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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Sobriety!

Sunday 19th October.

We had a little lay in after our latish night last night, but the day dawned sunny but cool.


Our mooring in the morning. The white post is the base of an old swinging crane which worked the cargo on the wharf.

After a few minutes we passed an old mill that used to grind barley for  feed stuffs but now just seems to be used to stick mobile phone masts on. The reception should be good round here. Eggborough Power Station is seen not to far away. The furnace chimney is 200m tall and there are eight cooling towers. There are four  generating units giving 1960MW of power which is enough to power 2 million homes (equivalent to Leeds and Sheffield together). It started producing electricity in 1967. The smoke stack has electrostatic precipitators that give ash particles a charge and means they are attracted to screens to stop them being lost up the chimney. 99% of ash is retained this way. It is sold to make building blocks and what is left is placed in ash lagoons nearby that eventually become landscaped and used as farm land. Two of the four generators are fitted with flue gas desulphuristaion units that retain 90% of the sulphur by running the gas through limestone where it reacts and alters to gypsum which is sold to make plaster board etc. Better than going up the chimney. They can also burn biomass that is used along with the coal that comes by road and rail and is blown into the surface as a dust finer than bathroom talcum powder.


Eggborough Power Station

We were soon passing under the M62 and came to Whitley Lock. I have seen this lock many many times as we pass up and down the motorway and now I was going to be using it.


Whitley Lock on the Aire and Calder Canal.

The canal remains wide and with very low laying countryside you get very extensive skies. As we approached Pollington Lock we could see a boat penning up. It turned out to be the Sheffield size Humber keel 'Sobriety'. She was built in Beverley in 1910 and has a project named after her were the maintenance/conversion and operation of this type of vessel was used to provide occupation and stimulation to youths, offenders etc etc and is based in Goole. The Yorkshire Waterways Museum is also run by the charity and is well worth a visit if you can. It used to be free. 'Sobriety can be hired for about £400 for a couple of days and can take 12 'crew'. Pollington Lock is one of the largest on the whole canal system. It's other claim to fame is that the first locks gates not made out of oak or green heart were installed here. They used an African hardwood called Opepe.


Humber Keel 'Sobriety' leaving Pollington Lock with a birthday party aboard.

There are several swing bridges that have gone missing on this stretch which saves a bit of work for the crew. On the passage down this stretch of canal I noticed that small trees and shrubs crowing out behind the steel shuttering had been cropped. The cuttings had been placed in the rough. I passed a nice big pile and decided as it was lunch time I would pull over. The size of the stems was just right for our small stove and it was just a matter sawing the long stems off at the right length with very little extra work. I cut away whilst lunch was prepared and stowed them under the solar panels. They will dry out nicely for next season. It will make a great weekend out over the winter to cut and collect more too.


Took the photograph but didn't help collect the fruits of my labours.


Sothfield Reservoir near the junction of the New Junction Canal and the Aire and Calder Canal. It was built following the enlargement of the locks on the canals and the building of Ocean Lock at Goole in 1930's. It used to maintain the level when Ocean lock is used. There are two sailing clubs on it along with a good fishing site and a good place for bird spotters. 


Opposite the Southfield Reservoir is the junction with the New Junction Canal. This also marks the start of the South Yorkshire Navigations. The New Junction Canal was opened in 1905 and was the last canal to be built until modern times. It was built to access Doncaster and Sheffield coal mining areas as the River Don hadn't been improved enough for larger modern vessels. It is actually dead straight with an aqueduct at each end. At the north end the canal passes over the River Went as seen above. 


After the River Went aqueduct come the Sykehouse Road Lift bridge. Despite it being a very rural area there were plenty of cars passing over this, and all the other bridges on the canal. The electrically operated bridge was nice and quick to operate though, which is probable why Helen was smiling.



The swing bridge in the middle of Sykehouse Lock.

After another swing bridge we came to Sykehouse lock. This is unusual as it has a swing bridge crossing the middle of the lock. In order to operate the hydraulics for the lock you have to use your key to open the bridge and place it in the open position. Even here we managed to delay a tractor or two. We decided to call it a day and moored in a very quiet spot just the other side of the lock. The lock house had been up for sale by auction earlier in the month and the three bed property went for £142,000.


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