Rising Hopes……..Dashed, Breach 8. 30th December


Not knowing what the tier review would bring today we decided to head down to the marina to check things out.

A light dusting

Scarborough managed to avoid the snow of the last few days, but as we crossed the top of the Wolds we could see that there had been a dusting. This soon cleared as we descended the other side of the hills. Drax Power Station sending up big plumes of steam into the chilly air.

Exol Pride sitting on her mooring with a full tank

As soon as we pulled into the marina we could see that things had improved with the level. Across on the far side of the channel leading into the docks the wooden edging was now submerged.

She’s higher

Oleanna’s ropes sat loose necessitating her being pulled in for us to climb down. Today this was more like a big step, no booster block required just a steadying hand on the cabin side.


We’d planned to rehang the front door blinds and put the pads back into the window bungs we’d taken to the house for washing, but in our haste to leave we’d left them all in Scarborough.

A better view again

Mick checked temperatures, 2 C in the engine bay. A touch chilly but okay. The heating went on inside and the water pump turned on. Oleanna’s water tank must be very low now as it no longer registers on the gauge. The electric kettle was filled from the tap on the pontoon and water from the tank only used for washing up after lunch.

Sitting higher

I got my tape measure out again. What was the height difference between pontoon and the water? I got a little bit excited with the height and confused at the same time. 3ft 2 inches, 10 inches higher than when I’d first measured it. My confusion being when I’d first measured it, this was before Christmas and not on Boxing Day. So our rise today since Boxing Day is six inches, not the 10 I’d got really excited about. Still good and going in the right direction.

An update to the C&RT website said.

Update 29/12/20

On 28 December our team, with our contractors – Kier, returned to site to place more stone and clay in the hole and this has considerably reduced the leak. The stone provides stability and the clay seals the passage of water in the gaps between the bags, and we have also spread waterproof material over the breached area.

We will continue to carry out daily checks to ensure the situation does not change. Water levels in the canal are now rising back towards normal.

During the event, in order to protect water levels in Goole Docks, we closed the gates from the canal and pumped water in. With water levels rising in the canal we should soon be able to open these gates again though navigation will not be permissible along the canal until we have undertaken further works as a precaution.

Now that the immediate risk has been significantly reduced, we are able to begin to look in more detail at designing a permanent repair in the new year. Our engineers are considering the options and how such a repair would be achieved.

Although we understand that local people may like to visit the site to see the work we’ve done, we advise people to stay well away from the area where the breach has occurred.

To leave slack or tighten?

We had our packup lunch with a cuppa, then planned to go for a walk along the river bank towards Trent Falls. We discussed whether to tighten the ropes or not. Should the level drop again, they would need loosening, but if the level kept rising Oleanna would get looser and with any strong winds she’d end up going all over the place. We thought that maybe taking up some of the slack would be the way forward.

Shortly before we left I had another look at Facebook. There was a new post from Mark Penn from above the breach site. His footage showed the flow of water through the temporary repair to have increased again, possibly a stronger flow than it had been on Boxing Day, certainly stronger than yesterday!

Some of the filling, aggregate and clay has been washed away again. You can see right under the concrete, Not good.

Mark contacted the Project Manager at C&RT to report it. Someone was heading to monitor the situation. Reports later are that for now they are okay with the amount of water coming out. It is now flowing in the right direction, under the canal to the pumping station which pumps the excess water into the River Don. Before when the breach happened the water reversed the flow of the drain and sent the water towards East Cowick, with potential for flooding the villages.

It is suspected that the canal level will be dropped again to reduce the pressure on the fix.

We changed our minds on the ropes and have left them slack, in case the level drops again, which it almost certainly will.

RSPB Blacktoft Sands

Slightly gloomy we drove out of Old Goole, through Swinefleet, Whitgift and Ousefleet. Mick pulled the car into the car park at RSPB Blacktoft Sands only for us to be stopped by a big sign saying the car park was closed due to Covid -19. We found a spot on the right angle bend where we could park instead and walked up to the flood bank.

Not much of a view at the bottom of the bank

Here another sign thwarted our plan. The footpath follows the side of the flood bank, not the top. The top being private land. Not much point if we couldn’t see the river, anyway I’d not put enough layers on for the very cold temperatures out today, too much time spent on land!

River Ouse to the left, River Trent just below the trees ahead

We aborted our walk and headed back towards Scarborough instead, the sun setting behind muted coloured hills. With the radio on we heard that North Yorkshire will as of midnight tonight enter tier 3 and Goole remain in tier 3. So we now won’t have to sneak across tier borders to get to Goole should we want to check on Oleanna before we have to hand the car keys back to the hire company. A positive on a not so positive day.

Winters day

0 locks, 0 miles, 10 inches higher, 2 happier boaters, 1 pack up, 1 fix un-fixed again, 1 leaking canal, 2 sad boaters, 1 boat with slack ropes, 1 closed car park, 1 very chilly day, tier 3.

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