Up The Docks Without A Cat. Breach Part 4. 23rd December


Today was always going to be busy.

Originally we’d planned on picking up a hire car, collecting all our Christmas food, then packing the car with presents, things we’d need for a week on board Oleanna and finally Tilly. Then we’d head to Goole unload, have a night in the marina. In the morning Mick would return the car to the hire base, catch a train back to Goole and we would untie and head off most probably to the junction with the New Junction, find somewhere on our own and moor up. Hopefully Tilly would have realised where she was and we’d be happy to just open the door and let her go off to explore.

Well for a couple of obvious reasons that was not to happen.

However we decided we’d still get a car for the day, do our pick ups and then go and check Oleanna over, sadly leaving Tilly to mind the house (this was before the breach happened and our visit on Monday). Having an address now, we’d given a local car hire company a try last week and on returning the car Mick had asked if they had one for today, just for a day. They did but wouldn’t be open for us to return it on Christmas Eve. Hmmm! Well the lady said would we like to have the car until the 4th January all for the same price as a one day hire. Well it turns out this was a very good idea, two weeks for £34.50! Thank you very much.

So this morning we picked up our larger than normal car (at no extra cost either!), headed out to Tree Top Farm where our veg boxes come from to collect our Christmas veg and bird, then into town to wait for Aldreds Fine Cheese to open and pick up our treat cheese. When the doors opened a couple of people were asked inside, then Angela who used to work at the Theatre stuck her head out asking if anyone had any orders to pick up, she spotted me straight away without me having to say a word. It’s nice to shop locally.

Back to the house to drop things off and we were on our way to Goole.

Lisa had sent through a very damp photo of Oleanna still afloat this morning, maybe the level had risen a bit.

Maybe she’s up a bit

With a plastic step to hand it was far easier to step down onto Oleanna. Maybe the level had come up to help too. Nobody was out chatting today, it was far too cold, wet and windy.

Another pair of curtains up

Heating on straight away and we started again on hanging the curtains, having picked up some shorter screws on the way. Sadly the extension bit to the electric screw driver was missing from the box so we had to return to putting the screws in by hand. This was far far easier than our attempts earlier in the week.

The direction of the wind had changed and with slightly looser ropes Oleanna was swinging about a bit. A good sign that she was fully afloat, but it did make us notice that the stern was at risk of getting caught under the pontoon. Not a good thing!

Bedroom curtains back up but no Tilly to enjoy the view

On Monday we’d used a T stud on the pontoon to tie the boat pole to, which was around a third of the way down Oleanna. A plank was positioned nearer the front, but with short pontoons these both were quite close together. The bow was being blown out away from the pontoon, so the stern was sneaking in underneath. The pole needed moving further back. So we moved it along and between us managed to get it secured around the beam below, job done.

Twenty minutes of engine, time to eat our pack up and we were happy to leave again.

Geoff came over for a chat. He’s been keeping an eye on all the boats, he’d slackened ours off some more as our tiller had caught on the edge yesterday. But last night between 9 and 10 the caisson stop gates had been opened, he thought the level went up by 8 or 9 inches fairly quickly, but since then there had been no more progress. He’d heard that at the breach site yesterday they’d been dropping bags of aggregate, the plan was to continue with this some more and then apply clay to seal the leak. This was confirmed later in the day by the following email from C&RT.

Whilst we were there we couldn’t hear a helicopter and it was very overcast and rainy, maybe it’ll happen tomorrow. Geoff thought that maybe the level had been stopped at a certain point so that more work could be done at the breach before raising it again.

I’d heard of boats by Pollington Lock having ended up on the bottom on Sunday, but last night the level had risen and they were afloat again. Geoff suggested that there might be another breach somewhere towards Pollington. He didn’t know where it was, above or below the lock, but rumours were circulating. This was confirmed by a C&RT notice this afternoon. The bank slippage may well have happened with a lack of water pressure holding the piling in place. So another problem for them to solve.

Not a good state of affairs. Hopefully the level won’t drop again. It is very reassuring that people are keeping an eye on the boats. Lisa and Al across the way and Geoff who walks round every few hours to check things over.

Across the marina

Before we left there was one thing we had to do, actually meet Lisa. Lisa and I have things in common, boats, knitting, yarn and Scarborough and today we found ourselves within a hundred yards of each other. We all braved the wind and chill factor for us to have a chat on her pontoon, each of us keeping our distance. Hopefully when things are mended on the canal and when the weather improves we might just meet up on the towpath somewhere and be able to be more sociable and a little warmer.

On our way back to the car we passed the boats that are sat at a jaunty angle. These are moored where an old sideways slipway is. So the steps of the slipway have ended up being closer to the top and hence the sterns of the boats being hooked up. The only thing that can be done is to wait for the levels to rise again.

Another C&RT notice has come through this afternoon regarding the levels above Pollington Lock back to Ferrybridge Flood Lock. They have obviously been stopping water from coming down the bywash to the pound where the breach is. The canal is normally fed from the River Aire at Ferrybridge, so water has been backing up the cut. So air gaps under structures and bridges is currently reduced and caution is needed for craft with high cabin sides.

Still a way to come up

We had a wet journey back northwards with news coming in about more areas going into Tier 4 on Boxing Day. It took a while to find out the details, we were surprised yet relieved that Scarborough wasn’t on the list. This means that whilst we have a car we’ll be down to check things over again. Today the top of the water was exactly 4ft from the top of our pontoon, here’s hoping the next time we visit its’ risen.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 days hire, 12 day with a car, 1 bargain, 1 giant sprout stalk, 1 duck, 2 bags of apples, 0 carrots! 1 bag of treat cheese, 2 butties, 1 bag of coins, 5 windows with curtains again, 0 cat, 1 slipped bank, 8 inches higher, 4 foot, more tier 4s.

4 thoughts on “Up The Docks Without A Cat. Breach Part 4. 23rd December

  1. joamungoanddog

    What an absolute bargain for the car! Really good of the company to allow that, I’m sure many wouldn’t.
    Tier 4 is no fun .. really pleased you’ve escaped it for now.


    1. pipandmick Post author

      The car is a bargain. Not sure how much we will use it, but it does mean we can check on Oleanna as the levels resume, if we’re not locked down. I suspect it won’t be long before we are all following the tier 4 rules.


      1. joamungoanddog

        Sadly, I think you’re right about everyone being locked down soon. I’m sad not to see my parents for dinner on Christmas Day, but realise I am lucky in that I can see them (one at a time) outside fairly often as they don’t live too far away .. a lot of people don’t have that chance. Thankful for small things and trying to see the brighter side of things.


  2. Dave (Scouts)

    We will be tier 4 from Boxing Day
    I assume though that it will still be an essential journey just take a copy of the CRT Email with you



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