Category Archives: River Sheaf and Porter

Hidden Depths. 26th March

Bramwith Junction

Fran and Mick

A couple of days ago Mick’s niece Fran had been in touch, she had a spare ticket for a Sheffield Hidden Rivers Tour today, would one of us like to go? Well this was right up Mick’s street and a chance to see Fran too.

So off I (Mick) went to catch the bus into Doncaster. The expected 13:13 bus from Barnby Dun into town never turned up but the 12:42 came along at 13:35. This got me to Doncaster station with 10 minutes to spare to catch the train to Sheffield.

Outside Sheffield Station

Then a short 10 minute walk to the rendezvous point outside the Triple Point Brewery and Bar. I met Fran and her friend outside and donned our wellies in the car park. Another twelve people arrived in dribs and drabs, most (but not quite all) of them suitably attired. The three tour guides met us there, all wearing waders, and gave us a short briefing and hard hats.

Hard Hat
Fran and Ali

Then it was off down the road to a gap in a moveable fence which lead to a suitable place where we could get into the bed of the River Porter. A bit of a walk in the open air first to get us used to walking on the rocky river bed.

The river soon disappeared into a culvert underground. The headroom was very limited at this point, in fact the lowest of the whole tour. At one point I had to resort to hands and knees.

We went this way

It then opened out a bit and the headroom got better. We carried on until we were under the railway station. Here the River Sheaf joined us and the water flow got stronger. The guide told us to look up and he pointed out some wooden boards above our heads. These form part of platform 5 of the station. There are plans to remove these boards and replace them with glass or perspex so people above can look down on the underground river. It will also let light down to the river thereby encouraging a bit more wildlife down there.

Cracks of daylight from the station platform above.

We then took a sharp left and walked under the railway tracks. The station was built between 1865 and 1870 so these arches have been here a while.

All the time there was the rumble of trains moving up above while we carried on for a few hundred metres under the station. The going under foot was very rough along here, well actually for pretty much the whole tour. Lots of loose stones and bricks. There was much potential for broken ankles but we all survived. At one point one of the guides stood in in his waders in waist deep water with his head torch switched to red and pointed us through an archway on the left where the water was much shallower.

Go Left!

We reached as far as we were allowed to go, the presence of bats prevented further progress. So we stood a while to look for bats but none wanted to come out to play. The light at the end of the tunnel was tantalisingly close.

Unreachable Light at the End of the Tunnel

So that was the end of the tour. Or rather the halfway point, we turned around and headed back the way we came. All in all it took a couple of hours and was very enjoyable. It was difficult under foot and a walking pole would have been useful. There were a couple of places where the water came over the top of my wellies so waders would have been good too. But even so it was a great tour.

Fran gave me a lift back to the boat where she stayed for a Saturday roast dinner.

Meanwhile, back on Oleanna …

Tilly and I (Pip) were left in charge of Oleanna for the afternoon. Tilly hunted. I read my panto script, turned down a job that I’d been approached about yesterday (two models on a boat at once just isn’t feasible, panto takes over our lives for long enough, plus we still want to boat this summer), pulled out some knitting and caught up with my old school friend Morag for an hour on the phone. Then a gammon was popped in the oven with roast potatoes as the sun set, all ready in time to welcome the intrepid explorers back.

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 winds, 1 bus, 1 train, 1 car, 0 newspaper, 2 many dogs, 2 intrepid explorers, 2 rivers, 15 hard hats, 1 dress, 4 wet legs, 4 wet socks, 1 panto re-read, 1 sausage day, 1 hour catching up, 1.4kg gammon, 18 roast potatoes, 3 choc chop cookies with ice cream.