Woodlesford in a flotilla

On Friday, when we boated to Pollington, we didn't see another boat on the move. Early in the day we had passed wideboat Woody at Bramwith Lock. The owner had indicated that he was going up to Pollington later in the day.

In the early evening narrow boats Mrs Nippy and Red Admiral arrived, closely followed by NB Atticus and finally widebeam Woody who had to moor on the water point since there was no space.

Pollington Lock

On Saturday morning (13th May) we all set off together going through Pollington Lock. Because we couldn't use the full length of the lock all the narrowboats went through together and Woody had to follow; although thet caught up later. All the other locks towards Castleford could accomodate the whole of our convoy (or should it be flotilla). We must have appeared like a cruising club.

Mrs Nippy overtaking

Whitley Lock

Our flotilla

Progress was good, including passing through Ferrybridge where there can be strong river flows, and we reached Bulholme Lock with no problems except for some little b....s throwing stones at Woody from a railway bridge.

Ferrybridge Lock

The landing stage at Bulhome Lock is short and both Mrs Nippy and Red Admiral moored abreast and tried to operate the lock - but to no avail. It appeared that the lock keeper had disappeared and left the lock with no power available for boaters to operate the mechanism. Phone calls were made to BW and we all moored up - that was four narrowboats and a wide beam.  By the time the lock keeper eventually arrived and operated the lock (with no explanation) there was also a Dutch Barge and five plastic cruisers all waiting. The locals appeared to find the chaos great fun.

Moored up at Bulhome Lock waiting for a lock keeper

We got to Castleford Flood Lock to find that the traffic light was flashing red. A narrowboat moored near by, Purple Emperor, joined our flotilla and the crew provided the explanation. The flood lock relies on some automatic sluices that are some distance away from the gates and two were up, effectively stopping lock operation. All six boats locked through onto the river and Woody dissappeared down the Calder.

Leaving Castlford Flood Lock
(junction of Rivers Aire & Calder)

We progressed well up the River Aire with Arthur from Mr Nippy providing much of the lock operation. At the recommendation of the crew on Atticus we moored up just above Woodlesford Lock. It is an excellent spot to moor with a charming village, quite moorings and good views over the River Aire, including a bird hide. There are some houses with imaginative architecture close to the lock.