Thursday, 22 June 2017


Today's Canal - South Yorkshire Navigations

Later last evening Christine took a walk up to the bridge just behind where we moored and took a photo looking down. She also discovered that since we came here five years ago, a fish and eel pass has been built alongside the weir. However, the amount of traffic on the road meant that it was difficult to get a good view.

This morning, Mike also went for a walk and found just one spot where there was a possible view.

He also walked around to the bank opposite our mooring - on the corner of the road is the splendid former Toll House.

We set off at our usual time around 9:30. The way ahead was around a bend and almost as soon as we had pushed off we suddenly saw bearing down upon us the huge oil tanker Exol Pride. This barge makes a weekly trip from Rotherham down to Goole and then back again - we had been warned that it was on the move today but so soon after leaving was a but of a surprise! Fortunately we managed to get out of its way in time. It takes just over 10 hours to make the trip one way.

Our pace from then was a little more laid back! At times the River Don is as attractive as any river.

We passed under a number of high level railway viaducts, most of which seem to be disused, including the very large Conisborough Viaduct. It now forms part of a Sustrans route. (see) [We originally said that Unfortunately it does not seem to have been possible to convert this one to a cycle and footpath. It was clearly blocked at the end. Obviously our eyes deceived us!]

A large group of paddlers from an adventure centre alongside the canal was our next obstacle but their minders made a good job of rounding them up and safely to one side before we reached them. (Being a bit cautious about such photos, this one is hopefully sufficiently anonymous)

The two Mexborough Locks came and went and just afterwards we passed this building. Good to see that it was able to find a new use, even as a pub, after it ceased to be a market hall.

We paused below Swinton Lock for the elsan - it does have water now but would have required a very long hosepipe! The buildings are now an activity centre which includes trips out on the river. The boarding point has been adapted for wheelchair access - but it is a bit of a push for the assistant! When we set off again into the lock, several young people came to watch and enjoyed being shown by Christine how to operate the sluices and gates.

Above the locks, just before the bridge at Kilnhurst, we stopped for lunch on a long stretch of moorings. We came in between two fishermen - Christine gave Mike strict instructions not to upset them! It looks from old maps that this was once a loading area and the road alongside is called Wharf Road. Kilnhurst at one time had a chemical works, an iron and steel works,  a pottery, brickworks and a colliery - at least. All of these have now disappeared and one further large site is under preparation - complete with Sales Office - for yet another swathe of housing. Will it be so-called affordable?

Off again and we came through the one area with some heavy industry alongside the river but only rarely does it break through the thick line of trees.

Aldwarke Lock requires additional manoeuvring as the lock landing is a pontoon just up the weir stream. Having dropped off crew, when the lock is ready the boat has to be reversed back downstream in order to head for the lock entrance. (sorry but we failed to get a good photo to explain the above!)

Unexpectedly, Kilnhurst Flood Lock was shut but only needed about 100mm of water to fill it!

Finally we came though Eastwood Lock, knowing that we would need to find a mooring above - as instructed by the Tinsley Lock keeper. We also have to make an early start - off by 8 am from here in order to meet up with him the other side of Rotherham at Holmes Lock.

As it happened there was no other boat on the mooring at all! This is a reasonably secure mooring as the lock area is fenced off for the benefit of the residential boats. On the side where the mooring is there is a large dredging disposal site which is also well fenced.

Lat afternoon, with pleasant warm sunshine having at last returned, we decided to walk to the adjacent retail park if only for a paper if nothing else. Despite only being a couple of hundred metres away as a the crow flies, an extensive detour is need as a busy railway line passes in between.

We not only found Morrisons and a paper, but also filled Mike's rucksack to the brim with various items. Christine took a look in a discount outdoor shop - supposedly closing down but actually re-inventing itself. She did in fact find the lightweight fleecy top that she wanted, in a pleasant bright blue.

Late evening Christine spotted this 18 strong swan armada passing outside.

10 Miles - 6 Locks


  1. How long are you staying in Sheffield for?

    Looks like we might miss you in our home city as we are at the boat in Lincoln for a few days now!

  2. Going back down Tinsley on Monday am (dep am!)

  3. Ah. Thats a shame we will miss you.