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...

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. I have just found your site and was interested about the "Two day books" that have survived listing details about working on the Canals in the 1700s? My Gt.Gt.Gt. Grandfather was Lockkeeper at Gargreave in 1840, then at Greenberfield Lock from 1851 to his death in 1896. We have not been able to find any details of a Lockkeepers life in that time - we were told records were all destroyed in Liverpool during the war. Where did you hear about these books please? Brenda Harry e mail ""


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