Friday, 22 June 2012

Sheffield in the rain

An early start this morning – even though it was Starwoman's birthday – so we  could head out of Rotherham, through a couple of locks and meet up with Dave the lockie who would supervise us through the remaining 13 on the way to Sheffield.
We were in tandem with a couple on Nb Wormcatcher who, unknown to us, have been shadowing our route since the start of the Trent.
Dave assists us through a lock
Dave supervises the canal and river system to Sheffield and has done so for 25 years. Along the way he was able to point out areas affected by the devastating floods of 2007. The river was so high then it was flowing over a road bridge above one of the locks, the M1 was closed because flood water damaged one of its supports, a railway embankment was all but swept away and in the city itself there was widespread devastation. (Check out the pictures on Google Images!)
Climate change and more pressure on the river to cope with the extra rainwater run-offs from more and more building mean it could all happen again, worries Dave.
Anyway, though it was raining today, it wasn't heavy enough to be of concern: unpleasant for us, all the same, with bursts of sharp showers and high, gusting winds.
After passing through two river locks we reached the Tinsley Flight up to Sheffield of eleven locks: they're all double width and pretty heavy but quite why they are all security-locked up so comprehensively and need lock-keeper assistance we none of us ever quite fathomed. The ubiquitous 'scrote key' seems to deter the hoodlums well enough elsewhere (and anyway, to be honest, there wasn't much sign of hoodlum activity along the flight, which was all very well kept.
After the locks the two mile run into Sheffield takes the familiar industrial back alley route of most urban canals. There's evidence of steel stockholding and working everywhere which is good to see.
Finally we reached the basin at Victoria Quays. It's an impressive spectacle, with a 'straddle warehouse' across the waterway as which boats were once loaded or emptied and two other huge Victorian warehouses as well.
Nearing the top of the Flight
There are plenty of boats moored up in there. But we're not - the basin is full of boats for sale and some long term moorings. Visitor moorings are on the towpath outside with no electric. What a way to treat people who've come all this way to see a city. You're not going to stay long if you have to sit on an insecure footpath, and run your engine every few hours for hot water or battery charging. A few days in a historic canal basin really ought to be part of the South Yorkshire Navigations experience.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday (belated) to STARWOMAN. Shame it rained on your parade, but listening to the news it could well have been much worse. The trip sounds interesting but we have not heard Brians views of the expedition yet!

Mike, Mags, Poppy and Abbey said...

Ah! you have been in the hallowed area. A land that was once the socialist peoples republic. Did lockie Dave stamp your passport?

Had I known, you could have used our mooring at the Tinsley lower basin. All mod cons.

There is also a Waterstones inside the Hallam university buildings. Our place of toil for over twenty five years. We both of us got time off for bad behaviour and a pocket full of shekels to go with. :-)

The two stainless steel "kettle drums" are now the students union. Previously the EU funded "Centre for popular music" - on the premise of having an estimated six thousand visitors a day. Not bad for a place without even a car park! Lasted a year then the centre for popular music went pop!

Fraternal greetings comrade - from Gas Street Basin!