We stayed put in Boroughbridge yesterday. The weather wasn’t very inspiring, and our guests arrived about lunchtime. So we’ve now got the “colonials” aboard, Mags’ son Neil and his wife Val, from Canada. We had a lot of catching up to do, they’ve not been over for a couple of years.
Me, Mags, Neil and Val
The mooring at Boroughbridge turned a bit grotty with the rain, muddy and slippery, not good with the path being so narrow. It’s a shame, the town looks to be very pleasant.
I took Meg for a walk and a look at the weir this morning, after the rain it is running quite well, and it has taken on a red-brown tinge from the peat washing down the many small tributaries up in the hills.
Salmon ladder alongside for the spawning season
Looking downstream from the bridge
The bridge was fought over in 1322, when rebel forces under the Duke of Lancaster met Edward II’s troops. Lancaster was the leader of a group of nobelmen frustrated by Edward’s weak, ineffectual rule. He was Edward’s cousin, and, as such, had a tenuous claim to the throne. Lancaster had planned to meet Edward’s forces further south at Burton on Trent, but, outflanked and outnumbered he retreated north after a minor skirmish. Pursued by the King he arrived at the River Ure crossing here at Boroughbridge, only to find it defended by one of the King’s men, Sir Andrew Harclay.
Harclay’s force consisted of a mixed bag of archers and pikemen, around 4,000 men who vastly outnumbered Lancaster’s 700 cavalry. After an attempt at negotiation for passage failed, and with Edward pressing from the rear, the Duke had no choice but to try and force a crossing.
The battle was short, Lancaster being defeated and captured. He was imprisoned in his own castle at Pontefract and executed 6 days after the battle. Thirty of his followers met the same fate.
We went across to make use of the services, then headed off, under the original (or at least the site of the original) Great North Road Bridge.
Under what used to be the Great North Road till the by-pass was built.
A little further on we passed under the second GNRd bridge, built when the village was by-passed, then the current one, built when the road was upgraded.
Great North Road Bridges
In fact these were both built at the same time, the “second” one replacing an earlier one.
It was a cool morning, but the sun made fitful appearances, brightening things up. Didn’t do much for the temperature though, it struggled up to about 15°, but that was about it.
Two miles from Boroughbridge we came across the last of the river locks, at Westwick.
Weswick Lock, Neil and Val strategically placed
Peat-flavoured water coming in through the ground sluice
The locks get closer together as the waterway approaches Ripon, the next one is 1½ miles on and takes the navigation from natural channel to artificial cut.
Very pretty Oxclose Lock
Someone spends a lot of time keeping this nice.
The top gates have flaps in the walkways to go around the ground paddle stanchions when they are opened.
There are good moorings on the left above the lock, just a bit overhung with trees.
We’re now on the Ripon Canal, if you hadn’t realised before you would when you came to the next bridge, typically canal.
I didn’t take any pictures at Bell Furrows Lock, too busy talking to our local C&RT representative, Julie.
Rhodesfield Lock is the final one, and is within view of Bell Furrows. Neil took the boat into this one, under the watchful eye of Mags.
Into Rhodesfield Lock
These locks are only just big enough for a boat of our length. With bow and stern buttons we’re probably 59 feet long.
Just below the lock is Lock House, presumably the lock-keeper’s or lengthsman’s house when the canal was cut. It looks well looked after, smart in fresh paint.
A little further on, the building housing the sanitary station has the same Neo-Gothic architecture, this time in miniature.
It must have been built for another function, sanitary facilities were un-thought of in 1773…. There are a pair of chimney stacks rising from the rear roof.
Under the by-pass bridge, which is remarkably free of graffiti, and there’s a couple of hundred yards to the terminus in Ripon Basin.
End of the line, Ripon Basin
We turned around and moored just behind the only other boat here, who promptly untied and left! That’s the second time that’s happened in three days!
Moored in Ripon
I would have liked to have a look around the town this afternoon, but it started to rain as soon as we’d tied up and didn’t let up till nearly 5 o’clock. We took advantage of the proximity of the Chinese takeaway and chippie for tea, very good it was too.
All being well we’ll have a mooch around tomorrow morning, before heading back down the first two locks and into Ripon Racecourse Marina for the weekend.
Locks 4, miles 7