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The Waterways Wanderings of Narrowboat “Just Heaven”

Keadby Lock

A lazy day today. We are booked in with the Keadby lock keeper for tomorrow’s 8:00am tide. So we only had about 4 hours cruising to do. A bright, sunny day, but with a coldish wind, though not as windy as yesterday.
I think it must always be windy here as there a lot of these around!
"Catch the Wind"
We arrived here about 12:30, had lunch then went for a walk to look at the village. The Nicholsons guide book describes Keadby as “dull”. I think they were being generous. We decided that it deserves a prize for the least interesting place we’ve been for a very long time. So back to the boat to read books and chill out until the thrills of zooming up the Trent on the flood tide tomorrow!.

Thorne

Wind, wind and more wind!
We have been battling a gale most of today. The day started OK, bright and sunny. We did three loads of washing whilst connected to the water point, then set off about 9:00. I called the Keadby lockie who said that we would need to be there by 7:00am tomorrow in order to catch the tide. That would have been a bit of a push, so we booked in for Thursday at 8:00 instead.
As we approached the first lock the sun was in my eyes and I didnt see that the light was on “red” (stop) rather than “amber” (boater operated). Then I saw why, out of the lock came a very large gravel barge!

Gravel Barge

Gravel Barge

At that exact moment the sky decided to start chucking it down with rain, but we managed to get into the lock OK. The lockie put us through quickly and we were on our way.
The wind was blowing really strongly as we made our way along the New Junction Canal. Here there is a series of lift & swing bridges. Approaching and leaving the landing stages either side to drop off and pick up crew was extremely difficult!
Coming under a lift bridge

Coming under a lift bridge


Next we turned onto the Stainforth & Keadby, this a little smaller and reminded us of the Gloucester & Sharpness. A short shopping trip in Thorne then moored up for the night at about 4:30.

Whitley Lock

After a wonderful weekend at the wedding we set off back for home.
The Naburn lock keeper told us to be there at 9:30 so we left York at about 7:45. He warned us that, because it was a high spring tide, it would be fast, and getting into Selby lock might be tricky. We pushed against the rising tide for about an hour, then it turned and before long we were flying along! The current past the lock entrance was very fast. I left the turn a little late and was about a boat length downstream by the time we had completed the turn. With lots of revs we crept back up and in without mishap.

High tide on the Ouse

High tide on the Ouse

The Selby canal was much more placid by comparison. On to the River Aire, which was on “amber”, but no problem at all. By now the wind had picked up and was blowing strongly. A short chug along the Aire & Calder canal to Whitley Lock, which is a pleasant mooring we knew from the way up.

Wedding Day

A perfect day today for the wedding.

Mr, Mrs & Miss Witchell

Mr, Mrs & Miss Witchell

Doing the tourist bit

We have been here three days now and have done the National Railway museum, the Norvik centre, walked around the city walls etc.

On Wednesday we entertained on board the prospective bride, groom & bridesmaid. Last night we went out for a meal with Matt, Ally, Tres & Lins.

All the others are arriving for the wedding today so it’s a big get together in Tres & Lins apartment tonight.

York

Just a short cruise of about 5 miles up from Naburn. We arrived in York at 10:30 and moored just upstream of Lendal Bridge. The weather has changed now that we’re here. A really heavy storm on our arrival, and several smaller once since.
We’ll be doing the tourist stuff for the next few days and then we have Matt & Ally’s wedding on Saturday.

York Bridges

York Bridges

Archbishop of York's palace on the riverside

Archbishop of York's palace on the riverside

Naburn Lock

When we booked in with the lockie yesterday he said the the tide would right for out exit our onto the Ouse at 2:00. He said that he would be along at 1:30 to have a chat with us.

So we spent the morning doing a bit of shopping and I had a problem at work that needed dealing with. At 1:30 we were all ready, but no sign of lockie. He arrived at 1:50 and said that in about half an hour he would lock out the widebeam that was also booked, then us. (there wasnt room in the lock for both of us). We didn’t get out until 2:50pm. Today’s tide was not a big one, only about 3 meters, so we wanted to get to Naburn reasonably quickly to make sure there was enough depth of water at the lock. We rode along on the rising tide at nearly 6mph for about 2 hours, then the tide turned and we we only making 4.5mph despite an increase in revs. But all was well and we arrived here safe and sound. Only about 2 hours tomorrow and we will be in York !

The Attractive River Ouse

The Attractive River Ouse

Selby

A mixed day today. We started off on the wide & straight Aire & Calder canal.

Whitley Lock : Aire & Calder

Whitley Lock : Aire & Calder

At Bank Dole lock we moved onto the River Aire. As we approached the lock another boat was coming the other way. The lock was empty, set for them, so we let them through. But they had absolutely no idea how to work a lock. The boat had recently been bought by the parents as somewhere to live for their student daughter. The dad (“I have lots of experience sailing on the south coast”) insisted that the daughter steer the boat. She was clueless!. None of them had any idea what to do with the paddles, gates etc. It took them 35 mins to lock through with my help!

The River Aire was lovely, with lots of twists and turns Around one of them we were faced by a speedboat pulling a waterskier!

As we were passing the blue boat a waterskier appeared !

As we were passing the blue boat a waterskier appeared !

Then we locked through onto the Selby Canal. It was like being back on our familiar surroundings, much like the Midlands canals.

A bridge on the Selby Canal

A bridge on the Selby Canal

A call in at Selby Boat Centre for Diesel, a pumpout & gas turned into a marathon! It took them 1.5+ hours to do a pumpout. Their pumpout machine is of the same design as used by Noah on the ark!

Now moored in Selby basin. Tomorrow we lock out onto the Ouse, but we can’t go until high tide at 2:00, so we won’t have time to get to York. We’ll moor overnight at Naburn, then on to York the day after.

Whitley Lock

Wow, we must have done something to please the weather gods! It’s been a really gorgeous, warm sunny day. Ideal boating weather.
We started by working through Bramwith lock. This can accommodate boats up to 200ft long! But it’s divided into sections with several sets of gates, so we only used a small section. Unlike all the other locks around here, this one is manual and it took all my strength to open & close the gates.
Then at Bramwith junction we turned up the New Junction Canal and immediately crossed the River Don on an aqueduct and shortly after entered Sykehouse lock which is enormous!

There are Guillotine gates at each end of the aqueduct

There are Guillotine gates at each end of the aqueduct

Looking down at the River Don

Looking down at the River Don

Sykehouse Lock. Yes "Just Heaven" is in there somewhere!

Sykehouse Lock. Yes Just Heaven is in there somewhere!

Quite a few lift & swing bridges today, but all these worked perfectly. Next we turned onto the Aire & Calder navigation. This is a commercial waterway running wide, deep & straight. We haven’t yet met any large frieghters but maybe that’s because it’s the weekend. For the first couple of hours we didnt meet any boats at all, but later on it got quite busy, with lots of local boaters out enjoying the good weather.

The Aire & Calder - wide, deep and straight

The Aire & Calder - wide, deep and straight

Near Bramwith Lock

Today started off with a bit of excitement, within about half a mile we came upon Vazon Sliding Railway Bridge. Apparently the only one left in the world. The railway line crosses the canal just a few feet above water level. When a boat needs to pass the whole bridge slides out sideways. It’s quite impressive.

The Bridge Closed

The Bridge Closed

Train Crossing

Train Crossing

Half open

Half open

Fully open !

Fully open !

The mechanism worked perfectly, which wasn’t the same with several of the lift bridges we encountered later in the day!

The bridges are operated by a BW (or  should that be CRT?) key, and there are complicated interlocks with the road barriers. Sometimes the barrier detectors say that the barrier isnt closed when it is, so the whole thing freezes up.

A lunchtime stop at Thorne to find Sainsbury’s, had to ask the locals for direction. Unfortunately we didn’t have a Yorkshire interpreter with us, but we found it eventually.

We had planned to stop for the night at Bramwith lock, but at about 4 o’clock a cold wind blew up so we called it a day about a mile short.

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