We retirned to the boat yesterday, but Helen had to return home for an engagement, and to drop the car back home. Whilst she was away I set about changing the engine and gearbox oil and the filter. Every time I do it I seem to do it a different way. I'm really too big for messing about in the engine hole but needs must. Once Helen returned we met up with one of my brothers and his wife for a pint and a meal at the local Weatherspoons. It is called a strange name for a pub, The Giant Bell Flower! Known locally as the 'Bell End'.
I had backed down from Selby Boat Centre through the bridge to be nearer the station etc. This morning it was dank but very warm indeed. We were away by 0930 and back through Bawtry Bridge on our trip down the Selby Canal. The Selby Canal came into being as the Leeds and Liverpool Co were talking of building a canal from Leeds to Selby. This spurred on the Aire and Calder Canal Co to push ahead with plans. They settled on the 5.5 mile canal from Haddlesey to Selby and Selby boomed.
Once we cleared the town the canal became very rural with hardly and bridges etc. Slowly but surely the duck weed dissipated too.
The Selby Canal was opened in 1778 and this is one of the original bridges that is at Burton Hall. John Smeeton and William Jessop were consulted as to the route and they will have planned these bridges.
I'm not sure whether the bridges were built as horse drawn navigation but the tow path beneath the bridge does seem to be very narrow for a horse or mule to pass. They are even a bit narrow for humans and hand rails are provided. I wonder if the canal was designed to me man hauled all along.
The East Coast Main Line cross the canal and is really the only noise that interrupts the peace of the canal.
There are several places where at first sight it looks like there is an old swing bridge site. However these are places where it seems a ditch or drain comes under the canal.
The sun has been trying to get out from behind the clouds and never really succeeded all day. It stayed very warm though. Eggborough Power station loomed out of the mist.
5.5 miles later we arrived at West Haddlesey Lock. A little before 'Sealion' had pulled of a mooring so we had a lock partner. We penned down from the canal into the River Aire but as you can see the same set of gates acts as flood gates too. It would have been a different kettle of fish if the we had had to lock up!!
Once out on the river the bends come thick and fast but the river is not quite as narrow as the Avon so is never a problem. You can see 'Sealion' heading off round one of the bends.
We arrived at Beal Lock and there was a boat coming down the lock. It turned out to be 'Waterstart' of the Sobriety Project charity that tries to prevent social isolation and exclusion. She is a wide beam boat that was working out of Thorne training people on boat handing etc but it looked like she had a group aboard who were out for a trip. Once we penned up another boat was there to drop down the look. It seemed to be rush hour! 'Sealion' was stopping here as they had won the first quiz ever at the Kings Arms in the village and were stopping to spend their voucher.
The bridge at beal seemed small scale but the buildings behind looked as though they could have been warehouses in the past.
We had a different view of Kellingley Colliery to that from the Aire and Calder we usually have. It finally closed in December 2015 and ended the era of deep mining in the UK. When you consider the wealth and work that coal mining brought to the country it is amazing to think that it has all gone, especially as there are still millions of tonnes in the ground, but not cheaply obtained at the moment.
The next and last lock on the Selby Navigation is Bank Dole Lock. There is a chemical smell in the air and Helen had stinging eyes. The lock took a fair while to drop down and then fill to make matters worse. There were flood gates to protect the river getting over the top and into the canal.
After leaving the lock we were soon at the junction at Knottingley with the Aire and Calder Canal. Harkers the barge running company bought a shipyard here in 1929 that had been making ships since 1820's when the canal to Goole was constructed. They built 316 boats before they closed in 1979. Hirst's are now carrying on the trade and there are many and varied vessels alongside.
We were back to familiar territory and heading off to Leeds.