Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back to Boroughbridge

We said our goodbyes to the folk at Ripon Racecourse Marina this morning. They’ve made us welcome, offering advice for the return passage down the Ure and Ouse with a bit more water on than when we came up.
Meg had also made friends with a couple of black spaniels, Megan and Milly. They looked awfully sad as we prepared to leave…

Megan and MillySAM_3281 Megan and Milly

We left them sitting on the jetty.SAM_3282 Ripon Marina

Out of the marina, we had a bit of a farewell committee to see us off.
SAM_3283 Ripon Marina

If you’ve ever up here, it’s worth coming in to stay a few days. Pat, the manager, is very helpful, and the natives are friendly.

SAM_3284 Ripon Marina

We pulled out of the entrance, onto the sun-dappled Ripon Canal. We’d had quite a bit of rain yesterday, so weren’t quite sure whether we’d be able to drop down Oxclose Lock onto the river. We’d emptied and filled all the relevant tanks so if we needed to wait out a bit of high water we could.

Sunny after the rain on the CutSAM_3285 Ripon Canal
The canal was effectively closed  in 1906, and officially abandoned in 1956, although the river navigation remained open. Efforts by The Ripon Canal Company Ltd, formed mainly from the membership of the Ripon Motor Boat Club, saw the navigation restored to Littlethorpe in 1986, and the final section to the town basin re-opened ten years later. The marina we’ve just left was completed in 1999.
SAM_3287 Oxclose Lock

I checked the water level indicator below Oxclose Lock, and it was still well in the amber zone, “Proceed with care”. So we chose to drop down and review the situation again at Boroughbridge.

Mags waits patiently for me to open the bottom gates of the lock.SAM_3288 Oxclose Lock
And waits…. and waits. There was a lot of water coming in over the top sill, preventing the lock from draining completely. Just an inch of water prevented me from shifting the gates at all. After much pushing and shoving, and quite a bit of swearing, I decided that a more technical solution was in order, so used a long rope to make up a Spanish Windlass and winched the thing open!

The river was running fairly fast, but nothing we couldn’t cope with. On the wide sections the stream was hardly noticeable, but we were pushed along handily on the narrow bits.

Out on the River Ure SAM_3289 On the river

We had thought about stopping over to visit Newby Hall on the way back, but with the river being a little unpredictable decided to give it a miss this time. We’ve been there several times by road, to car shows in one of my classic Riley motor cars.

Newby HallSAM_3292 Newby Hall

There were some visitors in the grounds.SAM_3294 Newby Hall

Westwick Lock was better behaved than Oxclose, we were through it easily heading down to Boroughbridge two miles further downstream.

Surprisingly, we actually saw another boat on the water this afternoon, but he was only having a mooch upriver before turning and following us back to Boroughbridge.

Wow, another boat!SAM_3299 Company
Heading into Milby Cut, the boom protecting the large weir on the right.SAM_3301 Boroughbridge Weir

Apart from just a drop of rain soon after lunchtime, it's been fine and dry, but pretty blustery. If it stays like this all week it’ll be alright.

We’ll be moving on tomorrow, maybe pushing through to York, or breaking the journey at Linton. We’ll see how we feel.
Mag’s sister, Dot, is coming to see us on Friday, so meeting at York would be good. It’s Mag’s birthday then, but I’m not saying how many candles there should be…. Just that we’d need a big cake!

Locks 2, miles 6¼

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