No. not the steps for the latest dance craze. The moveable bridges we’ve been through today, four swing bridges and three lift bridges.
We were a bit earlier away today, on the move by just after nine o’clock. A steady start, 4 miles before any need to do anything but steer.
Under the M18 bridge
This side of Thorne the canal seems less open, with trees on both sides. The River Don runs close to the north bank, and this will have an influence on the amount of vegetation.
Heading towards Stainforth
Stainforth sits on the south bank of the canal, with visitor moorings near the bridge. There is also a line of permanent moorings on the offside, with boats in various conditions.
A bit of weeding needed…
Bramwith Swing Bridge is the last on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal, just next to the sanitary station and a few hundred yards up from the lock.
Bramwith Swing Bridge
There’s was a boat coming down so I let him through as well, Mags picking me up on the service wharf.
Bramwith Lock has three sets of gates, allowing three different sizes of vessel to make best use of the water. A small chamber uses the top two sets, a middle size one the bottom two and an XL from the top and bottom, leaving the middle open.
Bramwith Lock, looking down to the bottom gates…..
….and up to the top.
We just used the top chamber, just right for 58’.
Beyond the lock we had a change of navigation. The original route bore left, heading to Doncaster and Sheffield. This canal completed the link from the Trent and Hull to the industrial cities and opened in 1819.
Further north, In 1826, the Knottingley and Goole Canal was opened, joining Leeds and Wakefield to the booming inland Port of Goole.
The network came under the control of The South Yorkshire Navigations in 1888, improvements were made, and the New Junction Canal was built, connecting Branwith with the Knottingley and Goole Canal. Opened in 1905, it was one of the last canals to be constructed, and is dead straight for 5½ miles from Bramwith to New Junction.
This is the route we took, turning right across the wide junction and across the River Don Aqueduct.
There’s good moorings on the left here, a fine spot for collecting blackberries.
River Don Aqueduct
The river has a reputation for flooding, and on this flat land could easily spill into the canal, making it impassable. The gates close the aqueduct off at either end to allow a swollen river to flow across the navigation.
Looking down at the River Don
A steady procession of swing or lift bridges, all mechanised, over the next three miles take you to the only lock on the canal, Sykehouse. Not content with being pretty big (it’s over 200 foot long and 25 feet wide), it has a swing bridge across the middle, just to complicate the operation.
Sykehouse Lock. It’s a long walk from one end to the other….
No humping heavy gates, though. Just push the appropriate button….
Out of the lock, there’s another two miles (and another two moveable bridges) before the junction with the Aire and Calder.
Last lift bridge, Sykehouse
Just before the junction the canal has to cross another river, this time the Went.
At the junction we swung left, heading towards Castleford, leaving Goole behind us.
New Junction, Goole is 8 miles that way….
…and Castleford is 17 miles this way
Remains of a removed swing bridge
Pollington Lock was our destination today, there are moorings both above and below the lock.
Approaching Pollington Lock
We were tied up after a steady 4 hours or so, in fine sunny weather. That wind was still with us though, maybe a little lighter today.
Later in the afternoon there were two boats down the lock. The first was Lafarge Aggregate’s Battlestone, last met near Knaith on the Trent, then an hour later Heather Rose H followed.
Heather Rose H They’ll be heading back to load at Besthorpe after discharging near Castleford.
I always look forward to seeing these vessels up here. It’s what the canals were built for, after all. Although meeting one of Rix’s oil tankers on a bend can be a bit unnerving…
Locks 2, miles 12½