Monday, November 30, 2009

Grrr - Brrrr

From the bows this morning

The wind is blowing straight from Siberia by the feel of it.  We were passed by Eric of Lincoln first thing this morning with a loaded barge.  I looked up Eric and the bit below is from The Free Library website.  For the rest of the story use the link below.

Little John goes to Nottingham
One fellow there was that cracked crowns of everyone who threw cap into the ring. This was Eric o' Lincoln, of great renown, whose name had been sung in ballads throughout the countryside. When Little John reached the stand he found none fighting, but only bold Eric walking up and down the platform, swinging his staff and shouting lustily, "Now, who will come and strike a stroke for the lass he loves the best, with a good Lincolnshire yeoman? How now, lads? Step up! Step up! Or else the lasses' eyes are not bright hereabouts, or the blood of Nottingham youth is sluggish and cold. Lincoln against Nottingham, say I! For no one hath put foot upon the boards this day such as we of Lincoln call a cudgel player."

A phone call from Barnaby who we met in Doncaster told us that the guillotine at the aquaduct at the entrance to the New Junction had been lowered so they were off to Thorne.  I hope it stops raining as it also means that we can't get back to Thorne ourselves.

Once we got round the corner the wind did its best to push us into the bank on the port side. By heck there was a chill in the wind.

At the lock at Pollington there are a number of boats including this odd shaped one.  It looks as though it should have a mast.  

Aft of the boat was these two elderly floaters.  Sec Tan is the nearest but when I googled it all I got was mathematics and angles :-) 

Just above the lock we met Eric coming back.  Lots of waves but just through the bridge it really got lumpy with the wind blowing along the straight and the remains of Erics wash.

At Great Heck we found the dumping ground for Eric and the barge.  Whitley Phase III looks all go.  I don't know what they are doing but they are doing a lot of it.

By the time we arrived at Whitley Lock the chill was getting in.  Stop here the night then have a quick nip to Low Eggborough tomorrow and take a look around there.

Tim has spoken to a BW chap here and it seems that we can't go a lot further in this direction either as the river is in flood up above Ferrybridge and the flood gates closed. All the fun of the canal :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Junction - not a corner or curve for miles!

First thing from the bows.

The day started right enough with the traffic being rather busy for a gloomy Sunday morning.

It all began with someone parking a van on the lift bridge and cutting through what seemsed like metal on the road way.  Being a Sunday there wasn't a great deal of traffic about luckily.

Within a short while of the van going away along come Swinton II and a couple of empty barges.  Off to the works at Long Sandall perhaps.

Then in the other direction came Sobriety and Arcadia on their way home no doubt.  By now it was belting down with rain so we postponed moving till a clear bit arrived for the Doncaster area.  As soon as it slackened off we left but when we reached the turn off to Bramwith the clear patch decided to follow that line rather than us.

It wasn't all bad as eventually the sun came out and we were treated to a double rainbow that was quite intense at the ends.

The sad thing with New Junction is that it is dead straight for the whole of its length but at least you have a view over the fields on either side. Very flat.

Two thirds of the way along comes the lock. This has a swing bridge in the middle that needs to be left open to stop the traffic all the time you are using the lock.  We know! To save time I closed the bridge except that the sluices of the top gate now won't work so I open up again and things worked just fine. The little boat on the left is Eric of Lincoln.  I will have to look this on up as I never heard of this well known viking Eric the red yes.

The end of the New Junction is marked by the footbridge.  There are moorings just the other side and thats were we will stop for the night.

The canal forms a 'T' junction at this point.  Turn right for Goole and left for Castleford  while on the other side of the canal in front is a large reservoir that is used as a sailing boat club and further off there are large wind turbines.   

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I only ever see Cormorants

A bad start to the day with the rain belting down.  Not going out in that.  But by lunch time the rain cleared and it was just a yukky sort of day.  While I pulled away from the mooring Tim was left to get out of the mooring sandwich he now found himself in.  

The owners of Barnaby, which is between the two wide beams, had gone into Doncaster and bought themselves a calendar. The nice touch is that they are in one of the pictures during a visit to the mooring last year.

It is not far back to Strawberry Island Boat Club.This is the site of the long disused Milethorne Lock.  I have no idea where the lock led to.

On to Long Sandal Lock. I did have slight trouble with the gates.  They wouldnt open so closed them and tried again several times till they behaved themselves.

I am not sure if the rest of the plane is buried here but in the garden of the lock cottage is the tail fin of a Lightening.  Bit of a talking point when you have callers.

As I saw this one coming around the corner in the distance I thought it was another large commercial craft.  I have seen her before and the Sobriety is based I think at Stainforth.

Up on the power lines I saw a group of birds and not one of them was.... well they are all cormorants anyway. I still have my fingers crossed. :-)

It is a lot darker in reality than it looks here.  By the time we reached Barnby Dun Lift-bridge it was getting time to stop so after causing a huge traffic jam we moored for the night on the other side of the bridge.

On to the New Junction canal tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Doncaster to Ferrybridge

Sat minding my own business last evening and heard engine noise outside.  Another boat going past in the dark thought I.  Looked outside and it was but rather larger than the usual narrowboat.  It was the Humber Princess rather low in the water and heading for the lock under the railway bridge.

Went out today for a wander around Doncaster.  While it was market day and there are a number of interesting shops the place isn't much different to all the others. There is still the Minster to visit though.

I heard on the news that some council or other had scraped the Xmas tree and substituted a green cone as a health and safety measure.  Well Doncaster has something very similar in the pedestrian precinct.  I am sure it will look fine when all the lights are on.

By the time I returned to the boat the Humber Princess had unloaded and turned around

Ok they are not pirates but I was boarded today. :-)  The mooring is now full up and boats are three deep and overhanging the ends of the pontoons. 

Too crowded for us so we - that is Quiescence and Abigail Jenna - are moving on.  We had thought of going on to Sprotbrough but decided go in the other direction and head for Ferrybridge which is past Bramwith and along the New Junction canal and on to the Aire and Calder.  

Must pop across the road to Tesco before I up sticks and load up with food.  

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bramwith to Doncaster

Having moored in the long term moorings we decided to move early today.  There is, it seems, a resident nosy parker who reports all those that stop here to BW.

Before we moved the boat in front (a very friendly couple who live aboard) went off for a quick trip to the facilities quarter of a mile away near the Bramwith Bridge.

The lock at Bramwith is one that has two halves.  If you are 60 foot or under you can use the smaller one.  A 70ft would have to use the larger part. The larger bit has various winches to help with the gates if needed.

Once through the lock we found an old 'friend'.  The boat that looked a bit worse for wear at Thorne had passed us in the late evening and moored just past the lock.  At least the engine works.

Heading off towards Doncaster the canal behind is the New Junction Canal and leads to the Aire and Calder. Next time maybe.

Past the power station and you come to Barnby Dun and the lift bridge.  This well used bridge does not need singleton boaters :-)  We were very lucky as there was another friendly BW person who worked the bridge for us.  By the time we were through there must have been twenty plus cars on both sides waiting to cross.

 At Sandall Grove and right next to the canal there is the above church.  One of these days I am going to stop here and have a look around.  There are so many additions to it and of obvious different ages it must be worth a look.

Long Sandall Lock is the first of the large commercial sized locks we have come across since the Trent.  You are well advised to be well moored up when emptying the lock as it does come out at quite a rush.

Getting out was another of those fraught with bumps.  Tim had to hold me off with the boat hook till I got going and I still managed to bump the BW boats ahead.  The touch was as light as a feather - honest.

Once out of the lock and around the corner and there was a tug with barges taking away spoil off the bank.  The wind didn't help a lot going past here.

The final chug into Doncaster is past Strawberry  Island and the very full moorings there.

The first view of Doncaster has changed greatly since the last time I was here.  Lots of new building and there are still demolitions being carried out.

The view from the bows.

And before anyone says anything (you know who I mean :-) )there is a post in the way and the sign says CANAL Depot

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thorne to Bramwith

As soon as we left the mooring we came across a bit of canal history.  The bridge at this housing development crosses the dry dock of the Thorne boat yard.  The gates, although they have almost disintegrated, are still visible.  

A few yards further on is the lock.  At 61 feet long I only just made it.  Slightly larger boats could get through on the diagonal. 

Both of us got into the lock ok and then the hiccups arrived.

Tim wanted to call in the chandlery so I let him out first.  Once he was out I moved Abigail Jenna and the wind started to close the bridge for me as I came out of the lock. Full Ahead Both as the saying goes!!

Having got out of the lock I then had to go alongside to close up.  The wind was blowing through a gap in the hedge and I ended up with the stern on the mooring and the bows out in the middle of the canal.  Ah well these things are sent to try us I guess.

More side-ways boating and we reached Stainforth - the home of Thorne Boating Club. Outside the marina are moored three interesting converts to living on the canals.

We passed one of the items I will need to get according to Abz.  

A couple of goats wandering the canal side.  Not only would I get milk but they are very strong and I wonder if they could do some towing for me :-)

The road bridge at South Bramwith created a problem with the wind and the fact that the mooring before it is only 45 - 50 foot long with a set of buffers at the end of it.  Not a lot of room for manoeuvre and once through getting alongside on the other side the wind is across the canal.  

Lots of choppy waves and only one mooring that we could see and while free it is a long term mooring but we leave early tomorrow.

Inland Waterways Association News Flash


Sign the petition on the Number 10 website
Click the link below 

Don’t let this kind of dereliction happen again
This is what will happen if we do nothing! 

You may know about the media speculation that the Government intends to include the British Waterways’ property portfolio as a component of the £16bn asset sale.
The Government has made no announcements and is steadfastly refusing to be drawn on the subject.
We have been using this period of silence as a window of opportunity to lobby Ministers.  We have orchestrated a political lobby in both the Commons and latterly the Lords to pressurise Government, and have briefed radio and national TV, using an array of reasons to support the argument that a sale would be in no-one’s interest.
We stand the best chance of preventing this sale if the Government can be persuaded not to do so, during this period of Ministerial silence. Whilst no announcements have been made, it is easier for Government to back away as it involves no public reversal of policy.
However, an e-petition has appeared on the 10 Downing Street website;

Monday, November 23, 2009

Its On. No Its Off. OK its a maybe.

Still here at Thorne.  We were going to move on to Bramwith on the way to Doncaster to kill some time but having woken up several times last night with the boat moving in the wind and it still blowing this morning we called the move off.

Had a walk into town and bought some of the staples of life - bread, sausages and faggots! by the time I got back it was about to rain so carried on working on the logbook.

During the morning I could hear a helicopter buzzing over head and watched as it circled around several times but this time it was the Police.  Someone some where was misbehaving I guess.  Seconds later a couple of Police cars went racing over the bridge in the direction of the M180.

To be ready for a move tomorrow I turned the boat around with some difficulty in the wind that remained.  Wind genny still doing its thing keeping the batteries charged. 

At some time I want to replace the fuel return pipes on the engine so when I went for a new gas bottle I bought some tube in readiness.  It will all be done one day I am sure.

Naughty Cal says "If you ever get the chance to have a look at Spider T she is lovely inside. The last time we moored at Keadby we managed to have a quick look inside, we where very impressed."  While I was out walking yesterday I picked up a leaflet on the Spider T from the Stanilands Marina and it has pictures of the inside.  Very swish.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dog DoDo Alley

Moored just in front of me at Thorne is a boat which was or is someones pride and joy.  In a somewhat dilapidated state now it has obviously been here a while.  The BW had their clamp down on licences recently and if you don't have a licence then.........

you could end up with a sticker like this on your boat.  If no notice is taken of the sticker then the boat might end up as one of the statistics of boats removed from the canal and disposed of.

This morning I took a walk up to the lock and into Staniland Marina.  A very fair chandlery and holder of books - second hand - in aid of RNLI.  Must call in again as we go past.

Looking back from near the lock.  On the left is the footpath that runs from the bridge to the lock and it is here that dog walkers seem to have lost the plot.  Why don't they clean up the muck that their dogs leave behind. If I saw one I saw a dozen heaps of filth.  This path is well used and a number of people with pushchairs have gone past me today.  I hope that they had their eyes peeled as they walked along.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

'Happy' Birthday to us

Moored comfortably at Thorne and took the time to seek out a mooring for a few weeks when I might be required to scoot off to Scunthorpe.

A visit to Blue Water Marina was the first thing on the list and they were as jolly and welcoming as ever.  With the weather being very iffy there were few people about but a mooring will be available when I need it in December - January.

Not far from the marina is the railway station.  Thorne South is the direct line to Grimsby and with a train every hour and a journey of twenty minutes the trip to Sunny Scunny should be a doddle.

It has been suggested that a mooring might be on the cards in the creek at Barton on Humber. I will be looking into it of course but will need some decent weather to get there.  Out from Keadby on a high tide then having reached Barton I would have to wait for the next high tide to get in.  I will be taking advice on the trip this time.

While we were at Keadby a gent came up and chatted about a boat that had an open day except that it was no longer in.  I knew the boat he meant for it was moored up at Keadby with its sails up the last time I was there.

The reason that the Swinton moved was to let a bigger boat come in and the water in the canal had been increased by three inches for that purpose.  

Well today I found out what the boat was.  The Humber Sloop Spider T. 

Spider T is an iron hull Humber sloop built in 1926 at Warrens Shipyard, New Holland, with a Gardner diesel engine, 200 hp. She was built for cargo carrying and worked as such until 1972. Later, she was sunk, refloated and used for the Rotherham Police Community Project. The present owner bought her in 1994 from the Sobriety Centre, Goole. SPIDER T has now been restored to her original condition on the outside with a period Edwardian interior. A traditional sail maker has re-created 1920s style sails of tan sailcloth; the last time she was fully rigged was in 1939. With an expert crew she can now sail in the waters she was built for.

The sloop looks in really good nick but I bet it costs an arm and a leg to keep it running.

The boat had someone going on ahead opening bridges for them.  A great saver of time.  I can imagine the length of time it would take to drop someone off and get through the bridge then pick them up again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I blame it on the Baked Beans

While we were stuck at Keadby due to the high winds BW decided to move Swinton to the other side of the canal.  They had some difficulty to get it off the mooring with the wind blowing it back on.

Just to prove the point they then had trouble mooring alongside as the wind kept blowing them off the mooring.

Still today is the day that the wind dropped a little and Tim and I decided to give it a try.  Easy enough to get away with wind still blowing across.

As soon as you leave Keadby you come to the Vason Railway Bridge.  There are only - or there were - three bridges of this type.  They withdraw across the canal at an angle.  I have watched it do this several times and still can't quite make it out.

After a piece of canal that Abz christened as the middle of nowhere you arrive at Crowle.  It has changed quite a bit over the last year.  Handy for catching a train though.

Speaking of the train.  The line has been following us for some time now and as we reach Godnow Bridge we need the level crossing to be closed so that the bridge can be operated.  I have been going in front and mooring up, opening the bridge and letting Tim through and he then closes up behind me.  I worked quite well although on a number of occasions it took some effort to get of the mooring.

At last the 'concrete mushroom' (the water tower) at Thorne comes into view at the end of another straight.  A lot of time was spent going sideways up the canal.  The canal is higher than the farmland around here and the wind has little to slow it down.

Everything was ticking over nicely and then Hadleigh messed it up :-)  The Moors Swing  bridge refused to work. So we are moored on one side and Hadleigh is on the other.  It looked OK but wouldn't do anything.  They made a call to BW who promised to send someone out.  Thats us for the day we thought.

Very wrong.  Within 20 minutes the cavalry arrived and within minutes he had reset the controls and the bridge did its thing.

Just one bridge left and we are into the last straight.

Almost home from home.  The boats moored alongside Blue Water Marina.

Was it my imagination or did Abigail Jenna try to go right and into the marina or was it the wind.  Exactly a year since I moved on board here.

On to the footbridge in the middle of Thorne and there is not a very generous mooring site here but we managed to get through.  The council attendant that was on hand said the 'The bridge has been working fine for three weeks now' :-)  

Tim pulled into the chandler to pick up gas while I turned and moved astern to the moorings.  I had thought of staying there but as the last boat was 36 foot this time I stuck out rather a lot so moved a few yards further.

Off to Blue Water Marina tomorrow to see how the mooring situation as around here if I need to moor up in a hurry come December - January.