Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Setting off on our Summer Cruise to Yorkshire unfinished

Thur May 26 A relaxing cruise to Strawberry island again

Today we awoke late, feeling refreshed, chatted with some Yorkshire boaters about going  down the Trent and up the Yorkshire Ouse, coping with the tidal flow. John reversed Annie back to the Service station and moored briefly to empty loo holding tanks. Ours are like those caravan cassettes, but black. The loo is a vacuum system, and John copes with emptying the cassettes by reckoning he saves about £3 in pump out costs (the price of a pint!) for each one he empties: He says it's quite motivating! Setting off on a now familiar trip, Liana waited for the large trip boat, then operated swing bridge and lock at Thorne Lock, then various bridges on the way to Bramwith Lock. We passed numerous fishermen. Two boat crews were enjoying the hospitality at the Stainforth pub, too. John noticed that there were still two surviving sets of colliery pit head gear visible to the south. On the way, we passed several boats travelling, including Sobriety, from Goole Waterways Museum.
The mild, calm, sometimes sunny weather made our journey through Barnby Dun lift bridge and long Sandall Lock almost idyllic, after yesterday's drenching.
Reaching Strawberry Island Boat Club, we were welcomed warmly, as usual, and Bob found us a mooring for the next couple of nights, while we catch up on charity work for Lions, etc,  at home, before returning soon and heading for Sheffield! Yes, Tinsley locks are now open, we are assured!

Wed May 25 A breezy, damp voyage down the Trent and onwards to Thorne

Tue May 24     Setting off on our Summer Cruise to Yorkshire!

Today looks like another lovely blue sky day. I am up early, mind busy thinking about both our trip and our pleasant Lions Club meal meeting last night, when we badged up new members Paul and Christine Scrivin. We all thought of our friend Phil Smart, suffering from a broken patella, too. After our all too brief return to RWBC at Clayworth, the plan is to retrace our steps to West Stockwith today, then pass through the tidal lock down onto the River Trent at 12 noon tomorrow, around High Tide, and travel down to Keadby on the Ebb Tide, arriving about 2.30. Weather permitting, we might travel further towards Thorne, to our favoured mooring near the Canal Tavern :)

Passing through Gainsborough, we popped in to LIDL to stock up on reasonably priced quality food (30% cheaper than Tesco, in many cases, we think) from all over Europe. The Basque cheese is really nice, for example! Lunch becomes a cheesy, olive strewn, pepperoni sandwich, lettuce affair ..... and did I have a small sip of wine?

The sun shone in between the clouds, but oh dear, what a grey day at times, unlike last Sunday! The rain was mainly light, but the breeze kept temperature low, unfortunately. However, none of this affects the natural beauty of our Chesterfield Canal! The hawthorn trees weeping with garlands of creamy white blossom, the bluebell woods and buttercup meadows, wildfowl of all sorts and so much more, all leave me feeling so lucky that I can travel through such a wonderland.

Reaching West Stockwith about tea time, we moored up in the basin, as usual.

Day Trip to Clayworth in the sun

Sun May 22   Blue sky, bright sunshine, what could be better?

Today we shared Annie with the Rhodes family, Bryan and Marie, daughter Stacey and friend Harry, who we know through church at Market Rasen. Setting off from west Stockwith, we all had a great day, passing through four locks at Misterton and Gringley, then through Drakeholes tunnel, finishing at the Retford and Worksop Boat Club (RWBC), Clayworth, our home mooring. Liana had prepared a delicious chicken casserole for us all for lunch, plus scones, cream and jam and other delights for tea! Yum! It was great to have a day when shorts, sandals and T shirts were fine, and hats prevented the sun burning your head! :)
Annie moored at West Stockwith

Stacey and friend Harry opening Misterton Lock gate

Bryan steering out of Misterton top lock. He quickly picked up the idea!

Ready for lunch

Bryan at the helm

Marie and Stacey getting their priorities right

Harry enjoying the activity

Harry working hard

Saturday, 21 May 2016

From Thorne to Keadby, then up the Trent to West Stockwith

Wed 18 May a triumph of optimism - or just lucky!

It was pouring as we set off from home to Thorne, but the weather was supposed to improve.
The Cromwell Lock keepers had advised us that we could get to West Stockwith today, rather than tomorrow, as 5PM was the time to leave Keadby today to go to West Stockwith. Other boats travelling further, to Torksey (twice as far) will leave after 3PM, to catch the flood tide.
We hoped to see our friends Elaine and Chris Turner, who had moored next to Annie overnight on their way north. As we arrived, they were just setting off, but returned to have a chat. Elaine looked fine after her immersion at Vazon Swing Bridge, thank goodness. I also saw bell ringing friend Ifor Barton moored up, on a trip out from his green Springer's home mooring at Rawcliffe Bridge near Goole.
Chris and Elaine on Jophina 2, with Ifor Barton looking on, as the dogs bid each other farewell!

heading north to Leeds and beyond
The rain stopped, the sun came out at times, as we left Thorne behind, heading Eastward to Keadby. You do get a good view over the fen-like countryside from the Keadby-Stainforth canal: no high banks block your view of the bright yellow fields. Huge wind generators tower above by the score.
Leaving Thorne. Once Louis & Joshua, then Tyler Wilson, run by Nationwide now, I believe?

Liana operating Moores Swing Bridge, a typical vehicle bridge here.

Oil Seed Rape fields and wind farms under a lowering sky

We had help at Godnow Swing Bridge, luckily. The Railway man closes his barrier first here.

Most swing bridges were ok, but the manual Medge Hall bridge needed both of us to shift it this time.

Goods trains are common, fishermen less so

Dutch Barge Edith on her way westwards from Keadby

the amazing sliding rail bridge just before Keadby, controlled from the signal box. We were asked to wait ten minutes, for a pause in the train traffic.

On reaching Keadby about 3PM, our friendly lock keeper asked us to wait until 5PM or later, so we would lock down onto the Trent just before High Water. As High Water at West Stockwith, 12 miles upriver, is a couple of hours later, we will travel with the High tide and arrive there just after 7PM, at High Tide or slack water, when it is easier to enter the lock without current messing you around.
Keadby Lift Bridge used to be operated by filling the big "bucket" on the left side with river water.

leaving Keadby with our companion narrowboat following

there was lots of flotsam coming up the river again with the flood tide

the Trent is wide here. Much of the front has had rust cleaned off and coated with iron oxide paint, with the cratch off and cover being repaired at the moment

Flotsam near the M180 Bridge

John steering Annie, with Keadby Power Station in the background
 In fact, we arrived early, so turned to face the current as we passed the lock, hovering until the gates were opened. We would have waited for our companion, but the lock keeper was keen to get us up into the basin and leave the lock chamber empty for the other boat, as they were not experienced. There are two moorings in front of the Waterfront pub for visitors, plus four end-on moorings, where we normally go, reversing in. Wednesday night is Pie Night at the other pub round the corner, so we ate there and john watched Liverpool FC lose the Europa League Final to Sevilla, sadly ... :(

Enjoying sunny South Yorkshire from Goole to Thorne UNFINISHED

A glorious morning saw Annie setting off from next to the museum

Strawberry Island to Goole UNFINISHED

11 May  Donny to Goole (18 miles, 2 locks, plenty of swing and lift bruidges!)
After one day of near constant rain, John finally set off in intermittent drizzle and rain showers.

Leaving Strawberry Island Boat Club, in reverse

Thank goodness the day gradually brightened.

Reaching the New Junction Canal, we headed north to cross the aqueduct over the Don (Dutch River), rather than turning right to Bramwith Lock and Thorne.
Guillotine gates of aqueduct ahead, Bramwith Lock to right

the aqueduct also seemed to act as a weir!
The New Junction Canal just has one lock, but Liana was kept busy with operating the numerous low bridges. The boating season has clearly got going now, as we see several boats travelling today.

The navigation, having no flood banks, has scenic views. At the end, passing over the river Went aqueduct, we saw a vast lake on the north side of the main Aire and Calder Navigation, complete with various wildfowl, birdwatchers and sailing club. while it was linked to the navigation (like a flash), I don't think access for narrowboats is possible/allowed. Once on the main line, there were no low bridges to slow down the trains of Tom Pudding coal barges which once travelled along here to Goole and abroad.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Beating the rain back to Strawberry Island

Mon 2 May Swinton back to Strawberry Island

Threatening clouds encouraged us to set off in a following breeze.
our overnight mooring below Swinton Lock

Annie moored outside LIDL

We moored at LIDL, where Liana had some good conversations with customers who were very interested to see boaters stopping to shop there. Between the two Mexborough locks we passed pretty gardens, then rejoined the SIBC boats as they set off.
Mexborough waterside

Mexborough gardens

Kayakers at the Earth Centre, an activity park

Conisbrough Castle. Sadly, there were no moorings

Conisbrough viaduct
Flotsam collected where the River Don leaves to the left as we approach Doncaster Town Lock

Annie and Rioja in the lock

Little Shifta could shift!
It was a good job we moored before lunch, as it teemed down later! Kind member Bob Brackenbury (SIBC President)  helped us get the modern electricity system working, so Annie's batteries would remain charged during our absence.
Back home, followed by sailing at Hykeham, Lincoln, tomorrow, as the new season begins. What it is to be retired! :)

Strawberry Island cruise to the Dove and Dearne canal

Sun 1 May Cruising from Strawberry Island up the Don to the Dove and Dearne Canal

The weather being breezy (again) but sunny (with dark clouds around), we set off up stream, intending to return next day.
reversing out: This is the first view you get of Strawberry Island. Main stream on right.

Doncaster's striking church. The "No visitors" sign didn't impress us. There seemed to be temporary mooring of some sort to the right.

roofed warehouse wharf before lock
All the locks here are either massive or supermassive, operated by push-button controls with a CRT key.
Annie waiting for liana to open Doncaster town Lock gates

Doncaster Town Lock

we met some biggish boats

it was all happening at the rowing club!

Above the lock we joined the River Don, passing the tree-lined prison and the rowing club, busy at the weekend. Above the scenic, wooded Sprotborough Lock, we found good visitor moorings and ice cream!

work boats below Sprotborough Lock

busy river

more work boats belonging to a private contractor above the lock

Liana on her way to taste ice cream :)

Sprotborough information board
Sir Walter Scott was writing Ivanhoe while staying here at Sprotborough.

Conisbrough Viaduct had some foolhardy graffiti artists

Arriving at Mexborough Lower Lock, we found four Strawberry Island Boat Club boats, including the Commodore, Steve Marshall,  on Rioja, plus Twilight, waiting for CRT assistance in the lock
Our friendly CRT man duly arrived and overrode the mechanism to shut a bottom paddle. They were on a short lunch cruise, and were happy for us to join them up the locks.

Steve told us they would return and moor that evening beside the hotel on the right in the pasture, as the meals were good.

Three abreast in Mexborough Upper Lock, with the SIBC Commodore on Rioja

let's hope this is protected
Soon we reached Swinton lock in convoy. Leaving the Strawberry Island boaters to carry on to their lunch, we left Annie by the lock and walked over to the end few locks of the old Dearne and Dove Canal.
sharp turn on the way to Swinton lock. You can moor on the right to shop at LIDL.

arriving at Swinton lock. CRT services are below the lock on the right

moored above Swinton Lock, opposite the Dove and Dearne Canal bottom lock

Waddingtons still have two large vessels on the navigation below Swinton Lock, plus a fewbelow and in the first Dearne and Dove lock pound. Cranes and cut up hull sections litter their compound. We were told that there were other boats elsewhere. After a long walk tracing the path of the canal, now filled in after a few hundred yards, led by a helpful local dogwalker, we moved Annie down the lock and moored beside the large Waddington boats, at the secure CRT station.
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boats in working order

looking down the flight towards the river

the top watered pound seemed to be for fishing

we think the canal continued through the bridge, but from here it is all grass and footpaths for at least a mile

Below is an extract from Wikipaedia:
"The Dearne and Dove Canal ran for almost ten miles through South Yorkshire, England from Swinton to Barnsley through nineteen locks, rising 127 feet (39 m). The canal also had two short branches, the Worsbrough branch and the Elsecar branch, both about two miles long with reservoirs at the head of each. The Elsecar branch also has another six locks. The only tunnel was bypassed by a cutting in 1840. The canal was created mainly to carry cargo from the extensive coal mining industry in the area. Other cargo included pig iron, glass, lime, oil products and general merchandise. A combination of railway competition and subsidence caused by the same mines it served forced the canal into a gradual decline, closing completely in 1961. As the local coal industry also collapsed in the 1980s the canal was thrown a lifeline with the forming of the Barnsley Canal Group who are now attempting to restore the whole canal, an effort further boosted by the abandonment of the railway which replaced it."