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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Thorne in the side.

It was great to catch up with our friends, who now live in Finningley, which is not very far from Thorne. We had a good chat and a nice meal and feel sure we will do it again soon.

This morning a boat came past us heading towards Keadby at just after 0800. Later I noticed that they were still on the landing for the Princess foot bridge that was just down the way. I wondered if they were having breakfast. However later I noticed that they had their chairs out and were sitting in the sun. It was obvious that the bridge was not operating. We have come this way a few times and I think only once has it worked straight away. Helen walked over to see what was going on as we wanted to be through the bridge too. On the bridge the 'emergency' number is the usual C&RT one. However when calling them they say that it is nothing to do with them as it belongs to Thorne and Moorends Council and game Helen their number. They are supposed to be open from 0900 but when Helen called, the other boaters and another boater coming the  other way there was no answer just an answer phone. Helen called me and had a dig about on the internet and found a mobile number. Calling that number also went to an answer phone. Helen also tried the mobile number and it was engaged and then a little while later Dean turned up. He is employed as a grass cutter for the council. When the bridge was  opened his job spec was altered to include the bridge. He got no more money and as the bridge has always been badly engineered and works properly very rarely he was getting a lot of call outs and they didn't even give him overtime.

We were very fortunate that he came today. He explained, and demonstrated what to do. To access the big cabinet, rather than the remote box, you need a type of 'key' that opens a meter box on the outside of the house. There are switches etc that can work the bridge from the cabinet. However when he tried it didn't work. Whilst all this was going on I left our overnight mooring and slipped alongside the boat on the bridge mooring. Once Dean managed to get the bridge open the boat heading west passed through and then us.

This is the bridge in question. It is a foot bridge that replaces other bridges that were lost when the flyover was constructed. The footbridge was opened in 2005 and is named the Princess bridge as Princess Ann opened it.

Here is the flyover above the foo bridge and our other boat that was heading to Keadby for the Trent at 1715 for the tideway to go down to the Fosse and Lincoln.

Once clear we let them overtake as we were only heading as far as the Bluewater Marina as we were off home again. After finding out where we were to berth we entered the marina and back down to our very short pontoon. I then did the usual chores before having a bite to eat and heading to the Thorne North station to head to Hull to get the car. There is a closer Thorne South station, but on a different line. I was back in under three hours and loading up the car.

Whilst I had been gone a lady from the marina had noticed the name of our boat and knocked. It turns out to be somebody we know from home. They have moved onto the canal and live at Thorne when not travelling about the system. Their boat is 'registered' in Holderness, where that is our name.

I wonder if anybody out there can tell me the answer to a little puzzle. When leaving the boat I used to check the direction of north and then angle the solar panels so that the three of them spanned the area through which the sun would pass. A bloke told me that this was wrong as then when when one is working efficiciently the others are dragging it back s they are not receiving the same amount of energy so meaning they are not producing their most. He said that you should pick the most favourable direction and angle them all in that direction. It is beyond me, but that seems to go against a Yorkshire 'Belt and Braces' approach. What is the best thing to do?

By the way this lady from our town said that the Princess bridge was in the open for boats position so maybe Dean has just had enough and left it open. Pedestrians can walk over the flyover, but it is not as nice, but the detour for boats is a very big detour indeed.

We are at home again for a few days for more cultural events and volunteering. The first of which is the Radio !1 Big Weekend. You maybe surprised to hear that I am not volunteering at this event, but have been talked in to going as a punter!! I have never been to a 'festival', but I did attend an outdoor concert once. It was the Spinners in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, about 1972. I am taking this Year of Culture in Hull seriously so thought I should experience this event. Mind you I have had more than a few second thoughts, and the very least of them I can assure you is the fear of terrorism! I see there are extremely heavy showers with thunder and lightening forecast for the afternoon, then there is the noise, or should I say volume, the number of people (50000 they have just said on the TV) and the shrieking kids. Oh well, I will grin and bear it and put it all down as an experience.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Slowly in the sun.

Another nice quiet night, and it wasn't too hot for sleep either. We had to make a move today so we set off at out usual time.

Helen used the footbridge to take some photos of the boat, and even had me in them, as I am not seen that often.

This was me waving good bye as I thought that she would be walking to the Sykehouse Lift Bridge. She had other ideas however!

The lift bridges are all like this. They seem to be easy to use and we have never had a breakdown yet at them.

The swing bridges are all like this, and they are all like this too.

At Sykehouse Lock we were surprised to see the red light on. This indicates that the lock is manned and you should wait for the lock green signal. As it turned out the swing bridge that is in the middle of the lock had started to jam due to expansion in the heat and C&RT were there working on it. However in the season there always seems to be a volunteer here too. The old lock house has been in ruins ever since the first time we passed this way. Somebody has bought it and spent a fortune. It seems that he was refused planning permission, so mysteriously there was a fire! It is all windows with a wall round round it and nice grounds. It is a lovely spot and good access via the M62/M18.

 A little further on is the River Don/Dutch River Aqueduct. The river is still tidal at this point and to ensure that a surge tide with a wet period does not over top the canal they have built these guillotine gates at either end. These restrict the flow between the rivers heightened banks and not into the river causing flooding over the canal banks. In the photo you can see a yellow object floating in the water.

 When we got closer we could see it was a life raft type thing. We thought that we had better pick it up as it isn't the sort of thing that you want round your prop.

The tow path runs down one side on a bridge and the other side just has a rail. The water from the canal uses the aqueduct as a spill weir directly into the river.

You can see the water flowing over here. The first time we came over here C&RT were present and it had been bad weather and it was raining. We really thought they were closing the gate on us.

We have just come down the New Junction Canal, on the left of the picture and are making the 330 deg turn into the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.

 We were soon at Bramwith Lock. We used the small chamber and you can see the unused pound ahead of us. In the 1920's the New Junction Canal, opened in 1905, was losing money. It was felt that opening up the coalfields to bring coal to Goole by compartment boats would improve matters. Bramwith Lock was enlarged  at this time and this allowed the Tom Pudding compartment boats to work through so restoring the canal to profitability.

Just a little further on is Bramwith Swing Bridge with the services next to it. We stopped to fill with water and to dump the rubbish. It is a lovely spot really.

We were soon at Staniland Marina that had gone bust previously but had been taken over by another company and now seems to be busy, with a C&RT work boat in the dry dock.

Thorne Lock has a road bridge at the top gates. This interconnected with the lock gear. The lock is electrically operated but it doesn't look as though it would be. I had to help Helen with the bridge as it took some starting. I think once again it was the heat. These bare headed lock gates always make me think that some thing has gone wrong.

We were very quickly on the visitor moorings. We managed to to just squeeze in to the space that was remaining. We could not have got a fag packet between the fenders. Fortunately the boat at our stern had a high bow so fitted under their bow fended. The rail seems to be a handy spot for birds to rest and this swallow stayed still long enough for me to take a picture. We went in to town to by some supplies as we are having visitors this evening.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Why the Went worked well.

As we were drinking out tea in bed this morning we decided that we would stay put today and en joy the sunshine. We both had some jobs to do so that would justify us staying put in my mind!?

Before we get to work there was a throbbing noise. Funnily enough there was no surge of the boat as we have experienced in the past, but by poking our head out of the side hatch we saw the 'Exol Pride' crossing the Went aqueduct. This photograph sort of gives you an idea of the difference of size of the 'Exol Pride' and the 'Holderness'.

She gave a blast on her whistle as she approached the junction with the Knottingly- Goole Canal. In fact it was a bit like a loud f..t really. She put the power on to get round the corner. The trade to Rotherham restarted started again in May 2016.

The 'Exol Pride' is the old Humber Pride she is 200' long, with a beam of around 20'. She has a loaded draft of about 7'6" when she is carrying around 500t of lubricating oil. She runs from King George Dock in Hull to Rotherham in about 10 or 12 hours. As we speak she is on the way down the Ouse passing Swinefleet. They say that each trip saves up to 18 road tankers and the green footprint is 25% less.

 One of my jobs was a bit of a touch up of the paintwork. We maybe shouldn't have had the boat painted and then passed over the Rochdale and Calder and Hebble Canals!

Just down from the junction is the Went Aqueduct of the New Junction Canal. The river was part of the reason that the Aire and Calder Navigation built the Ferrybridge to Goole Canal. The Directors were a little reticent in spending loads of money on a big new canal, until they heard of two proposed new canals. The first was for the Aire and Don canal that would run from Knottingley to Newbridge which is on the tidal River Don/Dutch River a bit to the west of the M62 bridge today. But there was another proposed canal also to run from Cold Hiendley on the Barnsley Canal then using the River Went to the Dutch River near Newbridge. This is looking to the west and looks as though it would be quite easily have been canalised.

Looking east towards the Dutch River it also looks like the route would have been easy to use. These bids stirred the Aire and Calder to get going on their plans. They would have liked to have had the junction with the River Ouse further down river, clear of the 90 deg bend at Goole and the Swinefleet shallows but the Dutch River and the River Went prevented this happening easily.

This is looking north from the footbridge by the Went Aqueduct to the junction with the Aire and Calder. There are two watercourses bridge here, and you can see 'Holderness' in the distance top left, just before the Southfield Reservoir.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Gone from Goole.

We had a lovely quiet night alongside. We had some chores to do in Goole so decided to walk into the metropolis and then visit the Waterways museum.

Yesterday evening we were visited by proud swan parents of these healthy cygnets. However I did notice that the cob was picking on the pale coloured ones, but perhaps they were just the naughtier ones!

As we walked down the road that is between the Canal/South Dock and the Dutch River (which is the outlet of the River Don, I noticed this light and recognised it as the one that had graced the pile at Trent Falls, where the Ouse and Trent meet to form the Humber. As you entered the Trent on a flood tide you always had to be wary of getting set down on it.

The public right of way goes right through the docks and this shot is for No.1 daughter. It also shows the brick built hydraulic tower (far left) that powered the lock gates and coal hoists. Next to it is the white painted water tower that, when built in 1926 was the largest in Europe, I think. Above the bow of the ship is the remaining coal hoist the was for discharging railway wagons into the holds of ships. Just behind the gantry crane on the right you may see a new concrete tower that is for cement, like the other steel ones near by.

The public footpath takes you over the Ocean Lock. This is the main lock, maybe the only lock, in use today. Victoria Lock is longer but not as wide. Ocean lock takes the largest vessels that can navigate to Goole up the Ouse.

This closed and unremarkable building has made the cut as it was the Pilot Office when I was bringing ships here. Even in those days it was not very salubrious but it was somewhere out of the wind and rain to wait for your ship to sea or a taxi home after bringing one up. When the pubs were closed that is.

There is a trail round Goole of 12 paintings of ships. Each one was painted by Goole painter Reuben Chappell who was a pier head painter. That is somebody that went aboard the visiting ships to get commissions from the Captains etc. He started aged 20 in 1890, but left Goole due to illness for Par, in Cornwall, where he continued. In his career he painted around 12000 ships pictures.

This is the sole remaining Tom Pudding hoist that lifted the pans out of the canal and tipped them into the waiting ships. W.H. Bartholomew was the Aire and Calder Canal and he experimented with compartment boats to bring coal from the West Riding pits to Goole for export. Originally about 8 of these tubs carrying about 35t of coal were strung together. A false bow, or jebus, was added to cut the water, and then a tug pushed them along. They were able to go round corners by tightening up on the lashings on one side and slacking on the other. Later they increased to up to 12 pans but they were now towed. 

This is the seal of the Aire and Calder Navigation Co. that was founded in 1698. The quarters are top left representing Leeds and top right Wakefield, who put up the money for the enterprise. Bottom left is the white rose of Yorkshire and bottom right the sailing barges, keels and sloops that used the waterway.

Wheeldale was one of the tugs that pulled the 'Tom Puddings' until they finished in the 1980's.

These are some of the very few 'Tom Pudding' compartments that are left. at the Waterways Museum.

This is the Jebus bow unit that secures on the front of the string of compartments. You can see the tension chains that secured them all together.

After about 90 mins at the museum we headed back to 'Holderness' for a spot of lunch. We didn't linger as the boat behind us was playing Bob Dylan on a loop as loud as he could as he was painting outside. We let go and just moved across the dock to Viking Marine once again to fill up with diesel. It was 68p and self declaration and it seems to be the cheapest in this neck of the woods. 'Fusedale H' and 'Humber Renown' are patiently awaiting reactivation once the Government etc. see the advantages of moving cargoes on these massive water ways.

As we turned once more and headed away from Goole I noticed this lovely little cutter that used to the the hydrographic survey launch that was based in Brough Haven and checked out the perpetually changing Whitton Sands between Trent Falls and the Humber Bridge. We also saw a very old Hull Roads pilot cutter in the Boat yard marina.

The weather was very nice, if a little breezy as we were heading directly into it down a very wide canal in a very flat landscape. However when we got to the New Junction Canal we moored up on the west side and as we were sheltered by hedge we broke out the chairs for the first time this year. I nice end to the day was a glass of wine and some nibbles as we both read our books.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Got back to Goole.

After a very busy time for a six day stop,over at home we have got back to the peace and quiet of the boat. We loaded up the car and headed up the A63 and M62 to Goole and were unloading once more in under an hour. Macy the cat always knows when we are either leaving the boat, or the house, and manages to go and hide somewhere. We have to prise her claws out to get her in the car. However as soon as she is on the back shelf she seems content. Then when ever we get to the boat she seems to settle almost straight away, where as at home she has to be out and about exploring and looking round and takes a day to get back into her routine. We think she likes being on the boat.

Once we were unloaded I set of back home. I did all the chores, like wash the floors, put the bins out etc and still had time to do a little weeding of the drive before having to go for my bus. The bus station is next to the train station so it was a very swift purchase of ticket and on to the train and away. Only one stop, Brough, before Goole and if you sit on the right side you get a great view of the Humber Bridge and the estuary. It was about 1hr 30 mins to HW Hull as there was a ship just passing Hull heading up river. It would have been a good day for our trip down as the wind was from the south and just a ripple on the surface.

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You get a good view from the train of the Humber Bridge and the channel light ships, some of which were still manned until the 1970's. The channels weaves from the north to the south bank so you could get a great view of moving ships.

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Skelton swing bridge, or Goole Railway Bridge, has to be swung for sea going vessels to reach Howdendyke and Selby. While very little goes to Selby but there are plenty of ships going to Howdendyke about a mile or so further up river. The bridge is at and angle on the river and the tide sets you onto the structure. This means that you shouldn't try to pass through on any size vessels until about 20mins before HW Goole. This gives you enough time to swing and moor alongside by HW at Howdendyke.

Our snug mooring. The land round here is very flat, and in line with most marinas there is the devil's own job to move round them in a breeze.

The wind is coming from my st'bd quarter so a rope to the end of the pontoon with the boat nearest to us was slacked away until I knew my stern would clear the concrete and then we came round to st'bd. This meant there was no fear of me being set down on the boats to the right of the picture.

I was back aboard 'Holderness' within three hours of leaving. We filled up with water and all the other jobs before going and paying. Everybody here seems so friendly and it is a very local yard for us so we may come for winter moorings at some time in the future. Whilst we were paying I saw the 'Walter Hammann' a sea going ship, further down South Dock working cargo. She was a very regular runner to Hull, Goole and the Trent when I was a pilot and had a very grumpy Captain as I remember. It was good to see she was still working. All paid up a then rang a forward spring to the nearby pontoon so I would be able to get my bow round into the wind without clouting any of the cruisers. A very nice man from one of the cruisers volunteered to let go our spring once we were round and this saved Helen having to hop on once she had let go the line. We didn't go far as we just went over to the south side of the cut, to the visitor moorings and tied up there for the night. The plan is to go to the Yorkshire Waterways Museum in the morning and to post some letters etc before heading off up the cut. More to report in the morning.

'Walter Hammann has a hydraulic wheelhouse that can be raised at sea and lowered when it is using the rivers and canals on the continent. We used to call this type of ship sea snakes as they were long and thin with nothing above the deck really. She is 58 mts long and 11.5 mts wide and was built in 1988.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Pretty straight and pretty wide in the rain.

Despite the rain we decided to walk the short way in to the village to try the Kings Head. I suspect that Helen was convinced due to the food looking so good. However when we got there Monday was the no food day. Mind you the place was pleasant and the beer was good. We walked past swing bridge No.3 that is just below the lock.

As can be seen No.3 swing bridge is still working and is worked by a capstan. There is a notice that says if a boat finds the bridge closed, wait 15 mins and then call C&RT. It is padlocked up so I suspect that the farmer has the key and just uses it when he needs to.

A little bit further down the canal is the site of swing bridge No.4. This was all that was left of it. You can see the slewing ring and the central pivot post so I suspect it was just the same as No.3.

We were soon at Southfield Reservoir. It was built at the same time as the Aire And Calder Canal to supply water.

Half way along the reservoir is the turn to the South Yorkshire Navigation via the New Junction canal. This was the last large canal to be cut, opened in 1905, to connect the South Yorkshire system to the rest via the Aire and Calder, who helped pay for it..

Southfield Reservoir is open to the canal in several places. This is to allow it to quickly replace water that is lost in the large locks at Goole that are used for seagoing vessels. There were no boats on the water as we passed, but there were plenty of fishermen.

Not far past the New Junction junction the canal makes a big dog leg. This is when it is met by the River Don from the south. Originally it had two mouths, one into the Ouse and one into the Trent but in 1620's Vermuyden engineered it to meet the Ouse at Goole. It is now called the Dutch River and is tidal. Once this has been negotiated the canal runs almost straight to Goole, passing under the M18 bridge. Just as we approached the dog leg we met a boat coming the opposite way, and as we passed the M18 we passed another. It is getting really busy here. Since leaving Pollington I had been doing speed trials on the deep and wide canal. I used the mile marks given in Nicholson's guide and timed my speed over the distances. There was little wind so it should be a fair reflection of the speed. I had half fuel and half water aboard. 1800 revs gave me a speed of a touch over 4 mph. 2000 revs gave me a speed of 5 mph and 2200 gave a speed of 6 mph. The first two were averaged over 3 separate miles and the last was just 1 mile, as we had arrived.

As we passed under the railway bridge you come to a single lock gate. Apparently some sort of curtain was placed on the bottom during WWII so that it could be used like stop planks in case Goole Docks were bombed and the canal breached. It is now hydraulically driven and well maintained so still serves the purpose.

I often used to pass 'Easdale H' on the Trent as she was punching the flood tide and hugging the bank to stay out of the main flow and every now and then dodging out to round a stone heap. She had loaded gravel or sand down the Trent and was either taking it to Hull or Goole. It is a shame to see these working boats, not working.

The orange ship had just come up from sea on the tide and was making fast at South Dock. We are just about to turn into Viking Marine as we are stopping here for a week to go home and do some volunteering and soaking up some more culture in the centre of Art and culture for the year, Hull.