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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Last day out.

It was a better day today but still overcast and with a little drizzle in the air. We didn't have far to go today so we didn't get off early. Just a little way outside of Stainforth is Hatfield Colliery. The rail station is called Hatfield and Stainforth Colliery. I saw that the only high ground in the area was a slag, or waste tip from the Hatfield Colliery. I thought that the mine was closed was surprised to see work on the top of the tip. It turns out that the mine has had a chequered recent history but is still currently in production.

Hatfield Colliery Waste Tip.

The mine was originally opened in 1916 and worked continuously through to 1993 when the series of major closures of deep mines took place, and Hatfield was not spared. However it rose again after a management buyout in 2004. Unfortunately that only lasted until 2001 when the receiver had to be called in. That same year a Richard Budge bought the mine but again couldn't sustain  the profits and was again closed in 2003. By 2006 Budge had formed a new company, Powerfuel, with another foreign investor. It seems that the plan was to have the mine in production, build a clean coal power station and power the generation with the coal. The plant was experimental with only a small pilot plant having been tested in Germany. On top of that carbon capture was to be used with the carbon being piped to the North Sea and pumped down disused oil and gas wells. Unfortunately the project did not raise sufficient capital and has been shelved. However the mine has been in production since April 2007 and this would explain then bulldozers on the waste tips.

Land slip at Hatfield Colliery.

In February 2013 the waste heap moved and as can be seen from the above photo caused much damage to the railway lines there. Bus services had to replace the passenger trains until it was repaired which happened just recently.

There are many of these old working barges on the canals hereabouts. Some have had a complete renovation and are live aboards and some are in various states of repair and alteration. It would be a big task to take on the work, but the cost of maintaining one must be very onerous too.

Amy steered until we got close to Thorne Lock.

Staniland Marina.

Thorne had been a centre of boat and ship building since 1858 when Richard Dunston moved his operation there from Torksey. The yard just down from the lock was pretty self contained with a wood yard, ropery, sail maker etc. They started building clinker built vessels and then moved on to the smooth hulled carvel type. They were a pioneer of welding in ships from 1933. During WWII they designed and built TID tugs(Tugs in Dock). These were prefabricated in eight main parts not weighing more than 6 tons. These sections could be made at no specialist factories. they were then brought to the yard and welded together and fitted out. They were very succesful and for over a year a TID tug left the yard every five days. Building ceased in 1984 and the company closed altogether in 1987 and the yard is now a housing estate.

There is a swing bridge just at the top end of Thorne Lock. It has to be opened before you can access this lock. We 'held' up a  refuse lorry but even when it was closed again they remained to act as spectators for us lowering down. They waved us off and then got back to work.

Just round the corner are two bridges the high level road bridge can easily be passed under. For some reason they decided to spend lots of money on a swinging pedestrian bridge almost underneath the road bridge called Princess Royal Bridge. Very nice to prevent the pedestrians having to climb all the way over and mix with the traffic. It was designed to be manual but a single hydraulic motor will also move it. The Pricess Royal opened it in October 2005. Unfortunately the design was poor and very quickly it couldn't be opened by passing boaters and they had to continually call out the council. It is just left permanently open now as a big white elephant.

We were soon at our destination and backing in to our designated berth through the tight moorings. we slid in with no problems and hooked up to the electricity. We started to pack and clean. Our son arrived in the mid afternoon and took a car load home along with Amy who had a meeting to attend. This left us more room to complete the packing up and cleaning of the boat ready for the winter.

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