Thursday, 11 September 2014

Home again

Thursday 11th September
Setting of this morning from Rodley we must have just missed a pairing. We ended up following a pair down all the locks.
This is a long, arduous run into Leeds, 3 swing bridges, 13 locks and 7 miles. Many of the lock gates are very heavy, quite a few of the paddles don't work, and Lyra being the length she is can be awkward to position to so that the gates can be opened. All in all this is not a journey we look forward to.
When we reached River Lock, the last one of the day, we saw Dave and Jo with Grace and Favour were still moored up at Granary Wharf. Dave came across and helped us with the lock and we had a natter.
We're now back on our mooring at Clarence Dock. We had planned to go out tonight for a meal, but Cath didn't feel up to it so I'm going to pick up a pizza and we'll out, in.
Damon tell me that the new start battery I ordered has arrived so I will pick it up tomorrow.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Rodley again

Wednesday 10th September 2014
What could have been a disappointing evening last night turned out to be not bad at all.
We arrived at the bottom of the Bingley locks after a longish day of cruising. Our intention was to carry on another mile as far as The Fisherman's Rest. We had a good meal here back in about 2011, when we last came down the locks.
Arriving about 3.30 I decided to wander along and check out the menu. To my horror there was a notice in the window to say that due to staff holidays there would be no food after 6.00pm. After the first shock it dawned on me that we could still eat here, just a bit earlier than we planned.
Duly we arrived at the bar for 5.00 o'clock and were served a lovely meal, along with a decent bottle of wine. We got into conversation with a couple at the next table who turned out to be an ex REME mechanic for the Army Air Corps, who had been stationed at an airfield which I had done a lot of flying from myself (gliding and tugging, not helicopters).
Today we continued our homeward journey with another long day to reach Rodley. We luckily managed to team up with a hire boat that had a keen crew to do most of the locks and bridges with.
Here at Rodley I discovered that the town is very poorly served for shopping. I went into town to try to find cheese and a copy of MCN. I found 3 takeaways, 1 Turkish restaurant, 3 nail bars 2 hairdressers, 3 pubs, a furniture shop, a carpet shop, a gents outfitter, a dog grooming service, and a bridle shop. After walking for about 1/2 a mile I asked someone if there was a provision shop in town. Yes, I was told, there's an off licence come paper shop about 200 yds down the road, but it doesn't open until 3 pm. I duly found the place, it was, of course locked up tight, with no indication of when it was open. After waiting until just gone 3 o'clock someone else turned up expecting it to open so at least I wasn't alone in hoping it would. It eventually did, but it was primarily an offy, they had cheese, but no MCN. Ah well, glad I don't live here.

Monday, 8 September 2014

East Riddleston Hall

Monday 8th September 2014
Another cool, foggy morning as we awoke to the lovely views from our overnight mooring.
A few yards down the canal we came across the first of the days' 5 swing bridges.
Today's run wasn't going to be a long one so we pottered along slowly, no need to hurry as we were doing a wash load and charging the batteries.
By the time we reached our destination, East Riddleston Hall, the drying wasn't finished so we decided to have lunch and wait for it to finish before going for a look around the Hall.
We have been to the site before, when we came this way in 2007, not much has changed of course, but the garden has improved. I got a few piccys.
The Hall and lake 

 The view from the garden

 The River Aire, at the foot of the garden

 Dinner is served for this lovely butterfly

Someone left a cannon in the towpath

Sunday, 7 September 2014

On our way back home

Sunday 7th September 2014
A much better day weather wise. Cath had seen some shoes and a rather nice waterproof coat in a magazine flyer from Cotton Traders. There just happens to be one here in Skipton. It's Sunday so they don't open until 11 am and we decided to wait until then rather than heading off back home early.
This gave me a chance to try and remove the dead start battery from the engine compartment so that I could measure it up for a replacement. Any boaters reading this will know that it isn't easy lugging a battery out of the deep dark space that they always seem to be in. I finally managed it though.
Now that I've got it out I'm not yet convinced that it is dead, so must do some more checks before I go throwing money at a new one.
We walked up town later in the morning and arrived just in time to see them open up. They didn't have the shoes that Cath liked in stock, but the coat was there and is really good. It will get a good testing when we descend the Bingley 5 and 3 rise locks. They leak badly and there are fountains issuing from the top gates in most of the chambers.
We set off late morning on our return trip. First we went up to the Springs Branch in the middle of town in order to turn around, then stopped at the service area to dump a can and fill with water. I have to say that the water supply here is wonderful, I don't think we have ever filled Lyra's water tank so fast.
Soon we were on our way, with the prospect of many swing bridges to do. The first of which was Snaygill.
There is a rather nice looking Bistro canalside here, but we didn't get a chance to use it. We were told that the mooring here is very shallow so maybe it was a good thing we didn't try.
We did catch up with one of the day boats out of Skipton, it was full of folk dressed a pirates (very original-not). We opened the bridge for them and they thanked us and carried on, but we very soon caught them up again because they were really going slowly. At the next bridge they did finally manage to get it open and we carried on to get the next one ready. I opened it, but they were so far behind that I couldn't hold it any longer because traffic was building up. So we didn't really get a pairing going.
Just past Silsden we found a lovely spot to moor for the night, great views. So here we are, glass of wine for Cath and a whisky for me, relaxing, lovely.
This is the view from the boat.

One of those days

Saturday 6th September 2014
As the title suggests it was "one of those days". The weatherman promised us overnight rain, finishing up at about 10 am, then sunshine for the rest of the day.
It's not often they're right, and they were wrong again. The rain continued until about midday, we then decided it was safe to go and do a raid on the local Tesco. After hitting the isles and loading our trolley we headed outside only to find it was raining again.
Back on the boat we then waited for it to stop raining so that I could go into town and have a look around, maybe find somewhere to eat for the evening.
The rain duly eased off and I took myself for a wander. The fish and chip shop/restaurant looked just the job, Cath does like fish and chips. No sooner had I returned to the boat but it rained again, and continued to do so for the rest of the afternoon.
Luckily the rain stopped before we wanted to go out for the meal. The fish and chips were definitely up to standard, we enjoyed the meal and then wandered back to the boat for glass of wine and a coffee.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Continuing to Skipton

Friday 5th September 2014
This morning was the first really misty one we have encountered. This truly is the season of "mists and mellow fruitfulness".

Once again we had a lovely lazy start, no rushing at all. We hadn't been travelling long before we came across Laurimar again and paired up for the seemingly hundreds of swing bridges on this section of the canal. (well, there is a lot them anyway)
At Silsden Laurimar decided that they were going to stop for a visit to a laundrette, so we carried on. We weren't alone for more than a few yards as we were joined by Merlin. We have paired with boat before, a couple of years ago I think, but can't remember exactly. There is a hire boat base here at Silsden, and one of their wide beam boats had broken its mooring and was blocking the canal. I jumped off and pushed it clear of us, intending to either re-tie it or tow it to their main wharf for them. Luckily 2 of their staff were already on the way to rescue it so we carried on.
Merlin was a real treat to pair with. The guy was so keen he was running to the bridges and always staying ahead to get there first. I think I managed to get to about 3 of the 10 swing bridges we passed on the way to Skipton. What a star!
I make no apologies for the following piccys. They don't do justice to the scenery we have passed, but I just can't not post a few of them to give a sense of the beauty that is the L&L canal.

We are now tied up in Skipton. Luckily we managed to get a mooring in good place. Just as we arrived a boat pulled out so we dived in.

The Bingley slog

Thursday 4th September 2014
Last night we walked up from our mooring into town and had a lovely meal at Aagrah, an Asian restaurant, part of a local chain. The food and service were excellent, I even managed to find room for an ice cream to finish off with.
This morning we set off at a leisurely time through the iconic canyon of Saltaire's mills, past the deserted visitor moorings seen here on the right. There are so many restrictions on these moorings that very few people bother to use them. Word has it that when they converted the mill into flats one of the residents took a dislike to having boats near his flat, so he kept on complaining to the then BW and later CRT who finally caved in and put a load of restrictions on, the worst of which is no overnight mooring. Memories of folk who buy a house in a quaint village and then complain about the church bells!
Running through the canyon of Salt's mills

We negotiated hurst Lock and then carried on heading for Dowley Gap where another staircase lock awaits us.
Looking through bridge 206  Dowley Gap bottom lock can be seen

 There's a lot of water pouring over the bottom gates

Just before the bridge we had passed our companions from yesterday, Laurimar, and decided to wait here for them to make up a pair again.
As I have said many times in the past, "no good deed ever goes unpunished", I foolishly cycled the lock in our favour expecting Laurimar to turn up shortly, but then along came a boat wishing to go down so I had to help to cycle it again., Then along came the hotel boat Lady Teal, so we let her go before us while we waited.
 Lady Teal, a wide hotel boat offering luxury cruises

Soon the landmark of the tall Damart chimney appears as we near Bingley and the famous 3 and 5 rise staircase locks.
 One of Bingley's landmarks

As we approached the first set of 3 locks Lady Teal was ahead and the lock keepers prepared the lock and waved her in.
Once she had cleared the first chamber I was able to start preparing it for our ascent. Not long after arriving another boat turned up and then another, so we weren't last at least.
A queue is building up waiting for the locks 

Lyra and Laurimar start their journey up the 3 rise. The two women in the picture are CRT office people who have taken a ride with Laurimar to gain experience on the canals. It's a scheme called buddies, started by CRT to get staff out of the office and onto the water.

A view from the edge, showing how deep these locks are.
It's a maelstrom down there as the water pounds in to fill the chamber

Once clear of the 3 rise we continued on the short journey to the bottom of the 5 rise. Lady Teal had stopped for lunch so we were quickly into the bottom chamber and on our way up.
Clearing the top lock we cruised on about half of mile and found a mooring for the night.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

On to Shipley

Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Yesterday I forgot the copy the piccys from the camera to the computer, so there were none for the post. here are a few of them.
 Two of the three Italianate towers at Tower Works, Leeds

 Heading out under the main line rail bridge

We soon remember why we love the L&L canal

Casting off from Rodley this morning we were lucky to pick up a pairing with nb Laurimar. This stretch of the canal has a profusion of swing bridges as well as several staircase locks.
The weather wasn't exactly hot, but at least it wasn't raining, the weatherman had promised some sunshine, but once again their promises are like pie crust.
We dawdled along, taking turns at the bridges, Oddies Swing Bridge was particularly recalcitrant and required 3 of use to shift. All the rest weren't too bad,
At Field 3 Locks we caught up with Lady Teal, a hotel boat, but she was just entering the top chamber when we arrived, so didn't cause any delay at all. At Dock Swing Bridge we caught up again with Lady Teal so we didn't have to open that one.
Rising in the middle chamber of Field 3 Locks with Laurimar

We've now pulled in at Shipley moorings and discovered that there is an Aagrah Restaurant here. We did promise ourselves a meal out last night, so hopefully this will make up for it.
At the moment Cath is wrestling with the automated phone system that Curry's have so that we can delay the delivery of the appliances we ordered from them on the understanding that we would have a house to deliver them to. God they are a real pain in the butt. Push loads of buttons only to find that you have to talk to someone, and the wait time is at least 5 minutes. I think it's a premium line as well, so I'll bet they get a kickback from that.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Moving again

Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Here we are once again on the move. Well, for a little bit anyway.
With the house purchase stalled we decided to take a short cruise up the L&L. This morning we set off from our home in Clarence Dock and started the ascent out of Leeds.
At the first lock, River Lock, which is the start of the L&L canal we came across Grace & Favour yet again. Dave very kindly helped us through the lock, and then did the same for the small cruiser behind us. This was a single hander, very game lad. He walked with a cane but still had a go. We waited at the next lock for him and we paired up for the rest of the day. Brave lad, sharing locks with a 60' steel boat when you're a 25' GRP or wooden cruiser. We didn't crush him, but it was a close run thing in a couple of locks.
There was a keeper at both of the 3 chamber staircase locks, Forge and Newley. The keeper in both cases was accompanied by a security guard. It seems that the local yooofs like to swim in the locks and can get very nasty when asked not to if there is a boat coming. We did see kids swimming in the locks, but no intimidation. The keeper reckoned that the guards do make a difference on the safety side. (for them that is)
We had decided to stop at Rodley for the night, and had hoped to eat at The Railway, a canal side pub. Unfortunately our luck has struck again, they don't serve food on Tuesday nights! A quick dive into the freezer and we dined on a Jambalaya that I had made a few days ago and frozen off.