We had two steady days from Kildwick to Skipton, stopping overnight at at Bradley. The last two days of this unseasonably warm weather too.
But Tuesday night was wet, very wet. And noisy, too. A succession of thunderstorms marched across the valley towards us, bright sheet lightening lighting up the clouds. The thunder, when overhead, was powerful enough to make the boat vibrate! The rain came down in torrents, bouncing back up off the canal. Then it faded away to the north leaving us with a steamy, humid night.
Looking down the Aire valley on Wednesday morning, the river is up as it comes under Kildwick Bridge.
There was a wooden crossing here recorded in the Domesday Book, but it was replaced by the current stone construction in the early 14th century. It carried the main turnpike between Keighley and Skipton, and even as early as 1780 was found to be too narrow for the amount of traffic using it, so it was widened, by building another span alongside. The “new” section is the downstream crossing, seen above.
The bridge and village proved a bottleneck again in the 20th century, so the Aire Valley Road and a new bridge was constructed just upstream and opened in 1980.
The bridge over the canal here only carries a minor road, and is a bit of a hybrid.
Warehouse Swing Bridge
Turn the key and press the button for the barriers to come down to close off the road, but then you have to get your back to the bridge to swing it open, and it’s bl***y heavy!
We had five of these to tackle, the first and last carrying traffic, the others being for footpaths and farm access.
Mags going through Milking Hill Swing Bridge
Hambleton Swing Bridge has the memorial to the Polish aircrew who died when their Wellington bomber crashed into the hillside during a training flight in 1943. All seven members of the crew lost their lives.
The bridge was swinging in the breeze when we arrived, the securing chain having lost a link, so I called it in to CRT. It only carries a footpath, but I was concerned that it might close on a passing boat.
The canal runs alongside the Keighley Road for quite a way, only looping away for a short while to skirt a valley formed by a beck running down from the moorland above Low Bradley. There’s another crossing here, fully automated this time, and we pulled in shortly after.
Moored at Low Bradley
The chimney in the background belongs to Bradley Mill, a woolen mill built in the 1860s and now converted into apartments.
Thursday morning we set off to Skipton, after I’d had a gentle jog into the town to check on the mooring situation. The moorings were fairly empty, as were my legs when I got back after the five-mile there and back trip! I’ve got some work to do to get fit again! It’s been nearly a year since I’ve run seriously.
Anyone know what this chap is? Smaller than the average mallard, but able to hold it’s own in the battle for breadcrumbs!
The day had started damp and misty, and the low cloud was still clinging to the slopes as we set off
There were several Canadian-style canoes heading our way, doing a challenging paddle from Bradford to Liverpool, 100 miles to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
New construction at Snaygill Boats
Nineteenth century terraced housing for the mill workers of Skipton
Many mills were built in Skipton, mainly for spinning and weaving of wool. There’s always been sheep here, The name Skipton is derived from the Anglo Saxon Scaep (sheep), and tun (town). The canal only made access to the raw materials easier.
We moored opposite the bus station, not the prettiest spot, but handy for Tescos, and more importantly, the vet.
The long-distance paddlers stopped for lunch from the chippy before carrying on westward.
Now then, Meg. Since the last visits to the doggy doctor down in Castleford she’s been on antibiotics to deal with the infection that caused the swelling in her nether regions. At first it responded well, shrinking and becoming far less irritating to her. But it had got to a point where it was a small, firm lump, not shrinking any further. Obviously the antibiotics had done as much as they could, but I thought something must still be in there.
So we went to visit the vet, just two minutes away, yesterday afternoon. She agreed, and we arranged a minor operation today to investigate more thoroughly under a general anesthetic. While she was under they also were to have a look at her teeth, as she had two rear molars which looked a bit dodgy.
I dropped her off this morning and picked her up this evening, still a little groggy but alert enough to have the hump with me! The investigative surgery was worthwhile; they found a grass-seed that had penetrated the skin and was causing the infection. She’s had the problem twice before, but on her fore-paws, not near her bum! And they also removed four of her back teeth that were poor or actually rotten, so that was good too.
Poor girl, no wonder she’s upset with me, she’s sore at both ends! A few days to heal and she’ll be right as a bobbin, I’m sure.
Locks 0, miles 5