Monday, 15 June 2009

Catch up time again!

11.06.09- Leeds
We stayed in Leeds for the day, there were some bits & bobs of shopping needed including a new TV for the bedroom as the old portable had gone kaput, could be something to do with being well & truly splashed by the jammed paddle incident in Dobson lock.
We had intended replacing it anyway so not too much of a disaster. Got just what we wanted from Argos, a 19" flat screen with DVD built in.
I also took the opportunity of doing several wash loads whilst on shore power, so we looked like a chinese laundry for a while.

Poppy making good use of empty TV box

12.06.09 - Leeds to Lemonroyd

We didn't make any effort to be up & off early as not going far today so had a leisurley breakfast & left at 9.30. Once through the lock we stopped at the old visitor moorings to empty the loo & rubbish except that our key wouldn't open the elsan point door, mmm....still our stop hadn't been a total waste of time as Mark nipped across to Starbucks & fetched us coffee & buns!

Not too concerned as we have a spare cassette & there are facilities at Lemonroyd, however whilst waiting for the Knostrop Fall lock to fill ( big locks-take ages) I rang BW at leeds to let them know.

Arrived at Lemonroyd at 12.45, just enough room on the visitor moorings, Poppy & Soona were soon out enjoying the warm sunshine having been cooped up whist in Leeds as we don't let them out in urban areas.

13.06.09 - Lemonroyd to Pollington

Ready for off by 8am, I walked up & set the lock, they really are huge especially after squeezing 2 boats into some of the locks on the L&L

nb Poppy looking tiny in the vast Lemonroyd lock

We stopped off at Ferrybridge to get a paper & some bread, a bit early for lunch so we pushed on to Whitley Bridge & once through the lock pulled over to the visitor moorings. Again warm & sunny & cats happy to get out into it.

Poppy wondering shall I, shant I ? She didn't.

Soona taking the air

Poppies in the distance nr Pollington

After an hour soaking up the sun we pressed on to Pollington, the visitor moorings there are very pleasant, the cats can play out safely & it's a peaceful spot .....but we got there to find it was packed! No worries, we carried on about 500yds to a little spot we know & moored there instead.
Another peaceful, lazy afternoon.

14.06.09 - Pollington to Goole

The last day of our little cruise & gosh we've enjoyed it. We filled up with water before leaving Pollington at 10.40. Glorious sunny weather all the way arriving at Goole visitor moorings at 12.50pm so another short day at the helm. Once here & refreshed with showers we wandered up to Tescos for some supplies inc the sunday papers & yes, you've guessed it another lazy afternoon with the papers.

15.06.09 - Goole

Mark got off early doors this morning to get the train to work & will bring the car back tonight, we shall stay here till Wednesday then probably move up to Rawcliffe Bridge.

What a fasinating place this is, surrounded by boats & ships of all sizes from little cruisers, huge working barges even a tall ship. I'll have a wander around tomorrow to get some pics to upload.

Been busy today giving the boat a good clean & tidy to return some semblance of order after 2 weeks neglect whilst we avoided housework being on 'hols' but we're all ship shape now

Through the hatch -Some local residents looking for a feed.

Time to close it - A step too far!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Bingley to Leeds

09.06.09 - Bingley to Rodley

View across the valley from top of Bingley 5 rise

A bit of a slow start as we slept in till 8.15 so a quick breakfast & we were in the top lock by 9am,
sharing the locks with nb Millfield exiting the bottom of the 3 at 10.15.

Going down

The journey was fairly uneventful as we went through Dowley Gap & Hirst locks leaving nb Millfield behind in Saltaire, they had been hoping to spend a night there so were disappointed to find the visitor moorings are for 6 hours & £5 per hour thereafter!

We stopped briefly at the visitor moorings near Gallows Bridge, Shipley to stock up at the very handy Aldi then onwards through the assorted swing bridges to the Field 3 locks were we paired up with an AngloWelsh boat Golden Fleece.

Junction Bridge, Shipley

The next set of locks are the Dobson 2 & as we approached we passed a boat who shouted something about something jammed, once in & descending we realised what they had tried to warn us about. A paddle in top gate wouldn't close properly resulting in a bit of a soaking for both boats!

We pulled up at Calder Valley Marine for diesel, £1.06 / 59p & 60 / 40 split ( take it or leave it)
we thought we had approx half a tank left (using the dowel measuring system!) but took on 110 litres so maybe our stick needs recalibrating.... Also bought a replacement tiller pin.

Another couple of miles & we finally moored up just outside Rodley. I got tea ready whist Mark emptied the bilges of the water from the Dobson 2.

10.06.09 - Rodley to Leeds

Left Rodley at 8.45, not too early as a fairly short day today
. Through 3 swing bridges to the Newlay 3 which is usually manned but not this morning, a card pinned on the beam informed us the the lockie was doing maintenance work on the Forge locks & to ring if assistance required.
We weren't too daunted as we have been up & down these a few times now & it all went smoothly. Just as Mark got into the bottom lock a van arrived with a couple of BW workers, saw we were okay & left us to it.
As we were leaving I spotted a boat approaching the top lock so we said we'd wait for them to pair up for the Forge 3. We had a coffee whilst waiting & when they arrived we went down this time with assistance of the lockie.

Sharing the rest of the locks into Leeds & chatting, as you do, turns out that Chris & Debbie of nb Ubique are also bloggers. I had never come across their blog but I have now & have enjoyed reading of their adventures so far earlier on this evening so will add them to my list.

An interesting sign near the Leeds Industrial Museum, it reads
' the remains of a wooden ice breaker lie submerged'
it would have been a better picture had it taken it before our wash caused the ripples!

We had just got moored up here in Clarence Dock when the rain started & hasn't really stopped, but the fire is lit, we are nice & cosy & Mark's got the football on the box......

Monday, 8 June 2009


06.06.09 Holden Bridge to Skipton.

We had a wild night with the wind & rain, more like October than June! But it wasn't the weather that disturbed our sleep but a very annoying crow - we had noticed him the previous evening sitting on a fence post along side the boat. He woke us up at 4.30 am by pecking the roof & cawing very noisily, Mark got up a couple of times to remonstrate with him but with little effect, I ended up banging on the roof with the large brolly but he was very persistant, got the feeling he just wanted us to move! But it was still pouring down all morning so we waited till 1pm before finally getting underway.

Now there might not be any locks between Bingley & Skipton but the numerous swing bridges make up for it so plenty of exercise.

Lots of hire boats from Silsden Boats on the move & day boats from Pennine Cruisers.

Due to our late start I wasn't sure if we would get a mooring in Skipton but as we reached the visitor moorings I spotted a space & we nipped in, it seemed to be the last one, phew!
We realised later that we had pulled in behind Elsie & Eric on nb Bendigedig.

A quick wash & brush up before we went in search of a pub tea but failed as none serving so a pint in the Red Lion while Mark checked on the England match & then collected fish & chips on the way back to the boat. Early to bed & just the sounds of a town centre on a saturday night to lull us to sleep.

07.06.09 Skipton-Stayed put.

A quick trip to Morrisons (5 mins walk) to stock to cupboards & when all put away we wandered off into Town to find a pub lunch. On the way out we managed to say hello to Eric, Elsie & Ben by the water point, they are the first fellow bloggers we have met, it was lovely to meet them & put faces to names.

We had a decent lunch in the Red Lion then went for a look round the castle - I have been to Skipton a few times but never visited the castle & I don't know not why as it's magnificent.

Back to the boat for a lazy afternoon reading the papers & watching all the passing boats the majority which seem to be hire boats.

08.06.09 Skipton to Bingley

Much as we would have liked to continue on up the L & L we are not yet continuous cruising so an early start this morning saw us at the water point at 7.30am & off back east at 8.30am.
Quite cold & windy still, needed a coat until jumping on & off to do all those bridges warmed me up!

We stopped at the old quarry again for lunch, it's sheltered from the wind here & the sun came out so it was very pleasant. Poppy had a whale of time, when we stopped the other day she mooched about in the grass but today decided to tackle a bit of rock climbing!

Whilst Soona again stays close to home

In the little painted bucket is some cat mint I am trying to grow, it has suffered a few times from Soona's attentions, usually rolling on it, it was a bit battered so to give it a fighting chance & keep it out of her reach when not on the move I hang it from the tiller arm.
Just after the pic was taken she spotted (smelt) it & started to give it some attention so I removed it & somehow whilst trying to hang it off the tiller arm managed to lose the tiller pin in the canal.Oops.... tried the sea searcher but no joy so a screwdriver is acting as stand in till a replacement obtained.

Did spot these tadpoles though

& this black swan near Bingley top lock

We arrived at Bingley 5 rise at 3.30pm & moored up ready for an early descent Tuesday am.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Dowley Gap to somewhere between Stockbridge & Silsden!

05.06.09 Day 6
Changeline Bridge, Dowley Gap

What a delightful little spot Dowley Gap is, I could quite easily have stayed longer but we needed to press on if we are to reach Skipton before needing to turn & head back.

We were up bright & early so we were working through the double lock by 7.50am.

Leaky Dowley gates

Moored through the lock was nb Tommy Martin with Wendy & John, they were just having breakfast but on seeing us popped out to ask if we could pair up through the Bingley 3 & 5 so we just trundled along slowly until they joined us & then it was the 3 rise.

Waiting at bottom of Bingley 3 rise

Wendy & I made light work of them with the able assistance of lockie John.
You just have chance to catch your breath & the 5 rise looms in front of you.

Entering the bottom lock under Barry's watchful eye

Poppy & Tommy Martin 1/2 way up

The lockie here is Barry & with his guidance again it was not a chore, once at the top I would have liked to have stopped for an ice cream but a lot of boats moored & not a lot of space so we carried on leaving nb Tommy Martin at the water point.

On thing I like about travelling by canal is seeing waterside gardens & on this stretch there are some smashers, some of them really quite steep.

We carried on through Riddlesden & Stockbridge stopping just short of Boothes bridge for lunch & to let the cats get some air but just after tying up the heavens opened so we stayed put for a while.

Not that the rain bothered Poppy, she was off into the undergrowth having a whale of a time, every now & again you could hear her bell tinkling & her head would pop up like a meercat. Mark went for a run & I settled down with a book.

Eventually the rain seemed to ease so about 4pm we decided to move on - not very far, perhaps a mile or so but Mark had spotted a nice spot with good views whilst out on his run, so off we went but gosh what a shock, the wind was getting up & it was cold, so much so I had to dig out my gloves!

Took a couple of attempts to moor as it was very shallow in places & you can see by the water marks on the banks that the water is low. We tied up in what felt like a gale - but at least it wasn’t raining!

The first thing we did was light the fire - I should have known I was tempting fate when we took the chimney off & stowed all fire lighting stuff away!
It is now raining again & we are being buffeted in the wind but we are warm & cosy & have some great views..... of the rain sweeping across the valley.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Leeds to Dowley Gap - Days 4 & 5

03.06.09 -Day 4- Leeds to Rodley

We left Clarence Dock at 8.20am after a peaceful night & what a change from the last few days, grey skies & definitely on the chilly side.
As we approached the 1st lock on L & L we found ourselves 3rd in line with 1 boat already in the lock, so from then on we paired up with Sue & Paul on nb Zambezi & worked through the rest of the locks up to Rodley with the able assistance of the lockies at Forge 3 & Newlay 3.

Leeds & Liverpool lock no 1

nb's Poppy & Zambezi in Oddy 2

Everything went smoothly with no evidence of the problems rumoured yesterday although the lockies did confirm that water shortage is a concern & they are asking boaters to share locks even if it means waiting awhile for another boat to pair up with.

It was nice to natter whilst doing the locks especially as Sue & Paul are ( I’m sure they won’t mind me saying!) seasoned boaters & I could pick up hints & tips. Always looking for ways to make life easier!
As we worked through the weather warmed up & we arrived at Rodley in warm sunshine
mooring beyond the swing bridge which is currently being repaired, upgraded, renewed ? & is in the open position while work continues.

We fancied a pub meal & as last Sept had such a nice meal in the Owl made our way back up to the bridge which of course is open! No worries, turn round & try the Railway - wouldn’t you know - no meals Wednesday evenings mmm….
So instead we enjoyed a jar or two with Sue & Paul (nb Zambezi) & Keith & Audrey (nb Ashlay) who had beaten us to it & already enjoying a pint in the sunshine then back to the boat for a scratch meal & lazy evening.

04.06.09 - Day 5 - Rodley to Dowley Gap

After another peaceful night, for me anyway, a duck on the roof woke Mark in the early hours, we got away from Rodley at 8.30am. 1st stop was Calder Valley Marine in Apperley Bridge for some loo blue & whilst there we took the opportunity to empty the cassette, dump the rubbish & fill the water tank.
On to Shipley via the Dobson 2 locks, unmanned but one of the ground paddles refused to budge & a BW worker took pity on me & lent a hand - but not just me being feeble he decided there was a problem with it & locked it off.

I then really struggled with the Idle swing bridge which was a pig & took every ounce of push! Next, the Field 3 which are manned (phew!) & whilst locking up a BW work boat appeared with 4 workers, 1 of whom was taking note of repairs needed so I told him about Idle bridge.
( acc to the lockie) the maintenance crew walk the canals covering each area every month reporting any issues but how quickly jobs get done ? ……… will it be any easier when we come back next week ;-)

Most of these locks have leaking gates, giving our cratch cover a soaking, Poppy likes to sit in the cratch watching the ‘road’ ahead & got quite a shock the 1st time the waterfall happene
d & she had to dash under the sofa to recover.

A stowaway

The visitor moorings in Shipley were taken up by Zambezi & Ashlay so we moored on the opp side just as Paul & Sue et al were just returning from shopping, turns out an Aldi 2 mins away so we did a good shop & the cupboards are now full.

Junction Bridge, Shipley

Stopped off briefly at Saltaire & nipped in to the mill for a coffee & bun then on to find a mooring for the night, we had hoped to stop in the Hirst woods as Poppy hasn’t been off the boat for a couple of days, we don’t let her out in urban areas, but the edges too shallow so we went over the aqueduct & have stopped just short of the Dowley Gap 2, finally mooring up at 5.30pm

Dowley Gap

We could have gone through the locks & moored near the pub but we are well stocked with beer courtesy of Aldi !

Poppy & Soona have been out for some air, Poppy ventured a bit further than Soona & climbed onto this roof probably with an eye on the birds in the tree! To give them some peace I called her back on board & she’s happily snoozing on our bed……. I don't think it will be long before they are making room for us as it has been a busy but enjoyable day & we're bushed!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Thorne to Leeds

I really did mean to blog daily but already we are 3 days into cruise..... so catch up time.

31.05.09 -Day 1

8am Sunday morning saw us leaving Bluewater in glorious sunshine, we stopped briefly at Stainforth to visit the sunday market & again near the top of New Junction for lunch arriving at the (empty) Pollington visitor moorings at 3.30 pm.

We were just getting settled when this family arrived looking for food - someone should tell them that going up to a boat hissing isn't the best way to ensure the goods are delivered, a good job the little ones were so cute!

Poppy enjoyed pottering about & even Soona made it as far as the picnic benches!

01.06.09 - Day 2

Filled up at the water point before leaving at 8.45am & our luck was in as the lockie was on duty, although it's not hard work as these locks are all electronic push button affairs. Which is all well & good till they break down or won't let you have your key back.... Not so lucky at Whitley & Bulholme as no lockie but the electronics behaved & all well.

Looming cooling towers at Ferrybridge

After Ferrybridge the Aire & Calder twists & winds to Castleford through a wooded valley, with the hot weather it felt ( I imagine !) a bit like going up the Amazon, I half expected to see a crocodile slithering from the bank.

Aire & Calder

Mooring on the visitor moorings in Castleford we walked into the town (5 mins) to get a paper, as we made our way back to the moorings a police car was parked up in the lane. A group of youngsters were swimming in the canal & generally making a bit of a nuisance of themselves. The police tried to point out the dangers of swimming in the canal but I fear it fell on deaf ears!

Leaving Castleford towards the flood lock we had a red light as this monster was coming through.

Then more wooded valley cruising through to Lemonroyd were we again found empty visitor moorings, it really is a lovely spot here. Poppy went off to explore & a few minutes I heard a noise & a small boy was chasing & shouting at her, I had a sharp word & the adult with the boy quickly called him back over but Poppy was quite spooked & didn't stray far for the rest of the evening.

Playing safe

02.06.09 - Day 3

I slept well & was up & about at 7 but Mark not so chipper as he had been awake at 4am & had got up for a drink of water ( I never heard a thing!) & then gone into a deep sleep so at 9.15am not such an early start today.

Approaching Woodlesford lock we were now no 2 in a convoy of 4, the other 3 boats having spent the night in Lemonroyd Marina & we shared locking duties right through to Leeds & now all 4 off us are moored in Clarence Dock.

Whilst passing through Woodlesford a boater coming down told us that it looked likely that the Leeds Liverpool would be closed due to water shortage. Last year our plans for the LL were scuppered because of too much water now not enough, b****r....

No apologies for more cute pics, this family dashed into Woodlesford lock as the gates opened

..... then at Knostrop lock another boater said " you won't get onto the LL as a lockie had been assaulted by gang so canal closed " mmm...

Approaching Leeds Lock

Straight into BW office when we arrived here who said there wasn't a problem as far as they were concerned, the water levels are okay & they had not heard of any assault!! So rumours, gossip, who knows ? Anyway we shall press on up the LL tomorrow regardless & hope for the best.

After the visit to BW office we walked up to The Palace pub for lunch, we ate there last September, it was excellent then & we were not disappointed today, then up to Millets so Mark could buy a hat. He has found that long days at the tiller especially when it's as sunny as the last few days a hat is essential so has been wearing an old rain hat of mine but now has his own, We didn't stay in town long, it was hot & so noisy - after a few days on the peace of the canal it certainly jarred!

I found it uncomfortably hot this afternoon & but it's a bit cooler now, we have even had a few spots of rain though doubt it's enough to dispel rumours of water shortages ;-)