We were off even earlier this morning. Bob from NB Lyra, moored behind us, had suggested we share the locks to Knottingley, and they were ready to go soon after nine o’clock. By twenty past we were in the lock and going up.
These Aire and Calder locks all have control booths for the lock-keepers, but they’re only used for the commercial carriers. In between, leisure boaters have the DIY option.
The last time we came this way there was a lot of activity this side of Whitley, new piling being installed and backfilled. The plant is still there, but there doesn’t seem to be much going on.
All quiet above Whitley Lock
I wonder how much one of those goes for?
We parted company with Bob and Cath on NB Lyra at Whitley Lock. They’re heading for Castleford and Leeds, we’re going the other way at Knottingley.
In Whitley Lock
Looking back at Whitley Lock from under the M62 bridge
Narrowboats are a bit insignificant on this waterway….
There’s one, coming towards us…
Now this guy is in proportion to the width of the canal…
We’re leaving the countryside behind as we head deeper into industrial West Yorkshire. Power stations dominate the horizon, and the extensive Kellingley Colliery spreads in the angle between the navigation and the River Aire.
Stubbs Bridge with the cooling towers of Ferrybridge behind, Kellingley to the right. That’s Fusedale H heading this way.
In Knottingley we turned right onto Bank Dole Lock cut, fresh water for us. This drops down onto the River Aire, made navigable to The Ouse in the 17thC.
Bank Dole Lock
After the wide and straight Aire and Calder, the twisty course of the river comes as a relief. At least there’s something to do on here! It didn’t involve avoiding oncoming traffic, though. We only saw one other boat along here.
Leaving Bank Dole Lock
Out on the river
There’s only one other lock on the river, at Beal. We were tempted to stop here, but chose to push on instead.
Beal Bridge shows how high the river can get!
Beal Lock, with a wide weir alongside
The gate beam isn’t really that shape, my splicing software does that to objects that are too close….
More bends follow, then the flood lock at West Haddlesey appears on the left.
West Haddlesey Flood Lock
The route leaves the river here, after 6½ miles of wiggling to and fro. Straight on was the old navigable channel, following the river to join the Ouse at Boothferry.
Through the lock is the Selby Canal, built as an alternative to the tidal, unpredictable Aire. It runs for just over 5 miles over the flat countryside, connecting with the Ouse at Selby. Here it drops down a tidal lock, upstream is York, downstream is Goole, the Humber and the North Sea.
Leaving the flood lock, on the Selby Canal
We were hoping to moor here, but there’s only room for two boats.
The banks on this canal are well overgrown, limiting mooring opportunities, but we toddled on and found a pleasant spot, an old wharf just long enough. On the map it’s marked as Gateforth Landing.
Quite a high wall, but we can cope with that.
After a couple of days of trying I managed to get through to the lock-keeper at Selby, and we’re booked to go down onto the River Ouse at lunchtime on Sunday. So we can have a day off tomorrow, then move the 4 miles to the town on Saturday.
We’ve also got a long-weekend berth organised at Ripon Racecourse Marina for the following weekend, somewhere to leave the boat when we go to South Shields for The Great North Run.
Locks 5, miles 14½