Time to Fix the Stove.

Summer maintenance of the multi fuel stove is a task most boat owners put off, like me, until the last minute.

The flue was swept on an earlier sunny day so it remained to replace the firebricks and the broken glass in the door.

The door glass accidentally cracked, to be fair the glass was due for replacement as it had started to look like crazy paving which is a sign that the glass could shatter at some point. The bricks were worn and cracked and replacements were purchased end of April, from a canal side chandlers at the Middlewich/Trent & Mersey junction.

I enquired about a replacement glass and was staggered to find locally a small piece of glass  priced at almost £40.00!

Boaters who C.C. understand the problems related to goods shipped to an address when cruising the network! I spoke with the staff at Skipton Post Office and confirmed I could have a package delivered to the Post Office for colection.

During yesterday morning I sourced a replacement glass from fastglassdirect.co.uk  in Aberdeen, at half the local price with free 1st class postage. A user friendly website,  easily identified the glass for our stove and placed my order. Gave Fast Glass the address and waited….

This morning a mobile call from Skipton P.O confirmed the package was with them!  Ordered at 1.20pm from Aberdeen and delivered to Skipton by 11.00am the following morning………..Well done the Post Office! Well done Fast Glass Direct!

While the rain *issed down this afternoon the glass and fire bricks were installed, …..out of the rain a little sunshine..etc..job done! (I will give the stove a clean tomorrow)

 

Wet dog in a narrow boat!

Well looks like we have missed the summer here in Yorkshire, The rain gods have taken to thoroughly washing the area. It has not stopped raining hard for 24 hours and there is more forecasted.

We are moored in a convenient spot with access to the town and country park, but with everywhere awash and the towpath under water attempts to keep the inside of the boat dry are challenging……Even more so, when needs must Rusty has to step outside. The only folk in the park are other dog owners all faced with similar problems……Joggers and baby buggies are all absent.

Returning to CYAN and avoiding transfer of rainwater and mud from the deck into the salon is a problem, add to that Rusty shaking hard to dry his coat is a nightmare! He then ventures into the boat and finds a suitable place to dry out, all 40 kgs of him…………Just hope the sun will return soon to Yorkshire…….

Looks like we will need to light the fire tonight…..ahhhh thats another story.

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.