March 9, 2009

Worksop offered cycling eastwards along the Chesterfield Canal to lonely Retford. This is rural and the tow path is grassy. From Worksop take the train to Doncaster. Travel north north west to Thorpe le Barne and join the wide cut canal there. Having found the start of the canal at Kirk Bramwith follow the straight canal north north east. Now each canal shows England in a different way and this is almost indescribable. You may not see or pass anyone on the way.
Past Sykehouse the canal joins the Dutch River, so if Goole is not the destination turn west to Castleford. The grassy towpath is wearing and out-of-bounds intermitantly, so divert through Eggborough. Find Castleford via the maze of Ferrybridge, Knottingly and Pontefract. Castleford train goes to Leeds. Now this is Rugby League country and there is a tribal industrial language which sounds like gobbledygook. The rivers, and some minds, were poisoned by PCBs, Mercury and Lead. The long island between the river and canal where the A1 crosses near Ferrybridge is the very heart of industrial England. In the 1960s the Allinson Flour Mill weir at Castleford bled with all the rainbow colours of the dying industry.


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