After a cool night this morning dawned bright and sunny. We didn’t get any benefit from it though, we were in a heavily wooded stretch above Dowley Gap.
We only had twenty minutes or so to the bottom of the Bingley Locks, and three boats had already passed going in the same direction so we were in no rush.
Classic mill town, local stone buildings, tall chimneys and the moors rising beyond.
Bingley railway station has beautifully decorated gables
The Damart factory
We arrived at the bottom of the 3-rise to find no-one waiting and the lockie just coming down after sending a single boat up. Good timing for us, as soon as the bottom chamber was empty we were able to go straight up.
Mags coming into the bottom of the 3-rise.
The 3-rise is equipped with those sliding gate paddles like at Dowley Gap, but these work!
I got off and helped the lockie on these three, they appreciate it as it saves a lot of walking around for them.
That’s the three done…
…then there’s a short pound to the bottom of the five.
The third boat that had passed us was waiting at the bottom for us to join them. A hire boat out of Skipton, one of their crew was volunteered to help the lock-keeper this time, so Mags could have a sit down.
Barely time to tie up and we’re off again.
The height of the gates as you go up looks daunting!
Those of you who watch the Tim and Pru Show, aka Great Canal Journeys, may recognise this chap.
It’s Richard who featured in a short sequence chatting to Prunella Scales.
Apparently he’s been ragged mercilessly by his colleagues since!
Getting towards the top now, and the gongoozlers are out on such a fine day.
Looking back, sorry, the sun was in the wrong place!
It was busy at the top…
Apart from the onlookers there were half a dozen boats waiting to go down.
Our companion hire boaters were heading on towards Skipton, so we agreed to leap-frog the swing bridges, at least until Riddlesden where we intended to stop.
Swine Lane Bridge, one of 13 fixed bridges between Bingley Locks and Skipton. The other 21 have to be swung!
The canal hangs on the side of the Aire valley, giving good views to the west. That’s Keighley down there.
It was our turn to open Granby Swing Bridge, but as I jumped off to get it open a lady off a motor boat beat me to it. She told me she’d deal with it, but I did tell her there were two boats to come through. “That’s fine” she said.
So I got back on and waited while two more narrowboats came through followed by her husband, before us and the hireboat went through in the opposite direction.
She certainly drew the short straw, although she would have known they were following. They’d probably been leapfrogging, the same as us.
We pulled up on the moorings at Riddlesden. I think we’ll take a day off tomorrow.
While we were coming up the locks I checked the time and realised that I would normally have just started the Great North Run. Plagued with one injury after another over the last 18 months, I’ve had to lose my entry this year. This would have been my 14th. Next year…
Locks 8, miles 4.