Friday, 28 August 2020

Up the Trent to West Stockwith

 Thursday 27 August to Keadby and up the Trent to West Stockwith and the Chesterfield Canal (23 miles, 2 locks)

Very cloudy but dry, thankfully, we shared the first three swing and lift bridges with a widebeam CRT workboat, and their helper opened them all for us!

They stopped to work, but we continued through several more bridges, which Liana operated. The harvesters were gone, with large bales of straw in the damp fields. Wind turbines barely turned.

The wind picked up as we approached Keadby and waved back to the power station builders. We had to wait for a train before the signalman let us through that almost unique sliding rail bridge.

After topping up with water and emptying toilet holding tanks, we were ready to leave Keadby Lock with the flood tide at 1345. Water flows upriver for only around two hours in every thirteen, just before high tide.  We passed through the motorised swing bridge and lock, helped by Maria, the lock keeper.

Once on the river, John had to avoid a number of trees and other flotsam, but the thirteen mile trip up to West Stockwith was pleasant and rain free, thankfully.  The VHF radio was acting up and does not always transmit (another job) but John managed to use it to contact the lock keeper when we were a mile from Stocky. As we approached we heard two cruisers on the VHF, and they kept behind us so Annie could pass up the lock 

Jim and Young Wilf were on duty at the lock, and we were soon up and moored in the basin, as it started to rain.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020


 Tuesday 25 August Selby Canal , River Aire and on to Whitley Lock (12 miles, 3 locks)

After a wet night and morning, we eventually set off for  Haddlesey Flood Lock. The canal was ok, lovely and green with not so much duckweed and floating pennywort.

At Haddlesey, the river indicator was in the green, so we headed on to the River Aire, heading upstream to Beal Lock. These four miles are very twisty, and you box the compass, seeing Eggborough power station from all angles! We passed up Beal Lock and Dole Bank Lock at Knottingley with help from two kind young men who came up behind in cruiser Secret Smile II. John was surprised when told her engine was 350HP, as Annie’s Powerful (for a narrow boat) Isuzu is 55HP!

They headed west, while we turned east towards Goole. Passing Eggborough, we moored above Whitley Lock as it started to rain.

Wednesday 26 August Whitley Lock to the Stainforth Keadby Canal

After a wet night, it was cool and windy. After good phone chats with daughter Jo and brother Phil, we set off through Whitley and Pollington Locks to the South Yorkshire Navigations.

We met RWBC member Barry on NB Lady June at the junction, briefly, always a pleasure. John was able to let him know the Aire was ok yesterday, as he was thinking about visiting Selby.

We continued south, Liana operating all those swing and lift bridges, mostly electrified, thankfully. Volunteers operated Sykehouse Lock for us. 

We waited at the junction with the Stainforth Keadby Canal, as we had been told that the weekly fuel barge was following us, coming from Hull via Goole to Rotherham. After a couple of hours we continued to Thorne, where we ate a good meal outside the Canal Tavern, which we like. Moules Mariniere starter was relish, as were the home made pies.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Heading down to Selby

 Monday 24 August Naburn Lock to Selby 12 miles 2 locks

Today our middle daughter Joanna gets the keys for her new house in Wales. Hoorah! She has been two years homeless, first doctoring in Australia, then back here in Taunton and now Cardiff, where she qualified.

We awoke to a lovely sunny day here on the pontoon at Naburn weir and lock. The river level has dropped 20cm above the weir and over a metre below it, so this augurs well for our trip downriver today.

Leaving about 1220, we followed widebeam NEVAEH (get it? We didn’t) and a cruiser downriver, enjoying the blue sky, sun and Yorkshire countryside. 

We passed tree trunks and five big plastic cruisers zooming upriver on the way to Caywood Bridge, where the bridge keeper shot out to check we would fit under his swing bridge, as from here the flood water was nearly over the banks, to our surprise. John chatted to him on VHF after.I think the narrows at Selby are holding up the water, which also explains why it is rushing under the Selby Rail and Road bridges, before the lock. John contacted the Rail and Road Bridge Keepers by VHF channel 9, to check our air draught would let Annie get under the bridges, as the water was so high. He also contacted the CRT Selby Lock keeper on VHF channel 74 as we reached Selby. 

Once through the two bridges, John turned Annie around and drifted backwards downstream towards the lock. With some useful signals from the lock keeper, he guided Annie safely into the lock without bumping.

After a break, we decided to move along the Selby Canal through the swing bridge, and moored on good visitor moorings after Burn Bridge. John had a pleasant chat with a local boater while refilling the stern gland grease gun on Annie.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

A bit of a flood in York

 Saturday 22 August Naburn to York (6 miles, 0 locks)

Today we had a pleasant day initially. We left a sunny Naburn heading the six miles to York. The river has almost continuous lines of moored boats on the west side near the lock and Acaster Malbis Marina. Later we passed Bishopsthorpe with its Bishop’s Palace. Should modern Christians be paying for places like this? Nearing York we met the large visitor trip boats and a number of small motor launches out on hire, plus quite a few grp cruisers this sunny lunchtime.

As we reached York the heavens opened, so we moored on the steps above Lendal Bridge. After Drying out and lunch, we had a walk around the Art Museum park, having our first ice cream for ages. Liana popped in Sainsbury’s Local to top up food. 

After tea, Liana noticed we were tilted towards the Bank. Yes, the river had risen! Water was nearly up to the towpath, so we slackened all our mooring ropes, leaving at least a metre of slack, and made sure they were all tied on the boat, not at the mooring ring ashore, which could soon be submerged! By bedtime the path was nine inches deep, so John set a boat hook hanging vertically over the side to stop us drifting over the towpath, just in case.

During the night we slept ok, but checked the ropes when we got up to use the loo.

Sunday 23 August in York

At 7am the moorings were about a foot deep. As Annie’s draught is over 27 inches, we won’t be drifting over the towpath unless it gets 15 inches deeper. Liana got online and found Viking Recorder for York, with a forecast of a further six inches before it may go down. John checked with Naburn Lock. They said their moorings were the same and all pontoons were full, so best to stay at York for the moment. Weekend boaters May vacate Naburn this afternoon, leaving room for us. The lock keeper said we could possible go down to Selby at 1200 tomorrow, although it could be tricky getting into Selby Lock due to fast current caused by the rain. We will take advice tomorrow and maybe wait until Tuesday if advised to do so.

Friday, 21 August 2020

River Ouse Cruise

 Friday 21 August Selby to Naburn Lock 12 miles, 2 locks

Selby Railway and Road Bridges

Up early, breakfasted, boat prepared before 0800! The Selby lock keeper released Annie onto the River Ouse about 0830, as flood tide starts then today (about 15 minutes after High Water at Hull Albert Fock). With following tide, we should do the twelve miles in two hours.

John took care to motor into the river without letting the current push Annie against either the lock or the two Selby bridges just upstream. After that, we watched out for floating tree trunks and logs, and kept to the outside of bends to avoid the shallows. While pleasant, the steep banks topped with willows and other trees mean you don’t have much of a view.

The three grp  boats which locked down onto the river after us never caught us up: One broke down and was towed up to Naburn by another.

Reaching Naburn, John got the dicky VHF radio working to contact the lock keeper when we were a mile away, so we could go straight into the massive lock. This has a swing bridge over it when not being used by boats. Gale force winds meant we decided to stop for the day and moor just above the lock.

This scenic location has been improved for the many caravanners, boaters and other visitors.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

sday 20 August Knottingley to Selby

Thursday August 20 Knottingley to Selby along River Aire and Selby Canal 13 miles, 3 locks

What a glorious blue sky day! John turned Annie and we returned the short distance to Bank Dole Lock. John took photos of the Tom Puddings at the boatyard opposite the junction.

Bank Dole Lock is very slow to fill , so we sat in the sun and felt sorry for the decaying lock cottage. The depth gauge was well in the green today, with a gentle current.

Once on the River Aire, we enjoyed the twisting turns as we travelled to Beal Lock. Liana chatted to local boaters as they helped each other. John had to work at getting off the pontoon due to an unhelpful wind!

The remaining four miles to Haddlesey Flood Lock passed uneventfully as we passed sheep and cattle. After pleasant chats with folk at the lock, we took our time and looked for fish on this short bit of canal, woody, full of duckweed and edged with reedmace, sedge and floating pennywort.

Reaching Selby, Liana operated the electric loft bridge and we moored by the lock. John organised for us to leave at 0830 to go upriver to Nanirn Lock and York.