Hire Boat Aroma 27th February

Bramwith Junction to Goole Boat House Marina, Aire and Calder Navigation

Houses and boats have their own advantages. In our house in the mornings I can get out of my side of the bed, walk round it and then along the landing to the bathroom. If this is done in the dark I usually bang my knee on the bottom of the bed having misjudged it’s size. On Oleanna I usually have to manhandle Tilly out of the way and then crawl over Mick’s feet to reach the bathroom side of the bed. However it is impossible to bump one’s knee and the loo is only a couple of paces away rather than a major hike across Scarborough!

A new day

The view from bed in the house is a fairly good one, although the window is not well aligned to the bed. On the boat our big window is perfectly positioned, it was designed that way. Once the condensation is removed (if only we didn’t breath overnight) the view from Oleanna’s bed can be fantastic, this morning we had such a view, the sun rising across the fields and the frost glinting on the grasses. Other days we can be staring straight at some piling or at the cabin side of another boat. The good mixed with the not so good, but the view does change often and that is one thing I miss when in the house.

Not a full English, but it did the job

With limited food supplies on board, intentional for our one night stay, Mick cooked up bacon butties for breakfast, hire boat aroma filled Oleanna for hours.

Winding with the wind

Then with winter layers donned we rolled back the covers. That wind was there again which meant we needed to think about pushing off, or not pushing as the case was. The wind wanted to push Oleanna away from the bank, so we used this to our advantage. We both untied the bow, so that we knew we’d be able to keep hold of her. I hopped onboard the bow with the rope, the wind gradually pushing the bow out into mid channel, thankfully only a passing canoe to worry about this morning. Then Mick headed to the stern, undid the rope and chain there and managed to get onboard before the stern was pushed out too. By now Oleanna was just about 90 degrees to where she’d started off, a short burst of the engine had our wind completed and we were now facing the New Junction Canal.

The Don Doors hung above our heads as we crossed the aqueduct. A line of flood debris just visible suggesting the recent flooding had been very close to the height of the canal. Flood water still sitting in the surrounding fields.

The five and a half miles of the New Junction is dead straight but crossed at frequent intervals by roads which all have a moveable bridge. All but one of these is key powered. Big swing bridges and lift bridges can hold the traffic up, but this morning being a Sunday there were more cyclists about than cars or vans. At one bridge a boat was moored on the bridge landing, secure for the storms last week (don’t blame them), but in the way today.

As we worked our way through the bridges I could just make out the light at Sykehouse Lock, amber, self service, not that surprising as there wouldn’t be much traffic about. However as we got closer I could spy movement in the lock tower. The light turned green, then red, then green again, there was a lock keeper on duty.

Coming into the lock

Over Sykehouse Lock is the only manual swing bridge. Boaters operating the lock have to move the bridge before the panels at either end of the lock will work, but a lock keeper can do things in the order they want to. As he came down from the tower with his two dogs a car came across the bridge, there was a long chat before barriers were closed, both dogs returned to the right side of the bridge and it could be opened, all the time we were getting closer.

Once in the lock he asked us to move up so he could close the bridge behind us. Then the water dropped and we could be on our way again. We were now on the pound where the breach had been at the end of 2020. There are mooring restrictions from Went Aqueduct, Pollington Lock to the bend where the breach happened, sections of the piling having fallen in towards the canal when there was a lack of water. Buoys mark the areas well.

Up at the reservoir boats were speeding by, a perfect day for it. We just hoped it would calm down when we reached Goole. We turned right, passing more buoys and headed straight for Drax power station, the only power station in the area still with its full complement of cooling towers.

Due Norf to Drax

Then at the 90 degree bend we had reached the breach site. Mick passed through here last year, but today was my first time. From studying all the drone photos last year I knew where the pumps had been, where the walls of the cofferdam had crossed the cut. Now other than the fence over the big culvert looking new and clean concrete and piling edged with rubber buffers you’d hardly know what a state the place had been this time last year. The fishermen I suspect are glad of a slightly better surfaced carpark on the opposite bank too.

There are loads of new signs along the straight towards Goole warning of Animal Escape ramps. These have also been improved and look like new stone has been added to them.

On reaching Goole there was next to no room on the visitor moorings, we spotted Wendy waving frantically from the windows of Lullabelle (a fellow Goole Escapee from last year) as we made our way to the diesel point on the Boat House side. Mick gave Dave the new owner of the marina a call and soon Adey arrived to show us where we’d be able to moor for a few days by the dry dock, Viking Marina had been full when we’d tried there.

Oleannas mooring for a few days

Thankfully the wind wasn’t so bad as we manoeuvred Oleanna into her mooring. Adey was very helpful and chatted away for ages about what the plans are for the marina. Mick even ended up with a mud weight, a thing he’s been after for years.

A late lunch, then Mick headed off by bike to catch a train back to Thorne to retrieve the car whilst I did the most important job of pre-ordering a celebration meal for when we move back on board.

A handy weight

On Mick’s return we loaded the car with things we didn’t need and useful bags and boxes which would get filled in the next few days. Electrics, gas and water all turned off, another shovel of coal on the stove and we were ready for the off. Just one thing to do before heading back to Scarborough, say hello to Martin and Wendy on Lullabelle.

11.99 miles, 1 lock, 3 swing bridges, 3 lift bridges, 8 cars, 3 bikes held up, 1 lockie, 2 bacon butties, 1 self turning boat, 1 tidy breach site, 2 many buoys, 1 widebeam, 1 mud weight, 1 Chinese takeaway on order, 1 waving Wendy, 1 hungry cat.


3 thoughts on “Hire Boat Aroma 27th February

  1. Anonymous

    Did you resist the urge to do doughnuts with t’boat at the junction?
    Odd to think I used to work half a mile under the New Junction when at Hatfield Pit.
    Regards to Tilly.
    NB ‘Red Wharf’

    1. Pip Post author

      Good to hear from you Sam. Its wonderfully wide there, always a shock when you get onto a narrow canal again.
      Tilly sends a head nudge.

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