Unfortunately there’s nowhere between the top of Dobson’s Locks and the bottom of Field Locks to wind a 58 footer. Looking at the forecast earlier in the week it looked like today was going to be the best day of the week, clear and bright after a frosty start. But the weather front due to push in from the west was running a little early; instead of rain starting tonight it started mid-afternoon, putting a crimp in my plans to slice up the latest batch of logs.
So, not looking for an early start we didn’t get up too soon, but I was still out with Meg soon after nine.
Frost on the fields, ice on the canal.
We’ve had company while we’ve been up here. Howard, Mags’ son, and her grand-daughter Melanie came to say Hi on Sunday, bringing the mail and staying for a late lunch. And we’ve had visits from Sid the swan for breakfast most days, though I suspect that should be Cyd…
There’s also two pairs of those divers that I misidentified while we were up a Gargrave. (Thanks, Debby!)
The horses down in the field below can get a bit frisky on cold mornings…
Meg and I went along the towpath and down to the river this morning. The wrought iron Victorian suspension footbridge over the river has been closed, probably a precaution in case of flood damage. The water reached this high…
Great chunks have been carved out of the bank below the bridge.
We reversed to the service wharf to spend a tedious 1¼ hours filling the water tank (it wasn’t empty this time), then set off through the remains of the thin ice.
Our first swing bridge of the day was Mitchell Swing Bridge, just beyond the twin railway bridges. This was soon followed by Strangford Swing Bridge, and then we were at the bottom of Field Locks, a three-rise staircase.
Approaching Field Locks
I had to spend 15 minutes or so setting up the locks; the top and middle have to be full and the bottom empty before you can start up.
Meg waits patiently while I sort out the levels.
Mags will have to keep the back doors shut when we come back down!
We had a gongoozler at the bottom; a cyclist pulled over to watch for a few minutes, then another nearer the top.
They come in all shapes and sizes!
We turned around just above the locks, that was the object of the trip after all. Our feathered companion hung around to watch the manouevre…
…but he didn’t get much of a show. With the canal, even into the winding hole, being only just wide enough, there was no finesse involved. Just stuff the stem into the bank opposite and work the stern around.
We reversed a little way up the cut so we could aim the dish through a gap in the trees on Buck Hill, and moored up. Strangely I can can only get BBC Northern Ireland and ITV Channel Islands! The ads are unfamiliar but Mags’ soaps are still the same.
The crow was still with us, cheekily perching on the tiller bar while I was tying up, so he had a slice of wholemeal bread for his persistence. Another had to be found though, as he brought a friend along! What’s the old song – “One for sorrow, two for joy…” That’s all right then.
As I said, I was intending to get those logs cut this afternoon but with the rain coming in they’ll have to wait until a predicted dry spell tomorrow afternoon.
We should get the latest update from the C&RT website regarding the state of the locks out of Leeds tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
Locks 3, miles 1¼