10th June 2011
We believe that the following tale of derring-do may be the first end-to-end passage of the Chesterfield Canal by a boat since the Norwood Tunnel collapsed in 1907. If you know differently, please let us know.
Andy Robinson, James Woods and Chris Capon have just taken their canoe the full length of the canal from Chesterfield to West Stockwith on the River Trent. They carried their canoe, full of kit, round the 52 locks and wheeled it on a special cradle for the nine unrestored miles between Staveley and Kiveton Park. They camped overnight.
They did this for fun, as a challenge and to raise money – half will go to Fairplay and half to the Chesterfield Canal Trust. Click here to read more and donate.
Incidentally, as a warm up, James and Andy walked from West Stockwith to Chesterfield three weeks ago. They did the 46 miles in 15 hours!
Setting off from Holbeck Close on Friday 10th June.
Approaching Hollingwood Lock.
Being greeted at Nona’s for a Full English Breakfast.
James, Andy and Chris show off their special T-shirts …….
…… complete with logos and a map in case they get lost!
Carrying the canoe round the lock following breakfast.
Staveley Puddle Bank.
Above Norwood Tunnel.
Camping at Turnerwood.
Setting off on Saturday morning.
Here is Andy’s account of the Saturday and Sunday
“After leaving Turnerwood we trolleyed to the bottom lock and then paddled into Shireoaks, calling in at the basin to inspect New Dawn. We stopped for lunch at the Lock Keeper and replenished supplies at the local Sainsburys before paddling on through Worksop.
The only negative occurrence on the whole trip was provided by one fisherman before Kilton Lock who muttered a string of expletives in our direction because he had had to lift his fishing rod up out of our way. On our part we greeted everyone with a cheery ‘Hello’, ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Thank You’.
We had a nice steady day on Saturday; we couldn’t be anything other than steady with the boat loaded to capacity. We ‘wild camped’ at bridge 52 before you reach Forest Top Lock and enjoyed a very pleasant evening with our disposable bbq and a few beers.
We’d left a lot of distance to cover on Sunday (19miles). We were off by 7.30am and it was nice to have fewer locks to port around. The day started warm and sunny and we were determined to cover as much distance as possible before the weather changed. As we encountered our first narrowboat travelling towards us, to my horror the boys took my instruction to pass left-to-left as go left which meant they tried to veer across in front of several tons of oncoming steel! We quickly put ourselves right – lesson learned!
It appeared to me that everyone was on the move up until midday when it start to rain. If you were steering a narrowboat on Sunday and you passed three men in a canoe, my thanks to you! Everyone slowed down while we passed!
Oh boy did it rain and it never stopped. At Drakeholes we found ourselves in a pub trying to warm up and drinking tea! Three hours later, after a difficult port around the final lock, we turned onto the home straight. Wet and cold, but elated, we charged down the last half mile like men possessed. Joanne, my wife, was waiting by the final bridge jumping up and down with excitement – a sight for sore eyes even if I do say so myself! Finally we came into West Stockwith Basin at 5.15pm and performed a lap of honour just for ourselves.
So we did it! The first boat in over one hundred years to traverse the whole canal? I would like to think so.”
Wild camping near Bridge 52.
Approaching Drakeholes Tunnel. Yes that is rain!
Journey’s end. What stars you are gentlemen.
Remember, to sponsor them click here.