THE cold and mist of an early December morning may not have been welcomed by the region’s commuters, but it certainly painted a picture of serenity as the winter sun rose at Lemonroyd Lock.
The spot, on the Aire and Calder Navigation close to Woodlesford, offers a soothing retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban living, its tranquillity captured beautifully in this image of swans gliding along the waterway, leaving calming ripples in their wake.
Many take advantage of the lock and its surroundings to enjoy a relaxing stroll, cycle ride or fishing trip, but the area has not always been so peaceful.
On Boxing Day 2015, the waters of the Aire and Calder Navigation were troubled with heavy rainfall and land close to the lock and nearby Lemonroyd Marina became saturated through flooding.
More than a decade earlier, in 1988, the river Aire adjacent to the then Lemonroyd Lock burst its banks and filled the neighbouring St Aidan’s opencast coal mine site with some four billion gallons of water, to a depth of around 70m.
Work at the site was suspended as a result and an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the course of the river and Aire and Calder Navigation to be reconstructed. Two original locks, at Kippax and Lemonroyd, were replaced by today’s single Lemonroyd Lock.
The main line of the Aire and Calder Navigation, the origins of which date back to 1704 when the Aire was made navigable to Leeds and the Calder to Wakefield, by the construction of 16 locks, runs between Leeds and Goole.
In its early days, cloth, coal and agricultural produce were its principal cargoes, according to the Canal and River Trust, which says the waterway is still a busy freight artery today, now used to transport the likes of oil, sand and gravel.
As well as its commercial function, it is a popular route for pleasure boats and with scenery like this, it is no surprise paths alongside its banks also remain favourable with walkers and cyclists.
Technical details: Nikon D3s camera, 70-200mm lens with an exposure of 1/800th sec @ f4.5. ISO 320.