River Aire at Castleford.
River Aire 8
Another adventure to exotic places for our quest to explore the River Aire! I know nothing about Castleford except they have a good Rugby League team the Castleford Tigers who reached last years Challenge Cup final but lost to Leeds Rhinos!
Castleford apparently exists because of the river. Known as Lagentium in Roman times it was an important crossing place for the Romans in their quest to conquer the North.
Later, during the Industrial Revolution, many factories were built on the Aire and Calder including potteries and flour mills. They harnessed the rivers' power and used them for transportation.
The interesting thing about the River at Castleford, approx 20 miles further upstream than where the Aire joins the Ouse at Airmyn, is it is where it combines with the River Calder and here there is also a stretch of the Aire Calder Navigation (canal). This has sections throughout West Yorkshire making the rivers navigable for bigger craft from Leeds to Goole.
We crossed the river from the centre of town via a foot bridge over the weir. This bendy bridge was only opened in 2004 and overlooks the weir (It has a fish ladder and a channel for eels) created to deepen the river and harness power for the flour mill still visible (picture top right). .
Originating in the late 19th century it was taken over by Dr Thomas Allinson who pioneered the benefits of stoneground wholemeal flour and is still produced today.
We walked around the bank of the river to its confluence with the River Calder (see map top left and picture bottom left) opposite which is the start of the Aire Calder Navigation built to cut out the increasingly unnavigable loop of the River Aire. The Calder can be seen coming in from ahead in this picture with the R Aire traversing the shot from right to left.
The last picture (bottom right) is the canal basin itself.
It was an interesting trip and one I would never have considered taking before blip and the One River project!