Friday, 3 September 2010

Cruise to Parkgate retail therapy park.

I have been a bit remiss with the blog of late, its because the August bank holiday weekend was spent on a cruise to Sprotborough and back. It was done with no particular time table in mind, which was just as well. We had Steph on board with us for the first couple of days.

Rosie as usual worked faultlessly and we are now becoming very adept at threading through one gate into the locks. However, I did have to go down the weed hatch and remove a large piece of sacking from the prop at one point.

The trip down the Tinsley flight was conducted by the lock keeper Dave who was also doing a bit of on the job training with Steph and the Memsahib in lock etiquette as well as towpath and lock safety awareness. It took about two and a half hours to make our way down the Tinsley flight. Dave was also busy giving chapter and verse to Dr Steph about the flora and fauna along the flight as they walked down between locks. As Dr Steph is an environmentalist in her day-to-day life she found him to be a wealth of interesting information.

On our outward bound part of the voyage went a little further along the canal in company with Dave than is usual. Dave was with us through Jordan's lock and down as far as Holmes lock in Rotherham. It seems that due to vandalism the locks at this point are now secured overnight with a special lock and key. So when you call to book passage through the Tinsley flight on your way to Victoria Quays do not be surprised to find that the Lockie on duty will meet you at Holmes Lock.

We made our way to Eastwood lock where we stopped for lunch - as well! The girls soon disappeared off doing some serious shopping at the Parkgate retail park - also know in our family as the Parkgate retail therapy park!!!! So much therapy was needed that we stayed overnight at Eastwood and the girls continued with their therapy the next day.

On our first evening we lit the (Villager Puffin) stove for the very first time on Rosie. I built the stove up prior to lighting (the fire was the first in the six years since Rosie was commissioned) We soon had the front, side and back doors open as the fire was very hot and we even managed to boil up several gallons of water to absorb some of the heat. What I have learned is even though the stove is physically small, it pays to keep the fire at a minimum setting, for our creature comfort.

On Sunday whilst the girls went for a second helping of shop-til-you-drop, me and Pop's had a good time playing with a ball on the grass and then later we settled down to watch the Formula 1 on TV. Pop's was soon fast asleep! Dr Steph left us at Eastwood to go home to Birmingham in the evening. The next morning, we continued along the SYN and had an uneventful trip to Sprotborough seeing few other craft  along the way.

Some of the fauna highlights observed from the boat deck included wild Mink at Ickles lock and a magnificent Osprey perched up at Aldwark lock. Dragonflies and Damselflies spotted included Four Spot Chaser and Red or Ruddy Darter as well as the more usual Damselflies.

We stayed over night and then began to make our way back along the SYN towards Sheffield. We stopped at Eastwood, this time to have a shower and fill up the boat with water. Later we made our way to Rotherham Town lock where we moored up for the afternoon. A visit was made to Aldi which is right next to the canal. I picked up four, twenty metre lengths of 10mm polypropylene rope to practice creating home-brew rope fenders it's just some kind of macrame-ish thing to make your own. I hope! The Knot Tyer Ben Selfe.

Later we did a small detour off the River Don and passed under Bow Bridge and entered the lower part of the River Rother. We went upstream as far as the old Robinson flour mill wharf, where we turned and then made our way back. The Rother was about six inches below it's normal level and I took the trip very slowly in case we should risk getting stemmed up. But it would seem there is a good depth of water along this section. Rosie draws about twenty six inches of water and at no point did we touch bottom. The water is quite clear with lots of weed growth in the margins. However, the centre of the river is clear of any weed and in a few places you could see the bottom and I estimate the minimum depth to be around five feet. Rosie must be the first narrow-boat on that section of the River Rother for many many years.

We made our way back up to Ickles lock where we moored above the lock for the night. We went for a walk to get a loaf of bread and returned with an Indian takeaway instead. If you enjoy Indian food and you ever get moored up at the Ickles lock. Pass over the railway crossing and go along Brinsworth street passing alongside the old Rotherham United "Millmoor" football ground. Across the road is the "Desi Khana" takeaway the food was first class - We had so much left over that it even provided for lunch the next day!

The next morning we were up and about quite early. A wide beam had come up to join us for the passage through the Tinsley flight on their way to Victoria quays (Sheffield canal basin) of locks. Poppy has a habit of abandoning the boat from time to time. If she is out of the cabin I make a check on her at every bend, pipe bridge or lock just to check that she is still on board. I checked her at the Holmes pipe bridge, she was ok. However, when we arrived at Holmes lock she had gone AWOL again.

Up went the cry "Dog Overboard" Mag's went back along the canal where she spotted her in the water. Her dogs life vest giving extra buoyancy, she was as happy (tail wagging) as could be, just swimming along the river in the general direction of the lock! At this point Dave the lockie turned up and managed to scoop her out of the water. We removed her life jacket and she started running around to dry off. Apart from the concern for her safety that her going over the side had caused - it was still very funny to see her swimming after the boat with her tail furiously wagging!

By comparison, we had an almost uneventful trip back up the Tinsley flight with the exception of the last lock where the wide beam in front broke a drive shaft bolt and lost all propulsion. The ever resourceful Dave the Lockie found a couple of replacement bolts and soon had them underway again. This man should be made lockie of the year!

Total trip distance is 30 miles and 40 locks.
Rosies running total = 118 canal miles, including 75 locks and 8 swing bridges



  1. Did you call in to see Ronnie and Jim on the way past?

  2. We wanted to, I had one of Jim's big breakfasts in mind!!!! but they were closed. :( A thought we had was that there is a small mooring space behind their cafe. Could do with a bit of a clean-up, But! if someone placed a small sign saying how to get to the cafe and their opening hours. Who knows, who migh pop in!


  3. Oh, thats interesting. I will pass that onto them when we see them tomorrow. Thanks for that.


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