We left Wakefield at 8.30 this morning passing through the open Wakefield Flood Gates and into Fall Lng Lock. This will probably be our last manually operated lock for a few days. Jan worked the lock and you can see in the following photo there was quite a fall onto the river.
Paul Balmer (nb Waterway Routes) had mentioned to look back at this point an gain an appreciation of how high the river can rise in spate. The water level will go over these top gates, hence the need for the flood gates above.
We’re now on wide, deep water and going with the current. It’s very quiet and tranquil.
There’s a water point on the visitor mooring before Stanley Ferry so we stopped to top up the tank. The water pressure was very poor and we took the opportunity to have morning tea. We’re obviously now in ‘big boat’ territory.
This next boat didn’t have much in the way of superstructure and looked rather squashed
We’ve been seeing lock gates with a CRT Stanley Ferry plaque and today we passed the workshop.
There are more than 1500 locks and each has slightly different dimensions, which means every gate is bespoke. Year round, gates are made here and at Bradley workshops in the greater Birmingham area. They are mostly fitted during winter which means a finished gate may wait approximately 6 months before fitting. They are kept wet during this time to avoid drying out and shrinkage.
It was here that a small (28ft) Viking fiberglass boat pulled out almost in front of us. We were on tick-over and that; in combination with the engine hospital silencer;meant the steerer hadn’t heard us. They followed us the short distance to Birkwood Lock. Jan worked both boats down the lock using her finger! The fiberglass went ahead whilst Jan closed the gates before reboarding Waiouru.
At the next lock the lady on board the viking mentioned they had a problem with their engine and were travelling slowly to the boatyard at Castleford. Apparently the water pump for the cooling system on the outboard engine had failed and the steerer was constantly having to stop the engine and let it cool. They accepted our offer to tow them to Castleford so we breasted up. Their bow line was tied to our centreline anchor point with the stern tied to our rear dolly. We made good progress to Castleford despite the drag from the second boat.
When we last came this way the flood gates at Castleford were open, however today they were closed. Apparently the pedestrian bridge above the flood gates is closed awaiting structural repairs and CRT are leaving the flood gates closed to allow foot traffic.
So here we are moored at Castleford.