Monday, October 31, 2016

A fine day for a cruise

This morning started a bit dull and misty, and early! I normally wake at around half-seven, if I oversleep the Webasto heater, igniting at eight o’clock, gives me a nudge. And so it was today. I got up on hearing the hum of the air pump, but it was only when I went through to the galley to put the kettle on that I realised it was only 7 o’clock! I always forget to change one clock…

The sky had started to clear by the time we were ready to go at around half past nine, and by lunchtime it was a pretty good day, warm and sunny.

There was a boat on the water point above Woodlesford Lock, so we waited for them, sharing the lock before we filled with water below.

In Woodlesford Lock with NB Owl

The lock area is still well kept 10 years on…

Autumn colours below the lock

Lemonroyd Lock is only just over a mile downstream, past the now abandoned Fleet Oil Terminal.IMG_2151
The basin and arm to the left led to a lock down onto the River Aire.

The fisherman just above Lemonroyd Lock was complaining that his neighbour hadn’t got a permit!

Owl had pressed on and was moored above Lemonroyd, and the lady member of the crew had set up the lock ready for us. Not only that but she insisted on sending us down too!

It’s a very deep chamber, over 14 feet.

We rejoined the river below the lock…
…but this isn’t the original route of the navigation.

Following a major breach in 1983 the route was realigned and Kippax Lock removed, the change in level accommodated by the new, deeper Lemonroyd Lock.IMG_2162
I spoke about this when we came up here earlier in the year.

Easy cruising on the wide and deep channel takes us to Castleford where we left the river for the short Castleford Cut, with Castleford Flood Lock at the top end and Bulholme Lock at the bottom.

I don’t remember seeing that in September…

The wharf was there of course, but the painted sign is new. Now there’s little or no commercial traffic on the navigation it’d be OK to stay here, although the edge is a bit high for narrowboats.

CRT workboat on a mission…

…and a bit of high-level maintenance work

I didn’t expect the flood lock to be shut, but was still pleased to be able to cruise straight through.IMG_2170

Castleford Cut

Concentrating on lunch

We pulled in just before the old coal chute, at about a quarter to twelve.IMG_2173

It’s open and sunny a bit further up, but there was a cluster of boats already there. Still, we’re only here for tonight.
We’ve a week to get to Keadby, I spoke to the lockie there this morning and he’s got us booked in to pen out onto the Trent next Monday morning. It struck me afterwards that in the several trips we’ve done on the Trent we’ve never headed upstream on the tideway. First time next week, then.

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that John Sage is no longer on the roof. Now we’re clear of the short Leeds and Liverpool locks he’s returned to his normal position on the rack over the rudder.
I’m hoping I’ll soon be able to fill the vacated roof space with some firewood…

Locks 2, miles 5

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A long weekend in Woodlesford

Now we’re out of Leeds and below the stoppages that are due to start next week we decided to take it easy. Not that we don’t normally…

So we’ve stayed here at Woodlesford, but will be moving on tomorrow. It’s very pleasant here, and there’s a decent Co-op and a good butcher’s up in the village for supplies.

The lock surrounds are very well kept, too.

Around the lock…



Plenty of water coming down the bywash…

…somewhat less flowing down the river!

Across the way are permanent moorings with a variety of boats narrow and broad. MV Norok is looking a bit sorry for itself, though.
20161027_093658 C
At 105 years old I think it deserves a bit of TLC.

We’ve had visitors while we’ve been here. Arthur and Wendy and Wendy’s grandson Luke came over from York yesterday for the day, and we had a surprise visit from Mags’ grandson Michael this afternoon. All good.

There’s been a few boats about this weekend, I think mostly getting in a last trip before the weather turns.  There were several up the canal a ways having a party last night, but they weren’t intrusive. I expect it’ll go quiet again now.

Did you all remember to put your clocks back? I’m writing this at around half-four and I’ve just realised why I’m struggling to see the keyboard. It’ll be dark in half an hour!

Castleford tomorrow.

Thanks KevinToo. Not Bake Off standard, but I'll make some for when we see you.

Locks 0 miles 0

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

South out of town.

After a day off yesterday we were away this morning, heading out of Leeds. The gas arrived early afternoon, just as well as I’d knocked up the mixture for a batch of chocolate-chip and banana muffins in the morning!

They came out well…
…taste good, too!

It was cool as we set off today, a bit of a breeze had sprung up, but it was blowing in the right direction to help rather than hinder as we reversed away from the pontoon moorings at Granary Wharf.

River Lock, Lock 1 of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, drops us down onto the River Aire as it flows through the city.IMG_2105

The river emerges under the futuristic south entrance of Leeds railway station.IMG_2107
But behind the fancy façade lurk the old Dark Arches

Three-quarters of a mile downstream the river passes under Crown Point Bridge…IMG_2110

…then the Royal Armouries comes into view, under dramatic skies.IMG_2111

We’re now on the short lock cut leading to Leeds Lock that was almost completely submerged during the Boxing Day floods last year.

It’s a little calmer today.
On the island and in the weir stream the flood protection works continue.

Push button now, no more shoving and winding for a bit!

Below the lock we pulled onto the service pontoon to give Meg a chance for a pee, and to get rid of rubbish that had accumulated since Apperley Bridge.

I’d just set off again when a large floating platform appeared around the corner, so snuck back in again.IMG_2115

It obviously wouldn’t fit through the lock, so it must be a work platform for use below the weir.

We’re heading out now, through the south-east ‘burbs towards Stourton. An old mill building is all boarded up, prime for conversion I would have thought.IMG_2119

At the top end of Knostrop Falls Lock sat a flood lock, but recent removal of the peninsula between the lock cut and the river channel has made it redundant.

We go past it now…

…and the structure has been replaced by large pipes.IMG_2121

Knostrop Falls Lock, the chambers are getting bigger now…IMG_2124

We don’t rejoin the river below Knostrop Falls, instead the navigation is the Aire and Calder Canal, running just to the south of the river channel. There’s a long length of permanent moorings at Thwaite Mills Industrial Museum.

Steam crane at the museum

I’d picked up a couple of logs just above Newlay Locks. There were more, but someone had beaten me to them. Anyway, I didn’t want to cut them on the popular moorings above Woodlesford Lock so pulled in on the wharf below Thwaite Mills. It’s rough here, so another pile of wood chippings wouldn’t matter. It only took a few minutes to reduce the logs to rounds ready for splitting later.

Leaving the old wharf. IMG_2129
The wharf was built as a holding area for boats delivering to and collecting from The Yorkshire Copper Works on the opposite side of the navigation.

Under the A1/M1 Link Road…

…and approaching the unusual concrete bowstring bridge.IMG_2134

It’s unimaginatively called -

Fishpond Lock was our fourth and final lock as we moored above Woodlesford.IMG_2141

Woodlesford moorings

It’s good to be out in the country again.

Locks 4, miles 5½

Monday, October 24, 2016

Bit of a Cock-up on the Catering Front…

Remember that? Reggie Perrin’s brother-in-law Jimmy, played by the excellent Geoffrey Palmer in The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, was always having a cock-up on one front or another… Of course, the incomparable Leonard Rossiter played the title character.

My cock-up was gas. We arrived here in Leeds ready for a good cup of tea, but the kettle was taking a long time to boil. On investigation it was found that the gas had run out. No problem, I’ll just swap onto the new one in the gas locker. Only it wasn’t. New that is. It’s the one I changed from when that ran out. Yes, I’d forgotten to replace it!
OK, not a huge problem, the stove is lit so we can boil the kettle on that. And dinner tonight can be a pot-mess. But we can’t manage like that indefinitely. So a very nice lady at the local Calor Gas centre has arranged to deliver two fresh bottles to us here at Granary Wharf tomorrow morning. Whew.

Anyway, back to the boating. It’s always quite a long day, this trip up or down between Rodley and Leeds. So we had a chat yesterday, the result of which was us leaving Rodley at four o’clock in the afternoon yesterday and stopping above the first triple staircase locks at Newlay ready to start the run down first thing today.

The afternoon sun lights up autumn leaves as we leave RodleyIMG_2072

Moss Swing Bridge
That’s an ice-cream van on the opposite side!

It’s always been a bit of a no-no to moor above Newlay Locks. The local yoof come down from the housing estates either side and have been know to cause a bit of bother. Which is why we left it later in the day, arriving not long before dusk. Surprisingly there was a boat here already, the same boat that was here when I came down for a run on Thursday. I had a chat and it turns out they’d broken down and had been there for 10 days trying to get the engine sorted. And had no trouble at all. They were running low on fuel, a promised delivery of solid fuel and logs hadn’t arrived, so I let them have a bag of Excel from our roof supply.

So, after a quiet and very dark night I was chatting to the lock-keepers at eight this morning. We still had to have breakfast and Mags had to sort herself out too, so it was around 09:15 when we entered the top of the three-rise.

In Newlay Locks

Both Newlay and Forge, the next set down, are three-rise and are manned during the season. At the end of the month the part-time lockies are finished, and passage through these flights has to be booked with CRT. But at the moment it’s turn up and go down (or up).

With staff on hand I stayed aboard and Mags stayed inside in the warm. It was a bit parky out this morning, till the sun rose above the trees.
Rope grooves worn in the stonework indicate that horse-boats worked up and down this stretch.

Forge Locks is only about half a mile below Newlay…

..and was set up ready for us.


Kirkstall Lock, now just a single, is next across the valley from the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey.IMG_2090

The sun directly ahead made photography a little difficult, but did allow for some unusual shots under bridges.

Below Kirkstall Lock there’s about three-quarters of an hour to Spring Garden Lock, passing Aire Valley Marina on the left.IMG_2093


The marina uses the off-line wharf constructed to supply Kirkstall Power Station with coal. Built in 1931 the power station was extended two or three times, finally closing in 1976 and subsequently demolished.

We were making good time until we arrived at Oddy Locks, a double staircase just a mile from our planned destination. Two breasted up boats were heading down, facing in opposite directions!

The butty on the left, Elland, was too long to turn around in the channel, and the next winding hole was a long way uphill, so they were taking it back down into Leeds backwards. There it could turn round and make the final leg of the journey to Thwaite Mills facing the right way.

We dropped down with the third boat in the party, then left them to do some veg cutting on the offside below the lock while we carried on.

There’s yarn bombing – and there’s extreme yarn bombing!IMG_2101

Unusual and rather basic city–centre accommodation above Office Lock.IMG_2103 

We filled with water above the lock then dropped down and moored on the pontoons at Granary Wharf. We’ll stay here tomorrow (we’ve got to wait for the gas!) then toddle off out of town on Wednesday.

Locks 12, miles 6½.