Boat Conference. 21st March

Bramwith Junction to Pollington Lock, Aire and Calder

A very chilly start

Time to put a plan together. Sitting around waiting for my glasses to arrive doesn’t get the water tank filled or other boat jobs done. So after breakfast and updating the blog we had a boat conference. These are actually quite rare, most discussions of our plans are held as we stand on the back of Oleanna, but today we needed to concentrate.

Our original plan had been to make use of the weeks whilst Thorne Lock was shut. The London Leckenby’s have a few days in York so we’d planned to join them, maybe even a boat trip into our home city as Jac and Josh have never done this and the tour guides on Oleanna know exactly where to stop to see our family home from the river. Various boat jobs to get done and do. Friends to catch up with around the area etc. Also being in the area for a change over of lodgers at the house would be handy. It all had fitted together quite nicely. Then after Easter we would head southwards on the Trent, the quick way south.

The Don Doors again!

But since the dates for the stoppage at Thorne Lock have changed we’ve been in a quandary. Spending time in York is very appealing especially since Andrew and I haven’t been in the city together for at least 6 years and that was for a funeral. Catching up with friends is something we’d wanted to do summer before last, but floods and the pandemic put paid to that as we were rafted up with other boats at Naburn for several days.

Should we stay and do all those things?

Should we leave before the lock closes in a couple of weeks?

We’ve spent a lot of time mulling this over and every day for the last week we’ve discussed it further, but still not come up with a plan. Today we needed a plan.

Our discussion actually was relatively short.


If the London Leckenby’s hadn’t been coming up to York then we doubt we’d have been considering heading that way at this time of year. We’ve upgraded to a Gold Licence this year and if we stayed on this side of Thorne Lock and then exited via the Pennines it would mean us loosing about a months worth of Goldness. Decision made, we will be heading south on the Trent as soon as the tides look suitable.

A list of things we need to do was drawn up. Approximate dates worked out and ,most importantly a phone call made to Keadby Lock to book our passage. Sadly there was only an answerphone to talk to, but we knew someone would call us back.

With water needed we pushed off along the New Junction Canal again. If my glasses arrive in the next few days we’ll aim to be near a station to get back to Doncaster to collect them.

Lift bridge ahead

We made our way back swinging and lifting bridges. Before Sykehouse Lock three narrowboats that passed us yesterday were moored up, they looked like they were settled for a few days of company, jobs and possibly even a barbeque.

As we came through the last narrowing where a swing bridge used to be the light at the lock changed to red, shortly followed by green. There were plenty of people around. The volunteer who must live there in the tower, another C&RT chap by the bridge and a couple of boaters, so there was plenty of help to move the bridge out of our way and then back once we were below it.

Water water everywhere!

At the end of the New Junction we turned left and headed towards Pollington Lock.

A couple of bank slippages are marked with yellow buoys. These were there when we walked the stretch shortly after the breach happened Christmas 2020. Short red posts and some spray paint mark the worst bits.

Blackthorn blossom

The visitor moorings below Pollington Lock were empty so we pulled up to the space closest to the water point and got the tap going. We very quickly remembered that the pressure is appalling at this tap, no sitting and waiting for the tank to fill, best to get on with other things and forget about it. Thankfully we can check our water gauge every now and then to know when the tank was full, the pressure so low that there’d be no boom from our tank and no major gushing of water coming out of the over flow, just a gentle trickle. It took longer than two hours to fill us up!

Handy picnic bench!

Tilly checked out the picnic table, but wasn’t overly impressed with the mooring. She’s managed to get on the other side of the ditch here before which makes for an interesting rescue. Mick however looked at the picnic table and realised what we’d be doing tomorrow!

1 lock, 7.32 miles, 3 swing bridges, 3 held up, 3 lift bridges, 6 held up, 2 outsides, 6%, 6th pair knitted, 2 plus hours to fill, 2 pairs of odd socks, 1 conference, 1 plan at last, 1 call booked, 1 useful picnic table and tap.