Saturday, October 15, 2016

Down to Shipley to watch the boats go by

We made Kildwick to Riddlesden on Wednesday, just about avoiding the showers but it was often bright and sunny too.

Some people moor in the oddest places…
There’s plenty of width either side of this spot. A wide-beam would have to be in the offside bushes to pass.

Just a handful of swing bridges to deal with today, one less with Laneside permanently chained in the open position. IMG_2005

Good views across the Aire valley on the way to SilsdenIMG_2009

We pulled up in Riddlesden about lunchtime, as the fine morning started to give way to showers.

These kept on all night, into the following morning and most of Thursday. Needless to say, we stayed put!

We were just getting ready to move out yesterday morning when another boat arrived, Sophie. We took turns opening the bridges to Bingley, they did the first, here at Riddlesden, we did the last, the footbridge across the canal to the Airedale Boat Club moorings above Bingley Locks.

A fine row of canalside cottages next to Swine Lane Bridge, number 198.IMG_2014

Both boats needed water, so we pulled in just past the ABC footbridge, and Sophie carried on to the main service wharf above the locks.

Arriving at the top of the Five-Rise I had a walk down to find the lockie, John, just bringing up a hire boat. So we had a 45 minute wait while I helped with the gates and the paddles. Then we were on our way down, in company with Sophie.IMG_2020  

The sun even came out!

All was going swimmingly till the fourth chamber. It was emptying nicely when John suddenly noticed Seyella leaning towards Sophie. We quickly closed down the paddles, then slowly refilled the chamber, just a foot or so, and she righted. Looking down I could see that a fender had become hooked up in the recess for the ground paddle rod.
A bit unclear and unfocussed, but the shot was taken looking down between the boat and the lock wall. The ground paddle rod runs from the middle foreground to the right, the boat’s gunnel is the black grainy-looking bit across the top right-hand corner, and the offending fender is the shiny black thing in the middle. If you look closely you can see that it’s still lodged in the recess, even though the boat is now on an even keel. Mags had to move back a bit to get the pesky thing released. I don’t think it would have ended in disaster, either the fender or the rope attaching it would have failed before it got much worse. Still, a bit of an object lesson. Keep aware!

Mags had been on the tiller coming down the Five, I took over while we did the Three so she could have a sit down.

Between the Five and the Three

Steerer’s view coming down the triple staircase.


Below the locks we moored in a regular spot, above Dowley Gap Locks.

Overnight showers cleared by this morning, leaving a fairly bright start. Our sometime traveling companions must have had enough of us yesterday; although we didn’t see them we heard their engine, gently chugging past at daybreak.
The staircase pair at Dowley Gap was only just around the corner, and needed a bit of setting up before we could drop down. The bottom chamber has to be empty and the top full when locking in either direction, but with leaky gates both chambers were neither one nor the other.

Coming down Dowley Gap Staircase Locks

The Aire is crossed on a wide aqueduct not far below the lock.
From here on the river will be on our left hand until we join it below Leeds.

One more lock, at Hirst Mill, with it’s attendant swing bridge, and then we were heading into Saltaire.
 It’s good to see that Titus Salt’s heritage is still being put to good use.
He had the area above the river cleared and levelled for the recreation of his workforce.

A campanile tower rises above New Mill, Saltaire.

We pulled in not much further on, at the offside moorings next to the business units at Salt’s Wharf in Shipley.

As part of the canal’s bicentenary celebrations the heritage Leeds and Liverpool Short Boat Kennet is recreating the inauguration trip made nearly 200 years ago when the canal was officially opened. Information here.
Kennet and the flotilla should come past us here at around mid-morning tomorrow.

The canal was opened end-to-end on the 22nd October 1816, to much celebration. It had taken 50 years to complete, though…
Changes in the route at the Lancashire end, and the small matter of the Napoleonic Wars caused delays, but they got there in the end.

It’s sometimes interesting to put the canals in their historical context. The Battle of Waterloo was fought just over a year before this one was opened…
(William Holmes Sutherland, 1836 - 1908)

…and Admiral Lord Nelson died at Trafalgar just 10 years before that.
(Auguste Mayer, 1805 – 1890)

Hi Pip. Sorry, we must have missed you somewhere on route. Have a good trip.

Since last post – Locks 11, miles 12¼

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