Yesterday morning we were in two minds whether to head down to Selby on the afternoon ebb tide. The weather was appalling, windy with driving rain.
The forecast predicted the wind dropping in the afternoon and the rain easing, though. Instead of heading downstream we thought about spending another day at Naburn then heading back to York for a couple of days, before tackling the tideway on Thursday or Friday, when we would be able to go down first thing in the morning.
Around Naburn Locks yesterday morning
At this time the river level was where you’d expect, although the indicator board showing previous flood levels was unsettling!
The board is central in the picture above, just to the right of the window.
You can click to enlarge to read the dates. The highest was November 2000, about 5 feet above my feet when I took this picture.
Looking back across the locks, the camera level is the November 2000 flood level!
That’s a lot of water!
The lock island used to be occupied by a water mill, long demolished, but the navigation workshops are still here. The machine shop on the end must have been powered from the outside either by water of steam.
Pulley and driven axle on the end of the machine shop
The axle runs through the building at high level, with pulleys along it’s length connected by flat belt to machinery on the shop floor. Engaging a clutch would have started the bit of kit when needed. The same principal was used to power the Lancashire cotton mills. Initially by water, then later by more reliable steam.
We had a discussion and decided to go, even though the weather was less than clement.
All on our own in Naburn Lock
You can see the rain lashing down. The lock keeper is up on the right, next to the console. All tidal locks on the inland waterways are keeper operated.
Looking back at Naburn Locks and weir
From this point on the camera stayed under cover, my last two died on days similar to this… Maybe I should invest in an underwater one.
The rain eased a little as we passed the confluence with the River Wharf..
For the first hour or so the water was fairly slack. The last bit of the flood tide was being balanced by the stream of the river.
Then the tide started to ebb and our speed started to increase. We had been told not to hang about.
We left the lock at 16:25, sunset was just before 7 o’clock and we had 15 miles to go.
It was a cold, wet, miserable trip down, the only highlights being the friendly and sympathetic wave from the bridge-keeper at Cawood Swing Bridge and a sighting of an otter crossing the river and climbing the bank. Sorry, no chance of a picture.
I‘d been warned about the speed of the flow under the two Selby bridges, but it was still a bit of a surprise as we shot through at maybe 10 mph. “Just line up in plenty of time and go for it” I’d been told. You don’t have any choice….
The lock-keeper was waiting for us waving from the entrance piling. I went past and turned back upstream creeping up along the bank, then turned in cleanly. The lockie was pleased to see us; like me he was drip-wet through. He’d seen boats up and down regularly through the day, mostly between Selby and Goole. We’d only seen one other boat on our stretch of the river, heading up to Naburn.
We were just tying up in the basin when he went past in his car, heading for home and a bath and supper.
We’ve had a couple of phone calls this morning, Bob and Cath on NB Lyra wanted to make sure we were OK, they’re in Clarence Dock in Leeds, watching the River Aire steadily rising. And Arthur, who had visited us in York, rang for the same reason. He told me the river through the city is now above the flood bank where we were moored on Monday morning and a narrowboat just along the Museum Gardens has sunk when it’s mooring ropes pulled it over in the rising waters. The York Rowing Club had a webcam looking across the river, you can see how high the river is.
With the Aire at Castleford currently four feet above normal, I guess we’ll be on the Selby Canal for a while…
Locks 2, miles 15.