Wednesday, 4 May 2016

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."

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