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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Almost there.

Monday 21st October.

The day started off very wet and didn't look like stopping for a good few hours so we set off despite the rain.

Our mooring for the night, just below Sykehouse lock on the New Junction Canal. Taken the night before.

As I said yesterday the canal is dead straight so I got underway on my own, no sense in anybody else getting too wet. Actually as the wind wasn't blowing into my face it wasn't too bad at all as it was still fairly warm. There was about a mile and a half before we came to the first lift bridge of the day at Kirkhouse Green. There was still traffic on the bridges even though the habitation appears very sparse in these parts. The operation of the locks and bridges has gone without mishap this year so there were no real hold ups for anybody. Next was the Top Land Lift Bridge and then the Long Lane Swing Bridge. Then comes the highlight of the New Junction Canal, The River Don Aqueduct.

The River Don Aqueduct. The draft in the New Junction canal is around 2.75m this means that as the canal is not very much higher than the river, and taking into account this draft the bottom of the aqueduct trough is not very far above the level of the River Don. As the River Don can flood and has protective flood banks that are higher than the level of the canal guillotine gates are fitted either end of the aqueduct to prevent the River Don in flood rising higher than the canal (but still below the river flood banks) and so flood the surrounding areas via the canal. As we approached we saw two workmen loitering around the gate controls and wondered whether they were going to close the gates for a test. There had already been warnings of torrential rain and wind the following weekend. Luckily they were just checking it all over.

As the aqueduct cross the River Don the canal trough is used as a spill way directly into the river to maintain levels. The wind had got up by now and the spray was blowing back over and across the canal. The photograph doesn't really show this too well.

A few hundreds yards after the aqueduct is the 330 degree turn into the Stainforth and Keadby Canal. The canals are so wide so this bend is easily taken in a 60' narrow boat. Very shortly afterwards and you are upon Bramwith Lock. This was heavy work for Helen with the wind and rain but we managed it okay together. 

Helen closing the half lock after we had penned down. The lock gate beams were certainly big bits of timber but were obviously not long enough for the weight of the gate and gear as to increase the lever extensions had been bolted on each of them. This can be seen just by Helen as she is pulling on it in the photograph above.

There were some interesting boats moored around the lock. There were a few keel size vessels and the best of them was the 'Evageline'.

Sheffield size Keel 'Evageline' near Bramwith Lock. Evageline was built in the mid 1920's for Joe Sutton of Thorne. She was constructed at Hessle on the Humber by Henry Scarr. The  steel hull would have cost about £1100, the running and standing rigging about £200, the sails about £50 and a cog boat about £9. Joe Sutton paid £100 extra to have the cabin fitted out in mahogany. So the whole thing would be working for less than £2000. On Mr Sutton's death in early 1930's she was sold to Arthur Whitehead of Stainforth. In 1936 she was fitted with an 18HP diesel Lister engine at Donald Scarr's yard at Howdendyke. It was the first of these two cylinder engines in the area and may have been fitted free as a demonstration model. She was sold again in 1939 to Richard Hodgson and Son of Beverley. They were tannery owners in Flemingate. They retained her ownership until the factory closed in 1975.

Very soon after the lock comes the service area and we need to get rid of the rubbish and empty other things too. By the time we had tied up the rain had stopped and the sun was even trying to come out. The Bramwith swing Bridge was right next to the services so it was an easy job to slip through and continue on our way.

On the Bramwith Services mooring with the swing bridge in the background.

We weren't going too much further as we had decided to stop the night at Stainforth. An early'ish finish at 1300 meant that we could celebrate my birthday in style. In the end we just stayed put on the boat and cracked a bottle of wine.

Lovely autumn colours on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.

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