More Of A Deflation. 9th August

Oil Terminal Arm to Old Potteries Arm, Ferrybridge

Life jacket

When we left Granary Wharf the other day we were in such a rush to get going and get off the bottom before being stuck any longer, we hadn’t got round to doing our river cruising preparations, in fact we’d totally forgotten to attach the anchor and get the life jackets out. So this morning we made sure everything was river cruising ready as we’d be joining the river proper below Lemonroyd Lock. Only one thing was omitted and that was zipping Tilly’s escape pod together, with the painting box out it would be another thing to constantly be moving from here to there, it will be made ready for our trip up the Ouse though.

I walked down to the lock with the key of power ready to empty the huge vast lock whilst Mick winded Oleanna and followed behind. The lock was already in use, a narrowboat and a wide beam were ascending, a lady with a couple of dogs was doing the honours. She waited for the lock to empty of boats and then for Oleanna to come in to close the gates and get her key back, your key is trapped in the panel until everything is closed up.

With no-one following us, Oleanna sat all alone in the middle of the lock. Gongoozlers stood and watched as the water drained out, this takes sometime and the result is an even smaller boat sat waiting to exit the lock. Everything closed up I walked down to the steps below the lock and climbed back onboard.

Zoomy zoom zoom

Now on the river proper, life jackets on, anchor attached we zoomed along surrounded by willow trees on both banks, not much of a view, but that didn’t matter, it’s quick heading downstream.

A couple of cruisers were moored up at Allerton Bywater which looks like there are new shiny ladders at the high banked moorings. We passed a casualty of some flooding, a sad sight.

Castleford Junction came into view. Here we could turn right to Wakefield and the Calder and Hebble, which is currently closed due to flood damage. We could go straight on, but that would not be advisable as it leads to a weir with the big curvy footbridge across it. However we chose to turn left through the flood lock and onto Castleford Cut.

Both ends of the flood lock were open despite the footbridge still being out of action. A family had been sat waiting for a boat and the young lad was so very excited to see us. He waved enthusiastically and then they all climbed onto their bikes to follow us along the cut to Bulholme Lock.

New top

Here is where you normally see big boats, Humber Keels. There was one that looked like it had a new cabin recently fitted all very bright blue.

Then Radiance was moored up, obviously a live aboard with the amount of stuff on the roof. This included a car, why not if you have that much space! There was plenty of space where we could have moored, but we really wanted to cover some more water before we stopped for the day.

Going down

The little lad was so excited to watch Oleanna descend the lock. He really wanted to stand on the bottom gates as they opened, but his Dad was certain that he wouldn’t! Below I could see a chap in a canoe so I phoned Mick to warn him even though the fella looked like he was holding back as the water emptied from the lock.

Back out onto the river, a long reach now to get to Ferrybridge. More willow trees, very few views, quite boring really apart from being able to zoom along.

Steps no longer climbed

Anyone who has read this blog for an amount of time will know how I feel about Power Stations especially their cooling towers. Tall ceramic vases that have been dropped onto the surface of the planet creating their dumpy bases, gentle curves and strong stature. Ferrybridge is THE power station of my life being a landmark of my youth.

So not right

Our first cruise past I had been so over excited at being so close that I was like the kid back at the lock today, jumping about, shouting. I inadvertently caught the self inflate toggle on my life jacket on Lillian’s back doors and the whole thing inflated! But today was not going to be an inflating day, it was to be a deflating day.

They have worked hard

Last July one of the eight cooling towers had been demolished, then in October another four were blown up, leaving three for posterity. I knew this had happened and awaited to see what it looked like. Well there were no cheers or jumping about today, just a little tear in my eye. Tomorrow I’ll try to replicate the photo that appeared on our Christmas card last year so you can see how much has changed.


Under John Carr’s Ferry Bridge, which seems to have plenty of buddleia sprouting from it, and straight through the long flood lock onto the cut.

Here I really wanted to do a touch more to the port side, the cut is wide enough to wind in with ease but the visitor moorings are not the best place for a cat to while away the afternoon. We considered pulling in behind a cruiser on the port side, but instead continued on a little further to where the bank is lower and a big grassy bank takes you up to the towpath and trees before dipping down into the river.

Tilly set off straight away, dodging the dog walkers and headed for the trees.

This could be good here

After lunch I rinsed off the fertan on the bar and grabrail, let it dry off and then spent half an hour stirring up some filler/primer I’d had squirrelled away. I worked from the front to the back and by the time I’d finished the front patches were dry.

Primed and filled

Meanwhile Mick was emptying the port side stern locker. When I’d pulled out a bucket the other day I’d noticed some liquid on the floor. It turns out that a container of oil hadn’t had the cap screwed on completely so it had leaked all over the floor, soaked into some ropes too.

Keeping an eye on the youfs

The puddle was soaked up with nappies. The ropes were submerged in a bucket of soapy water hoping to get rid of the worst of the oil. They were then left out in the sun to dry off.

I’ve had a knitting commission from Jac my sister-in-law for a cotton top. So much of the remainder of this afternoon was spent choosing yarn via whatsap and email. This will be sent to her in London to bring up when we meet up in York in a couple of weeks. I’m quite looking forward to having something to keep my fingers busy in front of the TV again.

Even the bear misses the towers

2 locks, 2 flood locks, 9.58 miles, 3 not 8! 1 life jackets still primed, 1 tear shed, 0 excitement, 1 grassy mooring, 1st coat primer, 1 lost bear, 12 high pounces, 0 friends, 1 oily locker, 350 grams white cotton, 8 cruisers all in a line, 2 turkey schnitzels.