South Bramwith to Ferrybridge
29th August 2013
17 miles – 3 locks – 7 hours
Another lazy start at 11.00am, delaying departure as we completed a long lists of jobs which needing attending to around the boat, including a sign for the front of the boat advertising the sale of our preserves.
Foraging opportunities came thick and fast, with a big crop of blackberries available on the junction with the New Junction Canal – that relatively new cut with it’s dead straight line punctuated only by a succession of lift bridges and one huge lock.
Previous travel along this canal had led us to a particularly productive abandoned orchard which we revisited and picked kilos and kilos of apples supplemented by three kilos of blackberries. Fortunately this spot was free of wasps, insects which plagued us all the way down the canal and saw the executioner in regular use in spite of the closed windows and doors. They were everywhere! Unusually, the area was also riddled with mint, too old to use but presumably left over from someone’s garden. The mint gave off lovely waves of fragrance as I bashed my way through the brambles to reach the best blackberries.
Don Aqueduct - New Junction Canal
After picking for an hour or so a little convoy of boats came past with a bloke on a bike riding down the towpath setting all the bridges. These bridges are a real pain so we cast off in undignified haste and caught the procession up sailing majestically through all the obstructions whilst Helen made jam in the galley.
The Aire and Calder is the big daddy of the waterways hereabouts – built for huge commercial craft but sadly all the trade has gone with the last aggregate contract running out this year. We are left with a jumbo sized network which has an air of melancholy about it – more so that the Midlands canals which have been reclaimed as the preserve of the leisure boater. We tailed a couple of local boater to Pollington Lock where we hit a snag. The electronics failed and we couldn’t operate the lock. We tried everything but it was dead, so we resorted to calling Canals and Rivers who sent a guy out and he overrode the boater operation panels and managed us through from the control room.
Convoy down the New Junction Canal
Pears had been on Helen's daily want list and I finally found a tree, just outside Killingley Colliery. They were as hard as bullets and not that many of them but one does not look a gift horse in the mouth...
We now needed to moor but Knottingley offered few attractive options, so instead we moved on to Ferrybridge and its visitor moorings which are unpleasantly close to the A1, but are at least secure.