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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Barmby By 'Eck!

We had been told by VTS Humber when we left Old Harbour at Hull that a vessel would be leaving Howdendyke, and this was repeated when we talked with Goole Docks. Howdendyke is only about three miles further up river and there are three private wharves there. Between the two places though is the Skelton Railway Bridge. After passing Goole we slowed down as there was no real need to get there too early and the later, the less strong would be the current.

Listening on the VHF radio we could hear that the vessel had left Howdendyke wharf and was heading down river. As we could see the railway bridge was already open waiting for her. The bridge was built and esigned by the North Eastern Railway Co as they wanted a new route from South Yorkshire to Hull. The swinging section gives a gap of about 30m for the passage of ships and was hydarulically operated and could fully open in 50 secs. It was opened in 1869. The bridge is built on a bend in the river and the current does not set right through the bridge. If you are there too early the current is very strong and makes life difficult. There has been several strikes by ships that have caused damage and in 1973 one of the fixed spans was brought down by a ship. After a further collision in 1976 British Rail were trying to close the bridge to save the cost of repairs but in 1987 it was Grade II ,listed. Once again in 1988 one of the fixed piers was pushed out of true by a collision. However in 2009 a £6 million renovation started and it is good for a long time yet.

The bridge has to be swung in line with the railway timetable and the tides. Not knowing which opening the 'Fenn Courage' would take I was keeping out of the way. He then called and said I could pass over to the bank ahead of him so we dived down out of the way as he approached.

We passed through one span as he was pushing through the other side. there didn't seem much room to us. He approached at a slow speed and once lined up gave full ahead to ensure he had full steering.

The boat that had left Ocean Lock after we had passed 'Ocean Spirit' had caught us up at this point. He asked if the bridge could be left open for him and they did. At High water there is 15 foot clearance so no need for us to worry. I don't suppose that it is very often these days that the bridge master has three vessel pass through at the same time.

Here are two of the Howdendyke warves. In my day it seemed to mainly starch that was brought here and looking at the grabs as we passed it is still maybe a cargo that they handle. 

After rounding Hook Ness, just past the jetties, and passing Howdendyke Island we saw the M62 motorway bridge. This is part of the Transpennine route that also links Ireland with the continent via Hull and Immingham docks. It was given the go ahead in 1966 and was finally opened in 1976. It is of haunched girder design apparently.

Before the motorway bridge was built all traffic had to cross this two, rather than six, lane bridge at Boothferry Bridge. This was the first road bridge crossing the Ouse to allow access between the north and south banks of the Humber. Otherwise the paddle ferries on the lower river had to be used. There was a ferry here previously to the bridge being built in 1929. 

I was alerted to the presence of the floating corpse of this cow from quite a distance before we passed it. I have seen cows sheep and pigs in the river before now, as well as live porpoise and seals.

As we passed under the bridge master came out for a wave. It must have to be manned around the times of high water. I don't suppose he gets too many calls to open.

Here you can see thet both bridges are quite busy. the local traffic using the Boothferry bridge means there are still ofetn delays crossing.

Here is the conluence of the Ouse and Aire. At this point the Aire isn't navigable but we will rejoin it to reach Knottingly from Selby later on our trip. It looks somewhat like a French scene just here.

Drax Power Station dominates the area. It nis the biggest in the UK in terms of generating output and the second largest in Europe. (The bigger one is in Germany). In 1969 the massive Selby Coalfield was 'discovered' and this led to the building of power statitons in the area. Drax was started in 1973 and was first generating in 1975. It is now able to burn coal, pet coke and 7.5 million tonnes of biomass that it imports from the USA and Canada in the form of pellets. It produces 7% of the UK's energy needs.

Part of the plans for the use of biomass and an experimental Carbon capture ans storage scheme was to import using water transport and so a new jetty was built. I am not aware that any of the biomass is transported by water, yet that is.

We arrived at the Barmby barrage after an hour and a half trip making us back to our 6.7 kts. average speed again. The weir/barrage is to the right of the control cabin and the lock entrance is to the left, behind the piled jetty. This was just when the battery on the camera gave up then ghost so I will have to hope to get some good photos of the lock when we come back down. There was still quite a run of current when we had turned. The lock keeper had opened the lock and turned the green light on for us so we just entered. There is quite a backwash from the concrete wall you can see in the picture and acts like a bow thruster pushing you to st'bd as you enter. It means you can get much closer to it than you think!

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