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The Waterways Wanderings of Narrowboat “Just Heaven”

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.

Keadby Lock

The lock keeper at Torksey said that high water would be at 12:30, so we should set off at twelve, then push against the rising tide for about an hour. This would give us a bit more time to get to Keadby. The lock at Keadby can only be used for about 5 hours either side of high water. But this is further restricted at the moment because a sandbank has built up at the entrance limiting the usable depth of water.
So we set off at 12:00, I called the Keadby lockie to tell him we were on our way. He said “Well dont hang about as the sandbank is building. I thought you were going to leave at 11:45 !”
For about the first hour we could only make about 3.6mph (by our GPS). We were pushing quite hard and the engine temperature was rising. Then suddenly as the tide turned we were doing 7.5mph!.
We reached Keadby just after 4:30. Getting into the lock entrance was REALLY tricky. As well as the sandbank the main river current flows right across the lock entrance, pushing the boat to the left. I managed to get in with only just nudging the side.
We are now back on canals, until the last stretch up the Ouse to York

Coming straight at us, you have to get out of their way, they dont budge!

Coming straight at us, you have to get out of their way, they dont budge!

Torksey

Yet another day of unbroken sunshine, but this time with a chilly wind to accompany it. We had planned a late cooked breakfast today, but that didn’t work out. On the river the only stopping places are at locks. The first one was too early. The lock keeper at the next lock told us that if we carried straight on without stopping then we could just catch the tide to stop overnight at Torksey. So we pressed on and breakfast turned into a sandwich lunch.
We are now on the scary tidal Trent, but it’s turned so far to not be scary at all.

The locks are big around here!

The locks are big around here!

Coming in to Newark

Coming in to Newark

Newark town lock and castle

Newark town lock and castle

Gunthorpe

We are now on the river Trent, the non-tidal part. We left Shardlow at about eight o’clock and shared the locks through to Nottingham with a couple going to watch an England vs South Africa game at Trent Bridge. A stop at Sainsburys to top up the fridge & grocery cupboard and then onto the Trent proper.

Railway bridge just outside Nottingham

Railway bridge just outside Nottingham


The Trent is really lovely, much more open than the Severn with more to look at.
Stoke Lock on the Trent

Stoke Lock on the Trent


We stopped at Gunthorpe Lock at about 4pm and sat outside on the floating pontoons for the evening in glorious sunshine with our drying washing that was done earlier in the day in the new mini-washing machine!

Shardlow

We are now at the end of the Trent & Mersey canal where it meets the river Trent, though this part is the non-scary, not-tidal part. The scary, tidal part is yet to come!
A really great day today, the weather lovely and sunny.

Branston Water Park

We had an early start and were away by about eight. There were lots of boats about, but we got through Fradley without having to queue for long. A stop was taken in Arlewas for a late breakfast (Full English). It’s a lovely village and we used to stop here years ago when we had a share in a boat based at Barton Turns Marina.

For a short section after Arlewas the canal joins the river Trent, we have navigated part of the Trent now, though it was very placid, well in the “green”. It may not be that way further downstream.

The river section by Wychnor

The river section by Wychnor

We stopped earlyish, about 3 o’clock, by Branston Water Park so that we could clean one side of the boat. The evening was really warm and sunny, so a barbecue was called for.

Cheers!

Cheers!

An evening walk of twice round the water park rounded off an excellent day.

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