Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Two beautiful days, but we’re back to normal now!

Sunday and Monday were warm, sunny and dry. Fine days for cruising but we only moved on the Sunday. We’d booked to go up Bingley Locks at 11:00, so were off from Dowley Gap at a quarter past ten.

A fine start, and it only got better.

Arriving at the bottom of the Bingley Three Rise, the Damart Mill on the right.IMG_8548
Heading west these are a precursor to the Five Rise Locks a quarter mile ahead.
Andy the lockie was waiting for us and we were in the bottom chamber at around ten to eleven.

The gates are equipped with those rack and pinion driven paddles, only these work!IMG_8550

One job during the winter stoppages was to replace the middle set of gates. When they’re swelled by the water they’ll stop leaking!IMG_8551

Thirty-five minutes after entering the bottom chamber we were waiting to go into the bottom of the five.IMG_8556
Andy was joined by Darrel to take us up here, so Mags could relax.

It being Sunday and very pleasant there were lots of people up and down the flight, chatting to me and the lockies as we worked our way up.

Out of the top, and it’s busier still.

We wanted to top up the water tank but patrons of the café in the old stable block had overflowed out onto the service wharf, so we moved on and filled up next to the Airedale Boat Club swing bridge instead. Andy had told us he’d meet us at Micklethwaite Swing Bridge and would open it for us as it had been giving trouble, so that was handy.

Andy the lockie doing bridgekeeper duty.

It’s that time of year again, a gang rape of a female mallard just above the locks. IMG_8565
The females often get drowned by this frantic desire by the drakes to mate.

We often moor just past the swing bridge but decided to press on to Riddlesden as it was such a beautiful day. The towpath was busy, but this group were exceptional.
They were part of a sponsored cycle ride from Liverpool to Leeds over the weekend. They’d stopped over at Burnley after covering 70-some miles, when we saw them they had another 18 to go. Some were looking a little saddle-sore… At least it’s all downhill now.

We pulled up on the Riddlesden moorings after a very pleasant day’s cruise at around two o’clock.

After a late lunch and a brew I set to scrubbing the roof, or at least as far across as I could get from the bankside. It’s unlikely we’ll be picking up any more wood, or so I thought…
I was hailed from below the towpath, where the developers are storing materials for the new houses being built along here. “Do you want any firewood?”
There was a stack of wooden crates that had held roofing tiles that he wanted rid of. Whatever I wanted I was welcome to. I actually only took two, though. By the time I knocked them down I realised how much timber was in them! Most did go on the storage pallet on the roof, but a heap finished up on my freshly cleaned paintwork!

From Riddlesden to Skipton is only 10 miles, but there are 15 of those pesky swing bridges (although two are normally left open) to negotiate. So we decided to make it in two days, stopping near Kildwick this afternoon.

Our first bridge today, on the edge of Riddlesden.
Mags can’t see over the two piles of pallet wood!

The bridges come thick and fast, with only 10 or 15 minutes between them. The longest bridge-free section is through Silsden, past the hire fleet all tarted up ready for the season.

Silsden Boats run a mixture of narrowboats and “fat” boats.

On the moorings just outside Silsden, NB Alice.
This was one of the boats we viewed way back in 2006. It’s a nice boat, well fitted out inside by the owner, the shell one of the last “proper” Pipers built at Red Bull. It was looking a little better 9½ years ago!

Our first Spring lambs!

Our seventh and last for the day, Grange Swing Bridge

Moored near Kildwick

I’m glad we chose to have a shortish day. It was considerably cooler than of late. The shorts went back in the cupboard in favour of long trousers!

I spent two hours cutting up that wood, finishing up with a coal bag, two large buckets and a load stacked in the cratch. Good job I didn’t get any more. At least Mags will be able to see where she’s going tomorrow…


Thirty-three years ago today Mags said “I do” to that very important question.
Best day of my life.
Love you, wife of mine.

Hi Carol. Believe me it’s great to be rolling again!
Hi KevinToo. That’s our 15 minutes of fame, then, eh.

Locks 8, miles 9½

1 comment:

Carol said...

Hi Margaret, Hi Geoff, Sorry I missed sending my congratulations yesterday for your anniversary, it sounds as if you both had a good day’s cruising. It’s good to see you on the move taking advantage of this calm dry weather. Looking forward to seeing you both this summer if plans hold that way. xx