We awoke to grey sky and the signs over overnight rain. Jan was up around 5.30 with me following her by 30 minutes. Son rose later as he had an international work conference call between 1 –3 am (Ah I’m glad those days a behind me!). It took a wet kiss and a little bit of tongue on my part to get him moving around by 7am.
CRT had suggested we depart our mooring at 8am in order to meet them at Holme Lock around 9.30 for our assisted passage up to Sheffield Basin. There are very few photos because we were either very busy or it was raining. However we did managed to take some photos of what we assume are the original sized commercial vessels that plied the navigation.
If I recall correctly Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour had a similar bow and it was a former Yorkshire collier (just checked wikipedia and I’m right).
Waiouru started moving around at 7.30 and then we heard the sound of the Exol Pride passing on her return from Rotherham to Goole. It must be a long day for the crew. However I was happy knowing we weren’t going to meet her on a bend.
The cruise up to Rotherham lock was uneventful but when we reached the lock it was apparent the Exol Pride doesn’t go this far. The lock was shorter and manually operated. Jan struggled very hard but couldn’t open one of the gates. Eventually I joined her and together we managed to open the starboard (right) gate. These original locks are about 60ft long and wider than your normal double lock.
The next problem was encountered after leaving the lock. The navigation joins the river above the lock and we could see the surface of the water bubbling like a simmering pot. Then we realised the bottom was very close to the top and the bubbles were the escaping gases from rotting vegetation. Obviously the flooding last winter has deposited a considerable amount of silt in the entrance to the channel. Waiouru slowly and carefully slid
over through the very smelly silt. The situation was worse at the entrance to the channel for the next lock (Ickles). As we exited the river and entered the channel Waiouru developed a significant list to port and we came to a stop. I managed to free us by using the bow thruster and using a little throttle. These two spots could do with some dredging.
The CRT lock keeper was waiting for us at Holmes Lock and stayed with us to the top of the flight. Each lock had been set for our entry so I guess he had done that before our 9.30am RV.
Apparently the CRT assisted passage is required because the water above the top lock needs to be carefully managed. The shortage of a suitable water source above the flight means CRT have to back pump to maintain the level. When we exited the top lock I noticed the large pipe adjacent to the lock wall emptying water into the pound.
We cruised on into Sheffield Basin (Victoria Quays) in light rain and found a vacant mooring. These are not CRT moorings and we were informed by the local marina manager that the first 72 hours were free (sign stated 48 hours) but you could stay longer (space permitting) for a daily fee. We may explore that option as this weekend is a bank holiday.