Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Back to West Stockwith

The CRT vegetation contractors were very quick arriving within 90 minutes of the fallen tree being reported.  They arrived in a small aluminium boat powered by a tiny outboard motor.  The tree was removed within an hour and both boats decided to continue on to the CRT moorings at Drakeholes Tunnel for the night.  Cruising there proved to be somewhat difficult as the sun was directly in my eyes.


These are very pleasant moorings and we had a quiet night.  By 9am we were ready to cruise and had been prepared to let the boat ahead of us go first as they draw less water.  However the curtains were closed and there was no sign of life so we quietly slipped away making the hard right turn to enter Drakeholes Tunnel.  There doesn’t appear to be much overburden above the tunnel and it wouldn’t surprise me if it had been constructed using the ‘cut and cover’ method.


When coming up this way the canal seemed to be very shallow and full of weed.  Going back today was slightly easier, one assumes this was due to three factors

  • less diesel in the tank
  • empty toilet tank
  • the CRT weed cutter had been through.

Only four locks today.  The first has an attractive canal side cottage.


We meet the weed cutter below the second lock.  They were about to go up as we arrived to go down and the lock was in our favour.  Jan spoke with the crew who informed her they will be cutting the weed until October.  CRT stipulated they can only cut the centre channel as the weed on the edges forms a habitat for the fish.

The majority of the route was very rural with the canal contouring around slightly high ground to the south.  there are lovely views across the flat land to the north.  Another of those square old brick chimneys appeared.  We’ve now seen a number of them and I assume they must have been engine houses of some type.  Perhaps driving pumps for local mines?


Jan spent some time in the bow watching out for wildlife and any boats coming towards us.  I was particularly concerned about the latter as passing would have produced a major challenge.


This was one of the few wide parts but it was still very shallow on the sides.


There Is only a short pound between the final two locks and then a 400 metre straight to West Stockwith Canal Basin.  The water point is on the right past the permanent mooring and immediately before the bridge.


We topped up the water tank and then slipped around the corner to moor on the 48 hour moorings.  There is only room here for one narrowboat.  We are moored opposite the lock.


The lock  keeper was on duty (painting the lock) and I wandered around the basin to inquire about the state of the river and booking a passage to Torksey.  He informed me the river was fine and then booked us to go through the lock at 7.50am tomorrow.  We’ll go up to Torksey with the incoming tide and endeavour to arrive at high tide.  I also booked to go through Torksey Lock because we plan to visit Lincoln.

Despite the Chesterfield Canal being shallow and weedy in places, we’ve enjoyed the experience.  The canal is very rural and picturesque, and the people we’ve met have been helpful and friendly.  We’re pleased we made the effort to cruise to the top.

Oh, this afternoon I discovered eight comments in Blogger awaiting publication.  I don’t know how that happened as Blogger is supposed to email me every time a comment is received.  So if you left a comment and it didn’t appear then I apologise.  They have all now been published.


Peter Berry said...

Hi Tom, re the larger than normal square chimney. There is one just like this near to us in Haigh, near Aspul, Wigan, in what used to be part of a large coal mining area. I drove past it several times before curiosity got the better of me too. It was too wide for a factory chimney, and in any case, it just stood there alone in a field. So I researched it. Apparently the one near me, which is an identical design to the one in your image, was used as a very early form of mine ventilation. There was the pit head shaft at one end of the mine, and this chimney, with a shaft below it directly to the mine workings further away. A bonfire would be lit directly at the bottom of the shaft with the chimney, and maintained while the pit was being worked. The draft caused by the fire burning, with hot air dispersing up the chimney would draw fresh clean air through the mine from other shafts. As I said, an early form of ventilation, as my research also stated several accidents where mine gasses were ignited by the fire that was supposed to clear them, before that issue had been understood properly.

Tom and Jan said...

Now that is interesting Peter. I've not heard of the technique but it certainly seems logical.

Naughty-Cal said...

Looks like we will miss each other in passing. We are leaving our berth at Burton Waters (just before Lincoln) on Friday evening heading to West Stockwith on Saturday.

Are you planning on heading onto the Witham? It is well worth the visit. Every mooring has something interesting over the flood banks or a short walk away.

If you arrive in Lincoln and find the CRT visitors moorings full, don't pay at Lincoln Marina. Head through the Glory Hole and there are 24, 48 and further on 14 day moorings on the wall outside the Waterside Centre. These moorings although busy with passing foot traffic in the day are very quiet at night and handy for town.

Tom and Jan said...

Thank you for the local information. We have just arrived at Torksey and will move to Saxilby after lunch. Lincoln tomorrow!