Thursday, 8 July 2010

First voyage (resumed) III

Saturday 3rd of July 2010

Up at 5am, walked the dogs through some very pleasant scenery at the Don Gorge. Then we set off at 5:30 as we need to do some catching up to the boat we are to share the locks with, on our journey up the Tinsley flight. When we spoke to the lock-keeper at Tinsley yesterday he told us the name of the boat was “One Day At A Time” and that she was currently moored at Eastwood Lock. She would be underway for Tinsley at 8am. We gave ourselves an extra hour of travelling time just in case of any problems along the way.

We locked through the very large Mexborough Bottom lock with some minor operational problems with the sluice gates. Then we proceeded past the popular "Pastures moorings" and onto the Mexborough top lock which we did without problem.

The glitches started at the next lock which is “Waddington's” or Swinton Lock. This lock was very problematical. The whole area is filled with laid-up barges waiting for a change in trading circumstances. It is at this point where the disused Dearne and Dove canal joins the South Yorkshire Navigation. Waddington's boatyard uses part of the old watercourse as a dry dock.

There is a group interested in opening the canals again, and the details can be found here.

The automatic Waddington's lock, was somewhat less than automatic. The lower gates would only open an inch at a time and then the water level light would go out and everything would draw to a stop. After waiting a couple of minutes the lock would inch again and then stop once more. I tried to phone BW on the telephone on the lock wall, but it had been flooded out with rain water at some time and everything was dead. So much for an emergency telephone! We found out from another boater that the problem had been reported some days previously. We lost over an hour just operating this lock!

We made good time to Kilnhurst Flood Lock, which was closed even though the river is at a low level due to the lack of rain over the last few weeks. However, the lock worked without problem for a change.

Aldwark Lock and it was now ten past eight. Damn! the lock was set against us again. Even at this hour the weather was beginning to warm up and the sun was strong and so I was soon basting myself in sun cream! We soldiered on as best we could eventually clearing the lock in 20 mins. we would have liked to visit the Supermarket on the canal side. However, we were running very late.

Eastwood lock. When we arrived it was now just turned 9am. Once again the lock was set against us. We cleared the lock in good time. However we had to moor up above the locks to let the dogs stretch their legs. I had a quick scan up and down the pound to see it I could spot the boat we would be locking with. However, they had by this time set off. As we had a good mobile signal I rang up the keeper at Tinsley to make him aware of our difficulties. We now went into standard travel mode as there was no way we could make up time over the remaining distance.

Tully's Moorings was the next point of interest along our route. The water level in the canal was low and we were asked to flush some water through the lock at Rotherham as one or two boats were already sat on the canal bottom. Just past Tulleys moorings is where the Humber Princess moors up to off load her oil.

Rotherham lock. The lock was back to hand winding with the windlass. The sluice gates at each end were already part open flushing water into the lower pound. Access on and off the boat is not easy on the low side of the lock. The debris in the lock was building up behind the lower gates and it was a struggle to get both gates open enough to thread Rosie through. I pushed up to the front gates and then gave a long burst on the prop to flush some of the debris through into to the lower pound. Once we had cleared the lock, we gave a quarter of an hour flush of water through the full open sluices to raise the bottom pound level a bit. Then we lowered them down to about two notches from the bottom. The pound between Rotherham and Eastwood locks is very long and our flush would have done little to raise the level. But with the sluices cracked open to give some flow, it would help a little over time.

We were now reaching my childhood playground section of the canal. See previous posting for details.

Ickles lock had not changed from the way I remembered it as a child. The lock here was leaking and we had to keep Rosie away from the front gates or the front cratch would have been filled. Other than the lock was set against us, there were no other problems. We set off along the pound and met up with a couple of American visitors who were walking the towpath we had a good conversation as we went along.

Between the Ickles and Homes Lock we passed the Rotherham and Sheffield Canal Association moorings.

Holmes lock was our next point along the route. Homes lock was set against us. The lock was very heavy and the paddles stiff to operate. However, before I could get off the boat, a young lady (a towpath fairy) walking along the towpath came to Mag's assistance. She provided some welcome help with opening and closing the gates. She watched us up through the lock before giving a cheery wave and set off on her way along the towpath in the opposite direction.

Jordan's lock was passed with ease and we set off at a gentle pace towards Tinsley Bottom Lock. We knew the keeper was bringing a boat down through the locks and it would be another hour before he arrived.

Tinsley bottom lock number 12 was where we first saw "One Day At A Time" we breasted up with her as the lock mooring is quite short. A good chat ensued with the couple on  One Day At A Time and we soon made friends whilst we waited for Dave the "lockie" to arrive. Time for a welcome cup of tea the crew on One Day At A Time had already had a brew so Mag's went into the galley to do the honours.

Soon we were on our way up the Tinsly flight. Starting at the bottom lock number 12. Working as a team, one person setting the locks, one person closing the locks one person managing the ropes and one steering on each boat. Two and a half hours later saw us reach our destination. One Day At A Time carried on to moor up in the Victoria Quays marina in the Sheffield Canal Basin.

In the image Tinsley Locks 1 to 5 can be seen. Tinsley boat club mooring can be seen each side of lock 2. We are currently moored on a jetty in the pound between lock 2 and 3.

Distance today 11 miles, 22 locks 0 swing bridges.
Running Total 83 miles, 33 locks and 8 swing bridges

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