Boat Trips Along The
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Monday to Friday during the summer months the Newark Crusader sets off from its mooring at Farndon. Twice a day, the boat takes passengers on a cruise up and down the River Trent.
The boat is funded solely by charitable donations and relies heavily on volunteers and the skipper Les Reid to keep this pleasurable activity going. The crew’s day begins at 10am when the boat is prepared ready for the passenger’s arrival at around 11am. All safety checks are done and the boats engine is turned on, while a destination is then decided. The trips are either upstream or downstream, depending on weather, currents and water levels.
Upstream towards Hazleford locks is probably the most scenic route due to lots of wildlife inhabiting this area. Downstream towards Newark takes on a more historical theme due to passing through Newark locks and sailing past Newark Castle. On board we try to give commentary on the surroundings as some of our passengers are blind or partially sighted. Seating on deck or undercover is provided for the comfort of the passengers. We sail for about an hour and then refreshments are served to the passengers and there is a full disabled toilet on board for convenience and other facilities.
Every day there are different crew members and volunteers who help out, all with information about the boat and surroundings to pass on to the passengers. Each trip takes around 2 hours.
Diary of a Trip.
I was fortunate to be allowed on board for a trip, it was the 18th trip of the year. On board were a group from Sutton Lodge, part of the Ashmere group. Les decided we would be travelling downstream towards Newark due to currents and water levels. The weather was good, overcast but it wasn’t cold and the waters were still. I was very pleased about how much thought had gone into preparing access to the boat, I’ve been on a few boat trips, walking or should I say shuffling on unstable moorings, climbing over obstacles to get onto the boat then having to find a seat, but no problems on this trip.
Visibility was great and with a cup of hot coffee in my hand we were ready for the off. We set of towards Newark passing Staythorpe power station, I have lived in Newark most of my life and I must admit it seems and feels so different seeing it from the River. Further down River we passed the Old Malting’s buildings with modern Newark on one side and rural Newark on the other, which makes for fantastic scenery and contrast. When approaching Newark you can still get a feel and look about how things used to be, reminders of a by-gone age are a-plenty and thought provoking.
Just before the hour mark we entered Newark locks, surrounded by onlookers proving that River transport is still fascinating to both young and old and if you haven’t experienced the locks it is worth the trip alone. After navigating the locks we sailed by Newark Castle and under Millennium Bridge, experiencing both historical architecture and modern indulgence in the space of a few hundred metres. Venturing further upstream until we turned around at the New Kings Marina.
We headed back upstream towards Farndon, navigating the locks from the other side this time and having a chance to watch the world go by until we reach the rural stretch of the River. Although it was slightly overcast on this trip, I can just imagine how things would look basked in beautiful sunshine. A gentle speed back to Farndon makes for a pleasurable time and it is certainly a trip that many do take again and again.
It is thanks to Les and the volunteers for operating this scheme, there hard work does make a difference to people who may not be able to have opportunities like this normally. A thoroughly enjoyable trip was had by all.
Newark Crusader C.I.O
Charity Number - 1156555