One trip took us up the Springs Branch to Skipton Woods…
Walking along the branch, looking back to the junction with the L&L main line.
Airton is one of the Skipton Boats hire fleet. There is a length of long-term moorings along here as well, but they have to reverse in or out, there being no winding-hole.
That’s the corn mill on the right. It was water powered, using water from Eller Beck which runs alongside (and supplies) the Springs Branch.
The short canal was built in 1797 by the owner of Skipton Castle, the Earl of Thanet. He needed a way to get stone from his quarries up on Park Hill, so had the channel cut, to just beyond the rear walls of the castle. Limestone was brought by tramway to meet the boats.
At the end of the branch.
Skipton Castle is to the right, to the left can be seen the supporting brickwork for the chutes down which the boats were loaded.
The loading system was revised due to damage to the boats from the height through which the stone was dropped. A lower terrace, 10 feet or so above the water, was constructed, and the boats loaded from here instead.
Having seen the back, Meg and I went to have a look at the front…
The impressive gatehouse
And the front walls of the castle.
I only got the one picture before I was shooed out by a warden. I hadn’t paid, you see…
Skipton Castle is one of the best preserved Medieval castles in the country. Built around the early 14th century, it replaced an earlier timber motte-and-bailey Norman fortress. Following “slighting”, partial dismantlement during the Civil War, it was rebuilt by Lady Anne Clifford in the mid 17th century.
It was market day in the town as we walked back to the boat
We were moored above the Eller Beck aqueduct, alongside the tall chimney that used to serve the boiler house of Victoria Mill.
Looking down on Eller Beck, the mill, now flats, to the left.
It’s the best town mooring; you get a bit of sun between the buildings and the “spot in the sky” is over the beck. TV on the aerial is dire…
We decided to shove on a bit today. There’s no posted time limit on this bit, but I suspect it’s 72 hours. We’ve been here four days. But we’re not the longest stayers…
Just 50 yards up we had to deal with Brewery Swing Bridge. It’s busy with traffic morning and evening, using it as a short cut, but fairly quiet mid-morning. We filled with water and were just tidying up when a boat appeared and his crew opened Gawflat Bridge and waved us through too.
This bridge connects to Aireville Park, where Meg and I have had several ball-chucking sessions while we’ve been here.
Past typical Victorian worker's back-to-backs…
…and another disused mill chimney
We weren’t intending to go far, just somewhere past Niffany Swing Bridge. We’re in no rush, our route back to the Midlands will be closed from early November till the end of the month. There’s no way we’ll get past the scheduled stoppage before then, so we’re taking our time.
I like this…
We tried in several spots to get in to the bank, but the Leeds and Liverpool along here isn’t very co-operative in that respect. We did eventually moor just before Thorleby Swing Bridge.
Meg’s pleased. Lots of grass.
Since mid-afternoon there’s been a steady stream of hire boats going past, both from Skipton and Silsden. I guess they’ll be Friday pick-ups. It’ll be busy in Gargrave tonight.
Locks 0, miles 2¼