Friday, 19 May 2017

Love these wide navigations

Thursday 11th May to Saturday 13th May 2017

By now, we were concentrating on the next section of our journey for this year, which is now heading northward and onward towards York; but we had some miles still to go to be there, but certainly there was no excuse not to continue to enjoy the whole journey.

Thursday was a special day, as I have mentioned in a separate blog entry – Diane was celebrating her birthday. She is not a difficult person to please and is satisfied with the simple things in life (I wonder why she looks at me when things like that are mentioned), but being on the move makes it difficult to plan to find somewhere for a special meal.

Her choice – “let’s stop at Sprotbrough, there is that pub there on the canal” – OK, solved.

But first a quick stop at Lidl – we moored in the winding hole for the Exol Pride – luckily we knew that it was nowhere being due to be there that early.
"I'll just be a moment dear" but as every husband knows,
that just never happens

A quick stop for Diane means getting all of the essentials and then a couple of things that she found. A short essential list meant a very quick stop – it was relatively quick but the two full shopping bags belied length of the original list.

Anyway, with that out of the way we continued cruising – through Mexborough Top Lock under our our control, but approaching Mexborough Low Lock we saw the red light showing instead of the usual amber light (red or green means that there is a lock-keeper on duty) – and only one reason why there is a lock-keeper – Exol Pride would be around.
Approaching the lock, we moved towards the lock-moorings nearest the lock to just wait for the lockie, when the fisherman on the side started abusing us for bumping his float – he got a bit more straight back at him – apparently he had expected to go on the other side of the canal (further away from the lock) – he yelled that he had been there since 5:30 and that we didn’t have any respect for fishermen – not true, it was only him that we did not have any respect for and suggested that he might need some sleep and should p__s off home!!
The wide open navigation - just around that bend was the lock and a
grumpy fisherman

Through there easily and we cruised the remaining three miles and moored up at Sprotbrough relatively early – before 12pm – we decided on a centre rope to act as a bit of a spring-line.

About an hour later Ferndale was making some backwards and forwards movement but restricted by the centre-line – sure enough, looking out the port-side windows, there was the barge heading past – this time sitting much lower in the water with a full load of waste oil ready for re-processing in Rotherham.
Sitting a lot lower in the water than when we last saw her...

...we did notice that she was also a lot slower and steering was more of a problem

She certainly moves some water as she goes past and once she had gone we loosened the centre-line and headed off for lunch.

The pub is part of the Vintage Inns chain so we had an idea about the menu – they are all pretty much the same for the range of gastro pubs anyway, but it was a lovely simple meal and I did my best to get Diane ferschnickered but she still managed to be able to walk back to the boat under her own steam.
She did have all of here presents on display – all of the jewellery that we had had seen to by the jeweller in Birmingham earlier this year.
Happy Birthday my lovely

A good day had been had!

Next morning it was back to usual and we decided to head off very early – prior to 7am.

Why so early? Well yesterday, just before the barge came through, the lock-keeper appeared to come on duty and Diane was talking to him about the schedule of the barge.

It makes the trip into Rotherham on a Thursday and then heads back to Goole on Fridays and would be coming through Sprotbrough about 9am.

So not wanting to be in the wake of the barge we thought that we should be ahead and definitely moored up before it came through wherever we might be.

We had an inkling to moor up at Barnby Dun on Friday night – again the moorings had looked good when we went through the first time and it would be a different place to others we had stopped at.

The weather was a bit cooler and there was a little bit of misty rain around but still enjoyable.

Locks continue to be electronic and certainly physically less demanding, but they are massive – we nearly get lost within the carvernous space between the gates.

We moored up about 9am – which for many people is the time that they are setting off; for others it is about the time that they are waking up (eh Paul!!).

Certainly we had beaten the barge.

We got on with our usual activities – I got some work done and then decided it was time to give the front diesel locker a good clean out; Diane concentrated on the inside of the boat as there was a bit more precipitation outside than earlier.

Then about 12pm, the boat started it’s now familiar forward and backward movement – out the back was the profile of Exol Pride – moving more quickly than the day before (she was empty now). The lift bridge at Barnby Dun was already raised and she just cruised straight through – wish we could have the same done for us.
Back off to Goole for another load

After finishing what we needed to get finished it was time for a discovery walk – Diane had an ulterior motive – well actually 2 motives.

The walk involved a convoluted circuitous route and she was most pleased when she found the SPA supermarket – tomorrow would be Saturday and she would want a copy of the paper –and the second result was the the chip shop was right there as well – as she continues her chip tour of England and tasting the “delights” of them all.

There would only be the one reason to come back through here – the Saturday morning paper was the only winner.

A little more rain and a bit of late sunshine was the order for the afternoon.

Saturday morning came; a bit overcast but the wind had moved around to the south – testing it outside and it was not as cold as we had experienced in the last week, but the expected forecast was for a bit of rain later on and some sunshine patches as well, but the wind would increase.
A decision was made – we would head off fairly early – just before 8am – there was the matter of the newspaper and I would need to do the elsan duties and fill the water tank – this was just through the lift bridge – combating the wind was bad enough but trying not to hit the twat moored on the water point overnight was equally difficult – I had to be a bit careful as it was a cruiser.
After we completed our necessaries one of the occupants emerged – we advised that they shouldn’t be mooring on the waterpoint (which had a 1 hour sign) – his reply “Oh we can moor here for 48 hours” – “sorry mate that sign applies for the section on the other side of where you are” .

Britain needs to engage in the exporting of twats like this – the average IQ of the country would dramatically increase – if they really want to be the smart country then DO IT!!

Ahead of us, on the map was a 5 mile straight stretch of canal, which to anyone looking at it on paper would automatically say that it must be a bit boring – ordinarily I would agree; but cruising it was anything but boring.

Along the way there were swing bridges, lift bridges and a lock with a swing bridge in the middle of it (a bit like Fenny Stratford); the scenery around was really quite interesting and without any hedgerows blocking the view, we could see it all.
From a distance it looked like a guillotine lock, but we think it was/is used
to protect the water in the navigation in the event of a breach or even used
as a flood lock

straight but not boring


For some reason we were in luck today with the lock – a red light then a green light greeted us; open lock gates and turned swing bridge and lock-keeper in the control room – LOVELY!!

Turning at the junction, Diane at the helm, and me on tea and coffee duties, it was a more of the wide navigation, but now were spasmodic fishermen (I don’t need to say fisher-people as they WERE all men) and not long before we eventually moored up, we gently cruised (tick-over speed) through a match – went on for about a mile – they were all in good spirits and enjoying themselves (a lot better than the twat a couple of days ago).
Southfield Junction - looking around the corner towards the Goole line

and a bit further around - somewhere up there is Goole but we would not
be going that way


Pollington Hall

Oh Heck!!

New and the old - foreground the new energy - solar - and in the distance
is the old 

We moored just before Whitley Lock by which time it had got a bit colder outside, so we relaxed inside for a while where it was warmer, when the sky started to fall down and the wind had got up a bit more – good timing I say.
After all these years and I guess knowing there is no way we ever will have one,
Diane is showing a shine towards the style and line of Dutch barges

After that it was time to do our exploration walk up to Whitley Bridge – we could have saved the shoe leather – it seems like a village in decline (but I could be wrong – but not likely).
Whitley lock ahead, but we moored up on the right in front of that narrowboat,
and in the distance is the Motorway - but it was nice and peaceful

Long term moorers behind us

Looking across the navigation..

...in both directions

Whilst we had been inside earlier there were a couple of boats moored up to escape the wind and then the rain; when we returned later, they had settled in and declined any thoughts from themselves to move further on – especially since they had discovered that there was a car boot sales scheduled for the morning – apparently it is a pretty good one – so I guess there will be another two that will also be going.

and sunset

27 Miles, 8 Locks, 4 Lift Bridges, 3 Swing Bridges
YTD:  407 miles (655 km), 216 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 18 Swing Bridges

Total: 5039 Miles (8109 km), 3367 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 190 Swing Bridges

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