Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Big One (3-3)

Tuesday 17th of April 2012

Stanley Ferry to Barnsdale Road Bridge. (Castleford)

08:00 A great deal of wind and rain during the night however bright sunshine greeted us first thing. The wind was steadily building in strength. But we decided that we would move today and get onto a river free section of the canal system. Working on the assumption that if river levels continue to rise we might be stuck unable to move until the river levels return to normal. It seems strange that there is a drought in most of the UK but here in the north we have loads of water.

This makes me think back to last year and all the talk about a National Water Grid. Now I appreciate that the water companies can make a lot of extra money from standing still. First not spending the money they make in their vast profits. A shortage of anything always makes the item sell at a premium price. The threat of petrol tanker drivers on strike - panic buying - pump prices take a hike.

This also helps them to make water metering become compulsory. Everyone knows that desalination plants are not cost effective - but if they are brought on line, even if only to provide a fraction of the needed water. The price of all water will take a permanent upward hike.

In 1942 J F Pownall, came up with a plan which he called the Grand Contour Canal, (Later called the National Water Grid) which would follow the 310 ft contour of the hills all the way from the Scottish borders to the South East. Professor Falconer, of Cardiff University School of Engineering,  is also an advocate of Pownall's National Water Grid. You can find the first two chapters of his paper on his Grand Contour Canal or National Water Grid here. Click Here

The National Water Grid (Grand Contour Canal) project, would involve construction of a canal system from London and extending to Bristol in the West and via Manchester to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North, with branches to other large cities. It appears that the total length of canal would be some 1,300 miles. Pownall's rather futuristic plan was a wartime effort to sort out problems with the water supply due to damage to the infrastructure and the massive loss of water through leakage.  Also to allow larger vessels to move cargo inland. It was an ambitious waterway proposal ever, called the "Grand Contour Canal." It was intended to be a lock-free ship canal following the 310ft contour the north and south of England. The surface width of the canal was to be 100ft (30.8 m) and its depth 17ft (5.2 m). In addition to shipping, it was proposed to use it for water transfer. Sadly the proposal came to nothing. It still has a great deal going for it. Including updating much of the canal infrastructure to supplement the water grid and improving the lot of everyone.
I have wittered on about the National Water Grid before Here and Here.

But I digress...

09:30 We were under way and dressed with extra layers, as protection against a cold biting wind that was bringing some light rain as a fore warning. The wind was now making manoeuvring a tad difficult at the locks along the way.

11:00 At Fairies Hill we were surprised to find a large barge (River Star being pushed by The Kirkby) used for carrying aggregates pull out onto the river in front of us without warning.  We went into full emergency reverse but we were still being carried forward by the river current. The Kirkby went into full power forward and we managed to avoid each other.

Just before Methley Bridge, we pulled over to let The Kirkby and River Star pass.  We also had to give way through the bridge hole to Fossdale H who was coming the other way and deeply loaded and needed the channel. We followed The Kirkby and River Star down to Castleford Flood Lock where we had to wait on the river for a short time for them to clear the flood lock.

The Magazine for Pump-out -v- Cassette Protagonists.
12:30 Castleford moorings, to let us make a trip to Aldi for shopping and a trip to Morrison's for the toilet! When you have a pump-out toilet you take advantage of all other facilities!  Did you know that there is life left in the old sceptic tank!

We also found a small caravan business which turned out to be an Aladdin's cave of spare parts. I now have a three section telescopic antenna pole and mounting kit for the boat. Plus a new gasket set for the kitchen tap. (To find walk from the moorings towards town, its about 300 yards on the left.)

15:00 Decided to move a bit further down the moorings to gain some additional shelter from the wind. We are in the company once more of Nb Lamorna, Nb Beau and Nb Mullien who we have been moored up with at Mirfield and Stanley Ferry visitor moorings over the last few days.

Daily Total

Miles: 5.7
Locks: 4
Swing / Lift Bridges: 1
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 2004.9

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 628.8
Locks: 641
Swing / Lift Bridges: 104
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2068.1


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