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Monday, 15 May 2017

Dull but interesting

It was nice to meet up with Neal and Sue last night, a brother and sister in law. It was a good to catch up and a good excuse to have another pint at the Junction. We were the last to leave and we had a good chat to the locals about the pub that believes in beer from the wood, brewing, Castleford Tigers, Union versus league etc. The weather forecast was to be heavy rain this afternoon, but okay up to then. So we decided to get off quite early, 0900. As soon as we got out to let go the light rain started and it has kept up all the trip. Not soaking, but a little unpleasant with the wind.

We were soon at Bulholme Lock ready to pen out on to the River Aire.

Looking back up the river towards Castleford and the chimney's of the methane powered generating plant mentioned yesterday.

This stretch of the Aire is very secluded and is a nice as many parts of the Thames, with none of the cruisers, or paying for moorings. (Maybe because there are no moorings!).

Yesterday we had a picture of the Old Wheldale pit loading basin and today we passed the Old Fryston Colliery Basin. Here barges were loaded by chute and then when arrived at Ferrybridge were discharged by grab.

The rail bridge in the foreground runs along the east end of the Fairburn Ings reserve and in the distance is the A1M motorway.

Here at Ferrybridge the barges manned barges being discharged by grab were superseded by pans that were strung together and pushed in a line between loaded basin and power station. 

File:Coal Barges moored at Ferrybridge Power Station - - 895409.jpg
This was the view in 2008 before the system was closed down. You can see empty pans along side the quay by the unloader.

I did say in yesterdays blog that Ferrybridge had closed down, and indeed the old sites have done, the last closing in 2016. However in 2015 Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 opened. It is a 68MW plant that uses biomass, fuel from waste and waste wood as fuel. There are plans for another 90MW plant to be built too. It would seem a great idea to use the same system of pans to bring waste from the conurbations by river and canal and use the unloader to discharge them to save road journeys. I wonder if it will happen.

Not long after the power station is the flood lock. Looking back up river you can see the A1 road bridge and then in the distance the old Ferry Bridge, that actually doesn't go anywhere now.

At Knottingley the River Aire is re-entered at Bank Dole Lock as the route to Selby. We haven't been that way yet, but hope to come back down there later in the year. When we have been down south, closer to London, we have seen some real sights of boats that seem uninhabitable been used on the canals. from a distance I thought this was a new take on the converted enclosed lifeboats you see. A floating caravan maybe something out of 'Top Gear'. However as we got closer it just seems to be in use as a fender.

Kellingley Colliery is now closed as was seen on the TV programme about the last few weeks of the mine. However there seems to be an even bigger pile of coal on site. It was interesting to see that a solar farm had been erected next to the pit since our last visit. Not making much electricity at the moment though.

At Whitley Bridge, Eggborough, is Bowmans Mill. I noticed that there was a new sign on the gate. It seems that the site has been sold to Whitworth Bros. of Northants. The large mill, the closer white building was closed in 2016, but they are using the more modern, mustard colour part has been retained as a flour heat treatment plant. I had never heard of this, but apparently the process was patented in 1970. The flour is heated to between 210 and 230 deg for 60 mins. This drives the moisture out of it. When it is used in manufacture of high ratio goods (like cakes and cookies etc) it then more readily absorbs water and resists forming gluten. This means that the products have an extended shelf life, has finer grains of flour and increased volume, so getting more finished product for less ingredient I suppose. 

At Whitley Lock we managed to drop off our rubbish before penning down. We pass over the motorway bridge M62 regularly and always look to see if there is anything moving below.

Just before Heck Bridge is a quite extensive Canal and River Trust yard. There is plenty of kit sitting here. I suppose it is utilised more during the winter. This is only half of it. However it was good to see that there was maintenance going on as we passed.

We were soon down Pollington Lock and then moored up on the visitor moorings below. As soon as we got in, the soup was on, and the fire lit and we bedded down. I am thinking I may walk into the village as we have never been here before, but not if it is raining!

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