Saturday, 30 June 2012

Pennines or Lake District?

Its the Pennines or due to the amount of rain is it the lake district? We are beginning to wonder and despite yet another day of heavy downpours we have come across a number of pounds that have been very low today.

We left our lovely mooring in sunshine and although windy it was dry.  We shared the locks again today although there was only three.  The top of the locks was a little chaotic, the two boats that had gone up the locks in front of us were moored on the services and asked if we wanted to use the services which we both did, so they said they would move off, but they had wanted to stay and have a 'brew'!  As they went to move off a boat came through the bridge to use the lock, this boat came and moored on the lock landing, we started to move out of the lock, as another boat came under the bridge, the two on the services still had not moved off, as they did the second one through the bridge started to turn around straight in front of the boats coming out of the lock, we all eventually moored, moved off, went into the lock, at which point a wide beam hire boat came storming through the bridge hole, heading straight for the boat we had shared the lock with who was now moored in front of us.  A lot of people pushing and hard reverse the boat just missed the moored boat, it then headed straight for our bow, I realised that this hire boat had no front fender and the bow was about to hit us, more reverse and pushing off, and they managed to reverse away from us, straight into the side of the boat in front of us.  Eventually without any further collisions they managed to get to the lock landing and as we left they were heading down the locks.

After using the services we headed for Barnoldswick, where we moored and walked to the shops.  On our return we moved up to Lower Park Marina and refuelled, it was as we were mooring up for the fuel that we heard the thunder, quickly followed by the first of many heavy showers.  We had been lucky up to this point as there had been some very dark clouds around.

We left the marina when it abated and moved just down the cut to moor alongside Kath & George on NB Sirus, we had said our goodbyes last week but when we  turned around we said we would call in for coffee on the way back past them.  Kath had made some lovely scones accompanied (very naughtily) with jam and cream.   The rain came again, so we partook in a further coffee and eventually said our goodbyes again and set off for the Foulridge Tunnel.

We had to wait for the green lights as the tunnel is timed and we had to wait for the hour.  It was very wet in places going through, and even wetter on the exit as it was raining again.  Once through we continued along to the visitor moorings at the top of the Barrowford Locks where we have moored.  There could be quiet a queue in the morning as it looks like there are a number of boats in front of us, although we are hoping that some are only out for the weekend and may be turning around in the morning.

This is why we didn't mind turning around knowing the views were going to be stunning

The dog roses are starting to flower

The canal twists and turns along this stretch, hopefully the map shows it

as the photos don't really show it

Waiting for the red light to turn green at Foulridge Tunnel

9 miles 3 locks Foulridge Tunnel 1640 yards

Friday, 29 June 2012

Light showers! We think not!

We had a relaxed start this morning, setting off a little after 10 in cloudy but dry conditions. The move was accelerated when we saw N.B. Holly setting off, who informed us a widebeam was just about to leave the lock below us. We decided to double up with them for the rest of the Gargrave locks and Bank Newton locks which are in close proximity.

The BBC weather forcast said light showers today..... It Persisted it down for most of the morning! We had no sooner reached the first lock when the heavens opened. We decided to carry on and not until we had completed all the locks for the day did it abate. We were shall we say somewhat damp!  Due to the weather, the camera stayed indoors all toasty and warm so no pictures of the horrid conditions.

After the Bank Newton locks and with the sky clearing we decided to stop for the day. We had decided to go no further than East Marton today anyway, but about half a mile prior to this, the canal loops around the valley side, doubling back on itself and offers fabulous views. One section of Armco just long enough for the boat came into view, amidst what otherwise is concrete banking and so we moored.  A bench marks this as a fovourite spot for a past boater and I can only agree it is a special spot.  No road or rail intrudes and the sound of the curlew's call is haunting.

The sun made an appearance after we had lunched and Ali decided it was too good an oportunity to miss giving the boat an exterior wash. The recent humid and wet weather seems to have included a fair amount of what I assume is fine sand particles possibly picked up over the sahara.  Even the downpours over the last few days failed to remove the residue, so with mop, bucket and cloth in hand we set to.  I must admit, the hard work has paid off and the boat now once again gleams.

An evening watching tennis, can Federer survive?

Just to say congratulations to my niece and nephew, Michelle and Craig, who have this week had their results from University. Both getting a 2:1. Well done both. You have both done yourselves and Mum and Dad proud. Enjoy.

View from our moorings

Lovely flowers on the tow path

Michelle at her graduation today (on the left)

3.5 miles 9 locks 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Onto Gargrave

On Tuesday we turned around above Field Locks and headed back for the Bingley Locks, there was a boat coming up the locks as we winded so when we got to Hirst Lock we waited for them, we then cruised onto Dowley Gap Staircase, where there was a mishap with a paddle not being closed properly (not my fault but I should have noticed, but in my defence I had gone to sort out the top lock), John spotted it but only as he couldn't move from one lock to the other as he was stuck, I closed it and ran some more water through and in what seemed an age we got the locks level so the boats could move into the top locks.  No such problems at the Bingley three or five, we did have a bit of a wait at the bottom of the Five Rise whilst two boats came down but not for long.  We stopped at the top and had a very welcome lunch stop at the cafe at the top lock, we then continued onto Kildwick.  We had forgotten how many swing bridges there were and the b****** one on the way down now has competition from another one, not helped as we were on our own so we had to operate them all.  We moored just up the canal from NB Bees Knees and as our day had been much longer than we anticipated we also went out for tea at the White Lion, it was Pie Night, obviously very popular as they had sold out of most of them, but John had a good Chicken and Mushroom one.

Wednesday we had a very lazy start, I didn't feel very well, not sure if its really bad hay fever or I have a cold or both, so we had a late start and just cruised into Skipton, although its a good job we didn't leave it much longer as the moorings were almost full when we arrived.

This morning we did a food shop before deciding to move on (and I got some cough medicine as I couldn't sleep for a very irritating cough last night!).  The weather forecast was for thundery showers but after a shower early this morning we hadn't had anything else and it was looking bright - WAS!  Two swing bridges later and I was admiring the view, which was getting a little darker, when I saw the lightening, followed by a lovely clap of thunder, ten minutes later the heavens opened, we did manage after another five minutes to shelter under the bypass road bridge until it had stopped raining.  Other than a couple of lighter showers we didn't get anything substantial again until after we had moored when we have had another thunder storm.

On 23 September 1943 a Wellington bomber, HZ251, and its Polish crew crashed into the bank of the
 Leeds Liverpool Canal near Bridge 183. All seven members of the crew were killed. 
This memorial was unveiled on 22 April 2007

Its raining

But not for long

Tuesday 14 miles 11 locks 21 swing bridges
Wednesday 5.5 miles 0 locks 5 swing bridges
Thursday 4.75 miles 3 locks 5 swing bridges

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bingley Five Rise Locks and Beyond

This morning we started by negotiating yet another awkward swing bridge, this one doesn't let you have your key back, I wasn't giving in though and eventually got mine back.  We then had a closed footbridge which is usually open, with a huge raft of weed under it, I tried to push the weed out of the way with the bridge but that didn't work, so John slowly tried with the boat, I then realised that the footbridge had a chain on it which was now wrapped around the weed and was swinging the bridge closed again straight into the side of Triskaideka, a quick reverse by John I grabbed the bridge and a passer by helped me.  I then managed to grab the weed and pull it out of the bridge hole and John got through.

We were then at the top of Bingley Five rise locks, these locks are said to be the most spectacular feature of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.  The locks open directly from one into another, with the top gate of one forming the bottom gate of the next. The staircase has a rise of 60 feet or in our case a drop of 60 feet as we were going down.  The gates were leaky and some of the paddles not working but with the help of the lock keeper we were down in about an hour.  Just further along the canal is another staircase of three rise, with a fall of thirty feet.
From the top

Going down


We then cruised to Saltaire Village, a unique Victorian model village built between 1851 & 1876, by wool baron Sir Titus Salt.  The village was built to house his textile mill and workforce.  The village is built in honey coloured stone and laid out in a grid pattern. 

We continued on through the edge of Shipley towards Apperley Bridge where we have moored above another staircase lock, Field Locks.  Although we were planning on going down the locks tomorrow we have now had a change of plan.  We know that the Aire & Calder are still in flood but were hoping that the restrictions would be lifted in the next few days, there are mooring restrictions in Leeds over the weekend as there is a waterways festival, so we were going to check tomorrow with BW in Leeds that we would be able to moor, BUT this evening we have had an email from BW saying that people should plan for the Rochdale Canal to be closed for a few weeks due to the flooding over the weekend.  We have decided to turn around and retrace our route over the Leeds Liverpool, so in the morning we will wind and head back for the Bingley Five Rise.

6 miles, 11 locks, 9 swing bridges

Sunday, 24 June 2012

After the Storm

Friday was a complete wash out, the rain and wind were awful.  Saturday was a little better and we went for a good walk around Skipton doing the 'tourist trail'.  We were visited in the afternoon by George and Kath for a natter and coffee and to repeat our thank you's for their help and goodbye's, it was lovely to see you both and I am sure we will catch up again on the cut in the future.

This morning as forecast was much better it had stopped raining (just!), so we filled up with water, which we were getting pretty desperate for, turned around and headed towards Leeds.  It was a pleasant cruise, but soon the amount of flooding in the dale was apparent, in many places the actual course of the river Aire could not even be seen due to the flooded areas around it.  Fortunately it looks like only farm land has been affected but it is close to some houses, so we can only hope they have escaped.

There are lots of swing bridges along this stretch, some we shared, some we did on our own, and one goes down as the b******* bridge of the cruise so far, as I could not get it to open, eventually just as John was mooring up to come and help I managed to open it, then, when open and two other boats were in sight, a lady insisted that I close it for her to get across before the other boats came through, as she was late for something, I bet, one of the other boats recognised her and said she always does it, anyway as I had struggled to open it, I didn't fully close it so she had to jump the last bit so I could re-open it without it getting stuck again.  We have cruised to the outskirts of Bingley, this afternoon the windy has got stronger and stronger and we are now being buffeted against the bank, but at least its not raining!

We just loved the closed sign
It says 'Someone ate all the pies' apologies for the quality, a phone photo in the rain

Freddy Trueman sculpture

Flooded Airedale

Still lovely views

The view from our moorings

NB Bees Knees on her home mooring
(a very nice spot it is too!)

11.5 miles 14 Swing Bridges some manual some electric some a combination of both!