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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Brilliant in Beverley.

I was relieved to see that we had managed to duck under the Ennerdale bridges. This had been the unknown in the equation and I had to decide when to leave the marina to make sure we would not miss this. I wasn't sure if I would have to leave the marina 3 hours after the last HW or manage to leave 3 hours before the HW we were travelling up on. To leave on the former would mean we would have to hang about somewhere for the flood tide to start. I chose correctly and all was well.

Once clear of the Hull boundary the area becomes very rural and the the tide was high enough for us to have a bit of a view. However the land is very flat here so the vista wasn't massive. The rain had stopped but there was still a cool breeze and Helen was taking no precautions.

In places the trees encroached on the channel that had been further restricted by reeds. There is not a lot of traffic up here so no doubt they will stay like this. It does make the run more attractive but the tide is still incoming and you have to be aware of being pushed into the bights.

One or two farms are found near the river, this is Sicey Farm. Roads end at the banks too. There were a couple of boats moored here and there that I couldn't work out whether they were being lived aboard or not. It is certainly a quite mooring.

We caught our first glimpse of the day's destination. Beverley Minster in the distance has two towers and is increasingly being used for filming locations that call for Westminster Abbey, which also has two towers. It is a wonderful church and hopefully later we will be visiting and can post some photos.

I'm glad to say the smouldering sky was being blown away from us and we were bathed in sun as we past through the water pastures. There were plenty of young cattle and we were among bird song making a pleasant trip.

We arrived at the Grovehill Lock on to the Beverley Beck at High Water Hull so the trip had taken us just over three hours. HW Beverley is about an hour later, so we were an hour before HW here. The landing is under the standing crane of the Environmental Agency. The other side has no access. Once in the mouth of the neck, despite the incoming tide, we didn't seem to be pulled off the wall. I went ashore to see what was what.

You are obliged to inform the 'harbour master' and East Riding of Yorkshire Council by email, at least 24hrs prior to arriving that you will be entering the Beck. By return we given the combination to the padlocks that secured the mechanisms on the lock. There was about a 4' difference in water levels and I had soon sussed out how everything worked and brought 'Holderness' in. We only needed one gate as the dimensions were much like a Calder and Hebble lock.

There is a pin to remove that locks the two inner gates and then everything else is familiar. I couldn't undo one of the paddles so we had a very easy rise up the lock.

Here you can see that the wheel on the shore opens the gate and those on the lock operate the paddles. They were well maintained, and once I had worked out that on one of the gates to open you had to wind it the opposite way they were easily worked. Just behind the white cottage in a small dry dock with a keel inside. Just out of the lock there is an aqueduct where the Beverley and Barmston Drain passes under the canal. The land is so flat that there are many drains that would be called dykes or ditches in other parts of the country.

Moored just by the lock is this mini submarine. It has been here since at least 2014 but other than that I can't really find out anything about it. Just to note that there is no room for picking up the lock wheeler here other than from the stern on the lock. In any wind it might be interesting to try to stay off the moored boats.

The run down the Beck has paths on both sides and is lined with water lilies that were just starting to come out. We both thought that it reminded us of the Runcorn Arm. By now the evening was nice and warm and journey's end was close.

The Beck was an industrial canal but the factories have long gone and houses have replaced them. They don't seem to hem you in though and as we are near mid summer and the canal runs almost east/west the sun rises and travels above the roof line which is good for solar panels. There are mooring rings set at odd distances and there are three electric posts that work on the card system. There is also a water tap on the column. The tap is very slow though. Behind us are the vessels of the Beverley Barge Preservation Society are moored by the third electricity column. They are the 'Sun', and ex British Waterway's maintenance vessel converted to a trip boat, the 'Syntan' that was built here in Beverley for the local tannery Richard Hodgson's. She carried the hides and all the other raw materials required for the tannery until the 1970's when she was sold to Waddington's for carrying steel. This didn't last long and she was laid up at Doncaster Power Station where she was vandalised and robbed before being spotted by a former crew member. She was brought back to Beverley and renovate by the Society and now also does trip up towards Driffield and down to the Humber. She is also used for fund raising in the annual barge pull when teams compete to pull her a set distance in the fastest time. The other vessel is the 'Mermaid' that is mused for trip up and down the Beck.

The Town centre is not to far away, which was handy as I had to get the train to go back and pick up the car as we have commitments during our stay here. There is no winding hole indicated but talking to locals it seems there is a plce wide enough to spin round in before the bypass bridge so we will have to reverse up there and come back to the moorings as we are here for a few days.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

A bridge too far?

In the last blog we just about cleared the original precincts of the old walled town of Hull, so now were are pushing through the newer parts of Hull. New is a relative term! The tide was still coming in and I was still worried that we would not fit under the last bridge on the outskirts of the City. We had passed under five bridges and still have seven left to do.

There is evidence of recent use of some of the old wharves on this stretch. Hull became the centre for sedd crushing and vegetable oil extraction. Mills were set up all along the River Hull. These were easily supplied with raw material from inland, via the canal and river system as well as from abroad for more exotic items via transhipment to barges direct from the importing ships thro Hull Docks. As with flour milling, fire was an ever present danger, especially with the oils released. Many factories were lost, rebuilt and lost again, and the extensive bombing of Hull in WWII did for many more. There is still quite a strong vegetable moil industry in Hull and many have depots on the River Hull or the Docks. As you can see there are many old warehouses left along the river corridor and alot not in the best condition. In the distance is the next bridge Scott Street. It is a double bascule bridge that was built in 1901 and the bridge, operators cabin, railings and lamps are Listed. Unfortunately the roadway is now too weak to support traffic so it has been left in the raised position since 1994 when the £5 million required to repair it then could not be found.

I hope one day the money will be found to ensure that the bridge actually operates again as it should do. There can not be too many bridges like this left. There is a plan to lift all twelve bridges across the River Hull at the same time at the start of September as part of the Freedom centre. It will be a unique experience but is likely to cause chaos as the next crossing is at Beverley.

A little further along is Brown's Dry Dock on Lime Street. This has been owned by Lincoln and Marine since 1986. This company was founded in the early 1900's and ran barges all over the the Yorkshire system. They carried aggregates from their own quarries. Since buying the dry dock they have gone more to construction and repair and are hoping to get work from the offshore wind farm industry. This is almost 1 mile up the river.

At the next bend we saw a veg oil barge, 'Swinderby' alongside a wharf. When I looked closer I could see there were no ropes out. It seems they were waiting for us to pass before continuing their journey. Once we were past it seemed that they were not heading outwards, but were head to tide and using the flow to get them up river. The 'Swinderby' was built in 1974 just near where I leave at Hepworth's Yard, Paull. It has a double hull and carries edible oils from King George Dock up the River Hull. The 'Swinderby' is looking somewhat battered, but I'm glad that they waited for us as it would have been interesting being stuck behind them, or overtaking them.

Round the next corner is the Sculcoates bridge. The bridge is wrought iron and is the oldest bridge over the Hull and was built in 1874 and opened in 1875. The swing bridge leaves a space of 56' for ships to pass through and is listed. The new building is the new Energy Works fluidised bed gassification plant. This will be linked to a site a little further up the river that will receive the waste materials will be brought and biodegradable material sent to an anaerobic digestion there. The solids will then be moved to this site by a short conveyor to be mixed in an oxygen rich atmosphere where the whole will act like a fluid and be converted to a natural gas. This will burned to raise steam and create electricity. This will provide electricity for 43000 homes everyday of the year, unlike wind and solar, so acting as base load. There will 25 jobs when it is up and running. The sight may not have the lovely smell of the past occupants of the site, ADM Cocoa Mills.

The Wilmington swing bridge was built in 1907 for the North East Railway Co. It was declared redundant for the railways in 1968 and is now a footpath and cycleway, and is listed. The silos of the British Extraction Co. Ltd. are Grade II listed so have survived so far. They were built in 1919 and were designed by Gelder and Kitchen of Hull. There are 64 storage towers where the cottonseed or linseed was stored prior to crushing and extraction.

The 'Rix Eagle', it seems, is waiting for work at one of the Rix Terminals on the River Hull. In the background is the chimney of the Cargill Co. It used to be the Croda plant. They can process 750 tonnes of rape seed a day and produce 420 tonnes of rape meal and 320 tonnes of rape oil a day. Raw material and finished product can be moved in or out by barge.

The next bridge is Hull Bridge that was built for the Hull and Barnsley Railway in 1885. The swing bridge is of bowspring span type and is still in use for freight trains from the eastern docks today. I was pleased to see there was plenty of room under the bridge for us but the tide was still coming in and the river bed coming up too, and there were still three bridges to go.

Stoneferry lift bridges were built between 1988 and 1991 to replace a swing bridge of 1905 and before that a ferry and possibly a ford before that. There is one bridge for each carriageway of the road.

In the distance you can see Croda International's Polymer additive factory. Alongside is the 'Paragon'. I can only assume that the polymer additive industry uses vegetable oils in the process. These additives are used to give effects such as anti-fog, anti-static, UV absorption,  torque release and many more.

Just two bridge to go and this one is Sutton Road Bridge and is of the Scherzer rolling bridge design and was built in 1939. Sutton is/was a small village outside of Hull but has been subsumed by the City. It still has a village feel to it although surrounded by more modern housing. John Prescott ex Labour Deputy Prime Minister lives there. There were some guys under the bridge fishing and they told us that they had caught some trout, among others, and indeed the water was looking clear.

You can see that we have sufficient room to pass under the Ennerdale Bidges. I think that if we had been another 30 mins later we may not have been able to pass. Relief for this, and as the weather brightened up even more. Theriver crossing for this northern relief road was supposed to be by tunnel. In 1991 they had spent £10 million on the works when  a 2 mt hole appeared in the river bed and the whole site flooded. There was supposed to be a layer of boulder clay below the river sediments and then the chalk aquifer. The flooding meant that there was a risk to the chalk aquifer and as the regions water is largely drawn form it they felt that it would be severely compromised if the work continued. The contract for the bridges was given in 1995 and it was completed in 1997 with one bridge for each carriage way. They are the same as the Stoneferry bridges. The whole scheme ended up costing £30 million instead of the projected £13 million. 

I was very pleased to be under it anyway and this marked the northern boundary of Hull and so we were now out into the country. I slowed down to jsy above minimum to allow the tide to rise more for when we arrived at Beverley.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Out into Old Harbour.

HW in Hull was about 1730 and the Marina Lock's first pen out is 3 hrs before high water. We were in Hull early to take Skye the budgie and Macy the cat and do some, get the boat fettled and do a little shopping. We then had lunch out at Blue Water cafe on Prince's Dock side. Their picnic platter is lovely and does for the two of us. We got back to the boat and was then shouted at to come for a coffee with some friends, so our departure was a little rapid in the end with no time to worry for Helen. As we walked back to the boat it started drizzling. I thought this would be okay but as we moved towards the lock it got heavier.

As the outer gates were opened it was looking a bit dour but not too dratfy. We had paid our very big bill so they would not be using the gone on the dock side to stop us leaving!

As we cleared the lock I called VTS Humber to inform them that we had left the Marina and were just popping round the corner to enter the River Hull. They told me there was 4.1 mt on the tide gauge at Hull. I also told them there were to person's aboard.

This is all that remains of the ferry pier. The steam paddlers used this pier up until the Humber Suspension Bridge was opened in 1981. They took passengers and cars over to New Holland pier on the Lincolnshire side. That pier is now a series of cargo berths and is sometimes busy with bulk cargoes in and out. The pier was originally a two tier affair and has been whittled down over the years.

On the right are the piles of the Horsewash. There is a slope down into the river from near the pier here, and carters used to bring their animals down here to give the a splash in the water at the right state of tide. Then there is the tidal barrier that lowers down to prevent the town being inundated when there are high tides etc. Below that is the new foot bridge with the yellow painted counter balance. It was opened in 2001 at the same time as The Deep and is called the Millennium Bridge. Through the middle of the tidal barrier can be seen the control cabin for the Myton Gate dual carriage way which is the main east/west artery to the docks and out of town and is extremely busy at all times and was opened in 1981. The building also through the tidal barrier that looks like a jug kettle is the Premier Inn. The Deep Submarium stands guard on Sammy's Point. My main worry about this passage is that we are early enough on the tide so that we can fit under the last of the twelve bridge we need to pass under on the outskirts of Hull.

Once in the River Hull you are no longer under the navigational jurisdiction of Associated British Ports, but the Hull City Council in the form of the 'Old Harbour Master'. I have tried to phone him several times during our stay but no luck. I was therefore not expect to be answered when I called on the radio. All he wanted to know was where our insurance certificate was! I dropped it in the next day. 

As you pass the tidal barrier, very often missed form the shore are metal copies of two busts that can be seen in the Maritime Museum by Stefan Gec. They can be seen on top of the central pile. In 1847 the Hull whaling ship 'Truelove' brought back a brother, 15, and sister, 14, eskimos, or Inuit as they are now more properly called. The idea was to tour them around to raise funds and bring to the public the difficulties of the natives of Greenland and area. They were to wear native costume. Whether the plan raised any money for the natives I'm not sure but the next years whaling season, Memiadluk and Uckaluk were on their way home when Uckaluk died of measels aged 15.

Here we are passing under the Scale lane Bridge, the newest in Hull being opened in 2013. This is the only bridge that you can ride on when it opens. It also plays bird song when closed and makes a very convenient route from east to west into the Old Town. On the right is the 'Dovedale'. She has been there a while now and I think she maybe waiting for conversion up grade. It is the HQ of Whittaker's barges that used to have all the oil barges in the Humber area. They now seem to have moved up to ship bunkering around the UK. On the left is the 'Arctic Corsair', the last side winder trawler left and an can be looked over with a guide described in an earlier blog.

By the time we were past Myton Bridge the rain started sheeting down. There is a plan to move the 'Arctic Corsair to a dry dock further that was once the entrance to the original enclosed dock in Hull, called The Dock as there was nothing to confuse with it then! The berthing of the trawler is thought to have caused the build up of the mud which is in turn restricting the flow of water and may have contributed to the flooding ten years ago.

The entrance on the right is the bell mouth for the lock that once led into Victoria Dock via a half tide basin. There was another entrance direct into the Humber but this was very useful for the myriad of barges that used the River Hull. The knuckle with no building on it was where the Ranks' Mill was until very recently and was on of the first built by J. Rank that wasn't a windmill. He started in Hull. There is supposed to be a posh hotel built here at some stage. The tall building is Gamebore's factory where shoot gun cartridges are made. The metal is taking up the tower and melted it is then poured through a system like a watering can rose. The drops then fall down the height of the tower and into a vat of water at the bottom. They are mainly round when they have cooled but they are then rolled over glass sides and any that don't roll straight are taken aside to be smoothed. All cleaver stuff.

The next bridge is Drpool Bridge. Drypool was a little village that was just outside the boundary of Hull. The bridge was opened in 1961 and replaced an earlier on that was built in 1889 and was run by Hydraulic power as was the rest of the dock estate like locks and cranes. This bridge is a Scherzer type rolling bridge, the same as the railway bridge at Keadby over the Trent. The bridge has recently been painted for the City of Culture and is in honour of John Venn from Hull. His Father was the vicar of Drypool and was a friend of William Wilberforce and part of the antislavery movement. John went into science and it was he that 'invented' the Venn diagram that we use today, hence the bisecting circle design. On the left is part of the old Pease Warehouse. They were another old Hull trading family. This warehouse was built in 1765 and is now flats.

Between Drypool Bridge and the next up river, North Bridge, are several dry docks, plus the entrance to the old Dock or Queen's Dock. In one of these the HMS Bounty, of Mutiny fame, was built as a collier called the 'Bethina'. There are plans to redevelop this whole area as well as moving the trawler here. The brick building was an old chandlers premises and warehouse.

This is North Bridge and there has been a bridge here since 1541, and prior to that there was a ferry. This was the only bridge in those times as the River Hull was the eastern defences of the walled town of Hull, and this was just outside. As you can see this is another Scherzer rolling or walking bridge and this was built in 1928. It is Grade II listed. My Mum was born above an undertakers just off to the right. The building is still there. WE have no traveled the the full length of what is known as the Old Harbour. On the east bank, to the right, there was a fortress called the Garrison. It was well stocked in the time of Henry VIII and he visited Hull several times to keep his eye on it. It was the Garrison arsenal that brought Charles I to Hull, and it was then that the gates of the town were closed on him and he was refused entry. This was the action that really embolden the nation to start the Revolution against him. On the left bank, within the walled town, the west bank was lined with the rich merchants houses that were counting houses, dwellings, warehouses and wharves where their cargoes were landed directly. The River Hull was a free port and there was much chaos. On one of Henry VIII saw a ship collide with another whilst trying to get in and decreed that ships should then have a pilot. It is said that there was so much congestion that it took as long for a ship to sail to the Baltic and back as ship to arrive at Hull, enter the harbour, work cargo and leave. This was one of the main factors for building the enclosed dock. Also the Government wanted a port that they could regulate and obtain their proper customs dues.

That is enough for one blog, and we haven't even covered a mile yet.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

More highlights of Hull

A few more photographs of Hull and a general tour around as we go about our business.

Prince Street leads off Holy Trinity Square through an arch and is an often photographed view. The lovely Georgian houses from about 1770 are sought after now but were slums not too long ago. The street is probably named after the Prince Regent who later became George IV.

Holy Trinity Church, or now Minster, is under going massive changes at the moment. The majority of the pews are being removed and it is going to become a very flexible space for all uses. The beer festival that is normally held here in April will now be in November. The square in front is also undergoing change. When it is finished there will be seating and reflection pools so that the view of the Minster can be seen in them and become a haven of peace. On the left can be seen the campanile above the indoor market hall. It plays tunes on the peels throughout the day. The market Hall is also reopening after a massive refit and has a good selection of food and other items represented.

Next to the market is the Kingston Hotel and they have embraced the cafe culture with their outdoor seating on the square. Can this really be Hull we are asked regularly.

Just of the Trinity Square is the 'front door' of the Hull Trinity House.

The detail of the pediment above the door.

Further down Trinity House Lane is Bob Carvers who are well known in Hull and area and are the makers of the first Hull 'pattie', something that you don't seem to be able to get anywhere else. It is essentially mashed potatoes with some herbs, bread crumbed and deep fried. Lovely! You can also get original Hull Chip Spice on the your fries here. Upstairs is a sit down cafe where you can have buttered bread and tea with your fish and chips.

Alfred Gelder Street was named after a former Mayor and architect who designed a new lay out for the city centre that formed Queen Victoria Square and what became known as Alfred Gelder Street. The Guild hall was built as law courts next to the Town Hall in 1907. The Town Hall was a lovely building designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, who designed some great buildings in Leeds, and was opened in 1866. In 1897 Hull received City status and the town hall was deemed not fitting. It was knocked down and between 1913 and 1916 this current building was erected, designed by Sir Edwin Cooper.

The more you look the more detail you can find. It is worth entering the building to see the inside, and to make a visit to the the fantastic embroidery pictures that denote periods of Hull's history. they are so detailed they could have been painted.

At the bottom of Queens Gardens, the Old Queens Dock, filled in, and standing in front of Hull College, is column with William Wilberforce's statue atop. The whole thing was moved here in the 1930's from close to Queen Victoria Square. As it is City of Culture year the manuscript he is holding has been guilded. The column is also now lit up.

Hull History Centre was opened in 2010 and houses three main collections, each made up of many parts, The Hull City Council collection, The University of Hull's and the Local Studies collection. There are so many papers that if they were end for end they would cross the Humber Bridge four times.

Inside the atrium they hold regular exhibitions. This one is by local writer and photographer Alex Gill who recorder the scenes on Hessle Road, home to the fishing community in Hull. It certainly evokes a time passed, and not one to be returned to for many reasons.

I was following my own advice about looking up and noticed this in a fan light above a door.

A real hidden gem of Hull is St Charles de Borromeo. It is quite nondescript from the exterior, but when you get inside you could be in France. In 1780 the Catholic Chapel in Postern Gate was destroyed in the Gordon Riots. Various places were used until in 1829 St Charles' was opened. That was the year the Catholics in England received full emancipation.

It was the day of the monthly Hull food festival and the crowds were out.

Zebedee's yard was the site of the many stalls. There was food from around the world. I remember when the first pizza place opened in Hull, and they queued round the block for weeks. How times change.

 Just one of the many dock related buildings that still are there. This one is now a club and hotel just down Postern Gate.

Queen Victoria Square has been up dated for the City of Culture year and the children have been loving the new fountains in the warm weather. As you can see t with there is a mist function and they play with various height jets and are lit up at night.

We are moving on in the next few days so you will get a break from Hull you may be pleased to know.