john cowie

Tips for the Tidal Trent

6 posts in this topic

Hi - looks as if we are heading down the tidal Trent at the beginning of August to reach the Stainforth and Keadby from the midlands canals. It can't be that difficult - it must be a regular trip for many boaters. However, there are things that concern me like: - what's this about navigation lights? vhf radio ?? phoning locks to give notice etc. Is this all serious requirements or can we get away without?

What's this about tides - I think I know what they are, but what's the best one to catch?

It seems that it's a bit more than 40 miles from Cromwell to Keadby. Is it possible to do this in a day? In which case will there be enough water to get into Keadby lock? 

All these questions  - is anyone out there a regular who can tell me what to do?

Cheers - John

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There is a Richlow guide to the Trent written by John Lower which will tell you almost all you need to know.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The tidal Trent needs treating with respect. Inattention, or bad luck can lead to a scary epic.

Nav lights are a requirement. VHF is useful, but I would say not essential these days with improved mobile coverage. I have it. I always take advice from the lock keepers on duty at the tidal locks for times to go. They know their stuff. In a narrowboat I usually do Keadby - Cromwell over two days in either direction as otherwise you'll be against the tide and slow right down for a lot of the trip. Splitting it means most of the trip can be done with the tide helping you. Overnight on the pontoons below Torksey lock.

The Sissons charts are important. There are a couple of spots where the deep channel is not obvious and if water levels are low you can easily go aground. Do that on a falling tide and you are stuck until it rises again. Don't cut corners!

With preparation it is an excellent trip with lots of variety and a feel of a proper adventure. Well woerrth doing.

Make sure your engine can run for hours at full power. This trip seems to show up cooling problems that never appear on canals and other rivers.

Hope this helps,  jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
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Posted (edited) · Report post

Most people split the journey at Torksey. I should also add that the Chesterfield is lovely (if a bit shallow) and well worth an explore.

A couple of links:

* NABO advice  - a bit out of date perhaps

* Chesterfield canal trust advice

* Charts

* and finally a neat diagram that shows how the tides work. You might want to get some Hull tide tables and then you can do your own planning (with the Richlow book which is indeed good).

Below Gainsborough you are within the Humber Port area and you might want to check out the ABP website.  I used a VHF radio (which I think is required by their byelaws) and a depth sounder (which certainly is not!).

Edited by Scholar Gypsy
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I don't think navigation lights are a requirement are they?  Unless you're doing it in the dark, which I guess is extremely unlikely as far as the OP is concerned.

As far as blindly following lockies' advice - after twice being sent out of Keadby for West Stockwith at the wrong time (once too late, once too early), I now do my own research and if it agrees with the lockie, then good, but if it doesn't, then I try to find out why.

Phoning locks - 24 hours notice required at Keadby.   Phone to say you're coming if you're going in to West Stockwith, after checking lock opening times.

No phoning necessary at Torksey, as you can stop overnight below the lock.

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VHF radio isn't mandatory unless you are going past Keadby, but very useful to have. I found it useful for liaising with lock keepers and other boats, and for peace of mind in case I got into difficulties. We didn't have navigation lights and nobody queried it but we travelled in daylight and good visibility.

Braking your journey at Torksey is advisable for the reasons others have mentioned. The moorings there are plentiful and easy to get on to. If time permits I thoroughly recommend exploring the Chesterfield Canal while you're there.

It was my first time on tidal waters but I prepared thoroughly and took heed of the advice from people on here including following the links to other sources of information. As a result I found the experience enjoyable, a little challenging at times, but never scary.

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