Friday, 1 May 2015

Wide Waters to Goole

We are now on new waterways for Leo having come out of Leeds following the Aire Valley to Ferrybridge.  Here we turned onto the Knottingley and Goole Canal which we've never travelled before.  This has led us to Goole where we will turn round as we are not venturing out on the scary tidal River Ouse this far down the river.

On Tuesday we left Leeds and moored overnight at Woodlesford which is not very far but it is a nice rural mooring.  On Wednesday we continued to Castleford.

This is the view looking back to Leeds Lock as Leo has come down onto the River Aire.  Helen is closing the gates (they are electrical not manual) before she gets back on.

For those that have watched John Sergeant's TV series "Barging Round Britain", you may remember that he planted a shrub at Woodlesford Lock on the Aire and Calder.  It is a pretty lock and well cared for and he now seems to have a flower bed named after him!

Here we are just leaving Lemonroyd Lock, one of the huge ones on this waterway for commercial craft up to 200 feet long.
Helen is standing at the confluence of the Aire and the Calder at Castleford.  We  had come down the right hand river Aire. That evening we cruised a few miles up the Calder to Fairies Hill to see a couple of Lucy's friends who have a widebeam called 'Polly' there.  It was a nice diversion and we even came away with some fresh eggs from their hens.

There is a good rhyme about Castleford which goes like this:

Castleford Lassies are bonny and fair,
They wash in the Calder and rinse in the Aire.

On Thursday we came through Ferrybridge which has one of the three huge power stations around here and shortly after we turned onto new waters heading for Goole.  We stopped overnight at Pollington which is an attractive village and have come into Goole this morning (Friday).

This is the view coming out of Bulholme Lock at Castleford where you come out on the River Aire again below the weir. The railway bridge you can see is no longer used because mining subsidence here has made it unsafe.  There are nature reserves here on old mine workings.  We even picked up some coal for the stove on Leo!

This is Fairburn Railway bridge which is still used and here we are passing a boat - an unusual event on these northern waterways.

This is looking back to Ferrybridge Power Station which dominates the river here, though at this point we are on a length of canal which by-passes the weir on the River Aire. 

Here we are just reaching the point where we go onto new waters.  Left leads to Bank Dole Lock which takes boats back down onto the River Aire heading to Selby.  We turned right on the wide and straight canal that leads to Goole.

 These are mountains of coal from Kellingley Colliery which we passed close to.

Seen across the fields is Eggborough Power Station, the second of the big three around here.

For completeness the third power station is Drax which we also saw from a distance today.

A kestrel was hovering just beside the canal and we were able to get this reasonably sharp close up.  He really seems intent on scanning the ground for a suitable morsel.

This is Pollington Lock which has no less than four sets of gates to take boats of different sizes.  The first chamber here would take about six Leos but there are three more chambers to extend the length to take enormous vessels that travelled this way as recently as 2012.

Here is the view from Pollington Bridge.  You can see a lonely Leo on the left and the lock beyond.  Just look how straight and wide the canal is.  You can leave the tiller and practically make a cup of tea before coming up to check that the boat is still pointing the right way.  A slight exaggeration, but not much.

The New Junction Canal turns right here and we will be going that way when we come back from Goole, but that is for later.

And here we are coming into the docks at Goole.  After the narrows which marks the end of two miles of dead straight canal, the docks begin, but leisure boats must tie up here unless they are venturing onto the tidal River Ouse (we are not this time).

And here we are moored at Goole.  The barge behind is one of several that form exhibits for the National Waterways Museum which we visited this afternoon.

So far in Goole we have had a well kept and very reasonably priced pint at the Marina Club by the boat and we had lunch at the Waterways Museum and then had a look round.  The museum is well worth a visit and is free (though donations are sought).  We also walked into town this afternoon and were very lucky to see two seagoing ships leaving port.  Goole is a real inland port where coastal ships meet small fry like Leo.  We think it is fascinating.

This Dutch ship, Eems Star fits into Ocean Lock with 20 feet in length to spare.

Helen is standing on the lock gates as a second ship, Fast Wil, turns round ready to come into the lock.

Fast Wil came in and tied up and then a reasonable sized cabin cruiser came in as well.  Fortunately Fast Wil did not slew across the lock as Leo does sometimes, so the cabin cruiser survived the experience and scurried out onto the river as soon as the gates opened. Fast Wil was heading for Poland.

This maelstrom is the result of refilling the lock after Fast Wil had gone.  Hopefully if there was a boat in the lock they would fill it more slowly!

These water towers in the dock area are known as the salt and pepper pots!

This hoist which has been restored was once used to hoist up the Tom Puddings and tip them to release their cargo (usually coal) into ships.  Tom Puddings were small square barges which were towed in long lines by tugs between the coal fields and Goole.  This was an early form of containerisation and was profitable well into the railway age.

So that brings us up to date.  We plan to stay tomorrow in Goole and hope to have a boat trip (not on Leo) around the docks and to visit the large covered market as well as to have a day off boating for a change.

We'll probably move out on Sunday and our next cruising will take us down the New Junction Canal towards Doncaster, Rotheram and Sheffield.  All new waters for Leo.

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