Sprotbrough to Sheffield

Looking back to Sprotbrough

Sprotbrough lies on the River Don in both a natural valley and one impacted by mining. There are nature reserves and woodland walks all around, it’s very pretty despite South Yorkshire’s industrial heritage. The golden archangel or dead nettle has taken over from the bluebells and wild garlic andstarted to bloom

Golden archangel

The most impressive bridge of our journey south has to be the Conisbrough Viaduct. A rail bridge completed in 1909, it looms over 200feet above us and is nearly a mile long and has 21 arches. The rail line was abandoned in 1965 and one of the reasons the bridge wasnt pulled down is because they reckoned disposing of the 15 million bricks would have bankrupted the demolishion company. Nowadays it is listed as an official rail path and is part of the Trans Peninne Trail. Believe it or not it is not a listed structure.

Conisbrough Viaduct

And on to Mexborough, which has some very nice houses fronting the river, but sadly the rest of Mexborough had a very run down atmosphere, and whilst the rest of South Yorkshire was friendly and welcoming, I would give Mexborough a miss on our return journey.

The nice side of Mexbrough

But we did sleep soundly as we were guarded by a friendly Dragon.

The Mexborough Dragon house

The locks along this section are huge to cope with the commercial traffic. Swintons Lock was renamed Waddingtons lock in 1983 after Victor Waddington campaigned to maintain and update this waterway. There are still several of the Sheffield hulls laid up here. I can’t help but think what an amazing home they would make if converted, enough space for several families, of course, I’m imagining luxury living, not emergency storage for those in less fortunate circumstances. I did a bit of googling to find out more about Resilience- it got stuck for several days under the bridge at Newark…

Dwarfed by Resilience

Looking down on Eric from Eastwood lock tower, the last of the big hydrolic locks, before the Tinsley flight.

It’s a long way down

The Tinsley flight starts at Rotherham, a quickly little lock that confused me because it’s paddles are kept up to ensure the water flow, I hadn’t realised and consequently couldn’t open the gate. Not a good start to the day, we also picked up an urban jellyfish, which meant that Eric had to lift the weed hatch and go fishing to untangle a manky plastic bag. Yuck. But we got ourselves sorted out and soon reached Holmes lock. We were met here by Derek one of the CRT lockies who would see us up the flight. This section of the canal is pump fed so to manage the water the gates are kept locked unless you have booked passage.

David the Tinsley lockie took over for the final 8 locks and between us we’d got through 15 locks by lunch time. And into Sheffield Quays by mid afternoon

Home for a few days

And here we tied up for our “city break”