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Saturday 9 December 2017

July by bridge and lock, part 2.

You left us heading up the River Derwent. It is a shame that there is no passage to Satmford Bridge anymore as that would have been a nice trip to make and a bit of an adventure. It would be nice to think that the various responsible bodies could get their acts together and restore Sutton Lock and open up the route once more. It would be a relatively cheap way of restoring another 10 miles to the waterways.

When you arrive at Cottingwith Junction, where the arm off the river heads towards the Pocklington Canal you have to keep your eyes open as it is not at all obvious. The trees were much overgrown and it could easily have been missed. When we came back out this way we saw a sign that was mostly hidden. After a little way you come to Cottingwith Lock. They are fitted with the wheel type paddle gear but otherwise all seemed normal. As we arrived there was another boat going up ahead of us.

We had been warned by others that there could well be a weed problem and after a very short distance we realised that we had underestimated the problems as we had never really encountered weed to this extent. The first couple of miles was the worst and I think it was really because there were no trees shading the canal so the heat and sun light had really boosted the growth. It was just a matter of perseverance, going in reverse to try to rid the prop of weed until it didn't work anymore and then getting down the weed hatch to do a 'proper' job. After Haggs Bridge it got a bit better and quicker progress was made. This picture of the bridge was taken on the way out again.

Also in the two miles were a couple of swing bridges, aptly called No.1 and No.2! I think this is No.1 but they are the same design. This gave some relief from the weed pushing and also another opportunity to go down the hatch and clear the prop one more time. Unfortunately the weed cutting boat is out of action as it needs some expensive alterations.

By the time we reached Gardham Lock things were moving along more quickly but not clear of weed by any means. The lock has a swing bridge across the middle of it like Fenny on the Grand Union. Just another little quirk on this canal.

 After several hours of pushing weed to complete the 5 miles we arrived at swing bridge No.7. Just the other side of this is the entrance to the Melbourne Arm and our moorings for a while, kindly lent to us by a member of the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society. It is a pretty idyllic spot, nice and quiet with fish aplenty, walkers and boat trips to occupy you for some of the day but very peaceful for the rest of the time. In the above photo you can see there is plenty of weed and rush on the canal. This section is not open to navigation at present.

The next lock up on the non navigable stretch of 4 miles is Thornton Lock and it has just been refurbished. This weekend they were having an open day to the public. We had a sneek preview and an interesting chat to the C&RT guys there. You can see above the lock the waterway is chocked with weed. It actually wouldn't take too much get this open again and through to the Canal Head about a mile short of Pocklington.

After a few days back at home we followed our route back to the barrage at Barmby. We stopped for a night on the pontoon at Barmby and had a great meal at the King's Head in the village. We also had a great meal at the pub in Melbourne so we will be back to both in the future I'm sure. I had been to see the lock keepers and they had given me a time to be at the lock for our pen out on to the Ouse fro the next part of our trip. They keep the whole area in tip top condition. In this photo you can see the floating fence that prevents going over the barrage and the piles that mark the lock entrance.

The tide was flooding up when we popped out of the lock. We were heading for Selby which was only about 6 miles away. It would obviously be beneficial to arrive when much of the flood tide had abated so we were in no rush at all to get there. In fact we spent most of the trip in neutral just putting 'Holderness' in gear to straighten up and get round the bends! Saving fuel I suppose but got a little funny when the tide started setting us down on to the banks of the bends. We were soon approaching the Selby bypass swing bridge. I was interested to see that a set of pontoons had been placed either side of the bridge to allow vessels waiting for the bridge to hang a rope up to rather than have to dodge about in the river.

Once more having never been this way before it was quite difficult to spot the entrance to the lock for the Selby Canal from any distance, but was obvious when you arrived. We were soon round and shaping up to make our entrance. As usual it seems there were several folk standing waiting so you mess up, of maybe watching and learning to see how you do it. There is slack water just inside the knuckle of the lock so once you have angled in at a nice slow speed over the ground a little kick to get the bow round into the lock is all that was needed. I managed not to disgrace myself once again.

There was just us coming up and we were soon towering above the river level. In the summer months the Selby Canal is full of weed and the first clue you will have of the lock from the river is the banks of weed that are flushed out every time the lock is used. As you can see the weed is so think it does look like a lawn and the coots and moorhens are in there element as their big feet mean that they can walk on it and not have to swim.

There was no room at the basin area near the lock, but we had booked a berth at the Selby Boat Centre as we were heading home again. The weed continued all the way to our allocated slot and we had to literally dig our way in to the mooring as we came alongside to get right flush to the wall. Before that there is one more obstacle of an electric swing bridge. This road must be a short cut to an estate or something because every time we used it we held up loads of traffic! That's Helen working the controls despite being dressed as a C&RT volunteer!

See where we get to in August in the next exciting episode of Bridges and Locks.

Monday 4 December 2017

July by bridge and lock, part 1.

The trip down from Beverley to Hull was the reverse of the way up, in as much as it was just the reverse of the bridges on the way up. Instead of worrying about not being able to fit under the last bridge, the navigational problem was to ensure that we cleared the River Hull as early as possible to give us plenty of time to get right up the Ouse, but to ensure that we had enough water to float when in the River Hull. We left Beverley about 2 hours before LW Hull and despite some 'slight' adventures we got to Sammy's Point by The Deep 3 hrs later, so an hour after LW. I reckon we could have easily left 30 mins later and we would have meet the incoming tide a little further up the Hull.

Once we got on the Humber there was a bit of a wind from the west that had a bit of a chill. Pretty soon it came round to the east, as forecast and it became a pleasant day. We decided to take the northern channel that is not buoyed but on a rising tide would mean we there would be no problem and we would have a different view of the Humber. Passing under the Humber bridge is always a thrill as it may no longer be the longest in the World, but it is pretty beautiful.

Not really knowing how long everything would take we maintained a good speed and made the junction of the rivers Trent and Ouse at the Apex Light in two and a half hours so at an average speed of 6.7kts. We were now on the Ouse and heading to Goole. It was very calm and peaceful and pleasant. We passed Goole an hour later so making a speed of about 10 kts. As we passed the port we had a good view of the old Ouse lock, to the left that you can see is disused due to the bank of mud in the mouth of it, and Victoria Lock that is in use and whilst not quite as wide as Ocean Lock, it is nice and long. We were able to slow down even more as the closer to HW at Barmby Barrage the better as there would be less flow on the river.

The next obstacle was Skelton Railway Bridge. We had been informed of an outward bound vessel from Howdendyke, and on the radio we could hear that we were going to meet around the bridge. The bridge was built in 1869 and over the years has had a few strikes from shipping. There is a slight bend at the site of the bridge and the current doesn't flow directly through the bridge, so setting you onto the structure. It was nice to see a commercial ship on the river.

After passing Hook Ness, making sure you take the right side of the island as one side dries out, but no problem for us on a rising tide. Round the bend and the M62 motorway bridge comes into view. This is the next bridge across the Humber/Ouse after the Humber Bridge, and there is no toll. The bridge was opened in 1976.

Juyst through the motorway bridge you come to Boothferry Bridge which was the lowest bridge to cross to the north bank until 1981 when the Humber Bridge was opened. There was usually a big tail back due to the bottle neck. The Bridge Master came out to give us a wave

We arrived off Barmby Barrage 90 mins after passing Goole at 1645, about 45 mins before HW at Barmby. There was still a good run on the river, but it is nice and wide and swinging round, head to current is not much of a problem. The barrage is to the right of the picture and it was designed to maintain the level of water in the River Derwent and prevent flooding of the valley. The control cabin controls the lock and the barrage. The water levels in the river are watched and altered all automatically.

We had spoken to the Lock Keeper on the way up to keep us informed of our progress and he had said that he would have the lock open for us, but if he wasn't there, just to give him a ring once we were in the lock as he only lives close by. We swung round and started dodging in towards the lock which is separated from the barrage by the piles. This photo is actually from when we left as my camera battery had gone flat on the way in. There doesn't seem to be much room but you can get close to the knuckle, you can  just see some stone below the sign at the waters edge, and there the is slack water so you can 'bend' her in when close to it. The lock keepers are very friendly and helpful and the pontoon a little further up the river is just a nice walk to the village.

After a day on the pontoon and a walk into the village for a safe arrival pint we set of the next day to explore more new ground. The first bridge on the Derwent is the Loftsome road bridge. The small photo above was the toll bridge that was in place from 1804 until 1930's when the present road bridge was opened. It is quite a pleasant stretch of the river.

Not much further up the river is the railway bridge at Wressle. the Hull and Selby Railway was opened in 1840 and soon after Wressle Station was opened. Just through the bridge is the remains of Wressle Castle which was home of the Percy family from 1390's. The house was badly damaged in the Civil wear and then largely burned down in 1796 and what is left is just one wing.

This bridge has been in place since 1793 and was a toll bridge until 1936. It replaced a ferry that was dangerous at times. It has not been enlarged and has traffic lights to regulate traffic. Apart from the three main arches the road way is held above the flood plain by lower flood arches to either side. There are few places to stop and moor on the Derwent so we continued onwards, so more of that on the next blog.