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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Normal service has been resumed.

Very sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. My daughter Amy had been using the MIFI to download all her photographs from 15 months of travel abroad and consequently used all my bytes up!!

This blog is actually from Friday 18th October and I will continue to up date one post a day.

The big news forgotten on yesterdays blog is that we actually penned through our 500th lock of the trip. It was the Thornhill Double Bottom Lock. I suppose that in the dark winter nights I may go through the trip and work out how many miles it was etc, but 500 does seem to be a bit of a milestone.

We moved over to the water point to fill up as we were taking showers etc and had our porridge before setting off down Broad Cut Low Lock and back out on to the Calder. The current is very gentle at the moment so everything is quite easy. We were soon under the M1 and heading for Wakefield. The day remained overcast but there was no wind so it was pleasant cruising.

Amy using the 'hand spike on Thornes Lock. We are actually using a pick axe handle. I have seen the 'hand spikes' for sale at £15 and £18 pounds so an olf handle has saved us money and worked a treat.

The River Calder continues on to the left with old and new warehouse lining the river. The flood lock into the canal cut is on the right.

Fall Ing Lock marks the end of the Calder and Hebble and the passage onto the Aire and Calder Canal. The lock seemed even bigger than the other Calder and Hebble locks and pens you down again into the River Calder still.

The Calder is now looking as wide as the River Severn between Stourport and Worcester. The banks are tree lined and plenty of wildlife to see too.

Broadreach Flood Lock and the long straight.

Stanley Very is where the canal crosses the River Calder in an iron trough suspended by two bowed steel girders. It is thought to be a bridge that made architects think of designs for the Tyne and Sydney Bridges. The original bridge was felt to be too weak to stand the passage of the modern large barges and another concrete aqueduct was constructed next to the original. As soon as it was opened the trade fell away. It would be possible to go round and round the two bridges but I was topped in doing this as the girls were worried what the spectators in the pub would think!

Stanley Ferry aqueduct Bridge over the River Calder with the newer concrete one to the left. There is a C&RT yard here where the wood and metal parts for new gates could be seen stacked.

After passing through three mechanised locks and under the M62 we are leaving Woodnook Lock out on to the Calder for the last time. We passed Fairies Hill Marina and Whitwood Wharf where gravel and sand barges discharge. Unfortunately there were non there today. We also passed Methley Bridge where there was a weird collection of vessels tied up.

Castleford Flood lock. As we approached the junction of the Aire and Calder a narrow boat came hurtling down stream from the Aire. It obviously realised late that he had to turn to st'bd and it was full astern to avoid stemming the bank. I went full astern also to avoid getting in his way. After it was all sorted out we continued into the open flood lock. The heavy fendering shows that with any more of a current would make the entrance much more difficult than today. We stopped at the visitor moorings just in the canal for the day.

Amy and I went for a walk into Castleford after lunch and to walk across the Castleford Bridge that was opened in 2008. It is a sinuous bridge that passes over the Castleford Weir. It is great to walk above the weir and hear the water rushing by. There are fish ladders for the salmon to use and there is also the wreck of a barge that seems artfully positioned under the bridge, but I assume it is a real one. The deck of the bridge is wooden and reminds me of a pier especially as there are seats on the bridge too.

Castleford Bridge above the weir with the fish ladders in the foreground and the wreck under the legs of the bridge.

The Castleford Bridge showing the curves and wooden deck and seating

Once again apologies for missing my posts and hope that you start to read my daubings again.

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