I was up at my normal time today, around 07:00, but what was abnormal was firing up the engine at half-past! Not to go far, though, just a couple of hundred yards back to the water point. The tap here is extremely slow, so I got it started, took Meg for a walk and had breakfast and the tank still wasn’t full! By nine we were ready to go, though.
You can tell the temperature from Mags’ apparel. This was Wednesday afternoon, hot and sunny…
…and this is this morning, overcast, breezy and cool as she negotiates Mitchell Swing Bridge. Still smiling, though.
We had another manual swing bridge to deal with, at the waterworks, before arriving at the bottom of the triple staircase of Field Three locks. The bottom chamber was empty…
… “Oh good”, thought I, “Just the middle and top chambers to fill then we’ll be up like a dose of salts”.
I walked up to set the upper two chambers, leaving Mags on the lower landing, and found a single-handing wide-beam just coming into the top. Bugger.
Him being wide precluded the option of doing a shuffle part way, so I acted as volunteer lockie and brought him all the way down. Then I had to refill both the middle and upper chambers while Mags was heading in to the bottom.
By the time she was up well over an hour had elapsed, when we should have been up and gone in less than half that time.
Mags in the top chamber of Field Three.
And the sun has come out!
I had to make a visit to the weed hatch above the locks to remove what appeared to be a dog bed from the prop. Mags had picked it up while coming in to the bank to pick me up. Never had one of those before…
Heading towards Shipley we had three more swing bridges to deal with, two manual ones and the recently upgraded Dock Swing Bridge.
Oddies Swing Bridge
Dock Swing Bridge, now mechanised
The old manual mechanism here was a pain, involving using the windlass to wind down the bridge deck wedges and then to wind open the bridge, and that was after fighting with the recalcitrant locks on the road barriers. Now it’s just turn the key and press the button. Ace.
Looking on old maps there’s no indication of a dock on the canal here, but Dock Lane crosses the canal, and heads to the river just to the north. Baildon Bridge Mills, Lower Holme Mills and a worsted mill all occupied sites on the river, so is it possible that the dock the lane ran to was a river wharf? I’m not sure that the Aire was navigable this far up, though.
Coming into Shipley, Dockfield Mill sits almost opposite the old entrance to the Bradford Canal, on the left just this side of the next bridge.
There was a gap on the visitor moorings in Shipley, at Salt’s Wharf, so we pulled in there at around noon. We were going to push on to Dowley Gap, but we’ve time on our hands and it’s OK here.
After a cool but dry day the forecasted rain moved in this evening. It’s certainly turning autumnal now.
Locks 3, miles 4