to walk back to the lock where Roger was going to try and get us a taxi. Half way to the lock there was an almighty thunderstorm and we got soaked. We took refuge in the shower block where a very nice woman suggested we talk to Neil the Lockie who was just about to go off duty to see if he could recommend a local taxi firm.
As he was just about to finish his shift he offered to drive us to the A&E department at Lincoln Hospital which was an absolute god-send. Thanks again Neil, I don't know what we'd have done without you.
The staff at the hospital were wonderful and filled me full of morphine which helped tremendously with the pain. Being Saturday evening we'd anticipated a long wait or even an overnighter but we were seen and back home on the boat 3 hours later. There's no structural damage to my back as such, so they've given me lots of pain killers and muscle relaxants and reckon the spasms will stop over the next few days. This morning it was like a scene in a Carry On movie here. The pills had worn off and the spasm was back and I just couldn't get out of bed. Roger ended up dragging me out by my ankles and me laughing just made it hurt more. Once I was up and about and the drugs had kicked in again I'm not too bad and we continued our journey today to moor in Saxilby along with a few of the other boats coming across The Wash with us next weekend. It certainly won't stop me finishing our Big Summer Adventure, just a shame I'm not allowed alcohol as I've been told this 4C's cruising club are really into "Pimms o'clock"