My next visit for boats, beers and boozers is a very special one. We continued on a short way down from Wakefield to arrive in Castleford. Arrival is quite exciting because it is as close to a cross roads as you will get on a river as the Rivers Calder and Aire meet. The fourth leg of the crossroads is formed by the canal cut. A small basin was made by the Aire and Calder Canal Co. just after the river lock as there is the remains of the original 1699 lock up from the river, called the flood lock.
When ever we have entered the canal the water coming, from left to right in the photo, down the Aire has been not too bad. I can imagine with a good bit of fresh coming down and with a 600t barge it would be fun threading the bow in here at Castleford Junction Lock.
Looking east along Castleford Cut from the footbridge over the Castleford Junction Lock. The canal re-enters the River at at Bulholme Lock. I think the basin could be used with the flood gates, mid picture, closed.
The 'Collectors' office and managers house and workers homes were completed in 1832 and stand next to the Junction Lock.
There are plenty of moorings along the cut and the town isn't too far away at all. Using the Millennium Bridge also shortens the route and makes a lovely entrance into the town. Castleford was the site of a Roman Fort but grew massively when the many coal mines were opened and exports exports via Goole and Hull grew. It was the home of Nestles Toffee Crisp and After Eight Mints until 2012. It is still the home of the Burberry factory, but this is due to relocate to Leeds by 2019.
The Castleford Millennium Bridge over the weir of the River Aire with the remains of a barge that had been washed over the weir in flood. At the far side of the river is the fish weir to allow movement of fish for spawning.
At the south side of the weir is the Queen's or Allison's flour mill. It was run by the Allison family from 1921. This was the largest stone ground mill in the world during WWII. It had been completes in 1888 and it's six stones were driven by a 20' water wheel. In WWII greater output was required so an extra 14 stones were added, but they were electrically driven. It ceased work in 2010, but has been acquired by a trust that are restoring it and opening it to the public.
As you may guess by the story of industrial closures in the area the town centre is not as thriving as it once was. However it has a lovely little museum at the Library, there is a shopping centre with all the expected shops and an indoor market open Monday to Saturday and an open Market in the pedestrianised High Street on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with plenty of stalls.
However for the purposes of this blog the gem in the town is the Junction pub. This is a truly unique boozer as all its beer is served from the wood but through hand pumps. The pub owns the barrels and sends them off to the breweries to be filled. The pub itself is maybe one that would not attract you as you walked past, but once inside it is a 'proper' pub where conversation is the main thing. After the beer that is! There are open fires and plentiful of selection of beers. During my last visit I had a pint of Inuendo, Ridgeside Brewery from near Leeds. It slipped down a treat and at £2-80 warranted 4*. I thought I may be on a roll so tried a pint of Mosaic which was a beautiful fruity pale ale and again well worth the £2-80 and 4*'s. I thought it was brewed by Temptation Brewery but may have been mistaken. I have never had a bad pint in this pub. It is also the only pub that I have had toast and dripping too. I also had a little chat with Ian Clayton who is a local born writer and broadcaster that I'm sure you would recognise if you saw him. It is that sort of pub and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody.
The not so glamourous exterior of the Junction pub in Castleford.