Yesterday was taken up with preparation for leaving the city today. A trip “up town” for some shopping, a mile walk to the services with a rucksack full of poo tank (hopefully the last…), then an ascent of Office Lock to water up and moor ready for an early start today.
Several railway lines converge from the west near Granary Wharf, heading to Leeds Station on a long brick viaduct. The arches have been developed as eateries in the wharf area…
…but four still carry the River Aire under the station.
There used to be several stations around Leeds, and in 1866 the decision was made to build a new, modern structure, straddling the river. It was completed in 1869, and, although having been redesigned since, it still sits on the original Victorian arches, four of which carry the river.
The Dark Arches, as they came to be known, always had a slightly nefarious reputation, disreputable activities taking place in their gloomy recesses. Prostitution and muggings were regular occurrences, and more recently a cannabis factory was discovered by British Transport Police!
Most of the “dry” arches are now used for car parking, and others are trendy cafes and bars, although there are still some obscure corners…
My route up to Morrisons took me past City Square and the bronze statue of the Black Prince.
I wondered what the connection is between this warrior prince and the city… apparently there isn’t one. Leeds was awarded city status in 1893 and the centre was redeveloped to produce City Square. Of course, a square in the centre of a new city needs a spectacular centre-piece, equestrian in nature and commanding in presence. Unfortunately Leeds doesn’t have a son famous enough to fulfill the role, so Edward, the Black Prince was chosen, fairly arbitrarily, it seems.
The sculpture was designed and cast by Thomas Brock, and erected in 1903.
We braved the gusty wind yesterday afternoon to reverse off the pontoon that’s been home for the last fortnight, and headed up Office Lock, filling the tank with water at the top. Then we pushed across the canal to moor for the night. The first time we came up here we were advised not to moor here, but now the area’s a lot safer.
Just before daybreak today, Meg’s not sure why we’re having our morning walk in the dark…
We were on the move at 08:15, with just 10 minutes to St Ann Ings Lock. But first I had to pause to salvage a bike from the bottom of the canal that looked in good condition. It actually isn’t quite as good as it looked, but it works. I’m waiting for West Yorks Police to get back to me, to let me know whether it’s been reported stolen or not. If it has they’ll pick it up, if not I intend to keep it, clean it up and flog it. Recycling, eh.
Mags in the two-rise Oddeys Staircase Lock
The locks have been recently painted, but it was a bad decision to also paint the setts in the cobbles with white gloss…
They’re very slippery when wet!
We met our C&RT chaparone at Kirkstall Lock, and he took us up this single and the two three rise locks at Forge and Newlay.
Forge Three ready for us
Newlay Locks have a stone gully to carry excess water from the bottom chamber.
C&RT Andy closing up after we left Newlay.
After a showery morning the sun finally made an appearance as we left the last of the locks, but it made no difference to the cool temperature.
Old coal loading chute by Newlay Bridge.
Although in retrospect I think it’s for loading quarried stone…
There is a length of linear moorings beyond Newlay Bridge, amongst the variety of boats is one with a proud history…
MV Abbey Pride, one of the “Little Ships” that rescued the beleaguered BEF from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940.
Two more swing bridges in the last mile saw us arrive at Rodley and pulling onto the wharf on the offside just before Rodley Bridge.
A couple of days off again now.
Locks 11, miles 6.