Saturday, 29 September 2012

Saturday 29th September 2012
It looks as if we're here for the winter now. We will of course be taking short runs out, the first will hopefully be to Supreme Marine at Castleford for blacking and other work.
Today looked to be the best weather of recent times so we decided to go for a wander up to Roundhay Park just to get some fresh air. It's a lovely place, with a tropical house for kids of all ages, it even boasts a canal, but I think calling it that is being generous in the extreme.
By the time we had returned to the boat the wind was already blowing hard, so the rain can't be too far behind.

The Canal at Roundhay
Add caption

Sun at Clarence Dock in late September

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tuesday 25th September 2012

It certainly looks like it was a very good call to get back to Leeds!
As the rest of the country will know we've had a little bit of rain recently.
Sunday morning wasn't too bad, Liz picked Cath up in her car and they went shopping while I got on with a bit of boatwork. Cath returned in time to beat the expected rain, but a couple of hours later it started. It seems to have been raining ever since.
Yesterday we we just sat in the boat, doing not a lot, enjoying the rest and the sound of rain on the roof.
This morning I took the camera out and got some photos of water levels around here. I'll put some of them on here, but unless you're familiar with the normal state of things it may not mean a lot.
While I was out there I met a chap from Leeds City Council Emergency Team surveying the state of the river. Millennium Bridge had been closed overnight because the steps leading up were flooded, but the river has actually dropped a bit this morning but he told me that they expect it to rise again during the day. There are sand bags already in place at the flats on the North bank, just across the river from The Armouries.
The bad news is that I will have to go out to empty our can some time today, not looking forward to that.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Saturday 22nd September
Friday morning dawned dank and damp. Later on it started to brighten up so we decided to move on a bit nearer Leeds.
Castleford Flood Lock was closed, but available for self operation. The indicator board at the upstream end showed just below the red so we continued heading for Lemonroyd. Once there we found the indicator board in the red. It had started to rain again so we decided to stop once we were through the lock. There were a couple of C&RT guys at the lock so I asked what the chances were of Clarence Dock gates being open. It turns out that they were shut this morning, but with the weather expected to clear overnight they should be open in the morning.
The rain continued to pound down for the rest of the afternoon, but the weatherman kept promising Saturday would be fine.
This morning dawned bright and clear so we set off. Our intention was to get to the dock, if it was shut we could tie up on the pontoon just below Leeds Lock and wait for the river to go down.
At Knostrop Falls Lock the indicator was well in the green and I asked a C&RT man there and he confirmed that Clarence Dock was open.
We arrived back on our mooring at about 10.30. A short walk into town to get the all important bottle of wine for tonight and now we've settled in for the day.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday 20th September 2012
Castleford again. As we suspected, we got up this morning to find it raining. A glance at the Met Office site and we decided to settle down for the day.
However, by 11.15 the sky was brightening so we put the kettle on for coffee and agreed that if it looked ok by the time we'd finished it we would  set off for Castleford. The reason for this is the lack of facilities at Ferrybridge, and if the rain get worse tomorrow, as they predict, we may get a bit low on water and also need somewhere to dump a can.
The sky continued to brighten so we set off. It only sprinkled a bit of rain during the journey, Bulholme Lock was manned when we got there, we only had to wait while one of the commercial barges cleared the lock and we were in, without anyone having to lift a finger.
We've once again tied up at Castleford, near the services. If the prediction about weather are correct we'll stay here tomorrow. After that we aren't sure but the current thinking is to do a couple of short days on the way back to Leeds. I reckon it's a bit early in the year for that, but fine days are getting fewer.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A lovely clear autumn day. Wall to wall sunshine as we cast off for Ferrybridge.
Birkwood and Kings Road locks were in our favour and someone was rising in Woodnook, so we had an easy ride as far as Castleford where the flood lock was also open.
Bulholme Lock did need our attention, but all went smoothly. Carrying on we passed the monster that is Ferrybridge Power Station and hence to Ferrybride Lock. Getting off the boat on the at the upstream end of Ferrybridge Lock is awkward, the quayside is the same height as the top of a narrow boat. I jumped off and started to cycle the lock, Cath brought Lyra in and as I walked to the other end of the lock to operate the the downstream sluices and gates the sluices started all by themselves. While I had been operating the other end of the lock, the keeper had arrived to deal with a commercial boat which was due, so she had completed our cycle for us.
After mooring up for the day I took a quick look at tomorrow's weather. I got a bot of a shock there. According to the Met Office the next two days are supposed to be very wet. If they're right we will probably stay put.
While we were passing Whitworth Wharf this morning there was a boat being loaded with sand. Have a look at how low his stern is.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tuesday 18th September 2012
The day looked lovely when we got up this morning. After breakfast I dumped some rubbish and a can before casting off.
We'd just let go the last rope when it started to sprinkle a little rain, Cath asked if we should carry on or wait it out. Having just cast off I wasn't going to try and moor up again straight away, anyway it was just a sprinkle. Oh yeah! It soon turned into a deluge, it only lasted about 15 minutes, but of brother, it RAINED.
Just as quickly as it appeared the sky cleared and out came the sun, just in time for the first lock.
This is one just like Leeds Lock, a duel size, with 3 sets of gates, but only the short set powered up and in use. This short pound is only just long enough for Lyra, it's probably 62 ft.
That was the last powered lock on this canal. At Fall Ing Lock the navigation takes a turn off the river for a short canal section. Strangely this lock is large, but isn't powered. Those gates and paddles are very heavy!
Just after the lock there are some permanent moorings, and at the end of that line there are some visitor moorings. We tied up there and I took a wander into town to get a few things we needed, milk and salad stuff.
On the walk in I crossed an old bridge over The Calder, which has been superseded by a large road crossing. From the bridge you get a good view of a lovely wier, and on the bridge there is a chantry chapel, it boasts of being one of only 4 in the country, and is still in use twice a month.
The picture of the chapel isn't mine, I pinched it from the web.

If you can zoom this pic check out the sign on the bridge

Monday, 17 September 2012

Monday 17th September 2012
A fine day. Damon came over this morning and took me into Normanton to get red diesel, then ran Cath and I into Wakefield to get some more paint. We're in the throws of tarting up the table in the well deck. I made it a few years ago, and the varnish is looking a bit past it. After rubbing it down we decided to paint it this time. What colour? I wanted to do it in the cream which I used for the cratch 'A' frame, or even the same blue used for the boat. But Cath had other ideas, so off we went to B&Q to look at colour choices. The choice was limited, and we finally settled on a light blue.
Back at the boat the three of us went to the local pub for a very nice lunch before Damon had to leave.
This afternoon I finished off sanding down and under coating the table ready for the gloss tomorrow.
We plan to take the boat down to Wakefield tomorrow and if we find some mooring I'll do a bit of shopping for fruit and veg, if not we'll turn around and go to Castleford.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sunday 16th September 2012
Yesterday the Met Office web site were showing rain starting in our area around 10.00 am. We got up at about 7.30 this morning, guess what? it's raining. It didn't last long though.
After a very indulgent breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches I emptied a can at the facility before setting off for Stanley Ferry.
Although the rain had stopped there was a chill breeze blowing as we cruised along the Aire and Caulder. 
At Fairies Hill there is a gravel wharf which is still used by the big commercial craft, but today is Sunday so we don't expect to meet any of the monsters. But there is still an obstacle here. Right on the corner, opposite the wharf entrance there is a hidden sand bank just waiting for someone to cut the corner a bit. Having been one of those unwary boaters in the past I now give it a wide berth.
In good weather this is a fine piece of countryside to cruise through, but autumn is coming, the sky is grey, and there is a hint of the colour to come in some of the trees.
The rain held off, in fact the sun put in an appearance for all of 5 minuets, and we arrived at Stanley Ferry after a couple of hours. The moorings here were nearly empty, so we got a good spot not too close to the pub, but not way out in the boondocks.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Saturday 15th September 2012
Woke up this morning to the promised sunshine. We had intended to get going on our way to Stanley Ferry by mid morning but a call from Liz the other day asking us to look after Danny for short while this morning changed our plans.
Dan was duly delivered about 9.30 this morning and we had a great time paddling his balance bike around the area in front of The Armouries before retiring back to the boat to do some colouring. This is the first time we've been left alone with him on the boat. Can't wait 'till he's old enough to take out for a trip without too much supervision.
After he was picked up we cast adrift and headed down river, aiming to overnight at Castleford. The sun continued to shine, but the wind took a lot of the heat out of it.
Leeds, Knostrop Fall, Fishpond and Woodlesford locks were all in our favour making progress slightly faster than expected. At Lemonroyd Lock there was someone coming up so the wait wasn't long. We arrived at Castleford after about 4 1/2 hours travelling, leaving us a shortish day tomorrow when the weather isn't supposed to be too good.
Among the pics I've uploaded is one of "Concrete Bridge", it just fascinates me, they name the bridges over the river, and someone came up with such an imaginative name for this one.
The sunken narrow boat at Woodlesford wasn't there when we were here last Saturday, so it's happened very recently.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wednesday 12th September 2012
That's the quack sorted for another few months. As usual Boots couldn't fill the prescription without ordering more, so tomorrow will do.
We were going to watch "The Bourne Legacy" this afternoon but when we checked the times again it turned out that it wasn't being shown today. Yesterday and tomorrow, but not Wednesday!
After visiting the quack's we went for a bit of a shopping spree, well that's a bit strong for a couple of mags, some new PJs and some smalls, but sitting still is so boring even that is a highlight.  It isn't really that bad, I've been getting on with small jobs which have been neglected while cruising, and Jeff, from "Bendigo" has shown me another, very good, solution to the problem of adjusting the length of the fenders to compensate for the varying heights of moorings so I'm now making up the new style for Lyra.
On the subject of moving, we plan to take off again this Saturday and take a couple of days getting to Stanley Ferry.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Monday 10th September 2012
It's now Monday afternoon and we've fully settled in. Jeff, off Bendigo came along Saturday evening and told us they would be moving from our mooring early, so we decided not to put any more money into the electric meter on the one we were on.
We were still in bed when we heard Bendigo moving. Lazy toads aren't we?
We finally got our posteriors off the pit, and after breakfast set to moving the boat. There was no wind in the basin so it all went smoothly, and now we're tied up in our own little slot. BW, or should I say the C&RT have even put a sign on the quay "Lyra only". Thankfully, one of the worries about this slot, would we see the Sky satellite? didn't happen, and all is well
The neighbours seem a friendly bunch,  Sally, Jeff's other half, organises a monthly outing for all the moorers. We won't be able to attend the next one as we probably will be out cruising, but with winter coming we'll no doubt join then.
This morning we went up town to do some shopping, and this afternoon I changed the remaining incandescent lamps in the boat to LED, and then finally got on with modifying the table which I made for the well deck. Cath wanted it to move forward further, and for this to happen I had to cut a slot out of the base to accommodate the water tank filler or it wouldn't stand flat on the deck.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Saturday 8th September
We decided last night to get a good start this morning and get to Leeds early.
Duly, we were on our way by just gone 8.00 o'clock. The weather was glorious, wall to wall sunshine and hardly a breath of wind. We cracked along a seemingly deserted navigation to Fishpond Lock. We always seem to forget that this one is there, and are surprised when we check the map for the day ahead, "oh yes, Fishpond Lock, forgot about that". It seems to be in the middle of nowhere, not unusual for a lock I suppose but it just seems remote for some reason.
Knostrop Fall Lock and then Leeds Lock and we were there, home.
It sounds strange to call somewhere home after 3 years of wandering, but having spent last winter here, and hope to make Leeds our final destination if we ever have to give up travelling, it does feel like home.
Steering into Clarence Dock we found that someone else had purloined our mooring and all the visitor  moorings were full, so we took an empty pontoon (reserved for another boat, but they weren't here) and went to see what was going on. "Bendigo", the boat on our mooring, was in fact from the live-aboard moorings between the flats and had moved there ready to go out with friends later in the week. I said they could stay as we had somewhere down the line to tie up, and they would be gone tomorrow so we would move then.
As soon we had completed the ritual of hookup and tune the satellite I dived into town for a haircut. What a relief, it was getting out of hand.
This afternoon Damon, Liz and Daniel will be coming along with our mountain of post and hopefully my electric razor, which I had left behind on our last visit. How I missed that thing, I hate wet shaving! We'll all go out for dinner tonight, nothing fancy, just Pizza Express.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Friday 7th September 2012
After a quiet night at Ferrybridge we set off this morning to get to Castleford. This is a short journey, made even easier by the flood lock being open (lack of rain).
On reaching Castleford  we stopped as intended to visit the boat yard where we hoped to get Lyra blacked at the end of this season, and to enquire about some extra work we'd like done, such as fitting a high efficiency silencer, checking out the rudder bearings and putting some sound proofing in the engine compartment.
After looking around the yard and talking to the man there I feel confident of the job they'll do.
The day was still fairly young when I'd finished at the yard, Castleford flood lock was also open, so we decided to carry on further towards Leeds, which will make tomorrow's run shorter, allowing us time for some shopping before Damon and Liz arrive to go out for dinner. Lemonroyd moorings was a definite no-no for stopping, the smell of the local effluent plant is overpowering.
We went as far as Woodesford Lock before stopping for the night. This must be the prettiest lock on The Aire and Caulder. Someone does take care around here as can be seen from the pictures.
My decision to book the Castleford yard was given a boost when I got talking to another boat owner on the moorings here. He had just had his boat blacked there and was very pleased with the standard of work done.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Thursday 6th September 2012
A nice lazy start today. Last night I had a word with Geoff on Seyella and we decided to share the locks up as far as Knottingley, where the waterway splits. We turn left for Castleford and Leeds, while they are heading right, onto the the River Aire and thence to Selby and the River Ouse to York.
Pollington and Whitley locks were traversed with ease, and we said our goodbyes to them, we may meet again some time as we tramp the canals.
We are now tied up at Ferrybridge Lock. We had planned to eat in The Golden Lion this evening but when I checked they aren't serving food tonight just our lick. Not the end of the world, it looks like we're having burgers tonight now.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wednesday 5th September 2012
We had a quiet night at Stainforth and set off about 8.33 with a lock and several swing/lift bridges to do.
Bramwith Lock is a strange one, a double chamber, hand operated. I suppose the double chamber allows longer boats where needed.
Turning on to the main line heading north we started the bridges, they're all powered, so no muscle needed. Here we joined a plastic boat and they opened the first bridge for us, in the usual style we did the next, but on reaching the third, Kirkhouse Green Lift Bridge, we hit a snag They got to it but when they tried to open it all that happened was that the road warning lights started to flash, then nothing. Unfortunately at that point it won't let you have your key back and you can't stop the lights. So, while we waited for help someone had to stay on the road and tell the traffic that the lights didn't mean anything.
By the time rescue arrived we had amassed quite a flotilla of boats. The next lock was a big one and took all the boats on one go. The last bridge was ours to open so we ended up tail end as we finished the South Yorkshire Navigations and turned onto the Aire and Calder. The convoy broke up here and some moored up, some turned for Goole and two of us headed west. We travelled as far as Pollington Lock and have moored here for the night and have been joined here by Geoff and Margaret on Seyella, who we shared to trip down the Trent with.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tuesday 4th September 2012
Being a bit unfair maybe, but Keadby seems to be the end of the world. I took a wander around last night and there didn't appear to be anything there except the lock and some marine services.
About 1/4 of mile along the canal from our mooring there is a railway bridge across the canal. In the book it's marked as a "sliding bridge". it's the noisiest thing you can imagine when a train goes over it. Although it was a fair way from us, whenever one of the long freight trains crossed it there was an almighty clang, clang, clang sound that seemed to carry a huge distance.
When we got to it this morning I was intrigued to find out how it worked, but unfortunately I couldn't get to watch it because I had to move the boat fairly smartly so as not to hold up any trains. I did see though, that it definitely does appear to slide back into itself. I was also surprised to see a house next to the track. How anyone could live with that noise I don't know.
This place is full of surprises, as well as that interesting sliding bridge I've seen several manned level crossings. I thought they had all gone.
We're on the Stainforth and Keadby canal, part of the South Yorkshire Navigations. For the most part it is straight line boring, linked by the occasional corner. But at least you can see over the banks. This time of year the scenery isn't that inspiring, the fields are mostly hay bales and the trees haven't turned to colours yet.
We've moved down as far as Stainforth and moored up for the night. I took a walk into town, it appeared pretty dead, but when I asked someone local about shopping I was pointed to a shopping centre about a mile out of the village which appeared to be quite thriving, there's even a small Asda.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Monday 3rd September 2012
This morning dawned bright, just as promised for a change. There were three of us preparing to head down river this morning, 2 of us to Keadby and the third was stopping at West Stockwith. The lock keeper had advised us that between 10.30 and 10.45 was the best time to start our journey. This would would put us pushing against the incoming tide for around the first hour, then, as the tide turned we would be riding ebb flow.
At about 10.45 we headed into the river. As expected, the early going was a bit slow against the tide. At high speed cruising revs we were only making about 3mph. After about an hour, the incoming flow eased and our speed over the ground increased steadily. About an hour later we were flying along at 8mph.
The river was at its best today, and we couldn't have wished for better weather as we cruised along under clear sky and only a gentle breeze.
By the time we reached the M180 bridge over the river, our landmark to call the Keadby lock keeper with about 2.5 miles to run, we were bang on time.
Luckily, the boat we were with was experienced with how to enter this lock. It's tricky. Heading downstream, as we were, you first had to pass the lock entrance, and then wind so that you're heading into the flow of water. Then you must move in close to the wall and fight the current as you creep forward. At the last second you turn hard to get your bow into the lock. Luck was with us and we made it perfectly. The lock keeper reckons it's not often he gets two boats that come in without hitting one of the sides.
We're now moored up just past the lock for the night. Tomorrow it looks like we'll be facing a lot of swing and lift bridges.
On a note of interest we once again came across something that has me intrigued, the maps call them "mooring dolphins". I was expecting to find something that floated, but no, they're just like large fencing to moor against. Why are they called dolphins?

Mooring dolphin?

Heading into the river

Not to be argued with

West Stockwith power station

What a carpet of weed we faced once off the river

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Saturday 1st September 2012
We set off from Cromwell Lock, accompanying RAGGED ROY. The trip took us just under 3 hours, and the charts we got from Roy were very useful.
Arriving at Torksey, Roy went straight into the ready lock while we winded and moored up on the tidal river.
Our plan had been to spend tonight here at Torksey, then move on to Gainsborough for Sunday night, and finally on to Keadby Monday.
Talking to the Cromwell lock keeper this morning things changed. The tides are presently in spring mode, and this means there is a chance of an aegir, the local name for a tidal bore. With this a possibility, we were advised that Gainsborough was not an ideal place to moor up. After seeing the pictures of what happens to the floating pontoons as the bore passes I can understand the warning!
It looks now as if we'll spend tomorrow here and then run up to Keadby on Monday. Once again on the lock keepers advice, we will set off about 10.45 for the approximately 4 1/2 hour trip in order to reach Keadby at the right tide time to get into the lock.