Monday, 8 May 2017

Straight and Deep

Thursday 4th May to Friday 5th May 2017

The first thing that we did after readying the boat was to pull back about 100 metres to the water point and fill the tank – although there was still plenty in there, theses are new waterways and best to fill where you know there is a tap.

After all of that we were off, but we didn’t get too far before we had to slow down and wait for a very short while – we had gone no further than about 600 metres and we had to wait for less than a minute.
It was the first time we had seen anything like it.
Train on the bridge - no way will we be able to get beneath that - train or bridge

Now you see it... you see less of it....

...and now you see it not at all

One minute there is a train going over a bridge less than a metre above the water and next the navigation is completely clear of the train tracks – a sliding railway bridge – controlled by a person in the tower above the line – he came out to wave us along and as we tentatively started the bridge slowly retracted until it had disappeared.
After going through it the tracks mysteriously reappeared and 2 minutes after that a train was going over the navigation again.

The line to nowhere - for now...

....and then it reappears

We then settled in for straight cruising – deep water and Ferndale loves it – the sun was out and we enjoyed the views of the surrounding countryside – the canola and the wind turbines.
Looking across the landscape, the blue sky, soft white clouds and these tall guardians of the land surrounding them – some people bemoan their appearance, but they impose a certain grandeur.

They take their Health and Safety seriously here - a crash test dummy
for the row boat

The wind had picked up since we untied earlier in the day, but it was now gusting up to 50 kmh – with this and the regular need to stop for swing bridges, we had some interesting episodes of trying to hold the boat mid-stream or otherwise try to push it off the moorings against the wind.
To make it interesting, a few of the electronically-operated bridges decided to play some tricks, but we got through it all together.

One final bridge to negotiate – this time a lift bridge and we had made it to Thorne where we had planned to moor up for the night.
Just coming into Thorne - wind and bridges behind us for the day

A walk up through the town centre to the supermarket for essentials – this time it was not milk – and then the return back to the boat.

Another spot we had moored up which was as quiet as it could be – we have had a pretty good run with these places.

The next morning, it was sunny again and with the wind still around, but it was a lovely day to cruise and so we did.

First up – a swing bridge that had some problem with the interlocking of the pedestrian gates, but again Diane got it sorted out and we were through another one; but the most interesting one was the lock that we needed to get through – immediately on top of the top gates was yet another swing bridge – so close that the bridge needed to be swung open to allow the boat out of the lock.
Trouble was it’s interlock was linked into the operation of the lock (electronically operated), but it was mentioned in the “fine” print of the lock instructions – it took a little to work it out.
They say that problem-solving is good for the health of your mind as you get older – we have had a lot of good mental health in these two days so far.
There was to be more to come, as we would find out.

After all of this we could settle back and now enjoy some cruising not involving straight lines – the curves of the navigation and the trees lining the sides were reminiscent of other places we had been – like the Grand Union; like the upper Trent and Mersey; like the Coventry and Ashby canals.
Just as beautiful as so many other waterways

...and with boats moored halfway across the waterway as well

The wind is coming from the right; it would be nice to moor up on the right
but we are going to be blown to the left - damn  these swing bridges
The last lock before the junction and completely manual - being so large
it would have been nice to have the electronics

above that same lock
We reached Bramwith Junction and took the left hand turn to Sheffield.

Approaching the junction....

...just in case we weren't sure which way to go....

...plenty of space out there...

...looking back - we came in from the right, but on our way back we will
head left.

Still lovely countryside around here

 A lift bridge at Barnby Dun was easily completed, although the traffic bank up was a bit long – took me longer to cross the road than it did to operate the bridge.

A reasonably major road with a lift bridge - any wonder the traffic backed up

The real highlight of the trip on the South Yorkshire Navigations came about 10 minutes after the lift bridge.
I was down in the boat making the coffee when there was a familiar whistle from out the back – the whistle is usually to denote a degree of urgency.
Quickly getting to the back door the words “Ray, there’s a boat coming” were my greeting.

Now let me say that Diane is entirely used to passing boats on even narrow canals and here we were on a wide, wide section – very wide in fact – so I was a bit perplexed about it – only for that split second between hearing the words and getting outside to review what was happening.

I think the boat that was approaching in the distance – well by now it was about 250 metres away – it was relatively easy to see that the boat was a little bit bigger than we had seen for a while – it was about 380 tonnes big.

"Ray, there's a boat coming" - a famous line that I hadn't heard for a while... was a bit bigger than usual...

Alright, a bloody sight bigger than usual

Glad to see the back of it

The boat that moved used and reclaimed oil between Rotherham and Goole was there in front of us – we were not expecting it on a Friday – it’s normal day was Thursday – simply move out of its way, move to the right and slow down but not stop; the skipper on the larger boat is used to seeing the likes of us and he acknowledged it in the usual way – no, not the salute with just a couple of digits – it was a full and complete wave.

That emergency out of the way, normal service was resumed and after rising through the next lock at Long Sandall we decided to moor up on the visitor moorings right there.

Long Sandall Lock

We walked a little way after mooring to see the lay of the land – not a lot to see, but it was nice and quiet – again.

18 Miles, 3 Locks, 2 Lift Bridges, 9 Swing Bridge
YTD:  346 miles (557 km), 169 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 5 Lift Bridges, 13 Swing Bridges

Total: 4978 Miles (8011 km), 3330 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 71 Lift Bridges, 185 Swing Bridges

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