Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Kiveton Park

Today's Canal - Chesterfield

It was already very hot when we awoke, with bright blue sky. This lasted most of the day although by mid afternoon some high level cloud arrived but did not reduce the temperature.

Mike walked into town, principally to buy a paper and some milk. In fact he was too early for most of the shops and the market stalls were still setting up at a leisurely pace. On the way back M&S was now open.

When we set off, the first lock, Morse Lock, is alongside Sandhill Lake, built on the site of a former quarry. It seems very popular with all sorts of people, for walking, running, fishing, and having picnics. One of the footpaths cross over the bridge below the lock which has been given a modern treatment.

Initially, the locks were spaced out although this would change dramatically later in the day.

This very new mum looks as if she has her work cut out.

Not long after 11 o'clock we arrived at Shireoaks Marina, built on the site of a long forgotten colliery. The full range of boater services is provided here but today we only needed elsan and rubbish disposal. Tomorrow we will need to fill up with water on our return trip. The entry into the marina is quite tricky as it is more than a 90 degree turn from the lock just below.

After Shireoaks the next lock is Boundary Lock - only a small rise but added to accommodate changes in levels arising from mining subsidence. Another boat was coming down, one of only three we saw moving today.

From here to the summit is only just over mile but we will need to tackle 21 locks, several joined together to form staircases, either two or three. Feeder Lock takes its names from the reservoir feeder that  supplies water to the canal just below the lock. The water is collected in the small hills just a couple of miles away. It also seems to have had new bottom gates this last winter.

We stopped for lunch, slightly later than normal, on the two hour moorings in Turnerwood Basin. We completed our meal with ice creams from a  small kiosk by the bridge - it was doing a good trade from walkers. The ice creams were rather good and, as she is not open tomorrow, we bought some to have here on our way back, and kept them in our freezer.

After quite a long break, we set off once more with a staircase of two just after the bridge. It is never easy to photo staircases - sometimes it is not easy to see them on the ground without warning from a map.

Although few of the pounds are more than three boats length, there are some with tight bends to negotiate.

Here is one of the treble staircases. Although they were supposed to save water they take rather longer than three separate locks. What adds to the time, as well as having to sett all the locks before starting from the bottom, is that all the locks above Boundary Lock have no walkways on either the bottom or intermediate gates. This results in having to walk all the way up to the top lock just to cross over the bottom one! However, we did manage to develop a good routine with the boat roof playing an effective 'bridging' role.

Several of the locks have been given names which seem to imply a former industrial connection, such Lime House Lock. However, a look at old OS maps does not yield any help in making a real link.

Still plenty of wild flowers to be spotted.

Eventually we reached the final treble and so to the summit pound. The top lock is the only one with an anti vandal lock that needs a 'handcuff' key to operate it. There have not been any security devices for all of the long flight but those before it used a Watermate Yale-type key.

We decided not to go quite right to the last turning point tonight but moorings are still sparse and on the summit there are none that are not overlooked by vegetation. The first, which we were aiming for, we almost missed and it is certainly wooded! Definitely no tv signal.

We passed through a couple of narrow points - at first we wondered if they were former bridges but there seemed nothing that they might connect with and t hen we wondered about stop gates as the canal here runs on quite an embankment. Later, looking online at the 1851 OS map it does show one as a flood gate and the other as a bridge and flood gate. Also a surprise - it also appears to show a lock between Devil's Hole and Thorpe Bridges. we will have to take a closer look on the return trip.

5.2 Miles - 31 Locks

No comments:

Post a Comment