Friday, 27 May 2016

On to the Aire Navigation - Friday 27th May

This morning we dropped down River Lock onto the River Aire leaving behind the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and motored through the converted warehouses and ornate bridges to Leeds Lock which is adjacent to the entrance to Clarence Dock. There looked to be spaces there today. Below the lock we met the first many large barges we would see on todays journey.L1

Travelling at our normal canal revs we seemed to be flying down the wide river and then the even wider canalised sections of the navigation. Passing through Knostrop Flood Lock there was much flood damage repair work going on including this dredger between the river and the canal. From here for approx 5.5 miles the river follows the route of the canal but slightly to the north. Travelling up the M1 I have often looked down at the canal and wondered where it was on the network and now we passed under the motorway and on to pastures new.L2

The locks are now all hydraulically operated by inserting a waterways key and operating it yourself. The lower paddles look like the oil industry nodding donkeys when they are in the up position.


At Woodlesford lock Autumn Years filled with water which gave me time to photograph a lock to show how long they are. Some even have double sets of gates to make them even longer but they soon empty even with all that water in them.L4

The Woodlesford Lock has some nice gardens around it although many of the flowers had gone over their best. However we did spot this flower bed dedicated to John Sergent when he did the canal in 2015 for his Barging around Britain TV programme.IMG_7512

On the river we saw our first KINGFISHER of the trip. Continuing on passed the now defunct Oil Terminal just above Lemonroyd Lock we again entered the river which took us down to the junction with the Calder and the Castleford Flood lock which to say the least is a very unusual shape not having any regularity to it. I am not sure why that should be as looked very awkward for large vessels to pass through.L5

We moored up for lunch in Castleford and then went to explore the old Allisons Flour Mill situated on the huge weir the water from which used to power it. The mill first opened in 1898 and was originally called Queens Mill. Over 100 years ago Dr Thomas Allinson pioneered the benefits of stone ground wholemeal flour and acquired the mill in 1921 following which it grew its production until it was the largest stone ground flour mill in the world. It ceased working some years ago and is now know as Castleford Mill and is believed to be owned by C & RT. It houses a cafe to try and  develop sufficient funds to renovate it from its current dilapidated state.

I remember the opening in 2008 of the beautiful curved bridge which spans the weir being featured on television with all the locals saying how important it was to the town.  The bottom left picture shows an old boat which looks as though it went over the weir and the right hand picture shows the wild life ladder. There are three sections to it. The main one is for Salmon and trout whilst the tunnel on the right is for eels and the steps on the far right are for Otters to negotiate the weir.L6

We motored on through Bulholme Lock and on to a river section known as the Five Mile Pond and soon came to the massive Ferrybridge Power station and just round the corner the village of Brotherton. We did pass another boat on route and this was one of only 9 boats we saw all day.


Negotiating the Ferrybridge Lock we moored up for the night and enjoyed dinner on board with C & G and a game of cards during which we were treated to another view of a Kingfisher.

Below are some of the weird collection things we spotted on route. The Elephant hidden in the trees, the deer and insect lodge, and Long John Silver and the crocodile in a garden in Brotherton.


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