Meg has developed a lump in her groin, hard and obviously irritating judging by the way she keeps licking at it. Castleford has a couple of vets, the nearest a mile from the canal and having pretty good reviews so I made an appointment for her last evening.
So we were away at around half past nine, leaving the moorings above Pollington Lock, heading generally west. People generally have the impression that Yorkshire is hilly, but here, down in the Aire valley, it’s anything but!
Improvement work seems to have been going on for an awfully long time below Whitley Lock…
But we’re now on Phase III!
I wonder how many phases there are?
Whitley Lock was on self-service and against us, but didn’t take long to get through.
Whitley Lock emptying.
The bywash weir with Seyella in the background
Cormorant having a chuckle to itself…
…and a kestrel on a wire.
It looked away just as I pressed the button.
Towards Knottingley we passed the now closed Kellingley Colliery. The last deep pit in the country, it closed just before last Christmas.
At it’s production height the colliery employed around 2,000 men and produced about 900 tonnes of coal per hour, most going to local power stations.
The sign on the long-disused loading wharf is a little ironic…
The canal now runs into Knottingley, getting narrower and tree-fringed before coming under Skew Bridge and arriving at Bank Dole Junction.
Bank Dole Junction, we’ve come from the right, to the left is Bank Dole Lock down onto the Aire and the route to the Selby Canal.
Good moorings on the junction, if you can find a space between the anglers!
The canal winds it’s way through the town, now a lot narrower, before opening out beyond Kings Mill and the approach to Ferrybridge Lock.
Ferrybridge Power Station dominates the view.
I was hoping that the lock would be open at both ends, it is sometimes when the river is at the right level. But not today.
Mags coming in to the 450 foot long chamber at Ferrybridge Lock
Back in 2009 when we came this way we had to wait for the gravel barge Fusedale H to exit the lock before being waved in by the lockie. Like today there was only 4 or 5 inches to rise up onto the river. The lock-keeper closed the bottom gates behind us, and by the time we’d cruised the length of the chamber the top gates were open!
Boater operation yesterday, though, so it took a little longer.
Out on the river above Ferrybridge
We’re passing under the “new” A1 road bridge, the old Great North Road bridge is just ahead.
Brotherton Railway Bridge with Brotherton church rising above the trees.
Past the coal wharf at the power station, where compartments boats, each holding around 170 tonnes, were unloaded. Trains of 3 of these “Tom Puddings” were brought up from Kellingley by push-tug.
Leaving the coal terminal behind the river winds it’s way down from Castleford, trees on the banks obscuring any sign of habitation.
But this is all quite recent. On the left, south, bank were Old Fryston and Old Wheldale collieries, with their own loading basins off the river.
The Old Wheldale Loading Basin is just to the left of the oncoming boat.
The Bulholme Railway Bridge carried a line to Allerton Bywater. Bulholme Lock is just visible.
I had to empty the lock before we could use it, then Mags came in. I glanced back before I closed the gates and spotted a motor cruiser just coming under the bridge, then another! We’d hardly seen a boat all day!
Of course, they joined us in the lock, taking advantage of a temporary volunteer lockie – me!
They do fuss, though. They had to rope up just so before I could start to fill. Mags was quite happy just to float about…
We filled with water just above the lock, then pulled in on the left bank a little way up. We’re now off the river again, on Castleford Cut.
Meg’s appointment was at 5 o’clock, so at half four we toddled off up into town, not sure what to expect. A hard, immobile lump under the skin could be anything; we feared for the worse but hoped for the best.
After a very thorough examination, some of which made my eyes water (Meg was OK, she had a local anesthetic), the vet said that it was an infection, probably caused by a grass seed penetrating the skin, or a scratch or bite. So hope paid off.
A course of antibiotics and regular bathing with a saline solution should sort it out, and we’re going back on Friday to review progress. All being well we’ll be OK to press on to Leeds.
Locks 3, miles 14