Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Up Bingley… in the rain.

We had some pretty impressive thunderstorms last evening, and the rain continued on and off through the night and into this morning. Coming back from Meg’s walk this morning I spoke to the chap on a narrowboat that had arrived late yesterday, and we agreed to share the Bingley locks. It makes it easier with two boats in these broad locks, and it would have been unfortunate if one had arrived shortly after the other had started up the staircase flights.
So we shared both the Bingley 3-Rise and 5-Rise locks with Martin and Clare on NB … The name escapes me, but it begins with “Moon”  think…

We had about a mile to cruise to the bottom of the 3-rise, leaving the heavily wooded banks of the Aire through Dowley Gap for the heavily developed banks of the Aire around Bingley.

Out of the woods…

…into the mills.

Heading past the Damart factory. The bottom of the 3-rise staircase is just on the corner ahead.IMG_7661
The alignment to the locks is wrong because this is a new section of canal, built when the Bingley by-pass was constructed in 2003.

There are always lock-keepers on these two flights, during the posted opening hours. At other times they’re padlocked to prevent “self-service”. The chap on the 3 turned out to be Richard who we got to know quite well when he was working up at Gargrave a few years ago. There was something different, though. Then he was sporting dreadlocks, now he’s got a close crop.

Mags looking at something in the 3 rise.IMG_7663

Leaving the top, NB Moonshadow (there, I remembered!) following.IMG_7664
That’s Richard on the left.

Only a few hundred yards separate the two staircases, and the bottom lock of the 5 was open ready for us, the crew working here having been warned of our imminent arrival.

The bottom of the Bingley 5-Rise.IMG_7666

I took several pictures while going up, but frankly they all look the same! Dripping, dank walls and a deep cill topped by those tall heavy gates.

Somewhere up the staircase…
It’s a sobering thought that those gates are holding back around 270,000 litres of water…

Well, mainly!IMG_7667 

In the top chamber looking back downhillIMG_7671

There were three crew on these locks so we made the top fairly quickly. I don’t think anyone wanted to hang about in the rain. From entering the bottom of the 3 to leaving the top of the 5 took an hour and 35 minutes.

We pulled across to the service wharf to empty a loo and fill with water, then tried unsuccessfully to pull in on the straight above the lock. There are several boats moored here but they must have been on the deep bit!
We finished up pushing on another half mile, through Micklethwaite Swing Bridge, and moored on piling just beyond.
The day started quite mild, but the wind and rain pulled the temperature down and I was cold and damp by the time we pulled in. Tomato soup and hot, crusty bread in front of a roaring fire soon put the world to rights.

It’s supposed to be a better day tomorrow, we’ll be moving a short distance up to Riddlesden.

Locks 8, miles 2

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