Monday, October 17, 2016

Changeable weather.

The last couple of days have followed pretty much the same pattern – showers in the late morning, then bright sunshine through the afternoon. Unfortunately the showery periods coincided with cruising, both the bicentenary celebration flotilla’s yesterday, and ours today.

We were keeping a lookout yesterday for Kennet’s passing on the way to Saltaire, running a little late due to the weather she went past at around 10 past eleven.

Over the next hour or so several other decorated boats cruised by, another L&L Short Boat, this one converted for living aboard (and very smoky!)…IMG_2039

…and an historic tug, Anna

A handful of narrowboats made up the rest of the complement, Copperkins II had a lady braving the drizzle in a traditional boatwomen’s bonnet.IMG_2040 
A lot of the photographs you see of working boat families show the older women in these, but there’re more often than not black. Apparently the sombre colour was adopted after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, and of course most of the surviving photographs date from the turn of the 20th century.

After a pretty miserable morning the sun came out and it was quite a pleasant afternoon.

We got off this morning at about 10:45, overcast and grey but at least dry. Dock Lane Swing Bridge was our first, now fully mechanised as of last winter and a lot easier to open than the previous hand-wound mechanism.

Leaving Dock Lane Swing Bridge – without back and shoulder ache!IMG_2049 

From here we’re moving out into the country again, the canal following the Aire river valley as it sweeps in a long curve around the northern flank of Eccleshill. Two more manual swing bridges have to be dealt with before the top of the triple staircase of Field Locks is reached.

Field Locks, with the disused railway bridge crossing just above.IMG_2053

The rain started just as I was setting the flight up to go down.

Mags in the bottom chamber of the three.

Another couple of manual swing bridges over the next mile or so saw us arrive near the top of Dobson’s Locks. It looked a bit busy but the spot we like was free.

We had lunch and the sun came out, bright and warm, topping off the batteries through the solar panels. We’ll stay here tomorrow; I want to fill with diesel at Apperley Bridge Marina below the locks and they’re not open on Tuesdays.

Locks 3, miles 4

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