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.