Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Summer/Autumn Cruise 2011 (1-2)

Day 2 Sprotborough to Junction of New Cut and the Aire and Calder Navigation.
Tuesday 23rd of August 2011.

We had a walk around with the bat detector last night we found a good number of Pipistrelle and Daubentons bats on the river at Sprotborough. The Pipistrelles were out just after dusk, the Daubentons were about half an hour later before they turned up. We estimate that we detected 12 Pips and 4 Daubentons.

It was a warm night and I was still wearing my shorts, so I managed to get both legs bitten by mosquitoes. So I will be paying the price for the next week or so! We have one of those piezoelectric “Zap It” devices. They are painless as you don't feel much of a shock. However, it does take all the itchiness out of the bites for about 12 hours at a time. I zap the bites in the morning and in the evening before bed and I have managed to remain itch free.

We spent last night moored next to Barge Ethel who provide trips and holidays afloat for people with disabilities. We were under way in company with Nb Joanne by 8:30 and the first task was to manoeuvre round NB Emerald who was moored up on the lock moorings. By the look of it it seems that they have been staying there for some time. There are considerate boaters and then there are the owners of Nb Emerald.

Just before Doncaster Town Lock, we passed a couple of police officers walking the river bank. I wonder if they were looking for an absconder from “Doncatraz” the prison is set on an island a little further along the River Don.

At Doncaster Town Lock we were amazed to find the same large log still inside the lock that we had reported to BW at Easter this year. Read Here. It was jammed in behind the lock gates again. We managed to pull it clear and then to push it clear through the gates. Good old BW, its good to know that reporting a problem that might cause damage to the lock gates had received such prompt attention. Now I can see why the higher echelons of management get such big performance bonuses. I wonder what performance is measured?

By 9:30 we had done two locks with Nb Joanne before waving them and Daniel the Spaniel goodbye as we moored up on the town centre mooring at Doncaster. We paused here for the Memsahib to go shopping and for me to top up the water tank.

Just as I finished topping up the tank the rain started to set in. We decided to sit it out for a while. This gave me a break from steering and a chance to catch up on the blog. I noticed that one of the boats in the marina has routed a hose pipe under the pontoon deck fastened the end on with a jubilee clip to the water tap. Thereby they have run a permanent pipe back to their own boat. So instead of two boats being able to take on water, only one can now do that here. Another considerate Banjo playing boater.

We set off again at about 10:30 and ambled our way to Long Sandal lock where we met with a couple of friends returning back to Tinsley Marina after their summer cruise. We continued as far as Barnby Dun swing bridge, where we stopped for a bite to eat. No sooner had we settled down to eat than we had another rain shower arrived. So we decided to stay and sit out the rain before setting off again.

Sykehouse Lock is a daunting lock to operate and one that always takes some time to negotiate. We were in luck a pair of boats coming the other way were about to drain the lock. However, they waited for us to arrive and we had a quick passage through.

At 3:30 we moored up for the night at the junction of the new cut and the Aire and Calder canal. It was a very quiet late afternoon and evening here. Only one boat passing by and turning right towards Goole. Just before dark a wide beam pulled in from the Aire and Calder to moor up at the other end of the moorings for the night.

Another evening out walking the dogs and detecting bats. Wearing jeans this time! We walked over the aqueduct over the River Went. There were patches of mist in the low lying areas along the Went, which suggested that as it was a clear night it would turn quite cold later. A few Pipistrelle and Daubentons were detected along the new cut section. However on the Aire and Calder where it borders the South Field Reservoir there were so many bats it was not possible to get an accurate count. Pips and Daubentons and other Myosis species in good numbers. I also watched a Barn Owl quartering a field for quite a while. After it went to ground hunting prey, I lost sight of it.

Daily Total
Distance: 15 Miles.
Locks: 5
Swing / Lift Bridges: 6
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1784.8

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