Sunday, 30 October 2011

After spending the night below Leeds lock, this morning we have moved up into Clarence Dock and taken up our allotted  mooring for the winter. Hopefully the winter won't be as harsh as last years and we may be able to get out and about in any fine spells of weather.
There's a small Tesco very close so any supplies we need in a hurry should be ok. There is also a bus stop quite close, so if we're feeling lazy we don't even have to walk into town. I hope to get some pics of our surroundings for anyone interested.

Friday, 28 October 2011

A fine autumn morning at Stanley Ferry
Friday 29th October
We awoke to a fine autumn morning. The sun was shining and there was mist on the water.
Setting off we were hailed by one of the boats moored up near us asking if we were going towards Leeds. We were, so they joined us to share the locks.
It was great just puttering along in bright sunshine. Sharing locks also makes life easier, saves the finger ache on the buttons. I know! We're getting lazy!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Monday 24th October
Had great weekend looking after Daniel, first time we've been left along with the little tyke, you forget how much energy they have.
Damon delivered us back to the boat on Sunday night and this morning we set off intending to get to Stanley Ferry.
All went well except that when picking Cath up from a lock landing I hit the side a bit harder than I should have and unbeknown to us something in the cupboard fell down and knocked the generator switch to off. This meant the battery wasn't being charged and worse than that, we had the heater working to dry some clothes and it took so much power that it drained the main battery. We now have to run the engine for a lot longer than planned to get the power level back up.
We're at Stanley Ferry now and will probably stay here tomorrow as well.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Saturday extra!!!
After a long time fighting with Orange over an issue with my mobile broadband not working with Google Maps, the issue has at last been resolved.
This is the 4th or 5th time I have spent time (a long time) on the phone to their 'experts' trying all sorts of solutions, none of which worked and I was getting to the point of telling them where to put their dongle. Today I got someone who went away and researched to problem, came back 3 hours later with the answer. It turns out that the dongle uses a programme called "accelerator" which can be turned on or off, For most things it needs to be on, but for Google maps you must turn it off or maps is blocked. Heavens knows why, it just is.
Daniel, looking very cool
Saturday 22/10/11
Liz picked us up as planned around noon Friday. As I said the other day she is going to a LARP meeting in Leicester, but true to form things didn't go to plan. First she was caught up in a traffic jam due to an accident on the M1, then getting us all back to Leeds a wrong turn made the trip a bit longer than planned. She finally got away about 4ish, only to have to turn around and come home again because her car was overheating. She arrived back about 8.00 and when Damon got home from work she took his car and set off again. One of those days you want to forget.
We've settled in for a weekend of grand parenting and so far have survived.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday 21st October
On Wednesday morning I jumped out of bed (well crawled) early in order to get to the doctor's surgery early, hoping to be among the first to be seen. It worked, I was in fact first in the queue and was out again by just after 8.30.  This left plenty of time for our trip down river, heading to Castleford. We were joined by Ermantrude, a narrowboat crewed by a singlton heading back to his mooring at Melbourne on the River Derwent, he had asked if we minded his joining us to make life easier for him in the locks.
The day was bright and cold as we chugged our way through the countryside. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get to Castleford and we moored up about 2.00 o'clock.
Thursday we set off again, intending to return to Leeds where Liz could pick us up for our weekend playing grand parents. Damon is working and Liz has a L.A.R.P event so our being close worked out quite well.
Things didn't go quite to plan. Just as we got to the lock the keeper changed the light to red. There was a tanker coming and of course that takes precedence.
All went well as he slipped into the lock and out the other side, but then there was another large one coming down stream and the lock gates decided to jam. The lock keeper did a lot of running around and phoning. Finally she got a large hammer and hit the hinge bracket retaining pins a few times and the gate decided to work. This boat was a sand barge, and while the lock cycled I had an interesting conversation with the skipper. He's the 11th generation of his family to skipper boats in his family's business, which is the oldest family owned barge company in England.
After he had locked through, the keeper disappeared in her van to chase after the barge and operate the next lock for it, leaving us to wait for her return. Finally she came back and opened up the lock for us. All this had cost us about 2 hours, so we decided not to go all the way to Leeds and only go as far as Woodlesford, where Liz could pick us up.
This morning we did a bit of laundry while the batteries were charging. We will probably be away 3 days so I wanted to leave them topped up.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tuesday 18th October
Yesterday we moved up through Leeds Lock and into Clarence Dock. Damon kindly came and picked us up to do some provisioning at Morrison's.
I spent the afternoon on the computer waiting for BW to open the winter mooring web site. They finally did go live at about 3.15, but when I tried to book a place the site directed me to a dead end. There should have had an executable button at the end of the confirm details page, but it was missing. A call to BW and yes there was a problem and they were working on it.
To be fair to them they worked late on to fix it and I finally got a call at about 6.30 to say try it now. It worked! and we now have our winter mooring fixed up here in Clarence Dock, right next to The Armouries Museum.
This morning I went into town to find a surgery to renew my repeat prescription, a process which sometimes goes well and sometimes we find as many obstacles as they can place to make it difficult. This was one such place and I had to be quite obstinate to get them to admit that I could register as a temporary patient. The next obstacle is "we don't have any appointments available for 4 days". Luckily I've been told about this one. All surgeries are paid by the government to leave space in the morning for walk in patients and they admitted that if I turn up in the morning I will get an appointment to see a doctor.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday 16th October
A pleasant run today, 13 lock/miles along the Aire & Caulder, all the way into Leeds. We've moored up just below Leeds Lock and will probably move up into Clarence Dock. Tomorrow is supposed to be THE day. BW is supposed to open the winter mooring list and we're hoping to get a place here in Leeds, preferably Clarence Dock so it's fingers crossed.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday 15th October
We had a fine meal last night in The Golden Lion in Ferrybridge, right in the shadow of Ferrybridge A power station.
This morning, under wide and handsome clear skies we set off through Ferrybridge Lock and cruised along The Aire. The banks here are fairly high and wooded giving a tranquil scene. It surprised us that this late in the year there isn't much sign of autumn colours yet.
Arriving at Castleford we found the visitor moorings full, so after using the facilities we moved off and found a place on the opposite bank. I then took a walk into town for a bit of shopping. While there Cath phoned to say that we had moored in someone's long term spot and they wanted it back by 3.00 o'clock. By the time I returned other boats had turned up and we only just managed to squeeze in further down.
If all goes to plan we'll be in Leeds tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Selby Abbey
Friday 14th October
We took a couple of days pottering around Selby. It's a lovely place, with an enormous abbey which looks beautiful. How did a town this size get a building this big ?
Yesterday (Thurs) we left Selby and travelled as far as West Haddlesey where the lock takes you up onto the River Aire. As expected the recent rain had caused the river to rise into the red warning markers so we moored up for the night. I took a walk into the village, but there was nothing there but a few houses. No phone signal, hence no internet either.
This morning the river was down into the amber, and looked much tamer so we cycled the lock and headed up the river. The weather was overcast and cold, but at least it wasn't raining.
Two locks later we rejoined the Aire and Caulder navigation and have travelled as far as Ferrybridge lock where we intend to spend the night. The moorings here are quite good, they are meant to be secure, but someone has pinched the lock. it doesn't look unsafe here though. I took a wander into town this afternoon and investigated one of the local pubs which looks ok, so we intend to eat out tonight.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday 10th October
Despite the weather forecast, wet and windy, we decided to move today. We haven't shopped since Doncaster and the larder was getting low.
Dropping through Bank Dole lock took us onto the River Aire. The lock mooring on the river side was very awkwardly placed, making me have to turn around in the stream to pick Cath up and then turn again to head off downstream.
Here the river runs through high flood banks, twisting and turning in a way reminiscent of the upper Thames.
The flat countryside and high banks allow only the dominant features of Kellingley Colliery and Eggborough power station to be seen from the river.
Beal Lock was a lot easier to negotiate as the mooring was well placed, but all the locks had very heavy gates.
West Haddlesey, at the end of the river section presents a flood lock, which the book says is normally open and that caution is needed approaching it as the wind and currant can carry you into the lock wall. We found the gates closed, which gave us a bit of a problem trying to moor up facing downstream. Many boatmen will sympathize with our predicament.
Once through the lock we were on The Selby Canal and it was an easy cruise up to Selby itself. The only interruption was from a stranded boater we came across who had lost his steering control, so we gave him a tow back to his home mooring close by.
We've tied up in Selby basin and hope for better weather tomorrow.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday 9th October
What a windy day! This has been the windiest day I can recall us moving in. Setting off this morning it took a really good shove to get us off the side against the wind. We shared the lock with another boat and they operated the lock for us. We moored on the other side to use the facilities before carrying on.
As we cruised along we were very glad that this waterway is wide. The wind was taking us quite badly, and the waves on the water actually caused us to pitch and roll a bit. When we were caught up by a commercial tug boat it came past us at quite a lick causing even more waves.
Arriving at Bank Dole lock, which drops us down onto the River Aire proper, we took a look at the river and although the water level isn't high we decided not to continue today and have moored up here for the night.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Saturday 8th October,
This morning we set off in light drizzle to do the final 2 lift bridges of the New Junction Canal, but not before starting to watch the England - France rugby match on the tele. We gave up after a while as our team's performance looked pretty dire (this was confirmed by the final score later). At the junction we turned left onto the Aire & Caulder again. The precipitation continued as we plodded along this wide, mostly straight, and boring bit of our canal system. We finally got fed up with the rain and have moored up at Whitley Lock.
The forecast for tomorrow is none too clever either so a decision about moving will be left until then.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday 7th October
After an early morning provisioning raid on Tesco we finally shook the dust of Doncaster from our heels. Donny was a good place, plenty to see and do, good shopping and mooring, and, as an added bonus for us, because of our heating failure, we could get power as well. Just to be a bit picky, it could do with an elsan disposal point to make it near perfect.
We bowled along today, in a brisk cool wind with partly cloudy skies. The wind had quite a chilling effect when the sun was hidden, and blew the boat about a bit while mooring for locks or bridges.
We've stopped for the night just after Sykehouse Lock. I transferred some fuel from our barrel stock and reckon we've used about 100 lts in the 3 weeks since filling up at Stanley Ferry. However, on reflection, about a week of that was spent moored up and plugged in, so 2 weeks of running would be more accurate.
The pics I've added are of an aqueduct over the River Don, near the defunct Thorpe Marsh power station, which has huge guillotine gates at either end.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thursday 6th October
The heating is working again! The trouble was the master overheat stat. This just cuts off the fuel valve, but doesn't give any alarm code and allows the heater to cycle all the way through its start up and then just fail to light because there is no fuel.
Anyway we're back up and running and will finally leave Doncaster tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tuesday 4th October
We had to move today to empty our loo cassetts as there are no facilities here at Doncaster. It gave us a chance to buy an electric card from the BW people at Long Sandell lock. We've now returned to Doncaster while we make our mind up about the non working Hurricane heater.
We're having trouble with the supplier over this. Diagnosis over the phone is difficult, and their guarantee only seems to cover parts. This means we either take the unit to them, not really an option as it's very awkward and heavy to remove, or pay them an exorbitant fee to come and service it. At least £300. The man who makes the decisions at Calcutt, isn't available and no one knows when he'll come back.
We're back on a mooring at Doncaster and snugly plugged in, so all we do now is wait for more info from Calcutt Boats.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Monday 3rd October
It seems we are doomed to have bad luck with our heaters. The new (ish) Hurricane heater failed yesterday. I've spent several hours trying to diagnose the problem and now reckon that the fuel pressure regulator is the trouble. I've spoken to the supplier and hopefully they will get someone out in the next day or two to sort it out.
After spending another couple of hours diving in the engine compartment trying to fix the heater, Cath and I had a good day out in Doncaster. The museum is quite well done, but the art gallery leaves a lot to be desired.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday 1st October.
Just a few miles and 2 locks today. But not before having to recover one of our life rings from the river. Some charmer must have grabbed it off the roof and just chucked it. Luckily the river is very low and not flowing so the ring hardly went anywhere.
Last night we ate out a very good riverside pub called The Boat. We both enjoyed our meals immensely.
The weather has continued to be gloriously hot, doesn't suit Cath, but I love it.
Once again we're in Doncaster, and we may spend a day or two here again, but nothing is settled.

On another note I see that BW have postponed the date that winter moorings become available for purchase. They originally told us around the 4th of Oct but now it's back to the 17th.
There is a lovely viaduct over the Don which we cruised under. Sad to say that it's disused.