Just a Few Flours. 13th February

Doncaster to Mexborough Low Lock

Last night it was time for us to declare ourselves homeless again. This is so that we can vote in Scarborough at elections. Because our house is rented out we have to fill out a No Fixed Address Declaration to register as having a local connection. To do this you have to fall into one of three categories. 

(a) you are currently resident as a patient in a mental hospital,
(b) you are currently resident at a place where you are remanded in custody, or
(c) you are a homeless person not resident at any address in the United Kingdom.


Strangely enough we always choose to be homeless.


A quick look around the market again this morning, the outside stalls had lots of vintage things for sale including a lot of toys. Much of the fish market was closed and most of the butchers were preparing for markets later in the week, one chap was very busy making sausages and filling huge bags with different flavours.

My floury cheesy purchases

This morning I had prepared a list of different flours from my recipe book. Quite a list. We found the corner in Scicluna where flours live and started to hunt round. In the end we had to ask for assistance, the chap helped but the main lady was really needed. Most of the flours I was wanting also go under different names, she knew what they were and exactly where to dig through boxes to find them. She was out of Chestnut Flour, but would get some in for us for our return journey and the only other thing she didn’t have was Sweet Rice Flour, she’d never heard of it and maybe just a bit of sugar added to the normal would work. I’ll also have to grind my own Linseed, but that was fine.
We also added to the flours a couple of cheeses, some Black Stick and Yarg.

Doncaster Minster

Back at Oleanna we moved up to fill with water and dispose of rubbish, had an early lunch and then pushed off.

Keep right, then left!

There are four bridges as you approach Doncaster Lock, the first Friar’s Gate Bridge is being repainted at the moment, half of it covered in scaffolding. A large pontoon floats under where the work is happening and little islands with arrows guide you away from it. The arrows nearer the lock have turned round and suggest a chicane which we didn’t follow.

Mouth of the lock under the East Coast Main Line
Oh the Power!

Time for the key of power to do the work. There are so many lights and buttons to press on these panels, it just takes a bit of time to work your way through the instructions. Panel available, then the ready light didn’t illuminate. Most of these big locks refill once you are through, so the sluices are left up at the top gates. I could see that they were closed so pressed the button to open the sluices at my end. Once Oleanna was safely in the lock, I walked up to the panel at the other end, Mick holding her against the side with the centre rope and I press the button for 2 seconds to set the sluices going. Then you just have to wait, keeping an eye on your boat to make sure everything is okay, until the water level button illuminates.


Back out onto the river, no rowers today, we had the reach all to our selves, watching the not so fast people on the A1 way overhead.

Sprotbrough Lock came into view. Here you have to unlock gates to access the lock by foot. Just after I’d set everything to empty the lock two C&RT chaps appeared, they’d seen us coming up the river so had come to pen us up. One of them we’d met at Thorne last week, he’d been taking photos. We’d been put on twitter as heading to Sheffield for the bicentenary. Well that is what they assumed at the time! We’re hoping there will be space for us to stay.

We chatted away as Oleanna rose in the lock, suspect we’ll see them again at some point. Sprotbrough is a nice place to moor, but we decided to carry on to Mexbrough today. News from the C&RT chaps was that the lock and bridge ahead of us were just about finished, so should be open again at the weekend.

Conisbrough Railway Viaduct

The old lock

The sun getting lower made good silhouttes of Conisbrough Railway Viaduct. We spotted for the first time where Conisbrough Lock had once been (marked on Waterway Routes), a much shorter lock than the more modern ones.

Teeny boat!

At Mexbrough Oleanna looked even smaller in the lock chamber, miles away. The amount of rubbish behind the lock gates meant I only opened them so far, not wanting to crush a large gas bottle. This will all need to be cleared soon for when Exol Pride starts it’s runs up to Rotherham again.

Towpath games

We pulled in a short distance on alongside the boggy meadows, Tilly made the most of the rest of the day light and then returned for her gourmet fishy ding ding.

3 huge locks, 1 short redundant lock, 6.87 miles, 2 Thunderbird 2s, 5 bags flour, 11p worth linseed, 1bag isabgol husk, 1 bottle pectin, 2 treat cheeses, 2nd hand hairdryer, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 2 C&RT chaps, 1 game of towpath pechow pechow!!!


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