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Friday, 21 July 2017

Duck weed dodging.

You left us just trickling up the Ouse towards Selby. Little spurts of the engine in gear to hold a course but otherwise just drifting up with the tide, trying to cover the 6.5 miles as slowly as possible to allow the strength of the tide to lower a little.

We were just coming up to the bend near 'No Man's Friend' light beacon when I heard the approach of another boat from astern. As I was drifting along on the wrong side of the river I quickly cut across to the st'bd side of the channel for him.

After passing 'Cheery Orchard' light the Selby By-pass bridge comes into view. I don't think we will be needing it to be opened for us today. It was built to replace the very old toll swing bridge that we will no doubt talk of in a later blog. It was built in 2003 and the whole bypass opened in July 2004. It seems that it has cut congestion in the town greatly and increased journey speeds by between 7 and 10 minutes! Beyond towards the site of the old Cochrane's shipyard is a new industry that seems to be developing. It is a new plant that is making high quality grain alcohol that is then sold on to the spirit and liquor companies. They are also planning to make starch based products like starch and sweeteners for the food, pharmaceutical, chemical and pulp and paper industries. I liked the fact that it looks like they have installed waiting dolphins either side of the bridge for large vessels.

Once through the by-pass bridge the Selby Abbey comes into view along with the rail and road swing bridges. What doesn't make itself apparent is the entrance to the canal system via Selby Lock. However there is a little seasonal clue to it's location.

As we progressed down the reach the sign comes into view. The clue was the very green duckweed that has obviously come from the canal.

As we drew level we could see the lock keeper and a fair few gongozzlers awaiting our arrival. The tides are just coming of springs so despite there being a bit less than an hour to high water here in Selby it was still coming up strongly. I started to swing to port about now to stem the tide.

With it being HW I didn't have to worry about any mud bank that may have accumulated at the down stream corner of the lock and just edged my way over to the lock before steering in, then a bit of a burst on the engine to ensure that the stern came round and we were out of the stream and settling into the lock.

The lock keeper operates the lock for you and as you can see, unlike at Barmby, we are going up in the world, rather than down. The duck weed is very thick and it is quite amusing to see the birds, sparrows and blackbirds, hoping about on it looking for food. It must be like kids on frozen lakes, but not as cold!

A nice toothy grin from Helen as we leave the lock and are on canals again. Her first job though is the swing bridge ahead, over what seems to be a busy road.

It is busy and Helen manages to hold up a fair few whilst I get through. Luckily though the bridge operates smoothly and the delay is minimal.

The old bridge keepers hut still stands as do the windlasses that were used to open and close the bridge. I wonder if they can be still brought into use in an emergency?

We didn't have very far to go as we were leaving the boat in Selby. I was told that they no longer sell diesel or gas, but I did not confirm this but will try to remember to do so when we go back. We had a bit of work to do before we could get along side as the duck weed just rucked up between the boat and the berth and we couldn't really get close. It took me about 15 minutes trying to move the weed away enough so that we could at least have fairly tight moorings. This was accomplished and we were soon all sorted, car loaded and off again. Our one night, two days, aboard seemed like a whole week when we got home. We do love being on the boat, and this going backwards and forwards is certainly a bit of a pain, but as it is just for one year and mainly caused by Hull's year as City of Culture, a once in a life time experience, we are happy to do it.

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