Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Drizzle and the last of the bulk carriers

Today started OK, cool but dry, with a breeze from the SE. But by lunchtime it had deteriorated, with fine drizzle with heavier bursts of rain just to avoid being boring.

We watched Fossdale H go through the flood lock. I don’t know why the lock is built with the gates at an angle to each other; it makes it difficult for the sand barges, without bow thrusters, to negotiate. The more modern tankers have thrusters, so they don’t struggle so much.

Fossdale H in Castleford Flood Lock.
We followed on shortly after, across the junction and onto the River Calder. The next few miles will be a mixture of artificial channel and river sections.

Castleford Junction. Left for Leeds, straight across through the lock back to Ferrybridge and right to a BIG weir.
Just before the very deep Woodnock Lock, we came across Fossdale H discharging at Fairies Hill. She’ll be heading back down to the Trent for another load later.

Fairies Hill. I expect the “little people” moved out when the cement works moved in…

Woodnock Lock, at 13½ feet deep, replaces Fairies Hill and Altofts Locks, the section immediately behind the former is now moorings. Above the derelict Altofts Lock there are more BW moorings, all empty.

Woodnock Lock. The amber light indicates self operation. If a keeper was in attendance it would be green or red.
Empty Moorings at Altofts. Is the new BW moorings scheme working, I wonder?
By now the weather was poor, but we pushed on through Kings Road and Birkwood Locks to Stanley Ferry, where we called it a day.

This is a busy spot, with a pub and restaurant, BW lock making workshop, lots of moorings and the twin aqueducts over the river.

The original aqueduct was built as a suspension bridge in 1839. It took 7000 tons of stone and 1000 tons of cast iron to construct. When the navigation was upgraded to Eurobarge standard there were fears that the listed structure might be damaged, so a new soulless concrete trough was built alongside in 1981. Both are still in use.

Stanley Ferry Aqueducts.
We’re taking a day off tomorrow, then pushing on up through Wakefield to find a mooring for the weekend.

Locks 3, miles 5.

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