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The Goole Escape, Civilian Clothing. 26th May

Selby Basin

All the apps and forecasts checked again this morning, still all looking good for Thursday.

Heather Bleasdale will be arriving later today. As part of her preparation for her trip to the River Hull she has asked if she can come with us round Trent Falls. An extra pair of hands with experience of crossing the Wash and cruising the Thames to the Medway will be welcome.


Mick called Nigel here at the lock and talked through our plans. He won’t be about tomorrow, but he has booked us in for 10:00. The lack of Lock Keeper at Keadby tomorrow was a surprise to him. It appears that there is only one Lock Keeper a day at Keadby, instead of two splitting the day, so since the pandemic hours have been cut.

A phone call mid morning was made to Cromwell Lock. Once the Lockie understood our plans he booked us in. His opinion was that maybe we should head to Torksey tomorrow. The amount of fresh will most probably flatten any Aegir on Friday morning.

We would need to arrive at Cromwell before 16:00 when the shift ends there. Mick asked about the amount of fresh today. 8ft! Gosh! A narrowboat had left Torksey heading to Cromwell this morning and by 11:30 still hadn’t arrived. It must be quite a push against the fresh as the effect of the tide on the upper reaches of the river towards Cromwell isn’t much.

Selby Swing Bridge

Should we postpone our trip until the next set of morning tides when hopefully the weather will have improved and normal conditions resumed? If only we could get off the river at Keadby! Just being round that bend (Trent Falls) would give us more options.

Heather had a conversation with the keeper at Keadby this morning, to see if there was any chance of cover to get us off the river for the night, or maybe two. The Lockie then rang me. He checked on what times we were aiming for and if we were planning on leaving the river at Keadby or carrying on southwards. I explained that we would have penned up at Keadby if their shift times suited as we didn’t really want to be out on the river. He sounded like he wanted to help, but sadly didn’t offer it.

Not swinging

Another conversation with Mick a little later. Mick was more open and asked if there was any chance of cover tomorrow afternoon. The Lockie hadn’t been able to get hold of his supervisor, but would keep trying. Fingers crossed.

The EA have been back and put the flood barrier back across Selby Lock today. Nigel wasn’t too happy with this, what if he had boats to come up off the river! He is of the firm opinion that they should check with C&RT first.

Selby Basin with a bit of sun

Water tanks to all three boats have had a fill up without anyone moving. Hoses were daisy chained to Lulabelle the furthest away from the water point. Sainsburys has delivered and restocked our cupboards and a bolognaise sauce sits cooking for tomorrow evening on the stove.

If all goes well and we head off in the morning, it will be a very busy day, no time to sit and write blogs.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 barrier, 12 free scans, 0 copies, 3 attempts to get cover, 8ft fresh, 10am penning, 2 boxes wine, 3 boaters with all fingers and toes crossed, 1 cat climbing the walls.

A Word From C&RT, Breach 46. 30th April

I’ve just come across the following on the C&RT site. Some interesting images of the breach now the cofferdam is drained. Mark Penn’s aerial drone photos have given us a good idea of what has been happening, but it’s interesting to see footage from a lower level. With staff in the footage they give the cofferdam scale, showing the sheer size and depth of the Aire and Calder.

Sean McGinley is certainly being kept busy this year.

Some Normality Amongst The Chaos. 27th April


Tilly seemed to have a good night, her world calming down, just a shame that calm world was disturbed today.

After reclaiming the house over the last six months, (still plenty to do) we decided to have the carpets cleaned. Unknown stains on most carpets left for us by tenants and the aroma from spliffs, the smell now mostly dissipated. The new to us lounge and dining room carpets were looking decidedly manky, if we had the money we’d have been replacing them altogether, but we haven’t so a good clean would have to do instead.

So this morning everything bar the sofa and dining room table were moved from the downstairs rooms into the kitchen, access to sink and fridge kept clear. The upstairs items were either moved to different rooms or placed in bath tubs. Mick set about hoovering everywhere to be cleaned as I scrubbed a vinyl bathroom floor.

Empty apart from the tins of paint stopping a certain cat from climbing the chimney!

By the time we’d finished it looked like we’d never returned to the house. Tilly spent most of the morning in my work room, special dispensation given for un-supervised snoozing close to my Panto model whilst all the hoovering was happening.

That’s where it’s all gone

The carpet cleaner arrived, neighbours had parked their cars outside our house helping to reserve the nearest spot. The chap laid out his hoses, told us his plan, started up his machine inside his van then had a cuppa chatting away to Mick. He did a good job, managing to shift all but the most stubborn of stains, magenta pink in the bathroom, but he did like to talk all the time with the noise from his machine polluting the street. Our poor neighbours! Poor Tilly still recovering from yesterday.

Several noisy hours later he turned his machine off and coiled up his hoses and peace and quiet returned to our part of Scarborough. He did mention that he gets complaints, I’m not surprised!

Clean again!

No furniture should be returned to the rooms for the next 24hrs. So we reorganised things in the kitchen and piled the dining room table high. This gave Tilly a good vantage point to look out for Bogey Face Alan.

I can see better from up here

Have to say it is so nice having clean carpets, only a few days to enjoy them though.

I made it!

Tilly test drove her manicured claws. Having them trimmed by the vet yesterday means it’s a little bit troublesome to cling on as I climb. She says they will grown back, I HOPE so! But it is also nice not to get caught in the carpets all the time.

The Goole Escape facebook page had been getting a touch excited yesterday when crane mats had been seen arriving. Then this afternoon the crane arrived to go with them. Boaters started to prepare themselves as they may be able to move somewhere different.

The comments went quiet after half an hour of giddiness. Then around 4pm a C&RT notice came in.

Goole Caisson stop planks have been removed and the Caisson is now open. Navigation is now possible from Rawcliffe to Goole Caisson and onto Goole Docks. Navigation remains closed between Rawcliffe Bridge to Pollington.

By the end of the day at least one boat from Goole had been through the caisson and cruised past Rawcliffe, free again, well free to cruise for four miles. I suspect there will be lots of little jaunts up the way, we’ll be joining them to give Oleanna’s engine a good run before we head off up or downstream.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 caisson open! 6 rooms, 2 landings, 2 staircases clean, ahhh, 1 mountain of chairs, 1 more normal cat, thank goodness.

Dipping The Stern. 26th April


No wonder it was rowdy

Thankfully the club closed not too late, well it was a Sunday night. The price board outside this morning suggested why everyone was getting so rowdy! £2.50 a pint!

Making space for us

We were up and had enjoyed some toast with peanut butter by the time Gary and Glynn arrived. First they had to move the boat that was due to come out this morning, the owner had been too keen despite having been told not to leave it on the slipway.

We rolled back the covers ready, put the tiller on then climbed down onto terra firma.

The tractor was brought round, all the vents, exhaust etc covered in tape, bow thruster grills bolted back on, the scaff poles were added to the trolley and the tractor was hitched up. All ready.

Gradually they backed her down the slipway.

Her stern getting closer to the water.

Then it started to get wet.

Had all those vents been closed off properly?

Deeper she went.

The stern deck just dipping under the surface

Before the stern decided it would rather float.

Thank goodness!

Just about there

A quick check in the engine bay. The prop was turned for Glynn to check the stern gland packing, all good. As the office was closed we would have to return later on to pay, time to get out of the way.

Phew she floats

We reversed up to where there was a gap in the moored boats. Mick popped Oleannas bow into the gap and brought the stern round. Without the stern button on he had to be careful (paint still curing). At one point he thought that he’d got something round the prop, but a big blast of reverse sorted that and we continued to turn.


Back along the lines of cruisers and out onto the cut, across the short distance before we turned into Viking Marina.

Happy to be back in the water

We carefully pulled back onto our pontoon and tied her back up again. Job done.

We’d timed our walk back round quite well as a ship had just reversed back into the docks and they were passing ropes down to moor up. Looked like the ship would be off loading the way it was sat in the water.

Now for the painful bit, paying! With the slipway in and out, jet washing, grinding the original blacking, 3 coats of 2 pack, new anodes and the stern gland repacked we were nearly into four figures! Ouch!!!

The boat that came out of the water this morning was having a survey done. Two people were walking round it, measurements and hull thicknesses jotted on the boat in chalk, a few rings around pitting. The boat is for sale, I wonder if the survey turned out how the prospective purchaser hoped?

Back on her pontoon

We said our goodbyes to Gary and Glynn then walked over to see if David and Karl were at home for a chat with regards to escaping. There are quite promising tides this coming weekend, but other boats are aiming for the next set of good tides to head up to Selby. The route from there still isn’t possible after a lorry recently struck the swing bridge out of the basin. So people are likely to be heading back onto the Ouse and heading for Trent Falls.

Mick wanted to know if there would be enough time to reach Selby, leaving Goole an hour before high tide, then high tide at Selby being an hour later than at Goole, thus giving us a couple of hours to cover 16 miles. David seemed to think that we’d be fine, keeping with the tide all the way, hopefully arriving at slack water. Handy to have someone who’s done the trip before to talk to. Mick will still give the Lockies at Selby a call.

We moved the car back round to Viking Marina. Tilly’s Houdini shelf was sanded down, cleaned off and a coat of Danish Oil applied. Things that were in the fridge went in a cold bag and we were good to go back to Scarborough.

Back in Scarborough the afternoon took a slightly worrying turn. Tilly came to greet us when the front door opened, she’s normally chatty but soon gets distracted by things outside or decides that a snooze would be a good thing to do. But she kept talking to me, not leaving me alone. My fishfinger sandwich smelt ever so good for a cat who never ever ever has human food. I soon noticed when she sat still for long enough in her hyper state that she would start to shake, have tremors.

Could these be to blame?

A call to the vet was made. Some pills we’d got to help her calm down for her up coming journey to the boat might have been to blame. But after the vet had been conferred with they were classed as not the problem as they only have natural ingredients in them. I made an appointment for her to be checked over.

The vet checked everything and only found that maybe her teary eye was a bit gungy. Everything else was just how it should be. She thought the twitching might be behavioural, had anything changed? We’ve been away most days, which she isn’t used to. It was decided to see how she was tomorrow and if I was still concerned they would do a blood test.

Eye drops

Back home Tilly calmed down and curled up on a cushion for the evening, thank goodness. Despite the vet suggesting we should continue with the calming pills I decided to not give her one today and see how she is tomorrow, then maybe try again. We do however have some eye drops for the next 7 days.

An expensive day, blacking, vets bill and a new C&RT licence!

0 locks, 0.19 miles, 1 very wet stern, 1 wind, 2 lefts, 2 rights, 1 boat back on her mooring, 2 boaters considerably poorer, 1 theatre designer looking for work, 3 hours of a hyper cat, 1 busy afternoon, 12 month license, 7 days eye drops.

Cofferdam Holding. Breach 39, 4th April

A sunny day, so Mark has been back to the breach site with his drone.


The good news is that the cofferdam seems to be holding up.


The access road into the dam has been extended.

The large bags of aggregate that were visible on the water line have been removed, but others can still be seen under the access road.


The blue tarpaulin that was used to stem the water has also been removed. No obvious big black hole though.


The water level is the lowest it’s been. According to someone at Pollington the water levels there today are a couple of foot lower than normal, you can see silt in the photos on the bend out side the cofferdam. That’s a lot of water not to be in that pound as that is the stretch with Southfield Reservoir.


Above Whitley Lock the navigation is now open, it opened on 1st April. Passage down through the lock and on to Pollington and Sykehouse Locks will be possible from the 12th April if pre-booked.


The small dam and pumps in the drain below look like they have been removed.


The bridge over the pipes on the southern side has been re-instated and it looks like they have created foot access onto the bed of the canal here too. This photo you can see the extra piling they added along the southern bank on the outside of the dam.


Hopefully the site is now ready for inspection by the engineers, C&RT suggested that this would be shortly after the Easter weekend. Fingers crossed.

If you are a stuck boater in Goole and wanting to escape please join the facebook group, The Goole Escape Here or leave a comment here on the blog.

Thank you Mark

Breach 37. 30th March

It’s not often you feel relieved to see a canal with a lack of water in it, but the fact that the cofferdam has drained itself whilst not refilling itself is great. I think it was about a month ago that it was this empty.

25/2/21 upside down for comparison

There are a few things to note from todays photos, other than it’s a lovely day to go boating!

The western end of the cofferdam seems to have improved water levels, so no overtopping.


The aggregate ramp into the cofferdam has been added to. The pile driving crane is no longer on the floating pontoon. In the photo above you can see what looks like a light with a red box standing on some new aggregate which I think will be used to illuminate the area and down into the drain.

The bags that were dropped in by helicopter are very visible now.


So is the big hole in the towpath by the blue tarpaulin.


What can also be seen in the above two photos is a yellow pump on the north bank by the drain.


There is now a small tarpaulin dam in the drain and the yellow pump appears to have two hoses one to either side of the dam.


Now that the water in the cofferdam has drained down into the drain below, as much as the breach will allow it, my theory is that the drain under the canal will now be pumped out. This will give them access under the canal.


The cofferdam seems to be holding its own now, hopefully things can progress. Will they need to do a fish rescue?


Then, at last, they will be able to pump out the remaining water to reveal the canal bed and the breach itself.


According to a local boater who has recently spoken to the control at Goole Docks, they are still not permitted to pen leisure craft through the locks onto the Ouse. He was told to contact C&RT for updates.

The tide at Goole this evening was going to be high 6.5m, 3 ships would be leaving the docks and 3 more coming in. Both locks in operation. Here’s hoping the high tide means the level doesn’t drop too much in the marina. I hope we left our ropes slack enough!

Other good news is that the Figure of Three Locks on the Calder and Hebble will be reopening on 12th April. This means that if we ever get to leave Goole this year then we might just be able to cross the Pennines via Standedge Tunnel.

Thank you to Mark again for the use of his photos.

Challenging. Breach 36. 30th March

This morning another update from C&RT.

Update on 30/03/2021:

We have experienced a few challenges with the coffer dams at the breach site during the weekend. 

To help manage this we have had to drop levels between Ferrybridge and Pollington, therefore fluctuations in water levels may be experienced over the next few days as work continues at the breach site on the long term repair. 

Skippers of all craft are advised to check their mooring lines to ensure their vessel is securely moored allowing for water fluctuation.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. 

Levels had been overtopping the cofferdam at the western end over the weekend. The prevailing wind not helping. A video from Lisa shows the extent of this. Finger credit to Lisa.

The Aire and Calder appears to have no spillway between Ferrybridge and Goole unlike most canals. Spillways help to keep the level of a pound at a certain level or below, but the spillway to this pound is the docks in Goole which when ships are coming and going with the tides works pretty well. But now the cofferdam is in the way water needs to be pumped round it to supply the docks with sufficient water and to help keep the level above the cofferdam at a suitable height.

This all means that it is a bit of a balancing act to keep the levels at suitable heights for all. The levels in the docks for ships to come and go. The moorings in the docks. The moorings at Rawcliffe Bridge. Low enough not to overtop the cofferdam. Above the cofferdam the moorings below Pollington Lock.

Ferrybridge where there water can be let into the canal from the river

Levels seem to get dropped all the way to Ferrybridge, which suggests that this is the only place where they can control the amount of water coming into the canal. Tracking Google maps towards the breach there may be one sluice above Whitney Lock where the level could be dropped, but this goes into a drain rather than a river, so could end up flooding fields.

The height of the cofferdam seems to be an issue that comes and goes. They are planning on raising the level of the piling at the eastern end, handy as that is where the work pontoon is. But will they be able to do the same at the western side? Do they need to do this or will they be able to keep the levels upstream managed sufficiently to stop it overtopping? Or will another pontoon be required at that side to raise the piling?

Good news elsewhere is that the works on the breach near Hack Green on the Shroppie are nearing completion, the area was being filled with water yesterday. Well done C&RT, just wish they had been as successful on the Aire and Calder.

*Post update Mark has been out again with his drone today. Good news is that the cofferdam has emptied itself again.


There are more photos, so I’ll write more in the morning as it’s time for food now.

All Moved. 15th March

Well Mick has had a very busy afternoon making sure everything moved over. This took more doing than he’d originally thought as he couldn’t just use a plug in to do it all for us, mostly because we’ve been skin flints and been on the most basic package, so to do this we’d have had to upgrade and pay more money!

Hopefully everything has moved over and other than changes we do to the appearance of the blog you shouldn’t notice anything different after a couple of days when the dust has settled and the internet catches up with us.

Apologies if you happened to look this afternoon and got a message, ‘Your connection is not private’ ‘Attackers might be trying to steal your information from’ This was because our security happened to go faulty just as we moved. It has all been sorted now.

Thank you Mick for all your hard work in moving us.

On The Move. 15th March 2021

This will be the last post before we move hosting sites. If all goes well this post will move along with the other 1239 posts (Mick’s already moved these) I’ve written over the last four or so years. Hopefully this blog will still appear on blog rolls and that we will have a blog roll that moves with the times again along with other benefits.

Hope to see you all soon.