The Humber Cruise – Saturday 4th May – Friday 10th May

Humber Cruise – Saturday 4th May – Friday 10th May
On Saturday 4th May, Four Boats set off from Burton Waters to head for a six night cruise around the Humber. Our Own Boat Carlos I, a Merry Fisher 895 (John & Julie Varley), Carpe Diem, a Sealine S28 (Duncan Roberts and Jo Rogers), Destiny, a Sealine S34 (John & Barb Brasiewicz) and Le Bear, a Sealine S42 (Ian & Sharon Cottam).
First port of call was Saxilby for a refreshment pit stop, before continuing up to Torksey where we moored up overnight in order to have an early morning start on Sunday. Unfortunately due to the heavy rainfall in the days before, ‘Le Bear’ was unable to get through the Railway Bridge at Saxilby on Saturday night, but thankfully the levels had subsided just enough to allow for a very tight squeeze through early on Sunday morning.
07.00 Sunday 5th May; All four boats locked through Torksey and started to head downstream on the tidal waters for Keadby Lock. As speed restrictions apply upstream of Gainsborough, we proceeded at a steady pace but once we had gone through Gainsborough we were able to open up the engines and we soon found ourselves approaching Keadby Lock. Keadby is a slightly smaller lock compared to Torksey, but it also has a road swing bridge immediately on the other side, so it took three passes to get all four boats through where we moored for the night on the CRT visitor moorings on the Stainforth to Keadby Canal.
08.00 Monday 6th May; Our original plan was to head out of Keadby on Monday morning at 07.00 in order to have sufficient water to make it to Hull Marina. Unfortunately, despite being told otherwise, we found out that the lock keeper on duty would not start work until 08.00 on Monday, which meant it wouldn’t give us enough time to safely make it to Hull. So, with a change of plan we decided that it would be a good experience to head out at 08.00 and aim for the safe anchorage channel at Trent Falls, drop anchor and wait for the tide to turn before continuing on to Hull. With beautiful weather, I have to say this was one of the most peaceful and tranquil few hours I have ever spent, with not another human voice to be heard, just us and nature. It was soon time to raise the anchors and continue on our way and into the Estuary. Fully armed with navigation charts and the Boating App Savvy Navvy, we were easily able to plot our route through the Estuary, under the Humber Bridge and into Hull Marina.
16.00 Tuesday 7th May; After a very pleasant evening in Hull Marina, followed by a morning of retail therapy in Princes Quay, it was time to cast off again as we headed further along the estuary towards Grimsby. Despite good weather conditions when we set off, as we got closer to Grimsby the conditions deteriorated as a Sea Fret had come down, dropping the temperature by around 8 degrees. The trip up to Grimsby was also rather choppy on the water, so not the most pleasant of journey’s but still a fantastic experience. The Grimsby Harbour master had told us that if we arrive an hour either side of high tide it would be ‘free flow’ through into the port as the gates would be open. As we approached the entrance to the port it was apparent that the gates were closed and worse still the Harbour Master said they were jammed shut and we had no choice but to tread water in the Estuary to see if they could open the gates. After 30 minutes of bobbing around in choppy water, we were close to calling it a day and heading back to Hull, when the gates finally opened, allowing us safe passage into the port and on to the Humber Cruising Associations visitor pontoons. Unfortunately due to a breakdown in communication between the office and the clubhouse, no one had arranged to leave us key fobs for the access gate out of the marina, so we were locked inside the marina compound overnight. Thankfully we had enough food on board, so it wasn’t a problem. We had planned to catch the afternoon tide back down the Estuary next day, but due to the issues we had experienced with the stuck gates on arrival, we were told that unless we headed out first thing in the morning we might end up in Grimsby for two or three days while the gates are repaired. Not wanting to take that risk, we changed our plans again.
07.00 Wednesday 8th May: We woke up to very different weather compared to the previous mornings, with mist over the water and reduced visibility. After another wait of about 20 minutes to get the gates open, we were on our way once again back downstream, this time heading for Goole Docks. As the visibility had worsened it became apparent that the Harbour Master at Grimsby shouldn’t really have let us out as we were being monitored all the way by the Humber Coast Guard and the Harbour Master’s office. As we got closer to Hull we decided that the best thing to do was to go back into Hull marina and wait for the visibility to improve (which was the forecast) and then catch the afternoon tide down to Goole. 16.30 and with full sun we were on our way again following the same route to Trent Falls but this time into the River Ouse. As we got closer to Goole Docks the Harbour Master told us that a large ship was waiting to come out of the lock and we would have to tread water downstream until it was clear. I have never seen a tidal flow quite like the one in the Ouse and at times we had to have 2,500 rpm on both engines just to hold the boat still against tidal flow, quite incredible. The ship was soon on his way allowing us entry to Ocean Lock, which as you can imagine from its title is a massive lock. We moored up in Goole Marina overnight, which is a nice and peaceful marina, at least it was on the night we were there.
08.00 Thursday 9th May; The Port Office radio’d through to say that they were planning to open the road bridge to allow a commercial boat through and we could follow him out and into the lock together. With Five boats in Ocean Lock and none of us ‘roped up’, that gives you an idea of the size of the lock. Back out into the Ouse for a short trip along to Trent Falls and then into the Trent where the flood tide quickly took us down the Trent to West Stockwith Basin. This can be a tricky lock to enter depending on the state of the tide, however it was bang on high tide as we arrived at West Stockwith, meaning that the two biggest boats Le Bear & Destiny could easily get into the lock. By the time Carpe Diem & Carlos I were able to enter the lock the tide had turned and there was already a gentle flow across the entrance to the lock. West Stockwith Basin is a lovely spot at the end of the Chesterfield Canal and we once again had a lovely evening in The White Hart pub, which can be highly recommended and only a short walk from the basin.
09.30 Friday 10th May; This time Carlos I and Carpe Diem went through the lock first and back into the Trent, gently following the tide up stream on our way back to Torksey. We soon reached Torksey where Destiny had caught us up and all three boats went through Torksey lock together shortly followed by Le Bear who came through alone. After a quick bite to eat at the newly opened Torksey Cafe, we set off again on the final leg of the cruise back along the Fossdyke and into Burton Waters and home.
What a fantastic time we had, made all the better by excellent weather and excellent company along the way. I have to say a massive thank you to Duncan & Jo, John & Barb & Ian & Sharon for their knowledge, shared boating wisdom, patience and overall general kindness and friendship over the 6 days that we were away. Accompanied cruising is certainly a lot of fun and by sharing the load with others it makes the whole experience a lot less stressful. Here’s to the next club cruise planned for July…
John Varley
BWBC Commodore
Posted in Navigation.