Day 32 – Castleford to Mirfield

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A much more leisurely start to the day today, and no rude awakening from large barges! We were moored close to Castleford Flood Lock which today had all gates open so we passed straight through, following two other boats including Aqua Roma who we had met in Hapton two weeks ago.

We were now on a stretch of the Aire and Calder that is new to Michael. He will be on new waterways all the way to Etruria in Stoke on Trent if all goes to plan. On rounding the bend at Fairies Hill we ran aground on a shoal of gravel, immediately opposite the gravel wharf. We were stuck for some time and despite the efforts of a passing boat at pulling us off we appeared to be stuck fast. Thankfully all the pulling and turning enabled Bernard to reverse off and we were on our way again.

Near Wakefield the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct carries the navigation over the the river.

At Wakefield the waterways almost pass the city by. Here the Aire and Calder becomes the Calder and Hebble along with its shorter locks and peculiar paddle gear. Many paddles do not require a windlass but a length of wood (see the photos below) to lift them. The locks are terrible with unpredictable currents from the various paddles, poorly maintained gear, and a tremendous weed problem.

At Dewsbury Bernard spotted a broken bolt on the alternator and further inspection showed that a weld had also given way. A short stop enabled him to make a temporary repair. We need to visit a boatyard, hopefully tomorrow, for some welding.

Menu: usual breakfasts; ham salad; roast breast of lamb stuffed with garlic, strawberries dipped in chocolate with Botrytis Semillon. Followed by port but no cheese.

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