Rotherham to Goole

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We set off from the moorings at Eastwood just after half past ten, but after being helped through Eastwood Lock we had a delay at the next, Aldewark Lock. The control panel was showing a fault and no combination of button pushing made any change. Having telephoned the helpline the local CRT team arrived and we were underway again in less than an hour.

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Although the navigation has been ‘improved’ there are still many attractive old features remaining, including several fine stone bridges, some complete with tow rope grooves.

 

 

IMG_4141Retracing our route back to Doncaster we had chance to give Robert and Dylan a chance to helm.

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After an overnight stop at Doncaster we continued   up the canal until we came to the turning for the New Junction Canal, which would take us up to the Aire and Calder Canal and Goole. Shortly after the junction came the first of two aquaducts at each end of the canal. The first crosses the River Don and another taking it over the River Went.

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The New Junction Canal has a series of lift and swing bridges and we took it turns with ‘Evangeline to operate these.

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We eventually reached the junction with the Aire and Calder, which is opposite a large reservoir. The canal and reservoir seem to be separated only by a series of scuptural boulders.

It was getting dark as we arrived in Goole and were greeted by Chris Sherburn who was working on his new boat ‘Ouse Patrol’. On his advice we moored alongside the keel ‘Sobriety’ for the night. The following morning Sally joined ‘Evangeline’ for the cruise back to their mooring in Stainforth, while I stayed and moved ‘Daybreak’ to the mooring where she will be based for the next few weeks.

Doncaster to Rotherham

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Steve and Sue brought their keel ‘Evangeline’ to join us for the trip from Doncaster to Rotherham, which is the head of commercial navigation on the SSYN. Although ‘Daybreak’ is a Sheffield size keel we are told it is no longer possible for us to get to Sheffield because of silting up of the canal. We were also joined by  Robert, the son of old College friends of ours, and his son Dylan. Leaving Doncaster involves passing under a variety of road and rail bridges in close proximity. The last of these crosses the entrance to Doncaster Town Lock. We were now on the improved Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, so the locks had plenty of room for both ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Evangeline’.

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Surprisingly soon after leaving Doncaster the navigation becomes very rural and because the river Don flows in and out of the canal there are sections of of natural banks with plenty of wildlife.

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We moored up up for the night at Sprotborough, a beautiful spot with a pleasant stone built pub just across the canal. Walking across the weir and up the steeply wooded sides of the navigation we found some interesting stonework.

IMG_4099There were several of these entrances to what seemed to be tunnels through the embankment carrying the railway high above the river.  However when we went in to explore they all seemed to have been filled in with rubble. From Sprotborough we headed up towards Conisborough, under the dramatic viaduct that takes the railway over the Don Valley in a series of elegant high arches and a single iron span that is high enough for a keel to sail under.

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We then passed Consiborough Castle, which I remember visiting as a child when we lived in Doncaster. They seem to have done some rebuilding from when I was there last.

 

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After Conisborough we headed past Mexborough and through the Double Bridge, which have very tight clearnaces and come just after a very tight right hand bend. We managed to get through alright, but it must be very difficult for much larger vessels such as Humber Princess, which still trades up to Rotherham.

IMG_4122After Mexborough came Swinton, which is where the canal carriers Waddingtons are based. It was very sad to see a large number of barges being cut up, but they still have some very smart vessels ready to trade if the work becomes available.

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We carried on to Eastwood Lock and went past the visitors’ moorings, to turn in the large basin just after Rawmarsh Road Bridge. We were surprised to see a large flock of swans in the basin, no doubt attracted by the man throwing them large quantities of bread.

We motored back up to the moorings and after we had tied up we walked back to Eastwood Lock, where we met some of the boaters who live on permanent moorings there. We were shown around a converted keel that had a ‘For Sale’ sign in the window. We saw the owner again in the morning and gave him a tour of ‘Daybreak’ . Before leaving he told us that, having seen ‘Evangeline’ and ‘Daybreak’ cruising up together, they had decided to the boat off the market. Perhaps we will meet them out cruising next year.