Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Doncaster in the evening sun, a first class way to travel, and meeting a commercial boat

Will today be when I catch up at last with blogging about our cruise? I think it might be. I'll break with my usual procedure, and post photos out of chronological order.

This is where we cruised to last night, an excellent town centre secure mooring with water on tap.

I went onto the A19 road bridge over the South Yorkshire Navigation, the River Don and the railway to take the photo in the evening sunshine. Jubilee is on the far right.

But back to what's been happening over the last two or three days. I mentioned that I've been home to attend to post and the garden. To return to the boat I had bought an advance rail ticket from Wymondham (Norfolk) to Kirk Sandall (convenient for Barnby Dun). The cheapest ticket (at £34.00) was First Class. And because the National Rail website took me to the East Coast booking system I ended up paying £33.30 as they seem to apply a 2% discount.

When I read what was waiting for me on the East Coast train (the Peterborough to Doncaster leg) I could hardly wait. But to start with I got on the usual Norwich to Cambridge train, only this time sitting in first class. That was for only two stops, though, as I had to change at Thetford to board the East Midland Trains service from Norwich to Liverpool Lime Street in order to travel to Peterborough. This wasn't so good. The train was busy and there was no first class compartment. The two bike spaces were taken, so I had to fold my bike and squeeze it between a passenger and a suitcase.

But at Peterborough things took a turn for the better. The sun shone warmingly as I waited for the train, the East Coast service to Leeds. I got on with my bike ready-folded and was able to slide it into a luggage space. As soon as I took my seat and the train moved off two attendants appeared offering tea or coffee. Coffee please! This was poured into a proper china mug, and tasted like proper coffee. Then my lunch order was taken. Yes, lunch - and it was all "free"! The macaroni cheese with lumps of "Yorkshire ham" was hot and tasty, followed by a slice of banana cake. Oh, and I forced myself to have an Old Speckled Hen with it (again, nothing more to pay). As I let the food go down I reclined in the seat with The Times (also on the house train). All too soon I had arrived in Doncaster, where I had to change for a Hull-bound train to Kirk Sandall, the first stop. At Doncaster I sought out the first class lounge and helped myself to a tea.

As you can tell, I was dead impressed with East Coast.

Back to yesterday: this was the scene as we approached Doncaster, the Minster dominating the skyline.

The sign welcoming us to the 72 hour mooring was a little hidden by the plants, but it's good that someone (Sandy?) has taken the trouble.


To bring things up-to-date the following now relates to what we did today. Before setting off we had a look round Doncaster, starting with the Minster. I would have liked to have heard the organ being played - it is one of the finest in the world, apparently.

Our first lock was Doncaster Town Lock. Jubilee looks rather insignificant cowering at the back under the road and rail bridges.

The main event of the day was meeting a proper commercial working boat, Humber Princess, at Conisbrough.

I'm trying to work out the draught gauge by the stem post. If you divide the numbers by ten you seem to get metres; if this is correct then Humber Princess was drawing about 1.8m or about 5' 6". I guess it was returning empty, as there's a lot of freeboard left.

We exchanged cheery waves as we passed.

The most spectacular bridge on this leg was the Conisbrough Viaduct. I believe the railway it carried has now been dismantled.

We tied up for the night in Mexborough, just below Mexborough Top Lock.

A quiet mooring, apart from the occasional trains which pass a couple of hundred yards away. There must be a "W" sign as they all sound their horn. Like last night's chiming clock, I won't hear anything when I've gone to bed.

Time to publish.


John Fetcho, WB Timebender said...

The Doncaster photo is beautiful. Better than a postcard. Well done.

Halfie said...

Thanks John. Sometimes they work ...

Christine at said...

The railway viaduct is disused as you surmised.

There is a railway foot-crossing near the lock, the footbridge over the lock leads to it, hence the W board.

Humber Princess makes the run with base oils from Hull to Rotherham, once or twice per week. She carries up to 300 tons per trip. She delivers to just beyond the head of commercial navigation and then has to reverse back to the H of N to turn. Sometimes Humber Pride works the traffic.

Despite the care taken by the crew a moving barge particularly when loaded moves a large amount of water, so it is important to use bollards or rings when mooring up as mooring pins are vulnerable. The barges do have speed recorders fitted.

If moored up you can sometimes feel the movement of water 10 to 15 minutes before HP arrives.

She has the luxury of a C&RT mobile-lockie to speed her along.

Malcolm, Richlow guides.

Halfie said...

Thanks Malcolm, most informative. Am I right about the draught? We passed Humber Princess on the move and felt nothing. We did benefit from the CRT lockie at one lock.

Christine at said...

We know the HPs traffic manager so we'll ask about the draught. Meanwhile, we'd like to ask a favour - may we use your lovely picture of Doncaster moorings in our South Yorkshire Waterways guide? We can copy it from the blog so no need for action by you. It's a wonderful image. No fee I'm afraid but with acknowledgement and copyright of course, and a free copy of the guide so you'll have more info to enjoy on the way back!
Jim Davies knows of us, and you can see who we are on
Malcolm, Richlow guides

Halfie said...

I have e-mailed you via your website, Malcolm.

IP Admin said...

Would it be possible to use your photo of Donnie please on our website?