Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On our own again at Gargrave

Sunday and Monday we completed our trip to Gargrave. The weather has turned a lot cooler, I arranged a delivery of fuel from Fred Green, the local coal merchant, today, and some of it is burning merrily on the stove now. Mags didn’t ask me to light it, but wearing a woolly hat, socks and gloves was a broad hint….

We arrived at Skipton on Sunday afternoon after a short cruise up from Kildwick. A few more boats about than we’ve seen recently.

Kildwick is a pleasant spot, clinging to the hillside above the Aire valley.

The canal through Kildwick

View of the Aire valley.
The locals made Neil and Val welcome at The White Lion where they went to watch a football match.

No locks up to Skipton, but half a dozen swing bridges kept Meg and I on the towpath for a while.

Milking Hill Swing Bridge, day boat from Skipton approaching.
At Hambleton Swing Bridge there’s a memorial to 7 Polish airmen who died in an air crash near here almost 65 years ago.

The aircraft was a Wellington bomber, returning to Silloth in Cumbria after a training flight. Witnesses at the time told of a catastrophic failure, the left wing and engine coming away from the fuselage.

The memorial was unveiled in 2007 by the widow of one of the young men who died. At the time of the tragedy they’d been married just 3 weeks.

One more swing bridge at Snaygill is the last before Skipton is entered. As usual the town moorings were busy. This is a very popular spot, Skipton has just about everything going for it. Good shopping, an excellent market, historic castle and extensive moorings for boaters.

We secured a spot around the corner, alongside Victoria Mill (now flats) above the Ellerbeck Aqueduct.

Moored in Skipton
Our friends Val and Johnny from Ingleton came over to say hi, bringing with them the latest addition to the family.

Harry is a 7 month old wire haired dachsund. A bit timid at first, he soon enjoyed himself playing with Meg. He’s a little darling, very much a people dog.

We shared a heap of fish and chips from Bizzie Lizzie’s, the very good chippie in the town.

After a quiet night we were off on the last leg of our trip from Sheffield. It was a lot busier on the water, with quite a few hire boats out of Silsden knocking about.

We were straight into a group of 3 swing bridges, and leapfrogged with a hire boat at each one. Other boats coming the other way complicated the procedure, though.

Busy at Niffany Swing Bridge.Which reminds me... I can put the anchor away again, now.

Once again I took advantage of Neil’s attachment to the tiller and walked most of the way with Meg, preparing the bridges for what was now turning into a convoy!

Several boats at once through Highgate Swing Bridge.
Open country at Thorlby Swing Bridge.
With this many boats about we had an inevitable wait at the 3 locks heading up to the Gargrave moorings, but still arrived at around 14:30, and were lucky enough to get on the end of the 3 day moorings.

We’ll be staying in the area for the next couple of weeks; Mags has her annual “MOT” at the Doc’s in Bentham, and I’ve arranged for a hire car to get to South Shields on Sunday for the Great North Run. Talking of which…. All those of you out there who thought about sponsoring me for this race in aid of Cancer Research UK, now’s the time to put intention in action, OK? Just click on the link on the right….
All donations gratefully received.

Mags’ son George and his wife Christine who is also our Postmistress General came over to see us in the afternoon. They’re a daft pair.

Titanic impressions on Seyella’s bow.

Chris doesn’t look too happy….
Then yesterday Mags’ grandaughter, Nicki and husband Arthur came over to collect our crew and travelling companions of the last 8 days. They’ve really enjoyed the trip, and it’s been great having them. They’ll be flying back home to Canada at the weekend.

Val, Neil, Mags, Nicki and Arthur.
It’s been a bit quiet today, getting back into the routine again. I’ve even had to steer the boat myself 50 yards back to the lock to pick up the coal delivery and use the “facilities”! We’ve moved a bit further along now, away from the lock.

Locks 3, miles 9½

No comments: