Monday 2nd April 2012
We didn't get as far as expected today. After the reported trouble with bridge 199, I cycled up to it this morning and it all looked ok, no workmen fussing around and no notices to say out of order. Because I didn't want to disrupt the traffic any longer than necessary I waited for Ian and Cath to come around the corner before starting to operate the controls. It wasn't to be. The manually operated road gates would not lock into the closed position, so the bridge just wouldn't allow me to swing it.
A quick call to BW and they had someone out in about 30 minutes. They told me that this bridge has been a pain in the **** for some time now, constantly breaking down. They bypassed the safeties and got us on our way.
I then cycled up to the next bridge, which was also electrically operated. In with the key, press the button and ---- nothing. The display lit up with FAULT, under/over voltage. This time the bridge was under the control of Bradford Council, so another phone call was made. The voice on the other end of the line reckoned he would get in touch with the man in charge and have someone there in about 15 -20 minutes. After about 40 minutes I decided to call again to see if anything was happening. It turned out that the engineer had left his keys at home, so had to go and retrieve them before coming to our rescue. He eventually turned up and duly reset the controls and started the bridge operation for us. Just then a van drove up the bridge, and despite the flashing lights and moving barriers drove onto the bridge. But by then the far side barrier was too far gone for him to make his escape! The engineer didn't bother stopping the operation, just gave the van driver a piece of his mind and told him he'd have to stay there, on the bridge while it finished it's cycle.
By now, because of the delay, we had built up a queue a boats waiting to get through so the traffic was held up for some time while we all got through. We now had a nice little convoy of boats so I didn't have to get off again to swing bridges as turns were taken as normal. The only consequence of the delays was that we decided not to get to Skipton today, but have now stopped in Silsden for the night, and if the weather forecast is correct we may well stay tomorrow if the threatened rain appears.