You left us heading up the River Derwent. It is a shame that there is no passage to Satmford Bridge anymore as that would have been a nice trip to make and a bit of an adventure. It would be nice to think that the various responsible bodies could get their acts together and restore Sutton Lock and open up the route once more. It would be a relatively cheap way of restoring another 10 miles to the waterways.
When you arrive at Cottingwith Junction, where the arm off the river heads towards the Pocklington Canal you have to keep your eyes open as it is not at all obvious. The trees were much overgrown and it could easily have been missed. When we came back out this way we saw a sign that was mostly hidden. After a little way you come to Cottingwith Lock. They are fitted with the wheel type paddle gear but otherwise all seemed normal. As we arrived there was another boat going up ahead of us.
We had been warned by others that there could well be a weed problem and after a very short distance we realised that we had underestimated the problems as we had never really encountered weed to this extent. The first couple of miles was the worst and I think it was really because there were no trees shading the canal so the heat and sun light had really boosted the growth. It was just a matter of perseverance, going in reverse to try to rid the prop of weed until it didn't work anymore and then getting down the weed hatch to do a 'proper' job. After Haggs Bridge it got a bit better and quicker progress was made. This picture of the bridge was taken on the way out again.
Also in the two miles were a couple of swing bridges, aptly called No.1 and No.2! I think this is No.1 but they are the same design. This gave some relief from the weed pushing and also another opportunity to go down the hatch and clear the prop one more time. Unfortunately the weed cutting boat is out of action as it needs some expensive alterations.
By the time we reached Gardham Lock things were moving along more quickly but not clear of weed by any means. The lock has a swing bridge across the middle of it like Fenny on the Grand Union. Just another little quirk on this canal.
After several hours of pushing weed to complete the 5 miles we arrived at swing bridge No.7. Just the other side of this is the entrance to the Melbourne Arm and our moorings for a while, kindly lent to us by a member of the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society. It is a pretty idyllic spot, nice and quiet with fish aplenty, walkers and boat trips to occupy you for some of the day but very peaceful for the rest of the time. In the above photo you can see there is plenty of weed and rush on the canal. This section is not open to navigation at present.
The next lock up on the non navigable stretch of 4 miles is Thornton Lock and it has just been refurbished. This weekend they were having an open day to the public. We had a sneek preview and an interesting chat to the C&RT guys there. You can see above the lock the waterway is chocked with weed. It actually wouldn't take too much get this open again and through to the Canal Head about a mile short of Pocklington.
After a few days back at home we followed our route back to the barrage at Barmby. We stopped for a night on the pontoon at Barmby and had a great meal at the King's Head in the village. We also had a great meal at the pub in Melbourne so we will be back to both in the future I'm sure. I had been to see the lock keepers and they had given me a time to be at the lock for our pen out on to the Ouse fro the next part of our trip. They keep the whole area in tip top condition. In this photo you can see the floating fence that prevents going over the barrage and the piles that mark the lock entrance.
The tide was flooding up when we popped out of the lock. We were heading for Selby which was only about 6 miles away. It would obviously be beneficial to arrive when much of the flood tide had abated so we were in no rush at all to get there. In fact we spent most of the trip in neutral just putting 'Holderness' in gear to straighten up and get round the bends! Saving fuel I suppose but got a little funny when the tide started setting us down on to the banks of the bends. We were soon approaching the Selby bypass swing bridge. I was interested to see that a set of pontoons had been placed either side of the bridge to allow vessels waiting for the bridge to hang a rope up to rather than have to dodge about in the river.
Once more having never been this way before it was quite difficult to spot the entrance to the lock for the Selby Canal from any distance, but was obvious when you arrived. We were soon round and shaping up to make our entrance. As usual it seems there were several folk standing waiting so you mess up, of maybe watching and learning to see how you do it. There is slack water just inside the knuckle of the lock so once you have angled in at a nice slow speed over the ground a little kick to get the bow round into the lock is all that was needed. I managed not to disgrace myself once again.
There was just us coming up and we were soon towering above the river level. In the summer months the Selby Canal is full of weed and the first clue you will have of the lock from the river is the banks of weed that are flushed out every time the lock is used. As you can see the weed is so think it does look like a lawn and the coots and moorhens are in there element as their big feet mean that they can walk on it and not have to swim.
There was no room at the basin area near the lock, but we had booked a berth at the Selby Boat Centre as we were heading home again. The weed continued all the way to our allocated slot and we had to literally dig our way in to the mooring as we came alongside to get right flush to the wall. Before that there is one more obstacle of an electric swing bridge. This road must be a short cut to an estate or something because every time we used it we held up loads of traffic! That's Helen working the controls despite being dressed as a C&RT volunteer!
See where we get to in August in the next exciting episode of Bridges and Locks.