Saturday, October 10, 2015

No locks, but the bridges make up for it…

We moved on a bit today. We didn’t need to; the moorings at Riddlesden are seven day but we were getting itchy feet again. We’re in no rush so didn’t go far, anyway we needed to be tied up by midday for the F1 qualifying. It’s the Russian Grand Prix tomorrow.

We don’t see any locks now till we get to Gargrave, but there are a lot of swing bridges between Riddlesden and there. Eighteen of them in 15 miles… Although two or three are normally left open.

It was a misty morning when I took Meg out, the sun just showing through the haze.IMG_7682


We were just setting off when we were hailed by the chap on the boat behind. He’s singlehanded and wanted to follow us through the mechanised Stockbridge Swing Bridge. It carries a minor but fairly busy road, and it’s very difficult if you’ve no crew. And it takes some time, much to the annoyance of the motorists…
On the other hand, cars passing over Granby Swing Bridge, behind us after we passed it on Thursday, had no impediment. The crew on a Silsden hire boat had tried to open it first thing to continue their holiday and it had stuck in the closed position. They were still waiting for the engineer to arrive when we left 90 minutes later.
So we toddled through Stocksbridge, closely followed by our bridge companion, and then through Leaches. This one only carries a footpath and is of the more common manual operation, chained up with a handcuff lock and opened by hand. Our follower came through then decided to moor up. It seems unlikely, but he was doing less than we were!

Looking south–west over Keighley. IMG_7685

The dip on the horizon is the Worth Valley, the river joining the Aire here. The town was established on the plain where the two rivers come together.

The canal continues on the side of the steep valley for a while, the uphill side heavily wooded and the downhill side giving views over the valley.IMG_7690

Beyond the fixed Lodge Hill Bridge the high ground to the north and east falls away and the canal emerges into more open country.IMG_7696

The valley becomes a lot wider and flatter, sheep country!

Most of the towns and cities on this side of the Pennines secured their fortunes on wool. Skipton, the next major town on the canal, derives it’s name from the Saxon for “Sheep Town”. Conversely, on the Lancashire side, the mills mostly processed cotton, brought in to Liverpool and shipped to the mills by mule and boat, then later by rail.

We pulled in on a length of piling just short of Silsden. We’d tried a few times in the last mile, but the bottom was too near the top, as they say.

Locks 0, miles 3½ 

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