We didn’t get away from Castleford yesterday, nor did we today. The River Aire had risen by two feet by yesterday morning following Wednesday night’s rain, and it was still nearly a foot in the red this morning. So we’ve just been pottering about here, doing a bit of this and a bit of that.
Yesterday late morning Farndale H came past, heading upstream to discharge a cargo of sand. I followed up to Castleford Lock, thinking it would be interesting to watch this big barge cross the fairly fast stream below the lock.
At this point the navigation is a crossroads. The Aire comes in from the right and heads off south over the large Castleford Weir, and The Calder joins almost opposite the lock.
Castleford Junction, looking upstream up the River Aire to Leeds
The Calder appears from the middle left, and the Aire leaves on the left of the picture to the weir. The lock is out of shot immediately to the right.
Farndale H in Castleford Lock
I switched to video and shot this nearly 5 minute clip of the manoeuvre….. apologies for the quality, Scorcese I ain’t!
I’m glad we didn’t try to cross the flow.
A little later another gravel barge, Fusedale H, came downstream. Empty she was more at the mercy of the current, and the skipper wasn’t as skilled as that of Farndale H .
Fusedale H coming down the Calder
They got a stern line ashore, but couldn’t get the bow near the lock in from this position, so, after a lot of messing about they finally managed to get a spring line on a bollard, which allowed the helmsman to swing her into the lock entrance.
Stuck across the lock
Mid-spring on allows the stern to swing out and the bow in
Then a bow spring completes the job
Finally into the lock
I bet they were glad to be in, there were several people watching by this time.
Today was also a fine cruising day, fine that is if you’re not stuck between two sections of river that are too high for safety!
The old boat Easedale H has been past in both directions, loaded and empty. Loaded the gunwales were awash.
Easedale H fully loaded.
Meg and had a walk around the weir stream this morning. Unfortunately there’s no access back around to the lock, but you can get a good view of the weir and the new bridge crossing over it.
Just below the bridge is the hull of a barge that has been there for at least 30 years. Apparently it escaped it’s mooring further upstream during wet weather and got stranded here.
On the town side of the river stands Allinson’s Flour Mill, water powered until the 1970’s and now sadly closed. After over one hundred years, stone-ground flour production here ended in February last year.
The building is actually part of C&RT’s (formerly BW’s) property portfolio. The lease is still held by ADM Milling but I wonder what will happen when it expires.
Locks 0, miles 0