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Friday, 12 May 2017

Locks, cuts and river to Wakefield.

Helen popped to the handy shop whilst I made a few phone calls before we set off this morning. No sooner had we popped our head out of the hatch than it started to mizzle. Not enough to get wet though, just a bit dreary.

We soon arrived at the first lock of the day, at Shepley Bridge. It is a nice scene here with the old lock cottage, dry dock and small basin. A feller said he had a bit of timber to use for a 'handspike', so despite my pick axe handle workling fine I accepted as I never turn a bit of timber down. It will always go on the fire!

 Out on the river once again with distant views of the countryside.

Almost straight away you are entering the Greenwood Flood Lock.

As we passed under the bridge in the upper picture which is the Wakefield to Huddersfield line it reminded me of another bridge. I sorted out a picture of the bridge of the Engine Arm on the BCN, and there are similarities.

This is the Thornhill Cut, towards the end with the Double Locks just coming into view. The railway bridge is now redundant but was the Midland Railway line.

This is the pound between the top and bottom Double Locks. It is really difficult to get the gates to stay closed on both these locks. A few years ago we stayed in Savile Town Basin at the end of the Dewsbury Arm. We resisted the temptation today.

Here we have the top of the Figure of Three locks, of which there are only two. However the  small  bridge in the photo was the entrance to another lock that penned boats down to the River. The route of the river has been changed in the area due to modern developments

The may blosoom is definitely out now and makes a good site down the towpath on the Broad Cut.

This is the site of the loading staithe for the Broad Oak Colliery you can see some of the bollards still in place. It seems that this quay was in work until the 1980's as traffic carried coal from here to Thornhill Power Station once other pits that had supplied it had closed. The railway was difficult to use as it would have meant the coal train would have had to reverse  down a busy line. Road access wasn't very good either so the canal was able to continue. 5 rail wagons were loaded at the pit and then worked to the staithe. There was an up slope to the loader. A wagon was tipped, and as the train had backed to the other side of the points, the wagon was allowed to run back the points were changed and the wagon ran down a slight slope to be collected when the barges were loaded.

http://www.lostrailwayswestyorkshire.co.uk/images/donations/John%20Gorthorpe/British%20Oak%20Colliery/Staithe%201.jpg
 This is a picture of the loader. The barges were in Hargreaves colours. Once loaded they didn't have far to to go, but they had to raise up through the two Figure of three locks. This may explain why they had two sets of bottom gates, to extend the lock.

We stopped for water above Broad Cut Lock and when we penned down we were able to to leave the gate open as here was our one moving boat of the day to take our place.

At Thornes Lock it can be seen that there were once two chambers. One seems to be about half the size of the one in use now. I'm not sure what type of vessels would have used it as the barges and keels lock as though they would have been too big for the old one.

This looks like the East Coast Main Line as it passes from Doncaster and Wakefield, and it is electrified. Once again it seems that they spent money on beautiful designs with the castle turrets and coats of arms. It is also part of the the '99 Arch viaduct'. However it seems that there are actually only 95!

Unfortunately as we passed under the bridge the battery on my camera ran out so that was it for the day. We went through the Wakefield Flood Lock and moored up alongside the wood yard off Doncaster Road where we are a bit further away from the road and the apartments that over look the cut, just in case we need to light the stove. Mind you the sun has come out and our thermometer says it is 18C outside!


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