The intention was to move on down to Keadby over the weekend, but it was blowing a hooley and there are some very exposed stretches of canal on the route. With seven swing or lift bridges to deal with it maybe wouldn’t have been a lot of fun.
This morning was still breezy but nothing like as bad, so we made the decision to set off. And it was a good one. Good sunny spells felt warm on my back, the wind eased and the rain held off.
Pulling out from the mooring pontoons at Thorne
The notorious pedestrian swing bridge named for the Princess Royal lived up to it’s reputation; the gates had to be wiggled a bit to engage the switches that allow the bridge to be swung. And it’s tediously slow in operation. But we got through with only a handful of people waiting.
The railway bridge heading out of town proved to be a challenge. The bright sun was dead ahead, and also reflecting off the water, making visibility tricky.
Some sort of obstruction under the bridge turned out to be a raft protecting boats from a section with low headroom while it’s being cleaned and painted.
Luckily the canal swings due east shortly after the bridge, so the sun ceased to be so much of a problem.
There’s a certain droll sense of humour in some of the boat names around here…
The land around the canal is flat and open, the reason we didn’t want to travel while it was very windy. Mags would have struggled to hold station while I opened the several swing or lift bridges.
We gave ourselves the option to bale on the trip soon after Crowle, but we were doing well, the wind was dropping and it was staying fine so we pushed on.
The recent bypass bridge at Crowle replaced an original swing bridge adjacent to the railway station.
The remains of the earlier bridge apron can just be seen in front of the metal fence on the right, the new bridge crosses above and behind.
Another redundant and removed bridge is that of the Axholme Joint Railway. Formed in 1903 from the merger of the Goole and Marshlands Light Railway and the Isle of Axholme Light Railway, it had to cross the canal to the east of Crowle. A swinging railway bridge was constructed, set between brick abutments, only a small part of which now remains.
There’s some more information here, if you’re interested.
I came across some more pictures of sailing keels on the canal and showing some of the swing bridges too. Copyrighted, so you’ll have to follow this link…
An impressive press of canvas they’re carrying…
The canal is straight and wide, quite boring really but the local swans kept me entertained. Mainly in ones or twos, but then I approached a group (what is the collective noun for swans?…) Oh lots, then. I like eyrar or drift. Ballet is a bit pretentious, I think.
Anyway, there was this eyrar of swans just drifting down the canal in front of us mostly youngsters from earlier this year I guess. Full grown and fledged, but still with some brown feathers. I wasn’t sure whether they’d stay put or take flight, but I was ready…
First one or two make a break for it…
…then a few more.
There has to be one hanging on till last…
…and one going the opposite way just to be contrary!
The last swing bridge for us was Vazon, just before the clever sliding railway bridge.
Vazon Swing Bridge, with Vazon Sliding Railway Bridge just beyond
We went through the boater-operated swing bridge, then had to wait a few minutes for local commuter train to cross before the bridge-keeper opened the railway bridge for us.
Through the open bridge…
…and it closing behind us.
Just ten minutes later we were tied up on the wharf above Keadby Lock.
After talking about sailing keels these last few days I wanted to show you one.The Spider T is usually moored this side of the bridge, but apparently she’s tied up in Hull at the moment. Unlike those square-rigged craft in the pictures on the earlier link, Spider T is sloop-rigged.
We’ll be penning down onto the river tomorrow at around 09:30, with the 27 mile upstream run to Torksey to finish before it rains (or snows!).
I lifted the engine boards to have a good check around down there, all OK. Then I checked the prop for rubbish through the weed hatch. No hangers-on, but the clear water gave me a good view of the damage to the prop that was inflicted earlier in the year. I knew one of the blades was a bit bent, but I hadn’t realised how much!
In fact only one blade of the three is how nature intended! So that’s an 18x14 propeller on my Christmas wish list…
Locks 0, miles 10