Woooops! 12th March

Castleford Visitor Mooring to HS2 proposed bridge above Lemonroyd Lock

As we had a cuppa in bed we checked the levels, last night the flashing red lights at either end of the cut had returned to amber. It was of course raining again. We reckoned that the red light had gone on when the level here had reached 1.5m, it was currently 1.38m. More rain is forecast for the coming days, flood gates are still closed along the Calder Hebble and Woodnook Lock isn’t due to reopen until Friday afternoon. We could stay put, or make a dash for it to Lemonroyd. This would have the advantage of us not having to listen to the permanent moorers generators every evening up to midnight. The main question was how long would it be before the level rose again and inhibited us from making the move?

The noisy b*ggers across the way

In the summer we quite often get up and get going before we’ve had breakfast so as to avoid the hottest part of the day, today we decided that we’d get up and get going to hopefully beat the river coming back up, after all Lemonroyd was only an hour and a half away.

Number on keys Brian, but out of view

Mick pulled Oleanna in at the services mooring to dispose of rubbish and contents from our wee tank at the elsan. I headed over to the flood lock to get it ready. The key of power turned in the panel, I could see the sluices from the river in the old lock close, then raised the sluices to empty the lock. I imagined this would take a while to do as it’s such a huge expanse of a lock. I walked up to the other end and checked the level board. About six inches into the amber, we were go.

Waterproof case for Waterway Routes phone

Once Oleanna was in the lock, I lifted the paddles to fill it to river level. Gosh it hardly took any time at all before the Water Level light came on, the cut must be just about the same height at the moment. Once closed up I headed to the lock landing where Mick was bringing Oleanna in to pick me up.

This morning I’d opted for anti-slip trainers rather than walking boots. I trust these trainers on wet wood more than the boots. But the little slope down to the steps of the lock landing was muddy, no amount of anti-slip would help here. My feet slid from in front of me, my bottom landing on the thankfully soft ground, my body weight headed for the steps and then the river! I managed to reach out and grab the wooden railing and stop my sliding progress and the possibility of my life jacket being used for it’s purpose. Oh well I knew I shouldn’t have washed my coat and padded trousers!


On up stream, heading towards Leeds. The wide River Aire brown, the occasional blackthorn bush sprouting it’s flowers, other buds starting to open up on trees. Ducks and geese took to the air. It may be muddy out here, but nature is starting to bring spring in.

Emptying the big lock

The big steps below Lemonroyd Lock came into view. I stepped off, took the up and down route rather than risk another muddy slide, up to the lock. Before pressing any buttons I waited for Mick to signal that Oleanna was ready, bow line tied as well as centre. Lemonroyd Lock is 14ft 9″ deep and very long, there’s a lot of water to get rid of when emptying it so it’s best to be safely tied up. I made note of the level board, similar amount of amber showing as there had been at Castleford.

Mick passed a rope round a cable at the far end of the lock. Thumbs up I could press the Open Sluice button. Only one sluice is currently working and the force of water coming from it was colossal. It took time to rise, Oleanna just bobbing about a bit at the far end of the lock.

A pause to fill with water then we moved on to find ourselves enough depth by the bank to moor up. By the time we’d put covers up, jotted down our location, removed muddy clothing it was just gone midday. Breakfast or lunch time? Lunch.

Third outing for our red nose

Tilly spent much of the afternoon exploring whilst Mick finished moving the ropes back to where they should be, a new soft shackle required for the centre lines. Must remember to buy more when in Braunston next.

All red nosed up

Time to get the red nose out and cable tied onto the bow fender ready for Friday.

The next lot of Sockathon yarn was wound into a cake. However after knitting a few inches, the combination of colours wasn’t working how I wanted it. The main yarn having too much variety to show off another colour. Tomorow I’ll revisit the yarn drawer and see what else I can come up with.


2 locks, 4.4 miles, 1 right, 1 very muddy bum, 5 hours! 1 shackle, 1 red nose, 10th pair complete, 11th hmmm, 1 GP appointment almost missed, 1 GP appointment cancelled! 1 vat of bolognaise on the stove, Traitors USA Season 1 complete, now what to watch? 0 generators, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.