Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Quiet flows the Don...at the moment

You wouldn't expect much rural idyll from a canal that goes through such industrial stalwarts as Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield (well an ignorant southerner like me wouldn't anyway) but today's cruise has been an eye opener.
Now that's what you call a lock
Soon after leaving Thorne we reached the fork in the route where the line from the Aire & Calder comes in. From here the waterway swells in width and the locks grow enormously in size.  Thirty odd years ago everything was brought up to the 'Euro' commercial barge standard to be able to handle 700 tonners. Shame that virtually none are left using it!
After a lunch stop at the pleasant canalside village of Barnby Dun - where the butcher supplied some excellent locally sourced liver and bacon for tonight's delicious dinner (as well as a home-made beef pie for tomorrow) - we headed on to Doncaster.
Here the big Doncaster Minster dominates the skyline and we would have stopped for a visit but...nowhere to moor. Just two visitor moorings - both full - but a whole complement of long term ones. Why is it so often like this? Visitors bring money to local communities and should be encouraged. Unfortunately BW don't make any cash from visitor slots but they do from long-termers and I guess cash is king.
After Doncaster the waterway, which has run in parallel with the River Don, moves onto the river and, again, it's fabulously rural; a series of wide, sweeping curves backed by hillsides of trees that mask houses and factories from view. Along the way we passed over two big railway bridges and the great concrete spans of the A1 road bridge.
Somewhere in there is a little narrowboat waiting for the lock
Delightful mooring at Sprotbrough
Tonight we're moored at Sprotborough and to look at the wide waterway and handsome old stone buildings edging the river we could be in France. Even the weather today has been more southern France than north of England. Let's hope it continues because these moorings apparently flood when the river rises in the rain!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hate to spoil the dream but rain forecast for Thursday and Friday, so make sure you have a safe mooring in mind.

Love the images, we will make a snapper of you yet!