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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Weed, wildlife and worship.

Well we are back aboard for a short stay to move the boat to fit in with tidal windows and our City of Culture commitments etc. We left her shut down in Melbourne Basin up the Pocklington Canal. And we found her in the same place, none the worse and with all the batteries fully charged. It was just a matter of decanting the stuff from the car into the boat, including Macy the cat and Skye the budgie and we were ready for the off. The Trip boat 'New Horizon' was just starting load up her cargo of school kids to take them on a trip down the cut, and they thought it would be best for them to go first.

The trip boat has cleared the swing bridge so I left the berth with a little to and fro'ing to get the bow round as the water was shallow to the right of the boat so I had to touch the bow on the bank then reverse and then move the bow a little more to st'bd a couple of times until I was round. Such a lovely spot to leave your boat and sad to leave.

The long arm of C&RT extends even to the backwaters of the Pocklington canal as this lady talking to Helen was conducting a survey of all tow path users to get their views etc.

It seems that the school kids were each being given a chance to steer and I must say they were well wide of us when we passed.

Helen putting her back into closing the swing bridge behind me.

We saw several hares on our trip today, but these were the only ones that allowed me to get a quick snap of them.

I noticed a field of cattle that not only had their ear tags but also a tag in their 'wattle' or what ever you call the equivalent on a cow (or more likely a bull by the look of it). It seems the tag in the beasts right ear is the official primary tag. This has to be yellow and have the crown on, plus the country ie. UK, the herd mark and then the identifying number that is comprised of a check digit and then the individual number for the animal. The primary tag can be in either ear, but in the other ear has to be a secondary tag. This can be any colour and it may be used to help identification at a distance, such as a different colour for each year. It must have the same information is the primary tag but can also have other management info on, so long as it doesn't obscure the primary information. I think the tag in the wattle is an electronic item that may be activates a counter or opens a feed bin or something like that as it seem to carry one number and is not in the ear!

Despite the weed still being quite bad we managed to go a little faster today, and we actually completed the run to Cottingwith Lock in almost two hours less than on the way up.

Here we are at Cottingwith. The by wash was running into the river and wehn we dropped down the gauge was showing just into the yellow caution zone. It was only about 2" higher than when we came up. You can see the sleeve that is chained over the shaft of the paddle gear to prevent it being used without the use of the Waterways Key.

A branch had come down from the low tree in the channel so we had to push that out of the way to exit the short, shallow cut into the River Derwent proper. You can just see the small partially obscured sign declaring that you have made it as far as the Pocklington Canal. Luckily there is only the one large'ish tributary so even if you miss the sign you know to turn right on the way up. 

Just behind the levee is the village of Thorganby and you can see the New Hall in greyish brick to the left. It was built in 1822 for John Dunnington Jefferson who bought the estate an manorial rights in 1812. He built the new Hall to replace a smaller brick built one. In the background can be seen St. Helen's church. The top of the tower was built in the 15th century and the bottom in 12th century. The rest of the church, unseen here was almost completely rebuilt out of brick between 1740 and 1770. It looks a pleasant village with many lovely houses.

The church in Ellerton, on the east bank of the Derwent, has quite a history. It was built on the site of a Gilbertine Priory that was established in 1203. The church, St. Mary's and St. Lawrence's, was extensively rebuilt in 1840, but by the 1970's population of the village had fallen and it became redundant in 1978. In 1984 the contents were removed and the beautiful medieval stained glass was removed and placed in a window at Selby Abbey. The building fell into general disrepair with part of the roof caving in and trees grown in the walls and graveyard. Just before it was slated for demolition the Ellerton Church Preservation Trust stepped in and bought the place. They have lovingly restored it and now use it as an arts space where concerts and exhibitions are held. It must be very peaceful on the edge of the village and overlooking the Derwent Ings.

A little further down stream we came to North Duffield Carrs which are part of the Lower Derwent Valley Nature reserve and we were pleased to see a flight of lapwings. They appeared to be young birds as they wanted to stay together and didn't seem to have the crests of the adult lapwings, or pewits as I know them.

I think these birds are Eurasian oyster catchers but are found all over Europe. They were confined to coast perviously be have spread in land to breed before returning to the coast to overwinter. They are striking birds with the big orange beaks and red eyes.

The next village to the south on the east bank is Aughton. Just about all that can be seen of it from the river is All Saints Church. It is an historic church with associations to Robert Aske who was the leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. This was an uprising against the changes that Henry VIII brought about with the Church of England and making the church established. He was was beheaded following capture. His son built memorials to him in the church on the tower, including the carving of a newt or salamander as the old English for it was an ask.

Once we arrived back at the pontoon near the barrage we felt we deserved a treat and had decided on a meal in the Kings Head.  On the way through the village we have meet these guinea fowl that seem to live a charmed life as they dash backwards and forwards across the road. It is a good job there isn't much traffic.

On our way up we stopped at the Kings head for a drink. We liked the look of the menu and determined that we would eat when we passed outbound. There is a good selection on the menu, including a tapas menu. They do take away fish and chips, but Helen had them eat in. She was mightily impressed and declared them superb. I had chicken and leek pie that was very tasty with piles of chips and veg too. I would recommend a small lunch if you are going in the evening!

All was peaceful on the pontoon when we returned, with a lovely sky and the 'traffic' lights for the barrage glimmering on the paintwork of the boat. I hope it is as peacful in the morning when we leave the Derwent

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