Monday, January 07, 2019

Good timing at Bramwith, poor timing at Thorne

We had a quiet weekend moored watching the boats go past at Bramwith Junction. Not that there were many, it’s not busy at all.

A fine sunset last evening, but the sky clouded up later and we had a drop of rain.DSCF5329

We’d spent the weekend looking out over the junction, so we had to do a U-turn back into the Stainforth and Keadby Canal. Not a difficult manoeuvre…

Bramwith Lock is the only one between Leeds and Keadby that still relies on muscle power rather than electrics and hydraulics. It’s got those three sets of gates though, that allow water saving if used by smaller boats, but will still accommodate long barges.DSCF5333


We struck it lucky here. As we arrived a CRT van pulled up, the chap had come to clear the bywash of accumulated debris. After he’d finished that task he offered to do the lock for us. Well, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, do you? Especially if it comes in a hi-vis jacket with Canal and River Trust stenciled on the back!

To really put the icing on the cake he then offered to open Bramwith Swing Bridge, just a quarter mile on, as well.

Several converted keels moor here below the lock.DSCF5337

Fairy Godmothers come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they!DSCF5338

The Stainforth and Keadby Canal opened in 1802, and was deigned for barge traffic that could use the Trent and also run up into Rotherham and Sheffield. It’s wide, moderately straight, and deep. And also pretty boring…

The first fixed bridge in this direction is at Stainforth, and is only just wide enough for the barges…DSCF5340

…hence the impact damage!

More converted working boats moored near the Thorne Cruising Club basin.DSCF5342

The River Don and it’s adjacent flood relief channel run close alongside the canal for a time, at one point only separated by a strip of land and heavy steel piling.

We’re still in the coal producing area of West Yorkshire, and, just to the east of Stainforth, is an old wharf and winding hole where barges would have loaded from a rail spur connected to Hatfield Colliery.DSCF5346

Opened in 1916 the colliery did well until 1993 when British Coal announced it’s closure. A subsequent management buy-out kept it going for the next 8 years until it was mothballed in August 2001.
The following few years saw several changes in ownership, one project involved combining the colliery with a power station on site, but the pit finally closed in 2015. The buildings still stand, as does the headgear which has been awarded Grade II listed status.

Plodding on under grey skies, we passed under the M18 and then to the outskirts of Thorne.

Staniland Marina, under the bridge carrying the Doncaster – Goole branch line.DSCF5348 
It was here that the wheels came off. We were intending to fill with diesel and pick up a couple of bags of smokeless here, then push on, down Thorne Lock, and moor near the service wharf. But a notice on the office door advised would-be customers (me) that it was closed today, but would be open as normal tomorrow. Bugger. So we decided to shove across the canal, moor for the night and fill in the morning. Never mind.

It would have been a day off tomorrow anyway, now it’ll just be a short cruise instead.

Locks 1, miles 4½

No comments: