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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Gone from Goole.

We had a lovely quiet night alongside. We had some chores to do in Goole so decided to walk into the metropolis and then visit the Waterways museum.

Yesterday evening we were visited by proud swan parents of these healthy cygnets. However I did notice that the cob was picking on the pale coloured ones, but perhaps they were just the naughtier ones!

As we walked down the road that is between the Canal/South Dock and the Dutch River (which is the outlet of the River Don, I noticed this light and recognised it as the one that had graced the pile at Trent Falls, where the Ouse and Trent meet to form the Humber. As you entered the Trent on a flood tide you always had to be wary of getting set down on it.

The public right of way goes right through the docks and this shot is for No.1 daughter. It also shows the brick built hydraulic tower (far left) that powered the lock gates and coal hoists. Next to it is the white painted water tower that, when built in 1926 was the largest in Europe, I think. Above the bow of the ship is the remaining coal hoist the was for discharging railway wagons into the holds of ships. Just behind the gantry crane on the right you may see a new concrete tower that is for cement, like the other steel ones near by.

The public footpath takes you over the Ocean Lock. This is the main lock, maybe the only lock, in use today. Victoria Lock is longer but not as wide. Ocean lock takes the largest vessels that can navigate to Goole up the Ouse.

This closed and unremarkable building has made the cut as it was the Pilot Office when I was bringing ships here. Even in those days it was not very salubrious but it was somewhere out of the wind and rain to wait for your ship to sea or a taxi home after bringing one up. When the pubs were closed that is.

There is a trail round Goole of 12 paintings of ships. Each one was painted by Goole painter Reuben Chappell who was a pier head painter. That is somebody that went aboard the visiting ships to get commissions from the Captains etc. He started aged 20 in 1890, but left Goole due to illness for Par, in Cornwall, where he continued. In his career he painted around 12000 ships pictures.

This is the sole remaining Tom Pudding hoist that lifted the pans out of the canal and tipped them into the waiting ships. W.H. Bartholomew was the Aire and Calder Canal and he experimented with compartment boats to bring coal from the West Riding pits to Goole for export. Originally about 8 of these tubs carrying about 35t of coal were strung together. A false bow, or jebus, was added to cut the water, and then a tug pushed them along. They were able to go round corners by tightening up on the lashings on one side and slacking on the other. Later they increased to up to 12 pans but they were now towed. 

This is the seal of the Aire and Calder Navigation Co. that was founded in 1698. The quarters are top left representing Leeds and top right Wakefield, who put up the money for the enterprise. Bottom left is the white rose of Yorkshire and bottom right the sailing barges, keels and sloops that used the waterway.

Wheeldale was one of the tugs that pulled the 'Tom Puddings' until they finished in the 1980's.

These are some of the very few 'Tom Pudding' compartments that are left. at the Waterways Museum.

This is the Jebus bow unit that secures on the front of the string of compartments. You can see the tension chains that secured them all together.

After about 90 mins at the museum we headed back to 'Holderness' for a spot of lunch. We didn't linger as the boat behind us was playing Bob Dylan on a loop as loud as he could as he was painting outside. We let go and just moved across the dock to Viking Marine once again to fill up with diesel. It was 68p and self declaration and it seems to be the cheapest in this neck of the woods. 'Fusedale H' and 'Humber Renown' are patiently awaiting reactivation once the Government etc. see the advantages of moving cargoes on these massive water ways.

As we turned once more and headed away from Goole I noticed this lovely little cutter that used to the the hydrographic survey launch that was based in Brough Haven and checked out the perpetually changing Whitton Sands between Trent Falls and the Humber Bridge. We also saw a very old Hull Roads pilot cutter in the Boat yard marina.

The weather was very nice, if a little breezy as we were heading directly into it down a very wide canal in a very flat landscape. However when we got to the New Junction Canal we moored up on the west side and as we were sheltered by hedge we broke out the chairs for the first time this year. I nice end to the day was a glass of wine and some nibbles as we both read our books.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Got back to Goole.

After a very busy time for a six day stop,over at home we have got back to the peace and quiet of the boat. We loaded up the car and headed up the A63 and M62 to Goole and were unloading once more in under an hour. Macy the cat always knows when we are either leaving the boat, or the house, and manages to go and hide somewhere. We have to prise her claws out to get her in the car. However as soon as she is on the back shelf she seems content. Then when ever we get to the boat she seems to settle almost straight away, where as at home she has to be out and about exploring and looking round and takes a day to get back into her routine. We think she likes being on the boat.

Once we were unloaded I set of back home. I did all the chores, like wash the floors, put the bins out etc and still had time to do a little weeding of the drive before having to go for my bus. The bus station is next to the train station so it was a very swift purchase of ticket and on to the train and away. Only one stop, Brough, before Goole and if you sit on the right side you get a great view of the Humber Bridge and the estuary. It was about 1hr 30 mins to HW Hull as there was a ship just passing Hull heading up river. It would have been a good day for our trip down as the wind was from the south and just a ripple on the surface.

Image result for humber from the train
http://waterways-of-the-humber.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/waterways-by-train.html
You get a good view from the train of the Humber Bridge and the channel light ships, some of which were still manned until the 1970's. The channels weaves from the north to the south bank so you could get a great view of moving ships.

Image result for goole railway swing bridge
http://www.planethugill.com/2016/04/a-sonic-journey-from-goole-to-hull.html
Skelton swing bridge, or Goole Railway Bridge, has to be swung for sea going vessels to reach Howdendyke and Selby. While very little goes to Selby but there are plenty of ships going to Howdendyke about a mile or so further up river. The bridge is at and angle on the river and the tide sets you onto the structure. This means that you shouldn't try to pass through on any size vessels until about 20mins before HW Goole. This gives you enough time to swing and moor alongside by HW at Howdendyke.

Our snug mooring. The land round here is very flat, and in line with most marinas there is the devil's own job to move round them in a breeze.

The wind is coming from my st'bd quarter so a rope to the end of the pontoon with the boat nearest to us was slacked away until I knew my stern would clear the concrete and then we came round to st'bd. This meant there was no fear of me being set down on the boats to the right of the picture.

I was back aboard 'Holderness' within three hours of leaving. We filled up with water and all the other jobs before going and paying. Everybody here seems so friendly and it is a very local yard for us so we may come for winter moorings at some time in the future. Whilst we were paying I saw the 'Walter Hammann' a sea going ship, further down South Dock working cargo. She was a very regular runner to Hull, Goole and the Trent when I was a pilot and had a very grumpy Captain as I remember. It was good to see she was still working. All paid up a then rang a forward spring to the nearby pontoon so I would be able to get my bow round into the wind without clouting any of the cruisers. A very nice man from one of the cruisers volunteered to let go our spring once we were round and this saved Helen having to hop on once she had let go the line. We didn't go far as we just went over to the south side of the cut, to the visitor moorings and tied up there for the night. The plan is to go to the Yorkshire Waterways Museum in the morning and to post some letters etc before heading off up the cut. More to report in the morning.

WALTER HAMMANN
https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/photos/of/ships/shipid:152955/#forward
'Walter Hammann has a hydraulic wheelhouse that can be raised at sea and lowered when it is using the rivers and canals on the continent. We used to call this type of ship sea snakes as they were long and thin with nothing above the deck really. She is 58 mts long and 11.5 mts wide and was built in 1988.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Pretty straight and pretty wide in the rain.

Despite the rain we decided to walk the short way in to the village to try the Kings Head. I suspect that Helen was convinced due to the food looking so good. However when we got there Monday was the no food day. Mind you the place was pleasant and the beer was good. We walked past swing bridge No.3 that is just below the lock.

As can be seen No.3 swing bridge is still working and is worked by a capstan. There is a notice that says if a boat finds the bridge closed, wait 15 mins and then call C&RT. It is padlocked up so I suspect that the farmer has the key and just uses it when he needs to.

A little bit further down the canal is the site of swing bridge No.4. This was all that was left of it. You can see the slewing ring and the central pivot post so I suspect it was just the same as No.3.

We were soon at Southfield Reservoir. It was built at the same time as the Aire And Calder Canal to supply water.

Half way along the reservoir is the turn to the South Yorkshire Navigation via the New Junction canal. This was the last large canal to be cut, opened in 1905, to connect the South Yorkshire system to the rest via the Aire and Calder, who helped pay for it..

Southfield Reservoir is open to the canal in several places. This is to allow it to quickly replace water that is lost in the large locks at Goole that are used for seagoing vessels. There were no boats on the water as we passed, but there were plenty of fishermen.

Not far past the New Junction junction the canal makes a big dog leg. This is when it is met by the River Don from the south. Originally it had two mouths, one into the Ouse and one into the Trent but in 1620's Vermuyden engineered it to meet the Ouse at Goole. It is now called the Dutch River and is tidal. Once this has been negotiated the canal runs almost straight to Goole, passing under the M18 bridge. Just as we approached the dog leg we met a boat coming the opposite way, and as we passed the M18 we passed another. It is getting really busy here. Since leaving Pollington I had been doing speed trials on the deep and wide canal. I used the mile marks given in Nicholson's guide and timed my speed over the distances. There was little wind so it should be a fair reflection of the speed. I had half fuel and half water aboard. 1800 revs gave me a speed of a touch over 4 mph. 2000 revs gave me a speed of 5 mph and 2200 gave a speed of 6 mph. The first two were averaged over 3 separate miles and the last was just 1 mile, as we had arrived.

As we passed under the railway bridge you come to a single lock gate. Apparently some sort of curtain was placed on the bottom during WWII so that it could be used like stop planks in case Goole Docks were bombed and the canal breached. It is now hydraulically driven and well maintained so still serves the purpose.

I often used to pass 'Easdale H' on the Trent as she was punching the flood tide and hugging the bank to stay out of the main flow and every now and then dodging out to round a stone heap. She had loaded gravel or sand down the Trent and was either taking it to Hull or Goole. It is a shame to see these working boats, not working.

The orange ship had just come up from sea on the tide and was making fast at South Dock. We are just about to turn into Viking Marine as we are stopping here for a week to go home and do some volunteering and soaking up some more culture in the centre of Art and culture for the year, Hull.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Dull but interesting

It was nice to meet up with Neal and Sue last night, a brother and sister in law. It was a good to catch up and a good excuse to have another pint at the Junction. We were the last to leave and we had a good chat to the locals about the pub that believes in beer from the wood, brewing, Castleford Tigers, Union versus league etc. The weather forecast was to be heavy rain this afternoon, but okay up to then. So we decided to get off quite early, 0900. As soon as we got out to let go the light rain started and it has kept up all the trip. Not soaking, but a little unpleasant with the wind.

We were soon at Bulholme Lock ready to pen out on to the River Aire.

Looking back up the river towards Castleford and the chimney's of the methane powered generating plant mentioned yesterday.

This stretch of the Aire is very secluded and is a nice as many parts of the Thames, with none of the cruisers, or paying for moorings. (Maybe because there are no moorings!).

Yesterday we had a picture of the Old Wheldale pit loading basin and today we passed the Old Fryston Colliery Basin. Here barges were loaded by chute and then when arrived at Ferrybridge were discharged by grab.

The rail bridge in the foreground runs along the east end of the Fairburn Ings reserve and in the distance is the A1M motorway.

Here at Ferrybridge the barges manned barges being discharged by grab were superseded by pans that were strung together and pushed in a line between loaded basin and power station. 

File:Coal Barges moored at Ferrybridge Power Station - geograph.org.uk - 895409.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/Coal_Barges_moored_at_Ferrybridge_Power_Station_-_geograph.org.uk_-_895409.jpg
This was the view in 2008 before the system was closed down. You can see empty pans along side the quay by the unloader.

I did say in yesterdays blog that Ferrybridge had closed down, and indeed the old sites have done, the last closing in 2016. However in 2015 Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 opened. It is a 68MW plant that uses biomass, fuel from waste and waste wood as fuel. There are plans for another 90MW plant to be built too. It would seem a great idea to use the same system of pans to bring waste from the conurbations by river and canal and use the unloader to discharge them to save road journeys. I wonder if it will happen.

Not long after the power station is the flood lock. Looking back up river you can see the A1 road bridge and then in the distance the old Ferry Bridge, that actually doesn't go anywhere now.

At Knottingley the River Aire is re-entered at Bank Dole Lock as the route to Selby. We haven't been that way yet, but hope to come back down there later in the year. When we have been down south, closer to London, we have seen some real sights of boats that seem uninhabitable been used on the canals. from a distance I thought this was a new take on the converted enclosed lifeboats you see. A floating caravan maybe something out of 'Top Gear'. However as we got closer it just seems to be in use as a fender.

Kellingley Colliery is now closed as was seen on the TV programme about the last few weeks of the mine. However there seems to be an even bigger pile of coal on site. It was interesting to see that a solar farm had been erected next to the pit since our last visit. Not making much electricity at the moment though.

At Whitley Bridge, Eggborough, is Bowmans Mill. I noticed that there was a new sign on the gate. It seems that the site has been sold to Whitworth Bros. of Northants. The large mill, the closer white building was closed in 2016, but they are using the more modern, mustard colour part has been retained as a flour heat treatment plant. I had never heard of this, but apparently the process was patented in 1970. The flour is heated to between 210 and 230 deg for 60 mins. This drives the moisture out of it. When it is used in manufacture of high ratio goods (like cakes and cookies etc) it then more readily absorbs water and resists forming gluten. This means that the products have an extended shelf life, has finer grains of flour and increased volume, so getting more finished product for less ingredient I suppose. 

At Whitley Lock we managed to drop off our rubbish before penning down. We pass over the motorway bridge M62 regularly and always look to see if there is anything moving below.

Just before Heck Bridge is a quite extensive Canal and River Trust yard. There is plenty of kit sitting here. I suppose it is utilised more during the winter. This is only half of it. However it was good to see that there was maintenance going on as we passed.

We were soon down Pollington Lock and then moored up on the visitor moorings below. As soon as we got in, the soup was on, and the fire lit and we bedded down. I am thinking I may walk into the village as we have never been here before, but not if it is raining!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

From mine to magnificent.

We had rain in the morning whilst still in bed. I can't remember the last time we had rain heavy enough to make a noise! By the time we had to get up the sun was coming out. I went for the paper which we read whilst we listened to the Archers and then Desert island Discs whilst Helen made some scones. At 1200 we left the boat to explore the Fairburn Ings Reserve.

To get to Castleford centre it is best to take the footbridge over the weir. I think it was a great Millennium project and the wreck of a barge could have been artistically placed. It wasn't. 

From the footbridge we had a good view of the old road bridge in the evening sun with swans and cormorants.

Fairburn Ings had a 150 year history of mining and quarrying in the area. The coal seam 500 mts down, when mined, resulted in surface subsidence that has made some of the lakes that are now part of the reserve. The land was acquired by the National Coal Board and was used to bring pit slag and waste to be dumped. The rail line is still there, but not the track. In 1957 it was leased to the RSPB and the 618 acre site was recognised as a bird sanctuary. In 1968 it became a statutory reserve.

Across the Main Bay can be seen the Ferrybridge Power station. You may notice that there is no stweam from the cooling towers and no smoke from the chimneys. I believe the 3 power plants have been closed due to them being coal powered and so part of our bid to reduce carbon and global warming etc. The mines of the area fed the power stations all round here.

 This gives you an idea of the height of the coal tips. There was 23 million tonnes dumped here and it was in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest slag heap in Europe. The water is the River Aire, along which we will be travelling tomorrow.
Thge tips are largely fenced off as they are still declared slightly toxic to humans! As can be seen in the valley below everything is nice and green. There was limestone and alabaster quarrying from here and there is even the remains of a ruined abbey. The reserve has recovered so well that it now has the record for the highest number of observed species in inland UK!

To the north of the reserve is Ledston Hall. It was originally a grange and chapel built for the monks of Pontefract Priory. It was then given to the Earl of Shrewsbury who in turn gave it to the Witham family. After a fewe hundred years it came to the Hastings family and  Lady Elizabeth, known as Lady Betty, had an extensive garden laid out in about 1716. Elements of the garden and the house are Grade I listed.

It was nice to get another view of this the old Wheldale Colliery Basin on the south bank of the Aire. Coal that was less than 1" was loaded here to be taken to Ferrybridge power station by barge. Large size caol was taken to Fryston mine to be treated. Wheldale Mine was sunk in 1868 and started production in 1870. In around 1900 1000 men and boys produced 200000 tons. After Nationalisation 600 men produced 400,000 tons. At that time the mine had the longest continuous conveyor belt in the world at over a mile long. It was the last pit in Yorkshire to use pit ponies in 1972 and in 1982 it broke all records by producing 500000 tonnes, and it was the last mine in the UK to use steam locomotives on its sidings. The pit was closed in 1987 but the shafts were not filled in. Instead they used them to gather the methane gas from the old working to power a 10 MW power station that generates enough power for 8000 homes.

The bridge is the line into the reserve and would have carried coal between pits etc. In the distance is the Bulholme Lock from which we will be emerging tomorrow. The weather has been very good and we were also rewarded by hearing and seeing a cuckoo, and hearing another. It was surprising to realise that they did sound different, hence we could tell there were two.