…and operating methods!
We were just getting under way this morning when I glanced back and saw several stories of ship superstructure passing the lock.
That wasn’t there last night!
A pity we were on the move, it would have been good to watch that boat turn around and tie up.
We parted the green carpet that was slowly moving down to the lock.
Lemna Gibba (I think) a type of duckweed that flourishes in still or slow-moving water
The lock-keeper told me yesterday that it’s only turned up in the last few days.
Our first obstacle was the low level railway bridge just a few hundred yards up the canal. This is another early 19thC innovative solution to the problem of the canal and railway being on much the same level. To ramp up the line to a level that would allow sailing barges to pass beneath would have been prohibitive both in terms of cost and land usage.
So a moving bridge deck was constructed, this one sliding sideways to open up the waterway.
Vazon Railway BridgeThe bridge is controlled by a bridge-keeper in the hut, well, you wouldn’t expect them to let boaters disrupt the rail network, would you.
The green-painted section slides back and sideways to let us through…
…then slides back to lock into position for the next train.
Immediately afterwards comes a manual swing bridge, the first of several on this canal.
Just a bog-standard bridge.
This canal was built to link Sheffield and South Yorkshire to the Trent, with dimensions to accommodate Humber sailing keels. That’s why the majority of the bridges are movable, and why the navigation is generally straight and wide.
Something we weren’t expecting appeared just ½ a mile further on. A new road is being built, crossing the canal on a broad span. During the construction a temporary floating bridge runs across the canal.
This has to be moved to allow boats to pass, the wheelhouse of a tug can be seen above the pontoon bridge. We had to wait about 5 minutes, despite being shouted several times by his workmates, “Bob” failed to appear and someone had to go and fetch him.
Bob swinging the bridge away for us.
It looks like we woke him up!
Shutting the gate behind us
Cruising on here can be quite boring, the water is wide and deep, and there’s little to look at across the flat countryside. The wind made it interesting at the swing bridges, though.
Flat countryside, wide water.
Parting the weed
Crowle Bridge is a fixed span, carrying the main road to the village about a mile away. There’s moorings here, but not particularly attractive.
Crowle Bridge and Wharf
Godnow, Crooke o’ Moor, Maud’s and Moor’s swing bridges follow over the next 5½ miles, then there’s a change of method as the mechanised Wykewell Lift Bridge is reached.
Moor’s Swing Bridge, two boats were coming the other way, just at the right time for us to sneak through afterwards. Cheers, chaps!
Wykwell Lift Bridge, familiar to Llangollen Canal travellers
Flashing lights and warbling sirens when you press the button on this one…
That wind farm is recent, it wasn’t here last time we came up.
The outskirts of Thorne arrive with Blue Water Marina, then Louis and Joshua Boatbuilders, but now displaying Tyler Wilson signs.
Blue Water Marina
I’m sure this was Louis and Joshua last time.
The main road crosses the navigation on a new bridge, with a swinging footbridge just beyond. This isn’t marked on our 2003 Nicholson’s and caught us by surprise the first time we came this way.
Princess Royal Footbridge, opened 2005.
We had hoped to be able to moor just beyond but there was no room, so we pushed on a bit further, up Thorne Lock and moored opposite Stanilands Marina.
I had a walk up into town to top up with fresh stuff, then took Meg for a run around the recreation grounds alongside the canal. Well, Meg had the run, chasing a ball. I had a slow walk, nursing a sore foot.
I’ve had a recurrence of the tendon trouble I had about 6 weeks ago. This morning, doing a set of intervals, I suddenly got a sharp pain in the sole of my left foot, bad enough to stop me dead. After a short walk I had a slow jog back to the boat.
I’m hoping that massage (by me), rest and icing (that’s an ice bag, not the stuff your put on Christmas cakes) will sort it out in a few days… I’ve only 12 days to go to the Great North Run!
I'll definitely be there so there's no excuse for not sponsoring me!
Hi Steve. At the rate you're going we'll see you at the weekend...
Nev, No excuses, get out there!
Lisa, don't be put off by the rivers, they make for great cruising. Just listen to what the lock-keepers say...
Locks 1, miles 10½