Friday, March 11, 2016

Three bridges to Shipley

We chose the easy option today; just a short run to Shipley rather than push through to Dowley Gap followed by a day off. So tomorrow we’ll have another short day, but it’ll involve locks.

We left the mooring above Field Three Locks at around half-nine this morning. There was no need for the early start apart from our appointment with the guys rebuilding Dock Swing Bridge an hour later.

Moored above Field Three, from the disused railway bridge crossing the canal.IMG_8499

It’s been a dry day, a bit grey this morning but brightening up with sunny spells after lunch.

A pair of Goosanders call this bit of canal home

We had two manual swing bridges to deal with before arriving at the fringes of Shipley and the rebuilt Dock Swing Bridge. As good as their word, we had a 15 minute wait before it was open and we were waved through. IMG_8509

IMG_7615In it’s earlier form you had two spindles appearing from a control box two-thirds of the way across the bridge. Turned with a windlass, these first lowered wedges that support the bridge deck, then rotated the bridge on it’s axis. Each took 30 - 40 turns. But the worst was the two road barriers that had to be released with a BW key and lowered to close the bridge to traffic.

They had to be waggled backwards and forwards to get the lock bolt to withdraw, the pressure needed to turn the lock with the key always threatening to snap it off.

That’s all in the past now. A turn of the key and a press of the button should do the necessary. Assuming it doesn’t break down…

We started looking for mooring opportunities as we entered the town. The first, alongside Gallows Bridge, doesn’t look too inviting, although there are gates (open) to access it.

Permanent moorings on the left…

…but then Salt’s Wharf visitor moorings the other side of Victoria Street Bridge.
That’ll do nicely.

I had a mooch about the town this afternoon, picking up a couple of bits on the market. But it’s not particularly remarkable. Like most of these towns along the Aire valley it owes it’s former prosperity to the woollen mills, although earlier industry centred around coal and quarrying.

In 1851 Titus Salt started his ambitious project of Saltaire, a model village to house and support the workforce for his new mill alongside the canal. Everything for the workers was provided, apart from a pub. Salt’s Methodist background left him with strong views on the “Demon Drink”! I also suspect that making it difficult for his workers to get drunk had a favourable impact on productivity…

Towards the end of the 19th century major slum clearance and rebuilding of the town centre took place, but the Victorian buildings constructed then gave way in turn in to the mid-20th century “redevelopment” of a new shopping centre, bus station and library.

Hiya KevinToo. No flags and bunting, but big grins all round! And for the record, she's always been a pin-up girl to me...

Locks 0, miles 2½

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