The Seven Jackson’s Hillock Locks

Our aim for the day was to decend the 7 locks called Jackson’s Hillock Locks. Despite hearing the rain lashing on Cyan’s roof during the night, the day began relatively pleasant, weather-wise.

We left our mooring at about 10:00 a.m, after the decision that breakfast could ‘wait’ today.

We checked both the BBC’s weather website, and Accuweather website, and both results were conflicting. The BBC’s weather website forecast a dry day, while Accuweather said it was going to rain for a couple of hours around 11:00. We’re pleased to announce, the BBC’s weather forecast was the one that was accurate.

But just in case Accuweather turned out to be the accurate one, we took a picture of a few sunbeams while we could.

We cruised past a very salubrious bat’s residence. Basically it’s an add-on to an old concrete tower.

The journey was quite pleasant to Johnson’s Hillock Toplock, where we stopped to use the services. We also took the opportunity to have a sausage sandwich, and coffee for our belated breakfast.

Have to say the locks were hard work. We went down the locks by ourselves, but we were helped at the problematic first two locks by locals (think they were from the boatyard at the top of locks) who were taking down a wide beam behind us, they needed to drop the wide beam down two locks, turn the boat around, and then take it back up. Only half the mechanism on the top lock worked, which took ages to empty. The second lock was the same, except it was hard to fill it up as the water leaked out the bottom gates almost as quickly as we were filling it. One of the guys was very critical of the C&RT, saying the lock mechanism has been broken for three years.

There were lots of gongoozlers about, though these day I just get on with the locks, I used to worry cos I hadn’t put makeup on – oh the errors of my ways!

We were very lucky with the bottom two locks, they were full of water.

It’s a great sense of achievement getting through the locks as they are not the easiest.

After the locks we were rewarded with glorious sunshine, and a very pleasant cruise to where we are moored tonight, at Giles Bridge (#73).

The brickwork for some of these bridges are awesome, I can’t imagine how they were built.

While we were mooring up, people were watching us from the bridge eating huge ice cream cones.  When a couple passed us walking along the towpath each with an ice-cream, we couldn’t help but ask where the ice cream came from. We were told it’s from a shop called ‘Fredericks’ which is 100m from the bridge (see their website).

Of course an investigation was in order. I had to literally queue out in the road for our ice-cream. There must have been about six families in front of me, all with children, and they were choosing which homemade ice-cream from a range of about 50 flavours. Then they could choose which ice-cream cone, a chocolate covered one, or one covered with sprinkles, there were more but I didn’t delve. Before they received their ice cream, they could choose which sauce, chocolate, toffee, raspberry….. of course these decisions takes time! John had a ‘rum and raisin’ one, I had a ‘mint and chocolate chip’ one, both were in a chocolate covered cone, with chocolate sauce on the top.

The last time we had ice-cream, it was from a Mr Whippy van in Gargrave, two 99’s cost £6.50! Today our ‘luxury’ ice-cream cost us £4!

It was funny, when I returned with the ice-creams, on the towpath near Cyan, a lady cyclist was sitting on a stone. She’d just finished a milkshake from Fredericks, saying it was absolutely lovely, they’d used fresh bananas to make it! She reminded me of ‘Winnie the Poo’, with his pot of honey!

Today we’ve done about 11 miles, and 7 locks. We’re moored with 8Mg of Wifi, and a good digital TV signal.

Tonight we’ll be listening to the Proms on BBC4, as they’re ‘doing’ Ella (Fitzgerald)! We’ve been looking forward to this all week!


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