Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Riley Green to Withnell Fold

Gosh 2 posts in 1 day! 

Well, there may not be one  tomorrow as we have a busy day ahead but more of that later. We decided to move after lunch & it was just a short 3/4 hour hop to Withnell Fold  48hr visitor moorings  & what a lovely little spot it is.
 As we arrived the sun was peeping out from behind the cloud & it soon turned into a warm, sunny afternoon.

Whilst I sat reading ( I twisted my ankle a couple of weeks ago & it's still sore so avoiding too much walking) Mark went for a walk around the hamlet

& found the village stocks, not in use at the moment..

We were joined later by a Silsden 'drum' hire boat crewed by a couple of women who were just stopping off to go for a walk up to the village but managed to lock the padlock with the keys still in the boat, oops! so it was out with our tools to see what could be done,  a hacksaw failed miserably against the steel of the lock, an attempt to get the sliding hatch off by undoing some fasteners with allen keys nearly worked except the last one wouldn't budge..
 so time for a phone call to the Silsden depot who okayed an attempt to use a crow bar & brute force. Well that worked & fortunately we had a spare hasp & padlock so they were able to make it all secure again.

not a bad job, for a bodge!

 They were then able to enjoy their stroll after all, before they set off for Riley Green & The Boatyard Inn for the night

Hope they enjoy their meal as much as we did.

The plan tomorrow is to get to Johnson's Hill Locks for 10am ( can't go any earlier due to restrictions) & then find somewhere near Chorley to moor so I can get to B&Q at least & possibly into the town to find a supermarket as fresh food stocks a bit low.

Oh, nearly forgot, have been practicing steering as Mark has done the lions share to date but I want to do some of the driving & let him have a turn on the locks, not quite ready to take the L plates off just yet....

Hapton to Riley Green

We cast off yesterday early doors, well 8.30am is early for us and headed off from our rural mooring. It's a fairly gentle potter through Clayton-Le-Moors, Church, Rishton & Norden with the odd swing bridge here & there for a bit of exercise. It was very warm & humid ....

Soona, in her 'trying to keep cool' mode outside the bathroom

We had intended to stop in Blackburn to do some shopping but probably due to lack of research beforehand, we went straight passed the only decent mooring ( realised too late & just too hot to faff about going back) I did want to call in at B&Q but nowhere handy to moor, not that felt safe anyway as a few groups hanging around, drinking in the sunshine... they would probably have been fine & we were probably being judgemental but possibly the heat was making us grumpy!

We stopped at the service point which according to Nicholsons is after the 2nd lock.. no it isn't! It is after the 4th lock, anyway we grabbed a quick sandwich whilst the water tank filled ( we were going to have a nice lunch in town but hey never mind...)
All in all Blackburn ( just like Burnley) just doesn't feel at all welcoming to boaters, rubbish in the canal & graffiti everywhere, it would seem that any efforts made to smarten things up, & there have been some, are quickly defaced & spoiled. Once out of the bottom lock it's not long before things start to improve & the canal becomes pleasant again.
Feeling in need of something nice & cool we stopped by bridge 94 at Cherry Tree, as according to Nicholsons, there is a 'useful shop' well we did find a off licence after a bit of a walk ( can you see a pattern here!) but they sold ice creams & we felt much better after a magnum apiece.

We moored up outside the The Boatyard Inn in Riley Green at 5.30pm after a long hot days cruising & this time Nicholsons had it spot on! Mark had showered whilst we were stopped at Cherry Tree & I had had mine just before we arrived so no time was wasted in mooring up & heading across to the pub for a meal,
No microwaved,run of the mill bar food here & it was delicious, so suitably fed & watered we headed back to Poppy for a bit of TV & an early night, by which time it was raining which was cooling things down nicely.
After a good nights sleep we were woken at 7am by heavy rain which has now eased & the sun is peeping out. We are just wondering whether to stay here again tonight & have a lazy afternoon or move on to Withnell Fold, decisions, decisions.....

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Barrowford to Hapton

We stayed for a couple of days on the visitor moorings & very pleasant it was. Yesterday we walked down into Colne as food stocks were getting low, found a small Co-op, a Tesco express & a fair sized market so we were able to eat last night.

A classic cobbled alley in Colne

Colne was the birth place of Wallace Hartley, who was a bandmaster on the Titanic, & reputedly continued to conduct his band whist the ship sank perishing along with 8 band members.

We set off for Barrowford locks at 9.30am this morning accompanied by a silsden hire boat 'Molly's Drum' who had shared the moorings with us last night. It was grey & damp with the odd spot of rain but it will take much more than that to fill up the Barrowford reservoir......

We stopped off at the handy Morrisons in Nelson, there is just room for a couple of boats on their small secure mooring & a gate ( handcuff key) takes you into the store car park. Major food shop & we are now fully stocked with all sorts of exciting edibles !

Burnley next, no pictures as who wants to see pictures of a dirty canal or graffiti on every available surface. As you may have guessed we were not impressed but thought things may improve along the embankment as, according to Nicholsons..
" The whole area of the embankment has been tidied up and the towpath opened up offering excellent access to a wealth of pedestrianised shopping together with good moorings"
I'm not sure when that was written, maybe we were too busy avoiding the detritus in the water to spot the 'good moorings' & I'm sure the shopping is excellent but there was nothing to make us feel safe leaving our boat there.
So we pressed on & once through the Gannow tunnel things started to improve....

& we finally moored up just outside Hapton at 6.30pm, the M65 is rumbling away in the background but the skies have now cleared & this view more than makes up for it.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Barlick to Barrowford

Time to move on today, this morning James from the 'canvas man' returned the repaired side panel of the cratch & I am impressed, the repair looks very neat & cost only £37, very good value I think.

We have had a cracking weekend with old friends & Sid learnt how to climb up a tree, unfortunately he's not mastered the art of climbing down yet so it took an hour of much coaxing & not a few scratches
( he chose a Hawthorne for his 1st attempt!) to get him back.


So we filled with diesel, you can self declare at Lower Park Marina :) got a gas refill & set off with a friendly (I think!) wave from Phil & Chris...

not long before you cross the border, a 1st for Poppy - being out of Yorkshire...

passing Kennet, looked after by The Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society

exiting the Foulridge tunnel, another 1st, we are no longer tunnel 'virgins' !

no sign of the Doctor......

finally we moored up on the visitor moorings, (note, not shown in Nicholson's guide but very much here) we are still on the summit & have extensive views of the urban areas of Nelson & Burnley that we shall be travelling through as we descend, quite a change after the rural Dales & Pennines. We may move on tomorrow or we may just stay the full 48hours......

Friday, 18 June 2010

A long weekend in Barnoldswick ( Barlick)

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that our cratch cover had got damaged in an arguement with a swing bridge so I finally got around to booking it in with The Canvas Man for repair, it turned out that Brett was fitting a cratch at Greenberfield on Thursday & therefore we could drop off damaged panel with him & as someone is due to do a job at Lower Park Marina on Tuesday next week, the plan is our panel will be returned, repaired.

We were intending to stop off at the marina anyway to visit some old friends, Phil, Gina & Rosie the dog ( New Directions) & Chris (Freebird) from our Bluewater days. Wayne has kindly found a mooring spot for us so last night found us sat out enjoying the warm weather with a beer or two & a catchup session.

The short cruise up here ( this pound is the summit of the Leeds Liverpool) was delightful, very scenic with expansive views of the countryside, all the better due to the warm sunshine, not necessarily quiet though as it's haymaking time so machinery on all sides buzzing up & down the slopes.

We passed this, the first time I've seen a heron swimming, there is a heron's nest in a nearby tree so maybe this is a youngster? It did seem a bit lacking in the top crest feathers

Looking back to bridge 158, last one before Greenberfield locks

Rounding the bend approaching the 1st lock minus side panel from cratch cover left with 'canvas man'

Top lock & cows cooling off.

Waiting to get on the water point at Greenberfield services, summit of L&L.
A lovely spot with immaculate facilities, only 1hour mooring but long enough to water, sort the cassettes & get an ice cream from the Lock Stop cabin adjacent to the lock.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Gargrave to somewhere north of Greenberfield

A grey & overcast start

As I strolled up to Anchor lock just after 9 this morning no-one else seemed to be moving from the long line of boats moored up behind & in front of us but just as I started to empty the lock a Silsden 'drum' hire boat appeared & before long another pair moved up behind us, on reaching Stegneck lock we came to a halt as 2 boats were sat in the lock waiting for some water, the lockie was up at Bank Newton letting some down. Not too long a wait, just long enough for a coffee & they were on the move & we all followed 2 by 2.

1 of several boats that passed us on the way down so a couple of locks set for us

As you go up the Bank Newton 5 you really notice the climb & when you emerge at the top you then twist & wind as the canal follows the contours of the hillside. We were looking for a good spot to moor up but just too shallow & anywhere that wasn't was occupied! So we plodded on..

passed this...

under the double arched bridge at East Marton....

till we eventually found a spot with this view, I think it will do for a day or two

Soona taking the air.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

A week in Gargrave

On Monday we moved the short distance from Skipton to Gargave, a pretty village that I have driven through many times when visiting the Yorkshire Dales but visiting for the 1st time by canal. We decided to spend a few days here as it is idyllic & we wanted to do some walking so after spending 3 days on the visitor moorings we moved a few hundred yards along the canal.

A walk up to Malham was a must & we finally went on Thursday, not the best of days weather wise as overcast with a cold wind but we were getting a bit stir crazy after a couple of wet & cold days.

An interesting sign on a gate as we left Gargrave on the Pennine Way towards Malham

A misty view of 'limestone country'

We planned to walk to Malham ( approx 6 miles) have lunch in The Buck inn, then get the bus back to Gargrave. By the time we got to the pub we were battered & cold after contending with a head wind all the way but a delicious lunch & 2 coffees (me) & a pint of copper dragon (Mark) restored our spirits, so much so that we decided to forgo the bus & walk back !
A good decision as it turned out as the wind was now behind us, the mist had lifted somewhat & the sun even poked it's nose out now & again. So a good days walking all in all.

Yesterday in much better weather we walked up the towpath to Bank Newton top lock

passing this lock keepers cottage

the date above the door, built a year after work on this this section of canal started

steps leading up to a delightful wildflower meadow which has information boards on the local flora, fauna & canal history.

"At one time, the locks at Bank Newton were a hive of activity, not just with boats passing, but also the work undertaken at the canal company's workshops. Fortunately we can gain an idea of what went on here because two day books for the workshop survive from the nineteenth century. The books list the number of men working each day together with an all-to-brief outline of their work. Much of their time was taken simply in sawing up timber or working on dams, erected for maintenance of the canal, which were made from planks of wood driven into the canal bed. the first week in May seems to have been the time for repairs to the locks, while in winter everyone had to help boats throughthe locks after the ice breaker had don its work. The lock keeper lived in the house at the top lock where there were also stables for boat horses. Not only did he help passing boats but he also had to record their passage sending a report to the company head office in Liverpool every week so that toll charges could be calculated. The control of water was another responsibility particularly during heavy rain which could cause the canal to overflow its banks if its level was not regulated."
We wish!!

Taken from the meadow looking back towards Gargrave, you can just spot the locks through the gap in the trees

Back towards Gargrave the view from Stegneck lock

Tomorrow we shall make a move, how far ? who knows...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Dowley Gap to Skipton

There were 4 of us moored overnight at Dowley so we paired up with Sylvia & Edmund on 'owd ard', making our way up to the 3 rise for 9am with the other 2 boats hard on our heels. As we approached the 5 rise we could see a boat just starting its ascent so we knew we were in for a wait but not a problem on a warm sunny morning & there is no hurry....
So even with lockie Barrie's expert handiwork it was still 11.20 by the time we reached the top...

Top of Bingley 5 rise

...after filling up with water we continued on to Keighley, mooring up outside Puffer Parts where we managed to part with some cash, rope for another centre line, some brass thingies ( don't know proper name) to stop said centre line rubbing the paintwork, a couple of piling hooks & 1 LED MR16 bulb just to try out, it seems ok if a bit bright, LED's seem to be the future so we'll get there eventually.

Passing some great gardens

just worth a pic

We eventually moored up at 4pm a couple of hundred yards before Holden Swing bridge after several aborted attempts due to the shallowness, a peaceful spot with extensive views over the valley. Before too long we were joined by 3 Silsden “drum” hire boats, no doubt a good spot to overnight before returning the boats to base Saturday am.

The view from the stern doors

Off at 9am & a straight run through to Skipton interspersed by 9 or10 swing bridges, I lost count!

One of many

Poppy approaching a bridge

Lots of hire boats on the move, this was the busy scene at Snaygill as they were getting their fleet ready to go out.

Once in Skipton we moored up at the service point to offload rubbish & empty cassettes then moved round the corner & went up into town for a pub lunch, we tried the Narrow Boat 1st as it has a glowing write up in Nicholson’s but found the menu a bit short on veggie stuff ( & expensive!) so tried the Rose & Crown, better menu & better prices. We also tried the local brew, Copper Dragon, very nice!

Fed & watered we went in search of a pet shop to get some ear drops for Sid, I thought he had ear mites as his ears are always yucky with brown gunge, but they have been sprayed with some stuff twice at the vets who said he doesn’t have mites so maybe he just has waxy ears? Anyway will try some drops for a few days. Then we moved a few hundred yards through a couple more swing bridges & moored up in a more rural setting opposite the park.

Awoke this morning to a wet drippy cool day, shouldn't moan, the Leeds and Liverpool needs the water! Had a walk to Morrisons to top up the cupboards then lazed about eating lunch & reading the papers, what else are Sundays for ?

We had moored near some trees yesterday as they provided some welcome shade but although we had a good signal for phone & internet we had no TV, not really a problem as nothing much worth watching last night apart from Dr Who & that is repeated tonight so today we needed to move, just a few hundred yards or so we thought but had more problems with lack of water again. We ended up going 3 miles before we finally found a spot just past Highgate swing bridge & about a mile east of Gargrave.
It really is a beautiful spot even in the rain so we may stay here a day or two & enjoy it.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Rodley to Dowley Gap

We set off from Rodley yesterday morning in a misty haze that had turned into glorious sunshine by the time we moored up at Apperley Bridge 40 minutes later. A walk up the hill to Sainsburys & an hour later we were on our way with well stocked cupboards once more.

The Dobson two was made easier with the help of lockie John & once through we pulled on to the service point to offload rubbish & take on water which was very slow so whilst waiting we had lunch. We didn’t mind the wait as it is a lovely spot especially at this time of year with the blossom on the trees, fields of buttercups & some stunning views.

There is also a BW yard here and stacked in the yard are these old lock gates

which reminded me that on Monday whilst going up the Newlay 3 & chatting to the lockie we got talking about the Leeds City Council entry for the Chelsea Flower Show which for those that didn’t see it was a ‘lock scene’ & won a gold, well Newlay had new gates in January & the old top gates were the ones to go to Chelsea.

Cows keeping cool near the Dobson 2

definitely not a shiny gin palace!

Once watered & fed we trundled on to Shipley stopping briefly at the Aldi which is very handy just behind the small visitor mooring & a bit more shopping so the cupboards are not just well stocked but jam packed!

Then it was on through Saltaire, we didn’t stop this time, nice as it is to visit as the restrictions on lock use due to the water shortage ask that you don’tuse the locks after 4.30 pm & as we still had Hirst lock to go we pressed on & got through at 4.15pm mooring up below the Dowley Gap 2 at 5pm.

When I was struggling with Moss swing bridge Mark gave it a gentle nudge with the boat, only it turned out to be not so gentle after all as we found that the corner of the cratch cover has been caught, pulling out some of the stitches & removing the stud. Ouch!! I will ring Chris, the canvas man as we are in his neck of the woods to see if he can sort it for us.
After a peaceful night we moved up through the locks onto the visitor moorings, then on with chores. The washing is done & most of it dry, the sliding hatch is off & the brass strips removed, there was some rusty bits so all has been sanded, vactaned & given a coat of paint. No hurry to reassemble hatch as it is again a warm (hot!), sunny day so it can wait until tonight.

The visitor moorings are next to the Fisherman's pub so blow the expense we plan to eat there later. Right now it's a cool shower & off to sit outside in the shade & try to catch a bit of a breeze....

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A wet day in Rodley

We finally got away from Clarence Dock yesterday, our stay prolonged by a very wet Saturday & windy ( wussies or what !) Sunday Just as well really as it's far too easy to pop out for coffee & cake, again. The Leeds Liverpool is currently short of water, restrictions include locks to be used 9am to 4.30 am only so we left at 8.45 to arrive at no 1 lock for 9am.

For those who have not had the pleasure this is the lock landing for no1 lock

I'd just started emptying when a lockie turned up, we were asked to wait above the lock to see if another boat would show up so we could go up in pairs, so we moored up & got the coffee on - then another lockie appeared & said if no other boats by 11am we would just have to go up singly - we were not in a hurry so no worries.
Just after 10 another boat, great! But they were only going through office lock before mooring up, still we got to share 1 lock, the BW guys then told us to carry on as no sign of any more boats so we plodded on alone through the next 7 locks.

I haven't wielded a windlass since last summer but soon got back in the swing but some of those ground paddles - phew ! There were lots of walkers & cyclists on the towpath enjoying the bank holiday sunshine & I got a hand now and again in exchange for a chat about life aboard.

The Newlay 3 had a lockie on hand so we were soon worked through just leaving a couple of swing bridges before Rodley. The 1st one is a doddle but 218, Moss Swing Bridge is an absolute pig! I remember struggling with it last year when a couple of walkers gave me a hand, luckily as I was just starting to sweat a chap turned up & helped, bless him.The design of these things,having to open them on the off side means Mark can't assist, stupid things .... rant over!

Both lots of Rodley visitor moorings were full so we carried on & moored up just past Owl swing bridge, which was almost a pleasure to open!

A wet day today so I've been catching up with bits of paperwork, still trying to sort my tax situation now I'm on a pension, if they (HMRC!) would only talk in plain English .... or is it just me!
I've tried to ring them several times today & got "sorry, busy try later" then cut off, not even allowed to hold. Argh.... another rant. I'm off to try again.....