Swing It One Last Time. 27th February

Victoria Quays to Eastwood Lock

Bye bye Sheffield
Push back was at 8am, breakfast in our bellies and we were ready for the descent out of Sheffield. Only one thing stood in our way, the swing bridge.
At 8 in the morning the bridge is used by quite a few people heading to work, so naturally not wanting to hold anyone up I wait for a a good gap. Today I chose well as the last two people to cross were boaters who offered to give the bridge a push, this makes it far easier to swing. This was the ninth time I’ve swung that bridge in as many days.

Bye bye Finesse

The hazy sunshine took it’s time to warm us up on the back of the boat. Haze isn’t really the right term for it, with the unseasonable warm weather Sheffield has had a layer of smog clinging to it for the last few days. 


April 2017 we came this way I beeped Oleanna’s horn as we passed Finesse and several of the chaps came out to wave, that was our maiden voyage on her. Today we refrained from making a noise, instead waved goodbye to our old leaky window frame (wonder if it’ll still be on the picnic bench when we next visit?) and Andy the plumber who was about to step on the Brigantine.

Blackthorn in blossom

Plenty of flowers were out on our way and even the Blackthorn blossom was giving a good show every now and then.

Top of the flight

Oleanna’s first ever lock, again

As we approached the top of the Tinsley flight the lock gates were open and waiting for us. We pulled into the lock and started to descend. Oleanna’s first ever lock, again, this time with Mick at the helm. When we reached lock 2 the Lockie appeared said good morning and headed down the flight to prepare the locks for us, leaving a top gate open on all but one.

By Lock 4 we were joined by a second Lockie who helped with the occasional paddle and troublesome gate and then headed back to lock up or reset the previous lock. As we came down lock 6 he went ahead and then started to fill Lock 7/8. This is the deep one, they keep it empty until you arrive. This is for two reasons. Firstly if the lock was full as you emptied the lock above there would be too much water in the pound below for you to be able to open the gates at the next lock. Secondly if they leave filling the deep lock until the one above is empty then there will be a lot less water in the pound above. On most of these locks the water cascades down over the gates as it is, so they try to keep the level as low as possible to avoid a serious soaking for the person at the helm.

Water water everywhere

The bottom of the flight, a few more locks to go

Here we said goodbye to one Lockie and at Lock 9 to the next. Both Dave and Derek were now heading off to do other things after locking up the locks behind us. Up ahead Nigel took over, the next locks already unlocked, he travelled between them by van. Jordans Lock, a flood lock proved a touch hard to open the bottom gates, likely to be silted up a touch.

 At Holmes Lock we had to wait for the nearby level crossing to do it’s job before Nigel could join us and unlock the padlocks. This was the end of our assisted passage out from Sheffield. From here we were on our own again.

Straight on

A new look to Rotherham

Rotherham Lock gates were hard to close, possibly down to silt again. Hoardings around the towpath suggest that next time we pass the area may well have changed. Either it will be a big building site or a new development will have sprung up with houses, shops a cinema and the bus station will have had a make over. Maybe next time we’ll come and have a look around instead of just heading straight through.

They are always washing on Dolly Earl

We joined Dutch Barge Dolly Earle on the visitor moorings. We’ve come across them several times before, both at Torksey and on the South Yorkshire Navigations. We checked that their dog was on a lead before the back doors were opened for Tilly.

Here she comes!

A couple of hours after we arrived the traffic light at the lock turned to red, something was coming up the lock. Exol Pride. We’d tried looking to see where it was on the vessel tracker but it’s last location had been outside Goole last night.

Off she goes

Three times as long as us and three times as wide

Big and blue is the only way to describe her. She certainly fills the locks from here to Goole. Glad we hadn’t dawdled this morning and had got tied up before she came past. Mick checked with the chaps on board as to when they would be coming back, 7am tomorrow, we won’t be getting in their way. Off they headed on up to Rotherham where they would go in bow first to offload their oily cargo at the bulk blending plant, then they reverse back past all the moored boats to wind when they are a lot lighter.

15 Locks, 7.4 miles, 1 swing bridge for the ninth and final time, 17 degrees, 3 Lockies, 1 very chatty (to himself), 2 stiff gates, 1 big log, 1 boat with washing, 0 hook up, 3 faulty card readers wouldn’t make 1, 22 on the bow, 1 big blue boat, 1 crane boat, 1 stove relight, 1 ball of yarn left, 4 hours, 2 visits home, 1 yappy fat woofer.