We decided to move on today, with a fine day forecast. I want to be in Castleford tomorrow afternoon.
We had a wide loop to make across the meeting of the three canals, to head off down the dead straight New Junction Canal.
Under the Don Doors…
…and over the Don.
The New Junction Canal was opened in 1905, making it one of last canals to be built in England. Running from Sykehouse Junction on the Aire and Calder to join the Don Navigation at Bramwith, it’s 5½ mile length is bookended by aqueducts. At this end it crosses the Don, the far end crosses the River Went.
On the way there’s only one large lock to deal with, but 6 swing or lift bridges, one of which crosses Sykehouse Lock.
Before the canal was opened, craft coming from the Humber had to negotiate the lower end of the tidal Trent, offloading at Keadby onto barges. The port of Keadby was busy at this time, wharves and boatbuilders thriving. But the New Junction put paid to it’s success, large vessels now were able to go to Goole Docks instead, an easier trip a short way up the Ouse. The Aire and Calder and New Junction offered a faster route to Bramwith, with bigger barges.
Keadby dwindled, Goole expanded.
Top Lane Lift Bridge
These bridges have sensible landings, dropping you off on the same side as the controls. They’re all push-button.
We picked up something heavy on the prop at the next one, so pulled in just past to investigate.
Oh look, we’ve our own colony of Stainforth and Keadby duckweed living in the weed-hatch!
The culprit, a heavy rubber fender still attached to the broken hanger that caused it to be lost – and found!
The rope and hanger went in the rubbish bag, the fender in my fender box.
As we got close to Sykehouse Lock I could see a red light on.
A pleasant surprise, a lock-keeper on duty! He wasn’t exactly rushed off his feet, we’d only seen one other boat by this time.
The swing bridge runs across the chamber and has to be opened before the lock is used.
Two more movable bridges and we were heading towards Sykehouse Junction, crossing the Went Aqueduct.
No fancy flood-control doors here, I guess the Went doesn’t carry enough water to make it a problem.
Sykehouse Junction, we turned left for Wakefield and Leeds
There are good moorings on both sides just before the junction, and some pleasant spots on the Aire and Calder too.
You couldn’t have considered mooring here while the canal was busy with gravel barges, but now it’s OK as the barges and their wash are no more.
Approaching Cow Croft Bridge and Pollington Lock there used to be two more crossings, a swing bridge at Balne Croft and a tipping bridge carrying a branch line of the LNER.
Site of Balne Croft Swing Bridge
Masonry just visible in the trees marks the position of the railway bridge
Long and short-term moorings just below Pollington Lock
Amber lights at the lock indicated DIY use, so I hopped off and emptied the lock so Mags could come in.
Four sets of gates give a lot of flexibility to accommodate different lengths of craft.
The “lollipops” are there for the barge skippers, so they know where the gates are!
We were intending to push on to moor above Whitley Lock, another hour or so. But with such a lovely afternoon, and Meg needing a bit of a brushing, we pulled in above Pollington.
Meg got groomed, then I decided to investigate the contents of the top box. The new one was about ready, so it was time for a clear out. I got carried away, the upshot of which is that now the new one is in place and loaded, the old one is firewood!
Locks 2, miles 8