Some consideration as to the route of our continuing journey south had been taken. The return in to Selby Lock was a little cause of concern and we had thought that maybe we would continue down the River Ouse to Goole but following phone calls to Associated British Ports and to the Goole Boat Club we decided to come off at Selby. Unless we arrived at exactly the right time at Ocean Lock, before or after high tide there would be substantial charge for locking through and if we had to moor against the pontoon whilst waiting for the right state of tide we would incur additional charges. Also the very helpful chap at the Boat Club pointed out that it was very easy to run aground and on an ebbing tide which would mean having to wait until the tide turned and floated you off, his belated suggestion was that we should have gone to York via Goole as that was a much easier passage for a narrow boat, too late for that now,
The lock keeper at Naburn lock had previously advised us that 1.15pm was the time to lock through so we had plenty of time before leaving York. While we were having a late breakfast a flotilla of large river cruisers arrived and moored up nearby. They had had a difficult passage coming upstream from Goole because of the amount of debris in the river. My immediate reaction was ‘whimpy plastic boat owners’ as when we came upstream whilst the river was still in flood, there was hardy anything in the water, anyway we would soon see for ourselves.
Just over an hour later and having passed under a disused railway bridge which supported a remarkable wire sculpture of a fisherman with a train on the end of his hook we cruised into the cut for Naburn Lock. I almost missed the turn and had to back up a bit, but fortunately there was no sign of the weir. As usual, right on the dot of 1.15 we were in the lock along with a BW work boat, several small river cruisers and one other narrow boat and a few minutes later we were on our way downstream.
Well, those cruiser owners were right, the river was absolutely full of rubbish, from clumps of weed to full size tree trunks, the workboat and cruisers soon left the two narrow boats behind as we weaved our way between the obstructions. For the first hour or so the current was still against us and at one point where the river narrowed it really slowed us down, although I had the engine revs at the fastest that I have ever cruised at 1,800 rpm. Gradually the flow slackened and with hardly any delay it started to flow the other way and our speed past the river banks and the obstructions rapidly quickened. At one point we passed a floating inflated bull and on the bank a herd of cows looked on, possible mourning the loss of ‘big daddy bull’.
As we approached the last turn in the river before Selby, I called the lock keeper on the VHF and was assured that by the time we got there the lock would be ready. I passed under the left hand arches of the two swing bridges and as the lock came into view I reduced the revs to tick over and keeping to the left side initiated the 180 deg turn. For a moment I thought I might have been able to sweep straight into the lock, but the current continued to swing the stern around and just like last year on the Thames, SKYY slowly started to move back upstream and gradually the bow entered the entrance to the lock and we were in.
Safely tied up in Selby basin we were concerned to hear that the swing bridge at Keadby was broken and unless repaired fairly soon, our only way onto the River Trent would be at Trent Falls which is where the rivers Trent and Ouse meet on their way down the Humber to the North Sea, not a journey that I would willing contemplate. However we decided to stay put for the time being, so there probably won’t be much blogging for a while, but normal blogging service will resume as soon as possible.