Stainforth and Keadby canal

Not as I previously called it, the Keadby and Stainforth, apologies to any perfectionists reading this. It is the first/last section of the South Yorkshire Navigation.

We woke refreshed after our Keadby lock conquering experience. The sun was shining and we had a whole new region to explore. Unfortunately looking out of our portholes all we could see was this very dilapidated old building and my heart sank, I knew of the industrial decline but we had nearly 50miles to travel into the centre of Sheffield and I hadn’t expected the dereliction to start quite so soon.

The old barge inn.

Thankfully, I needn’t have worried, we were soon travelling along a straight wide canal in flat open countryside. No locks but plenty of swing bridges and lift bridges to negotiate. But the first was the sliding, retractable rail bridge, manned automatically by the operator in the signal box. My photo doesn’t do justice to the engineering as I had to watch the whole operation from behind locked gates. The track is diagonally across the canal so the bridge is winched sideways until it is clear of the channel.

Vazon sliding rail bridge

This canal is deep and wide as it was built for heavy commercial traffic. Completed in 1802 it joined the River Trent to the River Don and the mining and industrial communities of South Yorkshire, although this section is still in Lincolnshire. The landscape is flat so whilst this section is lock free, it’s also idea for trains and a track runs along side for quite some distance.

Canal and railway joining company

The swing and lift bridges are all key operated now but this one at Wykewell, on the outskirts of Thorne, is faulty so you have to book CRT in advance to come and open it for you.

Wykewell lift bridge

At Thorne we had the pleasure of meeting up with our friends Cherryl and Ian, the couple we met last year on our way to Lincoln. A coffee turned into a picnic lunch, then drinks and a take away in the evening. Lots of laughter and storytelling as we encouraged each other on with our cruising plans.

Ian and Eric putting the world to rights

We only stayed one night in Thorne, in case we started to feel like a fish out of water.

A Plaice to rest in Thorne

Day two was leisurely and relaxed. Bramwith lock marks the end/beginning of this canal.

Bramwith lock

This is where the canal runs parallel with the river Don. The river is still tidal and prone to flooding hence it being hidden from our sight by high levees, the cows seem happy enough.

Cows on the Don

We moored up shortly after leaving the S&K