This waterway offers huge contrasts to the leisure boater: from small barge locks not long enough for a full-length narrowboat to the most modern series of locks; and from former sites of heavy industry to splendid countryside.
It begins at Keadby where the barge-sized Stainforth & Keadby Canal leaves the tidal Trent. In the shadow of the new gas-fired power station, the unique sliding railway bridge releases boaters onto the long straight to the former shipbuilding town of Thorne. The canal then follows the River Don to the junction with the New Junction Canal, which offers a link north to the Aire & Calder.
The SSYN now adopts a more twisting course as it follows the Don closely through Doncaster, above where it uses the river channel itself, along its surprisingly attractive valley through Sprotbrough and Conisbrough, with its hilltop castle, well worth the climb. Industry returns around Swinton, along with the long-established Waddington’s boatyard at the junction with the erstwhile Dearne & Dove Canal.
The modernised locks continue through to Rotherham, but beyond here the original barge locks are retained for the intensive climb up to Sheffield. En route you pass beneath the M1’s Tinsley Viaduct with the Meadowside Shopping Centre close by. At the canal’s terminus, the restored basin, with its imposing warehouses, makes a fitting destination and offers good moorings for the city.