Having detoured from Plan A – ie to do the Leeds and Liverpool over the summer, before CRT imposed any closures due to water shortages- meant that we had to backtrack on our route for the next 30 miles. We waved goodbye to York and headed downstream to Naburn to await our booked passage along the tidal section to Selby. We’d spotted this giant wire creation on our way into York so we were prepared to take a closer look this time. The fisherman is sitting on a disused rail bridge, and that’s a train he’s caught not a fish. But we loved his doggy companion, cocking his leg against his bike. And it’s not just any old train, it’s the flying Scotsman, which used to use this line in it’s heyday. I’m sure there’s more detail that we failed to notice, but I do like art with a sense of humour.
Naburn is a haven of peace and tranquillity after the bustle of York and before the race along the Ouse. The warm and balmy evening was another opportunity to sit with my spinning wheel outside.
The imposing building by The lock landing isn’t a house, it was the banqueting hall built in 1823 for the wealthy businessmen who took advantage of river transport.
It’s in the process of being transformed into a cafe serving cream teas and other delicacies but at the moment to garden is home to a flock of obliging free range chickens. This one is BBQ ready.
Our given time for leaving Naburn Lock, meant we would be pushing against the tide for an hour. Although we had been warned about the speed of the River and the amount of debris, we hadnt encountered either on our way up so it took us quite by surprise, seeing 20foot logs hurtling towards us.
It was a challenging journey and we both had to be on full alert not wanting to suffer the same fate as the Titanic. The green duck weed had been pushed out of Selby, in an attempt to clear the canal. But the intrepid cruisers told us they were banned from entering Selby lock as the quantity of weed would block their cooling system and overheat their engines before they’d gone 100yards. They had to run the gauntlet of floating logs and giant crocodiles all the way to Goole.
It wasn’t nice and was so thick we had to manually push it out of our way so we could moor.
It didn’t stop us enjoying another day walking around Selby though, I even got to enjoy an organ recital in the Abbey, (and just to confirm that is grass around the Abbey not duck weed. )
We didn’t linger though, as we had an offer from nb Albion to share the locks and swing bridges. Our companions suggested we went first, I wonder why….
Selby canal is a short canal, and we were welcomed back into Knottingley on the River Aire that afternoon by the locals
Knottingley has one of the prettiest towpaths I have come across. It is known as Freda’s garden. Freda lived in one of the cottages adjacent to the canal but didn’t have any garden of her own, so she adopted the land she walked along everyday, scattering seed and planting shrubs. Although she is no longer with us, the community embraced her love of nature and colour and maintain this half mile stretch for everyone to enjoy.
Knottingley is in the heart of the Yorkshire coal mine fields so suffered appalling deprivation when the mines closed down, but we’ve seen many towns and villages that were also affected by this policy, and some have gone on to thrive and although its obviously not a wealthy area, there was a sense of community pride here. I hope these places survive the closure of the power stations. Fennybridge dominates the Knottingley sky line.