The South Yorkshire navigations are made up of four separate waterways, the Stainforth and Keadby canal, River Dun navigation, River Don and The Sheffield Canal. It travels for 43 miles and has 27 locks as it climbs to Sheffield, connecting Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. We even passed under a sliding railway bridge. Apparently one of only 3 of its kind in Europe. This is a huge waterway, intended for large boats and our little Narrowboat looked tiny in many of the locks. The waterway is built for the carriage of 700 tonne barges as far as Rotheram. We had a safe journey into Doncaster where we met up with old banding friends, the Ogilvies, and what a good time we had. We enjoyed looking around the town, but didn’t enjoy the biblical rain that we were treated to on the Saturday. We left Doncaster taking Don, Dawn, Aimee and Joseph with us to Sprotborough in bright sunshine. The river Don took us through some lovely rural countryside and through lovely wooded areas. We wanted to stop and visit Conisbrough castle, but couldn’t really find a convenient mooring due to the woods and the huge size of the waterway. We eventually moored at Mexborough but had a longish walk back to the castle. Shame there wasn’t a tea room open in the village!
As we went through Rotheram we became so aware that the canal was built for big boats carrying large loads as we passed some huge boats and then watched an oil boat go through a lock after us. It was good to see the canal being used for its original purpose.
The Tinsley locks carry the boater up into Sheffield and we enjoyed the journey up, escorted by a lovely Canal and River Trust worker, with another boat. The lock gates were big and heavy, but two crews made short work of them. We climbed up past Meadowhall and arrived in the basin in time for lunch and just before the rain set in. We moored up and were able to watch Andy Murray at the French open – not a relaxing watch, but a win!
The purpose of going to Sheffield was not just for the journey, but also to see Polly and Sheffield. Lovely to see Polly and we’ve enjoyed seeing Sheffield, although we’re not finished on either of those counts. So far we’ve really loved the cathedral, particularly the stainless steel nativity and we’ve been to the theatre to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Since we arrived at Sheffield we’ve enjoyed a trip to Nantwich for a fantastic bicentenary party with great friends and much silliness. We’ve travelled to Bebington to see Roger’s mum, then taken a quick trip home to deal with some house stuff. We’ve also travelled to Durham to see Jack and enjoyed a night in the Bishops Suite at Durham Castle – very posh, and enjoyed a concert in Durham cathedral. A fantastic concert from Music Durham and it was lovely to see and hear Jack perform with the brass band, alongside a host of other groups all performing music inspired by Shakesphere with items of theatre in between. A fantastic evening, part of a fantastic week.