Overstayed Our Welcome

Our moorings at Skipton was for 3 days, problem was; when our 3 days were up, the weather changed to wet and windy. Not great for cruising, especially when there’s so many swing bridges to open, managing to ‘hover’ Cyan while one of us ‘swings’ the bridge can be tricky. The weather was a little more favourable yesterday, therefore we took the opportunity to cruise ’round’ the corner, going through two swing bridges, but not until we availed the use of Skipton’s services before we left.

While we were moored in Skipton, we had a good shopping session; we needed brass hinges, white spirits, small paintbrushes for sign writing, water hose adaptors, and many other bits and bobs that’s difficult to find while cruising. We also did a shop at Tesco, replenishing the store cupboard (which is under the pullman’s seat).

We also had a problem with our EE dongle, it just wouldn’t connect. After a long telephone conversation with EE’s technical dept., and explaining to them why they can’t send us a new dongle through the post, they suggested they’d delete our current EE contract, and for us to visit EE’s shop in Skipton for a new contract and dongle. It all turned out rather well really, we’ve got a new contract with data for 60, instead of 32 Mg per month, our next 3 months payment is ‘half price’, and as we’re a loyal customer renewing our contract, we’ve been award a 10% discount on our monthly payments! Must say, the EE coverage as we cruise round countryside and inner cities has in general been brilliant. Everyones a winner in this case!

We’ve got two working dongles (and now one broken one), and to help us obtain a strong WIFI reception we’ve stuck a velcro sticker on the back of the dongles, with corresponding velcro stickers on the inside windows of Cyan on all sides – the dongles are then ‘velcroed’ to the window that has the best ‘line of sight’ to a WIFI mast; this little trick helps enormously.

Since yesterday, we’re moored just after Gawflat Swing Bridge (#176) which is within easy walking distance to the lovely town of Skipton.

There’s also a fantastic park that’s just over the bridge, and Rusty’s having a ball (literally).

We’re staying ‘put’ for today, the internet is brilliant, and it’s given me this opportunity to update livingonthecut.co.uk website – it’s been getting a little ‘away’ from us.

Yesterday we cruised ‘half a mile’, and manoeuvred 2 swing bridges. WIFI 40 mg

 

Our Skipton Destination

During our journey, whenever someone asks where we’re heading, we’ve been saying were heading for Skipton to spend the summer on the Pennines. This always gets a “Oooo that’s lovely”.  So today’s the day we’ve planned to arrive in Skipton! Strange how the ‘Cosmic Joker’ works, we’ll be in Skipton for the Summer Solstice!

The weather ‘s been glorious… It’s a fabulous day for messing about on the river canal!

The pic shows us passing through Keighley.  Reminding us of our friends in Spain who’ve come from Keighley! (Keep well Terry and Janet – we’ve been thinking of you both lots!  xxx …)

This is a sign, directing walkers to the ‘Polish Airmen Memorial’ – it’s always good to be reminded of what we’ve got to be grateful for…

Interesting to see cars coming up, under the canal.

This is the view of the ‘under the canal road’ from behind as we passed.

At this automatic swing bridge, we had to wait for 30 minute while the C&RT engineers fixed the bridge.  Apparently (dare I say it) a woman backed into the bridge traffic barrier, damaging it.  Poor guys, if it’s not boaters that are damaging things, they’ve also got to contend with motor cars too.

Eventually we arrived at Skipton! Mooring in the town centre, and we celebrated with dinner from the renowned ‘Busy Lizzie’ fish ‘n’ chip shop!

We also made some good friends; mum and dad cheekily tapped on the side of Cyan, asking us to help feed their 11 tiny cygnets!

While I throwing small pieces of ‘five seed’ bread to the cygnets, mum and dad never attempted to take the little one’s food. The swans just looked on, anxiously keeping any passing ducks out of the way, while their babies fed. We were privileged for them to trust us. Ducks were not such good parents though….

We’ll be staying in Skipton for a few days; tomorrow is market day, and there’s quite a few errands we’ve to do while in the town.

We’ve travelled 6 miles, and manoeuvred through 9 swing bridges – WIFI 20 Mg.

 

The Bingley Flights

We moored for the night at the bottom of Bingley Three Rise locks, and at the foot of the ‘Damart’ factory.

It’s great that the Bingley locks are manned by Lockies. The first boats are scheduled through the locks at 8:00 a.m. and the last boats at 5:00 p.m. John took the opportunity to visit the lockies while taking Rusty for an early walk. He returned saying we were one of the first two to go up the locks, just as soon as four boats had come down.

The pic shows us entering the lock, side by side with a hire boat. The locks are huge, and the water can be violent. I was worried, wondering if my plants would be swept off the bow.

 

The glorious views over Bingley were looking very promising as we rose higher.

At the top of the Bingley Three Rise we had a short cruise to Bingley Five Rise.

Watching the Lockies working the locks is like watching professional dancers, playing out their routine. One Lockie in particular was amazing, his name was Mark, and he was watching constantly for any possible problems.

The Five Rise was open in March 1774, with a crowd of over 30,000 people turning out to celebrate the opening, that’s a lot of Gongoozlers!. The ‘rise’ is almost 60ft, in just over 300ft.

The Three Rise raises the canal 30ft, and was opened at the same time as the Five Rise.

In the pic below, taking the Damart chimney as reference, you’ll appreciate how high Cyan has risen.

Eventually we were at the top of the locks. The place was buzzing with a cafe and lots of modern Gongoozlers. We temporarily moored outside the cafe for Cyan to take on board water, and for us to have an ice cream!

 

Just a short trip down the canal, we topped up with 100 litres of diesel.

After three swing bridges we moored up by the Marquis of Granby PH.

We’ve navigated 3 miles, 1 three rise locks, 1 five rise lock, 3 swing bridges.

WiFi was good at 15meg

 

Busy Day For Us Today!

Yesterday, Dobson’s Staircase Locks were rather hard on John’s legs. We knew we had to pass through ‘Field Staircase Locks’ (a triple staircase lock) today, and wondered if it was manned by lockies? After a phone call to the C&RT office in Wigan, a very polite lady told us Field Locks wouldn’t be manned, but if we had a problem, C&RT could arrange for a lockie to help.

We decided we’d take our time, we’re in no rush, and we’d take the day in our stride.

When we got to Field Locks, we were fortunate to find another boat waiting to go up through the locks, with a crew of 5!

There was a wide beamed boat coming down the locks, which meant we had to wait. The lady on the widebeam was single-handedly working the locks, until 3 of the crew, from the boat in front of us, lent her three pairs of hands; she must have been delighted!

The widebeam was called ‘Raven’; and we were surprised to see a crow (or raven) hopping about the roof of the boat. John asked if the ‘raven’ was a pet! The boater was watching the bird with as much disbelief as us, and he told us the bird had just landed on his roof! (It’s a funny old world!)

I joined ‘the crew’ to work the locks, while John navigated Cyan, with the crew’s boat through the locks. Working the locks with others is always interesting, and normally there’s always time to learn something new.

On leaving the locks, we approached Buck Hill Swing Bridge (#211) which was open.  Luckily the boater who opened the lock waved us, and our ‘companion boat’ from the locks, through. At the next bridge, our ‘companion boat’ opened the bridge, while Cyan and the boat behind (who opened the last bridge) cruised through the bridge ‘hole’. The ‘system’ was like ‘leap frog’.

At the third bridge, it was our turn to open the bridge. Fortunately for John, it was an automatic bridge, and the only exertion he had to do was to insert his key, drop/lift two barriers, and press a button.

We stopped just after Shipley Junction, while I visited Aldi. With milk, bread, fresh fruit and veg purchased, we set off once again.

You can tell we’re in Yorkshire by the excellent cricket grounds…..

…. and lots of glorious scenes.

Eccentric or what! We discovered a chap building a boat out of organs (of the musical kind)! The whole contraption looked to be made of a variety of old musical organs. Dread to think how it’s going to get a ‘safety certificate’.

Through the afternoon we steered our way through Hirst Lock (#19), and the Dowley Double Staircase Locks.

Eventually we moored at the bottom of the famous Bingley Three Rise. It’s exciting because tomorrow we’ll be ascending through the Bingley Three Rise, and the Bingley Five Rise Locks.  These locks are famous in the world of canals, it’ll be another ‘Rite’ of passage for us.

It’s been a busy day today, we’ve travelled over 6.5 miles, 1 single lock, 1 double lock, 1 triple lock, 7 swing bridges.

WiFi 6meg. good 4G signal.

Leaving Rodley Wharf

We stopped at Rodley Wharf Visitor Moorings for four days. It’s a lovely spot, and it was nice to chill for a few days.

On setting off, as we were moored near a swing bridge; Rodley Swing Bridge (#217), I walked a few paces to the bridge, inserted the C&RT key, and released the ‘brake’ or was it a lock? I hadn’t ‘worked’ one of these bridges before, and I was really grateful for a fisherman sitting on the bank who knew the workings of the bridge well.

We’d hoped to stop at Apperley Bridge Marina for diesel, but when we eventually got there, the marina was closed. Another boater called out to us that they were closed on Thursdays. Though we weren’t short on diesel, we were conscious we hadn’t taken on board any diesel since we were on the Macclesfield. John likes to keep the diesel tank well topped up – it’s something to do with ‘diesel bugs’!

We did try to moor up outside the marina, thinking that we’d fill up with diesel in the morning. Our idea didn’t turn out very well, as we couldn’t manoeuvre Cyan to the bank because of heavy silting.  We gave up on that idea, and decided to venture on; soon coming upon Millman Swing Bridge (#214).

This bridge was again ‘different’, for a start it was over a relatively busy road. As I had done the last few bridges, I thought it only fair for John to this one!  The bridge was automatic, and didn’t require any brawn. As soon as John inserted the waterway’s key, flashing traffic lights came on. Once John had lowered the barrier at both ends of the bridge, he pressed the button to open the bridge! Brilliant!

Once I’d taken Cyan through the bridge ‘hole’, I spied the double locks immediately in front. Nothing for it but to smile sweetly to John, while handing him the windlass; from boat to where he was standing on the towpath. There wasn’t any point John boarding Cyan, as Dobson Staircase Locks were almost upon us.

The locks were tough (for John), but eventually we climbed to the top, and ‘popped up’ just outside C&RT Services, Office, and Workshop. It was fascinating to hear the history of the workshop by the locky, apparently the workshop used to make the coffins for the navvies  who built the canal in days long gone by. We knew life was hard on the canal, but didn’t realise it was that hard that the canal had to have its own coffin manufacturer.

We moored up for the night on the visitor moorings.

Today we’ve pootled 3 miles, 1 double staircase lock, and 4 swing bridges.

The Start Of The Liverpool To Leeds Canal

We set off early on Sunday morning; as advised by several boaters, that it would be ‘safer’ because potential troublemakers in parts of Leeds would still be tucked up in bed. While we were casting off, we noticed a C&RT notice saying we’d been mooring on a 72 hours mooring! We had to smile, to think we’d been a little nervous, thinking we were mooring on a ‘one hour’ waterpoint for two days.

While John sailed Cyan to the first Lock (Leeds #1) of our 13 locks of the day, I walked to the automatic lock, which was just round the corner from where we were moored

John did the second lock which wasn’t uneventful. A wide-beamed boat had just come down the lock, and was moored up to the lock landing. With the wind making manoeuvring difficult, we took Cyan around the wide-beam, and into the open lock. We needed access to the lock landing so John could jump off Cyan. There was a bit of a stand-off with the boater telling us to climb the lock ladders! No way! We needed the lock landing. The boater knew full well he was wrong, so he had no choice but to move his boat out of the way. Cyan was reversed onto the lock landing, and John jumped off. I took Cyan once again into the lock!

Several weeks ago, as we entered our first lock on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, John who was doing the locking shouted down to me in the lock, that he needed the ‘C&RT handcuff key’ to unlock the locking mechanism. At that time, while trying to throw the key up to John, I missed, and the key hit the wall and fell down….. but that was then! So when John said he needed a handcuff key, visions of disaster conjured up. The pole hook was out of reach, which meant this time I couldn’t attach the key to pole, and pass it up to John. John certainly didn’t trust me to throw the key again, so he laid down on the edge of the lock, while I stood on the locker and stretched up to hand him the key. Situations like this certainly makes for an ‘interesting’ life afloat.

Leaving the lock was a nightmare! We came out of the lock in an area surrounded by tall buildings, and moored up boats. The wind was swirling around the area, and it looked like the world and his dog were watching from inside the Hilton’s restaurant, the patrons were having their breakfast.

Panic stricken, “Hurry up John, close the gates and get on board”! That never happened, and controlling Cyan in this area was a nightmare; I know how a sudden wind can push Cyan along, even sideways, uncontrollably. Can you believe it, John even stopped to chat to another boater! There was nothing left, but for me to add some throttle, making it easier to steer Cyan, with the result of Cyan cruising further away. Eventually John caught up, and I got off to tackle lock 3.

Luckily, while working the lock a lock-keeper turned up. That’s always a cheery sight! He explained we’d now passed out of the area of Leeds we were a little apprehensive about. He explained the area had since been revitalised, and is now much ‘safer’!

The Lockie asked where we were making for, and offered some travelling advice.  He also said he’d phone on to his colleague on the next ‘patch’ who’d help us up the two ‘3-staircase’ locks.

The picture is our view approaching the first of our two ‘3-staircase’ locks, with Lockies waiting for us, complete with a dozen or so Gongoozlers.

Picture below shows us in the middle lock of the 3-staircase locks, with two Lockies above.

Note the fierce swell of water bubbling up beneath us, lifting Cyan.

This is the view, looking back, from the top lock.

While it was great to experience the Huddersfield, Calder & Hebble Navigation, and the Aire & Calder Navigation, it’s nice to be on a ‘sort of normal’ canal that has plenty of water underneath, and frequent mooring areas.

Our journey was really enjoyable, the architecture is fantastic.

Such gorgeous scenery! Complete with it’s obstacles, such as the builder’s bag innocently waiting by the bridge for us to sail over and tangle around Cyan’s propeller.

Why do yobs want to deface our countryside with graffiti?

Look…. the ‘Rhodies’ are out!

We’ve moored at Rodley Wharf, just before a swing bridge, and almost in the car park of the ‘Rodley Barge’ free house, a CAMRA affiliated pub!

These fabulous moorings, and we can stop here for 7 days! (If we wanted!)

Exciting moments this morning, waking up to escape bullocks on the other side of the canal. From our side hatch we watched with amusement the dog walkers and joggers, come to a sudden stop, and ‘leaping’ behind a gate.  It was even more amusing when the farmer turned up, this time it was the ‘delinquents’ turn to come to a sudden stop when they saw the farmer, quickly turning around on all four heals, and running back again down the canal, presumable to where they escaped from.

Yesterday we cruised 6.5 miles, through 13 locks (2 ‘3-staircase’ locks, 1 ‘double’ lock, 5 ‘single’ locks). 25meg

Rained Off Again!

On Wednesday the wind got up, with gushes of 40 mph.  It’s not a good idea for us boaters to be out in such strong winds, as boats don’t behave well in the wind, it’s all to easy to crash into banks, or even other boats.

So once again, we ‘stayed at home’ until the weather changed. We were getting a bit low on several items, and needed supplies. It’s easy to obtain the postcode of where we were staying, to book a Tesco delivery slot. On Thursday morning Tesco delivered!

Friday we were soon off, boat had been filled with water, food/drink supplies topped up, we were now ‘good’ for several days, if not weeks.

We’ve got 3 locks left on the Aire & Calder Navigation, before we reach our ‘destination’ canal, the Leeds to Liverpool Canal.

Several boaters have advised us to start early in the morning when going through Leeds, before the druggies and troublemakers get up. One boater told us that a boater who was doing the locks was fired on by someone with an air riffle! Another one said some hooligans tied up a volunteer lock-keeper on a lock! We can’t confirm the accuracy of these stories, but I think we’ll take heed, and moor up for the night just before we enter Leeds.

We had intended to moor up in this area just after our first lock, but unfortunately there were no digital TV signal, and hardly any WiFi – so we ventured on….

We continued down the two last (giant) locks of the Aire & Calder Navigation.

At Woodlesford Lock, the area had several beautiful flower beds, one of them had a plaque saying the plants were gift from John Sergent, while filming “Barging About Canals”.

 

As we cruised, we were well aware Leeds was looming up before us.

At Leeds Sanitary Station we stopped at the large pontoon of the service area. We tucked (moored) Cyan at the end of the pontoon, while still leaving ample room for several boats to moor up, and access the water points. I know we’re naughty, but we’re not disturbing or being a nuisance to anyone.

We’re also moored up by the ‘Armoury Museum’ – right next to a jousting ground.

We intended to leave first thing this morning, but again we woke to heavy rain. Looking at the weather forecast, we hope to be off tomorrow morning early. Lock #1 of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal is just around the corner.

We’ve travelled 5.5 miles, and 3 gigantic (but fully automated) locks.

 

Rain Rain, Go Away!

We were geared up to leave on Monday, until we saw the weather forecast. Luckily we didn’t have any pressing place to go, so we thought we’d sit tight, moored up in Stanley Ferry until the weather front changed.

After ‘sitting’ out the weather for 2 days, we decided during a break in the rain (around 3 pm) to move on towards the mooring at the top of Birkwood Lock (#2) as advised by our map.

We’d overstayed our 48 hour mooring, and we were anxious to move on.

Fascinating to watch the ‘big’ boats passing us by.

Arriving at the ‘planned’ moorings, we found several boats already moored up, there was no space for us. We find this happens a lot, boats who have obviously moored up for quite a while, are taking up spaces on 48 hour moorings. Not to worry, we decided to go down the lock and take our luck in finding a mooring further on.

The locks on the Aire & Calder Navigation are ‘automatic’, you just need a C&RT key to work them. I ‘hovered’ Cyan on the river, while John, being more technical worked the huge lock.  It’s always daunting tackling something new, and this ‘automatic lock technology’ was intimidating on this gigantic lock. There are instructions to follow, but despite the instructions John was really pleased when two C&RT lockies turned up at the lock on some other business. John was ‘professionally’ instructed on how to use the lock.

After picking up John at the bottom of the lock, we cruised down the river looking for a possible moorings. On descending down the next mammoth lock, Kings Head Road Lock (#3), the rain started getting heavy, we quickly scanned the Nicholson’s Guide, and I couldn’t see any mooring spaces.

At the next lock, Woodnook Lock (#4), we took the decision to moor up on the lock landing/waterpoint where there was a sign saying we could stay for “One Hour Only”. The rain was by now roaring down! After lighting the fire, eating our dinner, and enjoying a glass of wine, our conscience was eased.

The next day the rain had eased off, and just as we were leaving, an entering the lock, a Lockie turned up. We explained to him why we had moored at the waterpoint, he said the C&RT weren’t worried about people like us, as we were constantly moving. The “One Hour” sign was for those boaters who moor up for days/weeks/months at a time.

Out of the lock we cruised the River Calder through spots of rain and sunshine.

Much better idea to use locks instead of the weirs

Eventually we intrepidly approached Lemonroyd Lock, the biggest lock of them all! With the rain now coming down in stair-rods as we approached the lock, and it was a glorious sight to see the lock doors opening for us.  We thought at first a lock keeper was on duty, until we saw another boat entering the lock in front of us.

Inside the lock (which could accommodate around 6 boats), I called up to the lady who was working the lock, asking if she was with the boat in front. When she said “Yes” we did feel a bit cheeky having her lock us up in the lock.  She was very nice, and explained it would be a good idea if we attached one of our ropes to one of the long vertical bars fitted down the wall of the lock, to steady our boat. Glad she was there to advise, as the water coming into the mammoth lock was fierce.

At the top of the lock was a huge open space, with mooring spaces.  “This’ll do for us”, we thought! Plus services were close by.

With lots of areas for Rusty to stretch his legs.

Over two days we’ve travelled 8.4 miles, and 4 (mammoth) locks.

Big Boats And Little Boats

We descended down the last three locks of the Calder & Hebble, and what BIG babies they were too! The last one Fall Ing Lock (no that’s not a spelling mistake) could have fitted 4 Cyans in comfortably. But poor John, the lock beams were gigantic too, and took quite a lot of shifting.

With John, safely on board Cyan. We continued our journey, which is now on the Aire and Calder Navigation.

The River Calder is beautiful, and today she was serine, though there’s plenty of evidence by the rubbish caught high in the bushes on the bank, that the river rises quite a bit.

There appears to be quite a colony of herons on this stretch of the river, and I just managed to snap this one just before he took off in flight. Amazing really, they appear to be able to jump up and fly, like a jump jet, if a little ungainly!

Eventually we turned off the River Calder, turning left onto a part of the Aire & Calder Navigation.

How beautifully constructed the towpath is on this canal…

We saw this boat in the distance, and couldn’t quite work out how big it was, until we got nearer:

She dwarfed ‘little’ Cyan… though I read there’s much bigger ones in this area.

We were aiming for Ramsden, but didn’t realise just what a great place it is. There are lots of big wide beams and little boats (we rudely call them ‘yogurt pots’). Everyone, all appearing to be enjoying the water.

After carrying out service duties, rubbish, cassettes, water (after 30 minutes we gave up on the water as it was slow!), we found a nice little spot for mooring. The mooring is a C&RT 48 hour mooring.

Our mooring’s a few steps from the ‘Stanley Ferry’ pub – where we had a nice drink at lunchtime.

We thought we’d stay at this lovely place for the weekend, probably moving Monday, depending of course on the weather.

Within sight is the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct; built between 1836 and 1839 to take the Aire and Calder Navigation over the River Calder. It is one of the earliest arch bridges in the world, and is considered to be the longest span aqueduct built in cast iron.  The aqueduct has a span of 165 feet (50 m), a width of 24 feet (7.3 m) and a depth of 8.5 feet (2.6 m).

We did 3 locks, 6 miles. Mooring where WiFi is 35 Mbps.