This morning we wandered into Castleford for a few essentials. Most of Castleford was very familiar as we had passed this way in 2014. The Millennium Footbridge was there last time. Well it would have to be as it must be 16 years old. But not as old as the flour mill behind it.
Can’t see the flour mill?
My guess is there was once a water wheel to grind the flour.
Whilst walking down the main shopping street in the town I happened to notice something I’d not seen during our last visit.
Not that obvious. It’s on the HSBC building.
We topped up the water tank above Bulholme Lock. A wide beam arrived at the lock just as we were stowing the hose and we joined them to drop down through the lock and onto the River Aire.
Apparently Ferrybridge coal fired power station has closed since our last visit. The was no sign of it being in operation and the unloading facility was starting to look derelict.
There are some lovely spots along this way.
As expected, Ferrybridge Flood Lock Gates were open and glancing back we could see the view was dominated by the power station.
At Bank Doe we turned right continuing on the Aire & Calder Navigation. This is new territory for us and obviously more interesting. The navigation is wide and deep, cutting it’s way through flat rural countryside. At one point we noticed a couple of large artificial black hills. Our guess was they were made from coal.
On getting closer we came upon a sign.
This was the last deep coal mine in England closing last year. It was a relatively modern mine, opening in 1960. The location of the mine was partially dictated by the proximity of road, rail and the canal. Whilst the mine has closed it appeared the area was still being used to stockpile coal, which is being moved by rail.
Shortly after passing the colliery we passed two narrowboats going in the opposite direction. Both Jan and I commented on the small number of moving boats around here.
A late lunch stop at Pollington Lock where Jan got to use her magic index finger on the control box.
These locks are BIG and most of them have at least one intermediate set of gates. We’ve also noticed how much bigger the boats are around here.
Shortly afterwards we reach Sykehouse Junction. The Aire & Calder continues on to Goole but we turn right onto the South Yorkshire Navigation. It looked like CRT were doing work ahead as most of the navigation appeared to be blocked.
There are good 72 hour moorings just around the corner.
Even the tupperware boats are big in this part of the network!