Sunday, 30 April 2017

Down to the Trent at Keadby

As I type this on Sunday evening we are ready at Keadby to go out on the tide tomorrow morning at 8.30 a.m. to go up the River Trent to Torksey.  But to bring you up to date here is an account of our travels after leaving Goole.

Last Thursday we left Goole, at first retracing our outward course but then turning left on the New Junction Canal.  This is a fairly recent addition to the canal network having been built in 1905.  It is five and a half miles long and dead straight with an aqueduct over a river at each end and a lock in the middle.  Not to mention quite a collection of swing and lift bridges.

The first aqueduct crosses the River Went and this is the view looking down from Leo to the river below.

Here is Sykes House lift bridge.  The rain on the lens is an indication of the weather today with intermittent showers.  Some of these lift bridges are huge, so it's just as well that they are powered.

The end of the canal is marked by the aqueduct over the River Don.  This has a guillotine gate each end and water spills over from the canal into the river below as the boat travels through.

Here is the view as we crossed the Don Aqueduct.  You can see how close the water level is to spilling over.

At the end of the New Junction Canal we turned left on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.  If you turn right you can reach Doncaster, Rotheram and Sheffield.  We moored for two nights just round the corner above Bramwith Lock which is a lovely spot and also where some friends of our daughter Lucy keep their boat.  So we chatted to Kerri and Sharon, did the washing, some boat painting and walked into Barnby Dun.  On Saturday we set off through Bramwith Lock and part way down towards Keadby.

Kerri and Sharon kindly offered to operate the lock for us which was kind of them.

The second lock is at Thorne, below which you can see that some children were rowing.  We stopped here for some shopping.  Amazingly all the visitor moorings were full but we managed to sneak Leo on the end of the moorings.  We then discovered there are some secure overnight moorings at the service station beyond.

As we approached Wykewell Lift Bridge we saw it raise and then start to lower.  A loud hoot from Leo ensured the chap working it took it up again and allowed us to pass.  You can see a small cruiser coming through.

We moored last night (Saturday) at Godnow Swing Bridge where the canal and the railway run alongside.  Here you have to speak nicely to the man in the railway signal box to close the gates on the level crossing before you swing the bridge.  This morning we walked a mile or so into Crowle to buy a Sunday paper.  The centre of the village is quite pretty but is surrounded by rather dull housing estates.  We then cruised on in quite strong winds to Keadby passing the amazing Vazon Sliding Railway Bridge.

As we cruised along we saw a couple of Roe deer in the field next to the canal.  Helen took this lovely picture of them running towards us.

The long straight stretches of the canal were right into the wind and this gives some idea of the waves that built up.  Glad we're not out on the Trent today.

The Vazon sliding railway bridge is one of only three such bridges in Europe.  The railway crosses the canal at an angle and the whole double track moves sideways to allow boats to pass.  This is controlled by the signalman who ensures that there is a sufficient gap in trains.

Here is the view as Leo is lining up to pass the bridge which is sliding out of the way.

Later we walked back to the bridge and saw it operate to allow this narrowboat to come through.  It really is one of the sights of the waterways and should be better known.  However few boats use this waterway.  We were told by the railwayman at Godnow that just five boats had passed in three days - and it's the Bank Holiday weekend.

We walked down to the River Trent to have a look at what is in store for us tomorrow morning:

Here is Helen sitting on the flood bank looking at the big river.  The bridge in the background used to lift but no longer does so.  It carries road and railway and is the first bridge we shall go under as we travel upriver with the tide.

So we are all set and going out with another narrowboat so we will have company up the river.  Turning left here takes you to Hull, the Humber and Denmark so we will make sure we turn right.  The lock keeper says this tide should take us the 30 miles to Torksey in three and a half to four hours which is pretty fast for a narrowboat.  Fingers crossed.

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