Going to Goole

Much to the amusement of Amanda, who couldn’t think why we’d want to go to Goole, we decided to turn right where the New Junction canal meets the Aire and Calder canal. It marks the end of the South Yorkshire Navigation and becomes the North Yorkshire Navigation.

The New Junction Junction

But as we are true Coddiwomplers without a timescale, Goole is on the map and accessible so we shall go and explore. The landscape is very flat and at first we thought there had been a flood but no, it is the Southfield Resevoir that runs parallel with the canal.

Southfield Resevoir

It’s a waterfowl haven and home to sailors and fishermen alike.


It was a quick and easy 2 hour journey into Goole with hardly any other boaters on the water. Although once we passed under the bridge marking the start of the port, both sides were chocka block with old fishing boats and commercial barges now being used to live in. There wasn’t a huge amount of visitor mooring but we found a nice space outside the marina.

Visitor moorings outside the Goole boat house

Goole itself is a small town built upon the confluence of the River Don and the River Ouse. It is an inland shipping port and in 1820 the Aire and Calder canal was completed to carry coal from the mines at Knottingley by barge where it was transfered to larger vessels to be carried the 45 miles down the Humber Estuary to the North Sea. While we were moored, there were 3 big ships in port from Denmark, Amsterdam and The Philippines. I suspect as ports go it is very quiet and small but never the less we found it interesting peering through the chain link security fence, to see the waterways being used commercially. One of the ingenious devices we saw was the “Tom Pudding system”. Where specialised barges with container boats where used to move the coal in the 1850s, the barges were hoisted up out of the water and the coal was tipped straight into the awaiting ship. I suspect it was a bit like a freight train.

The Tom Pudding Hoist

We would have loved to have seen it in action. The green hoist remains but the large ship in the background was being loaded by modern crane and forklift truck.

After we had walked around the perimeter, we walked the mile into town. Admittedly the shopping area wasn’t somewhere you’d go for a pleasant afternoon out. There’s obviously a lot of deprivation in this area, but we saw some mighty fine buildings from the ports heyday

The Goods Office

And as Electric boaters we enjoyed seeing Yorkshire Electric Power company building

Goole has been home to some prestigious people, the local artist Reuben Chappell, was a pierhead painter and his work is celebrated with paintings displayed in a trail around the town and docks. I liked this one, of ths good ship the George Kilner, named after the George Kilner himself, a Rotherham who invented the Kilner jar.

The George Kilner

Unfortunately the Waterways Museum that is still advertised on most canal literature closed it’s doors permanently in early June, but we still walked down the lane overlooking the Dutch River. the Dutch man Cornelius Vermuyden who engineered the flood plain, drains and waterways around here in 1600s. Tidal rivers never look their prettiest at low tide,

The Dutch River at Goole

We only stayed one night in Goole and low and behold when we left, who should we meet under the bridge…. yes our leviathon the Exol Pride.

And to make us chuckle even more, when we had talked to one of the Dockers about the ships in port and said we’d seen the pride in Rotherham he said, with complete sincerity, “oh, the little one”…

So despite the amusement it caused, we did enjoy our little diversion into Goole. And despite my typing still being auto corrected to a certain search engine the name Goole comes from the middle English “goule” which means stream.