Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A nip in the air….

I guess autumn is close on the horizon now. They’ve been drifts of leaves on the surface of the canal as we travelled today, and the trees are starting to turn red and gold.

Mags' cold is much better now, so we decided to move out of Gargrave, into the country for a few days.

We intended to move on Monday, and reversed to the service block above Higherland Lock to fill and empty before we left, but the rain came on and I didn’t want Mags out in the weather going up the locks out of the village. So we postponed the trip. Yesterday was quite breezy, so we held off till today.

We got away around 10:00 and met a boat coming down Anchor Lock so that was a good start to the day. The remaining 2 locks of the Gargrave flight were against us, but we were at the bottom of the Bank Newton 6 around 11:00.

In Scarland Lock

Above Stegneck Lock the River Aire is crossed on a stone aqueduct.

Over the River Aire
It’s hard to credit that not too far south the same river carries the 450 ton tankers that we encountered earlier in the month.

Filling with water before going up the 6 locks at Bank Newton.
This is a very pretty flight of locks, lifting the canal 58 feet to the long pound between here and Greenberfield.

In Bank Newton Locks
There was no-one else in the flight, so we had the exclusive help of Edward, the lock-keeper looking after the flight today. He’s having a boat built at Castleford, and we spent the time while waiting for the locks to fill chatting about things nautical.

Bank Newton Top Lock, Edward on the left.
Above Bank Newton is a 4½ mile level pound which I reckon is the best on the canal. The channel twists and turns, following the 450 foot contour around the dips and ridges in the terrain. It must have been a nightmare to survey the route!
The 2¼ miles by water to East Marton is actually only 1¼ as the crow flies.

We pulled over on a spot we’ve used before, with open views through the windows and a good, wide grassy towpath. We’ll stay here till the weekend now, before heading back to Gargrave.

Open country

It’s still been breezy today, and we’ve had the odd drizzly shower, but it’s not been too bad. The forecast tells us it’s going to get a bit cooler over the next couple of days.

Locks 9, miles 2½

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