Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Power Stations and Windy Flat Lands

Having come down the River Aire and into South Yorkshire, the hills have largely disappeared and today we have had strong and gusty winds just as we did last time we came this way in 2015.  The flurries of hail and snow we had yesterday are new though.

We are doing shorter distances than we usually do mainly because it will be about 29th or 30th April before the tides are suitable to go out on the Trent at a sensible time.  On Saturday we stayed at Woodlesford and cycled to Temple Newsam House nearby.

On our way cycling to Temple Newsam we passed a vineyard.  Is this the most northerly one in Britain?

And we also passed a wood carpeted with bluebells.

Temple Newsam has been described as the Hampton Court of the north and has a lot of splendid features including this oak staircase modelled on a similar one at Hatfield House in London.

We liked this bear carved on a fireplace;  he is carrying grapes in a pair of human like hands.

The picture gallery in the house occupies the whole of one wing of the house.  It was built to impress and certainly impressed us.

This tunnel of trained Laburnam trees is in the formal garden by the house which you can see through the trees which are coming into leaf.

On Sunday the lock had been repaired and we came down from Woodlesford stopping at lunch time at Castleford where the Rivers Calder and Aire join.  The famous rhyme comes to mind: "the lasses of Castleford are bonny and fair.  They wash in the Calder and rinse in the Aire".  In the afternoon we cycled round the bird reserve at Fairburn Ings which is on the site of old coal mine workings.

Lemonroyd Lock below Woodlesford is a huge lock both in width and length but also in depth as it replaces two locks.  It takes quite a while to fill and empty.

The new millenium bridge snaking over the Aire at Castleford Weir is a fine structure and saves pedestrians having to go out of their way to the road bridge.

This is the road bridge at Castleford below the new pedestrian bridge.

We saw lots of birds on Fairburn Ings including this Shelduck.  We're not sure why it appears to be low in the water at the front.

And here is an Avocet, a wonderful bird.  As well as the expected common birds we also saw Gadwall, Teal, and Tufted Ducks.

On Monday we left Castleford and had a brief conversation with Jim on Amelia.  We had met Jim last year when Leo and Amelia had crossed the Ribble Link together to reach the Lancaster Canal.  We moored overnight near Kellingley and carried on Tuesday to Pollington Lock.  It was very windy and we were glad to find some shelter below Pollington Lock.

Here is Leo out on the wide waters of the River Aire.  The arched bridge is a railway bridge and beyond is the newer road bridge which carries the A1.  We have crossed the A1 bridge by car many times.

There are three power stations which dominate the skyline around here.  This is the first at Ferrybridge which towers above the flood lock where we left the River Aire for the last time.

And here is the second power station, this one at Eggborough.

The Aire and Calder Canal round here is very wide and very straight.  The wind down the straight was producing waves that caused Leo to pitch noticeably, not usual in a narrowboat.

And here we are approaching Pollington Lock which has four chambers allowing boats of different lengths up to 200 feet to use it.

Beside our mooring were fields of sheep, many with two or even three lambs each.  This one was running as Ian took its picture.

Leo thought that it was a little chilly and so decided to wear Helen's fleecy hat.

As we have time in hand we have come to Goole today where, if you are brave enough, you can go out through Ocean Lock onto the tidal River Ouse.  We are not.  The water here is so deep that Leo travels quite fast.  It was 10 miles to Goole and we cruised the distance in 2 hours.

Keeping with the power  station theme of this posting, here is the last one -  Drax.  As you can see this one was working.  One of the stations on the site burns wood pellets and we have seen long goods trains filled with these pellets heading for Drax.

Down the final 4 mile straight into Goole we passed this yacht with its mast hinged down.

Here is Leo moored at Goole.  Look at the large freight vessels moored opposite.  Goole is still an active port for ocean going ships and makes an interesting place to visit.

Unless you've booked to go through Ocean Lock you're not allowed into the main dock but we cycled in to look at the ships in port.  The big blue ship is called Baltic Sailor and the smaller one is a tug called Wheldale which lives at the Waterways Museum where we are moored.

If you look through the huge crane you can see two towers which are known as the Salt and Pepper Pots and are iconic sights of Goole.

We cycled through town and down to the River Ouse where the tide was going out fast.  Glad we are not out on the River.

Here is another photo of the docks.  The dark shower clouds have been going over us today dropping rain or hail but clearing fast.  Two more ships are visible in the picture.  The gantry to the left is one of several hoists which were used to empty the compartment canal boats nicknamed Tom Puddings which were towed in long lines to shift coal and other goods to port.

Tomorrow we plan to go back about 8 miles and then turn south on the New Junction Canal which was built very late in canal terms in 1905.  This gives access to the South Yorkshire waterways which will lead us to Keadby and the tidal River Trent.  Must turn right there or else we'll finish up in Denmark.

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