Extra Jumpers Required. 12th May

Castleford Visitor Moorings to Clarence Dock/Potato Wharf/Leeds Dock what ever you want to call it!

Grey but not wet thank goodness, just chilly! Brrrrr!!!

Our plan to fill and empty at the services was thwarted as three boats were moored in the way, maybe they’d just finished filling and emptying, one chap stuck his head out to ask if we needed water, he’d move back if we did. We’d already decided to carry on and do the necessaries further on. The flood lock was closed and a boat had just come through, NB Tumbleweed who used to write a blog. Hellos were exchanged.

Passing boats

The downstream panel took forever for the Lock Ready light to illuminate. Maybe because the lock is just vast it took it’s time. It took so long that I even removed my key and started again to see if that would help. Eventually the light illuminated, I lifted the sluices, Water Level light came on, gates open, Hooray!

Another boat was waiting to come through from the other end, so it made sense for the chap to use his key. The level board at this end of the lock looked to be on the cusp of amber, would yesterdays rain raise the level anymore and would we have problems with closed flood gates?

Steps to accommodate all size of boats

The right navigation was chosen rather than the left and we headed on towards Leeds, I wish I’d brought my gloves out the back it was that chilly. Lemonroyd Lock soon appeared with it’s downstream lock landing built for all sizes of boats. Full as expected, I waited to get the thumbs up from Mick that he’d tied Oleanna up before I lifted the sluices to empty it.


Lemonroyd Lock replaced two locks and is just so vast, Oleanna always look so mini. A gongoozling family arrived, they live on the Ashby and have helped many a boat through locks before (can’t have been on the Ashby). The chap wondered why I wasn’t using a windlass, I showed him the panel of buttons, can you imagine the pressure on normal gate paddles! I enlisted their help in opening the gates, pressing another button. Mick pulled onto the water point for a delayed top up of fresh water and an empty of yellow water, making use of the elsan.

Tilly thought it looked quite nice here, but we still had further to go, even though we were both cold already and both of us were quietly wishing we could stop.

A gravel barge sat moored up a short distance on, is this where they come to empty their holds? Piles of fresh aggregate suggest so, but there wasn’t any sign of any means of offloading it.

At Woodlesford Lock a lady recognised us as being in the Jonathan Wilson facebook group. As soon as she mentioned her boat name NB Freedom I recognised them, we’ve seen them around here before and down on the Thames. NB Ecky Thump also familiar from Blue Water Marina last year.

Thwaite Mill well worth a visit

At Fishpond Lock we had a tern diving for fish as I emptied the lock, it remained hungry. Thwaite Mill visitor mooring was available, slightly overgrown.

So very sad

Knostrop Lock next. By the top gates there were bunches of flowers marking a memorial to a 14 year old lad, who on the Easter weekend had jumped into the lock to swim, shortly after a gravel barge had been through. He disappeared from view, thought to have been caught in a current created by the barge. All very sad.

Signs at the lock reminded boaters of the limited opening hours at River Lock up onto the Leeds Liverpool Canal. The levels drop at Granary Wharf leaving boats sat on the bottom, so for the time being the lock is only opened for two hours a day between 1 and 3pm. The signs suggested there is space for three boats below the lock, we’ll have to look at these when we go through, we were hoping to stop sooner.

Wibbly wobbly

The service and mooring pontoon have a build up of silt below them making the deck rippled. We’d not be mooring there unless we really had to.

Two hire boats came towards us, a new company to us The Boat Co North. Mick was later to meet a single hander from the USA, he helped him through his first push button lock. Hope he managed to get to Woodlesford today.

At Leeds Lock I opened and closed gates, lifted paddles as Mick tried to hold Oleanna still in the now short lock. If you are coming down this lock, keep away from the top gates as you may get caught on some wood jutting out. As Oleanna finished her ascent I walked up to peer over the wall into Clarence Dock to see if there’d be room for us. Bingo there was!

Time to breath in in locks

In the last few days we’ve heard that the visitor moorings here had long since gone, others have stayed but not known what the time limit was. Time to check for ourselves. The old signs are just visible, then a new bright blue sign declared the pontoon to be Visitor Mooring 2 days. Brilliant and an Oleanna sized gap waiting for us. Add to that an electric post still with a small amount of credit left.

On previous visits here we’d been able to buy electric cards I think to the value of £5 from the C&RT office across the river. Sensible size for two days and available to purchase when the office was open. These cards are unique to Leeds Dock/Clarence Dock what ever you call it. However now you have to order them £10 credit and get them posted out to you at an extra £2.95! For a bit of card the size of a credit card! Not very user friendly, the sooner C&RT install meters that you can log onto and pay for what you use anywhere on the network the better. But that won’t be for sometime as it would cost money and that is short at the moment. So we remain grateful to a previous boater who left some credit on a post.

The remainder of panto was read, notes taken. Tilly was slightly stroppy as there’d be no shore leave here. We remained very cold until Mick had lit the stove and the interior of the boat started to warm up. It was only two days ago we were sitting without jumpers in the evening, today we’d really needed thermals and just adding another jumper this evening really wasn’t going to cut the mustard!

Click photo for recipe

Crispy Lemon Chicken tonight. A new favourite.

5 locks, 1 flood lock, 10.1 miles, 3 hire boats, 1 ex-blogger, 1 JW boat, 1 hungry Tern, 1 bored cat, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, £1.20 credit, 1 stove lit, 0 knights having a wee.