Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter draws on as they say

The valley at Aberdar looks quite flat from a distance but the road going up the mountain as we went to Treorci was steep and very winding.

On a clear day the view is of the Brecon Beacons miles away in the distance.

The town of Aberdar is typically Welsh is style and the tallest thing you can see is the church which dominates the area.

Over the mountain via Maerdy and towards Treorci is another country to locals.  As with places in England there tends to be a natural inclination to move in a certain direction along the roads.  England the key is the local market towns.  Here in Wales the route taken is up and down the valley.  I have been told that you can distinguish the valley that people come from by their accent they are that isolated from the neighbouring valley.

Virtually all the high points seen in this pic are over 1000 feet. 

On the way back is a view that gets one rock hammer hand itching.  Plenty of hard rock geology here and right on the surface.

In the distance can be seen the Brecon Beacons all covered with snow.

The valleys are much greener these days with the coke works down the valley having shut down and the last of the pits closing recently.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Its cold

Had a run out today over the mountain.  We stopped a couple of times to take a pic. While there hasnt been a great deal of snow the wind and low temperature meant we didnt stay out side for long.

As you can see it is wintery all right. I wouldnt fancy walking over from one valley to the other in this weather.

There is a market now where my father would pick up aluminium sheets and on the way I found........

......part of what is left of the canal that once ran to Swansea.

The bridges are typically Welsh and made from the local stone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weather Forecast- Mini Tornado heading for home

Before I went into the marina I took a couple of photos for Tim.  The idea being that these will be used for his blog where he will give the history of his time on board Quiescence. I don't know what has happened to the pic.  It was OK when it left the laptop 

Come Saturday lunch time I was all ready for visitors.  My super sonic mini tornado was coming for the rest of the weekend.

Soon afterwards and a cup of tea later dinner arrives in the persons of Ian and George.  The dinner has been made by Ians fair hand is the favourite of both myself and Abz - Stew and dumplings.

Not only was dinner brought but also a birthday present for Abz. She is of an age now that she is well into make-up and the package was full of make-up and a glittery Abz was the end result.

For the rest of the evening we are kept amused by Abz and the DS.  We have two DS's.  Abz and one that I had bought to play games with her.  The one that I had purchased is a DSi.  The only other that they had for sale was pink.  By no stretch of imagination can I be classed as a pink person and as the only black one was a DSi that is what I ended up with.  A good buy nonetheless for there are a couple of extra programs that delight Abz. The things that she does with photos taken with the DS via the morphing is a wonder to behold :-)

It is not just the DS that was well used while Abz was here.  She finds her way around the internet with ease and is very savvy about the sites that she can use with safety.  I found out a lot about make-up with some of the places she went to today.

On Sunday we took a walk around Thorne.  The first place to visit was the park.  This is a delightful place to be in summer but during the winter is rather bleak.  However the ducks are always glad to see you.

The play area is getting rather small for Abz now but a swing is a swing for all that.

A letter was written recently to the local paper complaining of the disregard that dog owners here have for others.  Dog mess every where.  The Park is not exempt for while we were there a white pit bull type was doing its business while the proud owner looked on.  In general I guess a pit bull type dog goes with a certain type of owner.  Need I say more. 

On the way back to the boat we walked down the little pedestrian precinct and found some bikes floating about.  Ideal for climbing on but got a complaint - with a grin - where are the peddles.

Late in the morning we moved on to the Blue Water Marina – slowly.  The pedestrian footbridge – yet again – isn’t working properly.  When the key is put in and turned the light doesn't start flashing as it should and the gates can’t be closed nor the bridge opened. After much muttering of expletives and a good kick at the bridge it comes to life and works.  The last time I went through it was playing up to such a degree that there was someone stationed there to keep it going.  After this long a time the bridge should have been fixed but the council seemed to be unable to get it right.

Into the marina and this time I am some way along the inside.  The last boat went in OK but this time there is little room for lining up but in we go – just.  The mooring is so tight that I can’t put fenders down on both sides.  At least the boat isn’t going to move a deal now.

Everyone has now gone and Ian has taken Dash with him for a holiday while I do some visiting. He made a great addition to the boat and I will be glad to see him back.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It did rain today

We stayed at Barnby Dunn yesterday.  As you can see from the pic above taken at mid-day the weather was threatening a good soaking for us if we left.

The weather this morning was more settled.  It was all grey and cloudy but not about to rain I thought.

The canal at this part of the bend is about 65 feet wide and with the wind blowing this way the boat was turned  around quite rapidly and we head for Bramwith.

There is not a lot of room to spare over 60 foot at the top of the lock for mooring  to open up but it is rather nice to use the old style paddles again.  Tim closed up for us and is still next to the lock.

I opened up the Bramwith lift bridge and here the wind is blowing from the right which doesn't help.  The mooring on the other side is really short and Tim couldn't get on so I closed up.

On the way down I had the Walkman on and listened to various albums but liked the Christmasy Three Tenors CD.

Tims turn to open up and as I enter the lock it starts raining.  Within minutes it is belting down and luckily for us we have only a little way left to go.  As I leave the lock to close up the wind catches me and I couldnt get on the mooring so Tim does the business.  

By the time I reach the mooring which is ten minutes away it is quite dark and about ready for headlights if it had been further.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On the New Junction Canal

This morning from the bows. Blue skies with a light wind.

The entrance to the 5 1/2 mile straight is over a small aquaduct.  There used to be a guillotine at this end once upon a time


As you can see there is still plenty of water lying on the low land.

By the time we were leaving Sykeshouse Lock the clouds were coming in.  Some bits of blue still there though so fingers were crossed. Spotted Eric hiding behind the empty barge on the left.

A trouble free trip with me opening the first bridge.  Tim then closes up and overtakes to open the second where I close and retrieve my keys left in the last bridge for Tim to pick up.  

The other end of the junction has a pair of guillotines that are used for flood protection. These stand at either end of the aquaduct over the River  Don.  There is a mass of rubbish piled against the bridge on the upstream side. As I entered the aquaduct I spot a gravel carrier coming towards me.

I get over and well into the side but the amount of room that the Humber Princess  of Hull has to spare must be very little.

Made to measure by the look of it.

Changed our minds on the destination for tonight.  We were going to go into Bramwith but decided in the end to turn around at Barnby Dun for no particular reason but that we could.

Soon moored up and as soon as we finished Mega Jules came past and they moored for the evening on the other side of the bridge.  

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Jolly Miller really is!

I was dragged kicking and screaming to the Jolly Miller pub last night with and by Tim, Gary and Carina who are on a wide beam and heading for Castleford.  OK the d├ęcor leaves something to be desired but if you want a welcome from the barman and the locals then this is the place to go if you stop up here.

The following morning I looked out of the window and right next to the boat were a pair of Bullfinches enjoying the meal of berries on the trees that line the mooring.

Through the lock at Whiteley searched for the water point for Tim.  There is one and it is situated just on the stern of the boat on the left.  It was in use so we will stop again later on.

On the way to Pollington Lock we go under the East Coast Main line.  Next stop York.

Under Pollington Bridge in into the lock.  An odd set up of ponds around the lock.  Lots of manoeuvres to get in place to moor up.

Below the lock is an over flow that needs some watching especially if you are going to use the water point next to it.

By now the sun was hiding behind the clouds coming from the west and the temperature dropped several degrees.

Going this way I was able to see the name of the old barge next to Sectan .  It is the Claxby or at least that's what is says on the hold.

The last part of the trip was a lot more pleasurable than the way up. The canal was, as you can see, like a mirror.  This is the entrance to the New Junction and is the mooring for tonight.

Plenty of bird life around today.  The usual cormorant but I also saw a Green Woodpecker and a Little Grebe.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A right drip of a day.  The weather is varying from rain to drizzle and back to rain.  Hung about for a while to see if it could make up its mind.

In the end decided to move half a mile or so downstream to Jackson Bridge from where Morrisons is a short walk away.

However when we got there (its the bridge with what looks like a terraced stage) we found that it was close to a bridge and near a bend.  Good enough for one boat but might get in the way of larger traffic if two moored up.

Keep going.

A few miles further on we pass Kellingley Collery.  There is plenty of evidence here of how coal would be sent off to the power stations with a dozen barges moored up along the wharf.

Finally arrived at the Jolly Miller moorings. Ferrybridge C power station looms large on the horizon. I did put it down as the Jolly Angler but perhaps that was just wishful thinking. 

Walked into Low Eggborough with Tim and the dogs.  Ten - fifteen minutes walk and there is another pub, post office and Spar shop.  There is also a railway station here if you need a quick departure.

I must thank Mr T for telling me that the bridge at Barnby Dun is out of action due to hydraulic problems.  One place to find out automatically about stoppages is the Waterscape site which will send an email every time the list is updated.  The last one I got was that Thorne lock will be closed Dec 9 - Dec 10. Go to if you want to sign up for the email alerts.

Happy Birthday

Abz is 9 years old today.  Ready for school but can't tear herself away from her new Barbie pony

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ready for the return with only one day to go!!

The Heather Rose H of Hull was the second boat going past this morning. I just saw the first one disappearing into the lock.

The mooring at Ferrybridge is secure and  quiet if you can put up with the traffic on the canal.  Personally I think I am becoming the canal version of a train-spotter.

Farndale H came back this morning.  I think there is a contract up towards Leeds for gravel.  I might have misread this one earlier and called it Ferndale II.

The coalman cometh and turned up at the lock.

Keith and Karen on the Barnaby are heading for Castleford and loading with coal before they leave.  

With Keith and Tim in the lock we loaded up at the coal and picked up some logs.  The narrowbaots look lost in a lock this big.

First thing in the afternoon we locked Barnaby through to the River Aire.  We had been checking it all morning as it is flowing a bit fast.  As Barnaby went into the flow we waited till they had gone through Ferry Bridge for if the flow was too great they were going to return.

They must have soon met up with Battlestone coming down.  It must have filled the lock from end to end just about.

A quick walk into the area outside the lock where there are shops.  I spotted a Butcher and a Baker but no Candlestickmaker although there is a chippy, two pubs and a newsagent.

Its a huge big SPECIAL day tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

End of the line

Further to my mention of the boat Sectan yesterday. Julia on nb Poppy contacted me concerning SecTan and gave me a link to the Canal World Discussion site so if you would like to know more try but the condensed version is below.

In 1971 Hodgson's of Beverley (had 17 boats) sold their Sheffield size keel fleet to Waddingtons. (It is well worth a look at the Waddingtons moorings at Swinton where there are a lot of boats - some with lovely old lines) it would seem that the "***tan" keels were built for Hodgson's, by Hepworths, of Paull, in 1950. Most of the others were bought second hand but their first new build, in 1940, was "Richard" (presumably named after Richard Hodgson but I have no evidence of that), built as a dumb barge, by Dunstons of Thorne, in 1940 and motorised in 1943.

Hepworth's are still in business

Dritan----could be at Brixham ??

Orotan---Presently living on Orotan now the James & Mary, would like to trace the other vessels listed above, are they afloat ? -  the Shannon at Banagher

Sectan is now owned by George and Elaine, members of the Vintage Marine Engine Club and I believe they live aboard in Beverley

I was awoken this morning at 0600 by the boat bumping on the jetty.  No wind and nothing in sight.  

Half an hour later the fully loaded tanker Rix Owl turned up and entered the lock.  Twenty minutes later we were still bouncing about as the wake caught up with us.

Later in the morning the Ferndale II went through loaded with gravel.  There is still some commercial craft about.  It would be nice to see more even if they do move a lot of water about as they pass.

Soon a boat we saw down at Whitley Phase III came up with a barge full of spoil. This was Alan a Dale. Some one had a thing for Robin Hood it seems.  A second boat I noticed at Whitley was Bartholomew.  I can't remember what part he took in Robins band :-)   It was quickly back going in the other direction with an empty.  The dumping site was just above the lock. 

We were going to stop at Low Eggborough on the Jolly Fisherman mooring but decided that as it was such a nice day we would press on.  Rain tomorrow according to the forecast.  As we talked about what to do Barnaby turned up.  They had come up from Thorne today and had followed a commercial that had had things opened up ready for them.  

As we reached Knottingley and rounded the bend there were more signs of the old canal life with a couple of moored aged barges at the boatyard.

The time you don't want to meet a large boat is at a bridge next to a bend.  Where did we meet Rix Owl coming back. Just as it came round a bend.  We saw him a long time before he could see us.

Ferrybridge C power station looms a bit over the flood lock.  The red light is flashing and here we stay for the night.  

A cold but very nice day for the trip up here.

Tomorrow we will pick up some solid fuel. Must keep the home fires burning.