Sunday, August 12, 2007

We said our goodbyes to Dave and Barbara at 08:15 this morning and set off for Leeds. A dull start to the day as we passed through Castleford Flood Lock (with a quick visit to the Sanitary Station) and turned right on the last 9 or so miles up to the city.

The first and deepest lock of the day was the delightfully named Lemonroyd Lock. Unfortunately we had a bit of a hold up here with faulty hydraulics on one of the top gates, but he was able to pen us through the one gate that worked as these locks are 20 feet wide and 140 feet long. It’s a bit lonely being the only boat in the chamber!

In Lemonroyd Lock
The next lock is Woodlesford, no lockie on this one (or the rest for that matter), so it was a do-it-yourself job. Easy though, just push the right buttons at the right time. No such luxury after today when we get on the L & L!

Woodlesford lock
The run from Castleford to the edge of the city is quite pleasant, with the spoil heaps from the now defunct pits being reclaimed by nature. The towpaths are in excellent condition, encouraging lots of walkers and cyclists.

Fishpond and Knostrop Falls locks takes us into Leeds and Leeds Lock, the last on the Aire and Calder Navigation.

Nearing Leeds
Leeds Lock. Nobody about when I took this picture, but by the time Seyella was in the lock the railings were lined with gongoozlers.
Through the redeveloped city centre, with apartment blocks towering over the river.
And past Asda House, where I was part of the team that fitted all the guttering and downspouts several years ago!
Lock 1, River Lock, on the Leeds and Liverpool, was a bit of a contrast to those we’d been used to for the last week or so. No mechanisation of course, and even the paddle gear looks a bit primitive! One good thing though. At 60 feet long and 14 feet 3 inches wide they are now narrowboat size!

Gear on River Lock
We finally moored for the night just above Office Lock (lock 2) at around 14:00. We’d intended to pull into the canal basin below the lock, but this is currently closed for another apartment block construction. It seems everyone wants to live near the canal these days!

Above Office Lock
Its been a dull day, but with a few sunny intervals and a couple of heavy showers. An early start again tomorrow should see us clear of Leeds and heading for Bingley.

Locks 7, miles 10½

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