Sprotbrough Visitor Moorings
A day of not venturing far, well Tilly might have but who knows where she ends up!
A couple of days ago a C&RT stoppage had come through saying that Kilnhurst Flood Lock was out of order due to a hydraulic pipe. This almost certainly meant that Exol Pride was stuck on the far side of the lock, so yesterday when we moved we knew we’d not be bumping into a big blue boat.
This morning a bit before 10am another notice came through saying the lock was now operational again. Exol Pride would be on it’s way. For a narrowboat it would take 3.5 hours to do the journey, Exol most probably a bit less. So it wasn’t a surprise when about an hour later Oleanna started to move, stretching her ropes to their full extent. Around 15 minutes later we could hear the engine and sure enough the big blue bow came round the bend behind us.
Before the lock is Sprotbrough Road Bridge and a pipe bridge, for these the wheelhouse of Exol Pride is too high, so as they approached the wheelhouse sank into the depths of the boat, leaving just enough head height for the helm to be able to stay standing up.
About an hour later a dutch barge came past, followed by another. This one we’d been expecting to see at some point. We’ve spotted Dolly Earle every time we’ve been up this way, quite often mooring up beside them as they dry their washing, they always seem to have washing on the go.
Just after lunch I prepared a batch of cheese scones, Mick put chairs and our plank table up on the bank ready for our visitor.
Fran, Mick’s niece who lives in Sheffield came for a visit. She is an NHS physiotherapist who works with children, this morning she’d been into two schools seeing to peoples needs. We all kept our distance sat on the bank, enjoying cuppas and freshly made scones as we caught up on news of her new washing machine and family and much more.
With little sun it was a touch chilly sat outside, we’ll be getting our padded down coats out soon to have meetings like this. It was lovely to see Fran, the first of our family in the flesh this year.
Once we’d tidied everything away we decided to have a short walk along the river bank, heading down stream. It takes a little while to cross the bridge as there is only one pavement and that is on the other side of the road from both the moorings and the direction we were wanting to go once we’d crossed.
A coffee van had been serving cyclists and walkers all day from the little car park opposite our mooring, but had now packed up for the day. I stopped to take a photo of Oleanna across the way. Four years ago we’d been moored in exactly the same spot when the Google car came past, both of us were stood on the bank at the time. Street view has been updated since.
We turned and walked under the bridge we’d just crossed, walked up to the lock. Alongside the huge chamber is a kind of layby where a couple of boats are, what was this used for? Was it part of the feed to the water wheel that used to power Sprotbrough Hall pumping water up to the village?
We soon came across what had been the pumping house, some wheels and cogs still visible. A sign explaining about it is really quite annoying. Full of information but highly polished silver it is next to impossible to read, taking a photo for later proved impossible and I was so occupied in just trying to read it very little of the information stuck. It did how ever make for a slightly arty photo!
One thing I do remember is that the ruin is a grade 2 listed building and the mechanism was put into storage in Barnsley for safe keeping, which now has been lost!
Sprotbrough Hall was built for the Copley family in 1670 and remained in the family by hook or by cousins for many a generation. It was a Jacobean house with some influence from Versaille. The Hall and estate were sold off in 161 lots in 1925, FS Gowland from Ripon bought the hall with 115 acres of land for £9100.
By 1926 the hall was being demolished, the rubble used to fill the cellar and excess stone was used as foundations for houses in Brompton Road. Much of the village is now built on the Halls estate. Little remains of the original house, the stable yard remains now apartments and looking up from the river bank we could see the ballustraded viewing area which was directly infront of the hall. A very interesting article with photos can be found here.
We continued our walk to the A1 bridge, traffic hurtling across above us at speed, I wonder what it was like back in April stood on the river bank when there was so much less traffic.
A footpath took us up into the village where we weaved our way around the roads where once the hall had stood. At the methodist church the railings were festooned with blue ribbons, each one marking a life lost in a Doncaster hospital from Covid-19.
0 locks, 0 miles, 1 niece, 2 lovely hours, 12 scones, 3 consumed, 9 left oh dear! 1 walk, 1 hour setting up, 8 hours shore leave, 1 problem solved, 1 big quiche, 3 big boats, 9.