Just a couple of hundred yards ahead was Woodlesford Lock, and we filled with water above as we were running a wash load. It’s always a good idea to keep the tank topped up at this time of year, you never know what’s going to happen…
It was another dull but dry day, with the breeze steadily increasing to nuisance value. Less than 1½ miles on we had to deal with Lemonroyd Lock, the deepest one on the navigation. We were joined by a chap on a small cruiser, who’d been hanging about in the hopes of catching a free ride down.
Since Knostrop Falls we’ve been on canal, albeit a very wide canal, with the river down on the left hand. But below Lemonroyd the canal and river rejoin, although the course of the river has been much modified.
The most recent changes occurred after 1988, when, shortly after the confluence, the bank breached and flooded into the adjacent St. Aidans opencast coal pit. A massive project to empty the mine and re-route the navigation cost over £20m, took 10 years and an Act of Parliament for nearly 2 miles of new waterway. This is why Lemonroyd Lock, at 14’4” is almost twice the depth of the other chambers along here. The original Lemonroyd Lock, and Kippax Lock further downstream were both bypassed and replaced by this deep one.
The mine was exhausted in 2002 and the site is now a nature reserve, managed by the RSPB.
Heading downriver to Castleford, with the loading dock for Methley Saville Colliery on the right. There was also an entrance to a basin at the colliery, and on the north bank, a dry dock and small boatyard. All pre-breach, of course.
Good moorings on the old coal staithe at Allerton Bywater.
After 3½ miles of easy cruising downstream Castleford Lock appears on the left.
Straight across from the lock entrance, off picture to the right, is the entrance to the Wakefield Branch of the Aire & Calder, ahead is to be avoided as it leads to the large Castleford Weir.
(photo taken later as I crossed the footbridge)
The flood lock was open at both ends as the river is behaving itself at the moment, so we were able to cruise straight through and onto Castleford Cut.
We moored on the right, about halfway to Bulholme Lock in the distance. A day off tomorrow, then onwards, I guess.
2019 tomorrow. Lets hope it’s a little better than 2018…
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers for their support and kind comments over the last year, and we’re -
Locks 2, miles 5