Thank you for all the Christmas and Birthday messages we’ve received over the last few days. We had a lovely Christmas Day. Stockings, scrambled egg and smoked salmon with Bucks Fizz, presents, a walk down to the sea with the sun out.
Then back to cooking and Frank arriving. More to drink and then plenty to eat with more to drink. Birthday presents, birthday cake, more to drink. Then onto pavlova provided by Emily and Ben who normally have Frank round for Christmas dinner. A very good day had by all, we even had some left overs despite Franks attempts to finish everything off!
Boxing Day we started by seeing Mick’s family on the Geraghty Zoom call. Then we packed a picnic lunch and headed for Goole. Lisa had sent footage of Santa paddle boarding round the marina and an early morning photo of Oleanna on her mooring. Was the level rising? Or not? Only being there and getting the tape measure out would tell.
The step down onto Oleanna’s stern wasn’t so bad. Heating on, put the dinette back together and open the hatch. How I miss our hatch views, even if it is of another boat.
Mick removed our large buoy fender and I measured from the top of the pontoon to the water level. 3ft 8.5 inches, 3.5 inches higher than three days ago. Progress, small progress.
We could have started on a job or two, but most of them would involve several hours and with it being Boxing Day we decided to leave them for another day. Instead we sat down for a picnic lunch before turning the water off again.
Having risen a touch we had the urge to tighten the ropes with Storm Bella on her way, but decided that as the wind had changed direction again, pushing Oleanna towards the pontoon and against the plank and pole we’d leave her be.
As I bobbed to the loo Mick had a chat with a lady from a few boats up. She reported that the levels kept changing, the boats would go up, then back down again, then up. We’d checked on the ABP notices to mariners and from Christmas Eve, vessels could now pen in and out of Goole Docks with advanced arrangement and agreement with the Dockmaster. Maybe this was why the levels were fluctuating? But a check as I’m writing this suggests no vessels are currently in the docks.
The lady also said that the Caisson Stop Gates had been closed and water was being pumped back over them into the docks. This didn’t sound too good. We decided to see if we could get close to the breach site to see for ourselves.
We headed out of Goole past the new 67 acres Siemens site which will be a train manufacturing plant, building new Piccadilly Line tubes. Then on through Rawcliffe to the 90 degree bend in the Aire and Calder.
In a layby alongside the road, diggers sat, now dormant (B). On the south bank we doubled back on ourselves turning onto a road that runs alongside the Dutch River (C). Here there were diggers, all sorts of machinery, but this side was more planned. This is where works are on going for flood defences.
We turned round and crossed back over both the Dutch River and the Aire and Calder and turned onto Between Rivers Lane. From here we could get glimpses of the breach site (A). A small layby already had cars parked in it, chaps with drones, so we couldn’t pull in and go for a walk.
Other people were stood by the breach, there was a lot of interest. All the drainage channels in the area had plenty of water in them and as we turned to come back we managed to pull up for a shirt while so I could take a video.
Water was flowing round the metal and concrete into the drains. We could see the big bags of aggregate and where we assume the breach had washed away the bank. Was this how it had been left before Christmas? Or had the temporary fix failed? We have nothing to compare it with, so don’t know for sure. It could be that the drains in the area can cope with the amount of water coming through, but will the canal cope with that amount of water being lost?
Next we decided to head towards Pollington and see if we could get to see where the bank slip has occured. Back the way we’d come, then through Snaith and West Cowick, crossing the canal at Cowcroft Bridge which is just downstream of Pollington permanent moorings. The light at the lock was red, the lock having been closed since the breach.
A C&RT notice before Christmas had said that the towpath between Pollington Lock and Went Aqueduct was closed due to bank slippage on the southside of the canal. A good look towards the lock suggested it wasn’t along that stretch so we walked towards the New Junction Canal.
Before we reached the swing bridge cottage with the noisy barking dogs we noticed an area of bank that we’re fairly sure hadn’t looked so crumbly when we were here in September. This was on the north bank, so not the slippage referred to on the notice.
On we walked, now along the stretch we’d planned to spend Christmas, where Tilly and I back in mid September had had our last towpath walk with the Kingfishers swooping past. They were still here, chirping and swooping past as Mick and I made our way along the towpath between the drainage channel and canal.
A short distance further on we could see two lengths of orange netting, this must be the problem.
Two lengths of metal shuttering leant out towards the water, the bank behind them having slipped. Not good, but so far not another breach. This did look like the shuttering had relaxed without the pressure of water to hold it in position.
As we headed back to Scarborough a message came through from Lisa saying they’d had word that the temporary fix at the breach had failed, the levels may start to drop again. Then some aerial photos came through giving a different perspective from my video of the leak.
More drone footage appeared on social media during the afternoon and evening. Those brave enough to have walked up close to the breach had taken pictures and footage. We’d noticed a steady flow on the canal near Pollington, not alarming but it was noticeable and all these photos showed why.
Al returned to the marina and loosened ropes in case the levels there were to drop again whilst we hunted around on social media. Rumours were that C&RT had been informed and that the reply had come back that nothing would be done until Tuesday.
For us and Oleanna, all we can do is wait. Thank Al, Geoff and others at the marina for keeping an eye out and loosening ropes as and when needed. Having a car at the moment means we can head down every couple of days or so to help keep our minds at rest and we’re thankful to Lisa for keeping us posted with photos.
This morning, 27th, levels have remained pretty constant over night, so maybe the caisson gates are working better than before, but time will tell.
0n locks, 0 miles, 1 more birthday, 1 very sunny Christmas, 3 for diner, 3.5 inches, 1 set of gates closed, 250 ish bags, 1 big leak, 3 slippages, 1 emergency wee, 2 marinas back on watch, 32nd viewing of Grease.