Thursday 19 April 2012

The Big One (3-5)

Thursday 19th April 2012.

Castleford Visitor Moorings.

Looks like we are here for a few more days. The weather is very changeable - though the amount of rain has tapered off over night. The general synopsis was for another wild, wet and windy night again last night - and it was much the same aboard Rosie! Scurvy crew member Abbey seems to have a very noisy tummy this morning - which is in itself a warning of smelly gale force winds for later.

09:00 The "Humber Pride" came past and as you will get some idea of scale from the crew member who was busy answering his mobile phone on deck.

10:30 The "Fusedale H" from Hull came past and you can see that she is similar in size to the Humber Pride.

11:30 The "Farndale H" from Hull came past carrying aggregates and seemed to be a bit deeper in the water than "Fusedale H"

14:30 "Little Kirkby" pushing "River Star" passed us on its way back to Witwood Wharf with another load of aggregates. 

Met up with Martyn and Dennis off Nb The Dog House. Like us, they were taking photographs of today's entertainment around Bulholme lock.

Because of the bad weather, we have not done much in the way of exploration around the town. But Castleford has a few places that you might care to visit, all quite close to the moorings. I mentioned the caravan spares yesterday. Other nearby amenities also include a Vets surgery located on the left hand side between the moorings and the town centre. In the town centre near to the  Bank Street bus station  are two supermarkets, Morrison's and Aldi. There is also a shop on the first roundabout selling logs and solid fuel suitable for boat stoves. However, at £7 for a 10kg bag the price is a bit steep. (we pay £6.95 for our 25kg bags)

Allinson's Flour Mill, built in 1898 was formerly known as Queen's Mill. In 1921, the Allinson family acquired the Mill, and expanded to make it the largest stone ground flour mill in the world.

The River Aire powered the mill, which used French Burr stones to make wholemeal flour, until the 1970's. The mill ceased production and closed down in 2011. It is now up for sale.

On the left of the brick construction building seems to be the remains of a mill race from even earlier times. There are plans to installation of a series of Archimedean screw electrical power generation turbines, in the mill weir.  

One of Castleford's quirks was its "soap snow". Cleaning agents disposed of into the river by the woollen industry upstream were churned into soapsuds by the action of the water going over the weir. The river around Allinson's frequently had a covering of foam which at times would swirl up into the air and fall over the town centre. Complaints were directed at Allisons who were mistakenly accused of being the cause.

Photograph By: Siandara

Castleford lies at the confluence of the River Aire and the River Calder.  (An historical side note on the two rivers - it used to be said that "Castleford ladies are beautiful and fair. They wash in the Calder and rinse in the Aire") The pedestrian foot bridge over the river is certainly well worth a view. 130 metres in length the S-shaped Castleford Bridge gives good views of the mill, the weir, an old wrecked coal barge and the lively flow of white water over the weir apron.The decking is made of untreated Camaru boards, a highly durable timber twice the density of oak, sourced from sustainable forests in Brazil. The Castleford Footbridge is an interesting structure that is more than a bridge over a river to the local community of Castleford.  The bridge is a symbol of the start of the regeneration of the Castleford waterfront. (Note the salmon ladder on the right)

The Barge Thomas was built in Knottingley in 1934 and was used to carry coal for many years, as well as working as an ice-breaking boat on the region’s waterways. (Thomas is the last of the Leeds & Liverpool steam short boats) Thomas, is well and truly stuck on the weir at CastlefordThe barge was originally owned by the Holden family. Walter Holden said: “We swapped Thomas for a larger barge in about 1950. He was named after my older brother.”  Thomas the barge, has balanced on the River Aire weir since vandals let it loose in a storm in 1977. A book about Thomas, which also looks at Castleford’s changing waterways, and three films about the riverside’s natural, industrial and social heritage are available from Bridge Arts on Sagar Street Castleford.

This is not the first time a boat has been stuck on the weir. In January 2005 a 30-tonne tug, became trapped on the weir after severe storms. The tug came free from its moorings at Allerton Bywater on during the night and drifted down the River Aire, past the flood lock at Castleford before becoming lodged on the crest of the weir. No-one was on board at the time.

And now for something completely different - a story to warm the cockles of your heart. 

Tickle Cock Bridge could be more accurately described as a railway underpass.  It was a well-used pedestrian gateway that had been ignored for decades and its poor quality made an uninspiring entrance into the declining town centre. After improvements had been made Wakefield Council erected a plaque and decided that it was more correct to name it "Tittle Cott Bridge." Castlefordians will not be messed around when it comes to doing things in the name of "political correctness." So after a large public meetings it was agreed that a new plaque be erected with the correct name of "Tickle Cock Bridge".

Castleford is also known for its rugby league team. Any mention of the word "Cas" is a reference to the rugby league team and not the town!

Daily Total
Miles: 0
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1.5

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 617.3
Locks: 641
Swing / Lift Bridges: 102
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2069.6


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