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

2 thoughts on “The Start Of The Liverpool To Leeds Canal

  1. Hi both
    Have you picked up the stoppage above Apperley Bridge at Dobson’s Locks today? I’m probably a bit late, you’re maybe already there!

    • Hi, thanks Geoff. Just discovered your message. Yes, we’re through Dobson’s locks. Didn’t see any signs of work, but sadly there was a fatality at the lock just before we got there. A lockie said it was an 80+ year old man, which was a suicide, another boater said it was a 60ish year old who lost balance after drinking – very sad either way. The lock-keeper found the body in the lock at 6.30am. So maybe that was the stoppage? Trust you’re both keeping well and enjoying the sunny weather. Thank you for thinking of us! John and Jen x

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