Monday 7th October 2013
The prospect of a long day lay ahead as we cast off this morning. The plan was to get at least as far Sykehouse Lift Bridge. Between Thorne and there lay a lot of lift or swing bridges, and two locks.
First up was Bramwith Swing Bridge, a powered road bridge. Just passed it is a service block and we had hoped to take on water here but another boat had just beaten us to it and we didn't want to hang around waiting for them to finish as we weren't desperate for the stuff.
Bramwith Lock is the last of the manual locks we will have to do for a long while.
At the junction with the South Yorkshire Navigations we turned right onto the 6 mile stretch of water leading to The Aire & Calder. This short run is blocked by no less than 6 bridges and a lock. All are powered except the swing bridge over the lock.
The first bridge, Low Lane, presented the first problem. As we approach it there was a team from C&RT visible at the bridge. they were replacing old, damaged stone blocks around the bridge. One of their number was seen walking up to the control position, so we thought, wonderful, they're going to open it for us. Well, that was their plan! It didn't happen. When nothing started to move I decided to pull into the side and investigate. Turned out that the chap had tried to open it for us, but it had failed and they were calling an electrician!
Help arrived half and hour later, and we were on our way again. We approached the next bridge, Kirkhouse Green Lift Bridge, and noticed a guy get off a bike and walk to the control pedestal. Sure enough, the bridge opening noises started and up it went.
I slowed down as we went through to talk to the guy, and he told us that he just enjoyed helping boats. Great! he can help all he wants. While we were bowling along towards Kirkhouse Green Lift Bridge the bloke on the bike whizzed past on the towpath. Sure enough, the next bridge lifted for us, and we pressed on.
Next up was Sykehouse Lock and Swing Bridge. This is a slightly awkward one. There is a manual swing bridge over the lock chamber. You must use your key at the bridge station. This unlocks the bridge and barriers. Shut the barriers and then push the bridge until it locks in the open position. This allows you to start operating the lock proper. The rest is just to cycle the lock and return the bridge to the closed position to allow the retrieval of you key.
Two more bridges and that was it for this stretch of water. We continued to Southfield Junction, turned onto the Aire & Calder. At Pollington Lock we've stopped for the night and taken on water.
We are here