Monday, 13 August 2012

Ever Eastwood

Wednesday 1st August to Sunday 5th August 2012

22 Miles, 28 Locks, 21 Swing Bridges for this week

Totals: 1277 Miles, 986 Locks, 39 Tunnels, 18 Lift Bridges, 79 Swing Bridges

We have moved a bit further these first few days than we had originally intended but the result is that we arrived in Leeds on Friday – we have teamed up with Anne and John on nb Tumba Rumba to get through the swing bridges and the locks travelling into Leeds.
East Riddleston Hall

One of the real "highlights" of the Leeds and Liverpool is the charming environment in which you find so many of the many swing bridges - after a while they do tend to lose their appeal - especially when they need the help of passsers-by to open them - Diane had to engage two young lads to help her - at least that's what she told me.

Just when we had got through what seemed like the 1000th swing bridge (figures show otherwise) we found ourselves looking over the valley and a set of lock gates - luckily we couldn't see the other 5 lock gates going down which constituted the Bingley Five Rise

Yet another swing bridge to start the descent - entering the top
lock at Bingley
And naturally enough after such a good day when there was any number of places we could have moored up to enjoy the day even further, the very moment we move into the top lock of a staircase - where you are committed to going down the lot of them - what then happens - the skies opened up and whilst at the back of the boat there was some protection - the poor lockster had absolutely no hope

one very wet lockster - so wet the pants have already shrunk

Despite the rain - Bingley Five Rise is a very impressive

After the Five Rise there was the Three Rise but couldn't see a One Rise (oops that is just a single lock).
We took a bit of time out to moor up at Saltaire - A World Heritage Site - the efforts of Titus Salt in the mid1850's to make the lives of his workers a bit better have shown in the buildings and environment which are his legacy to a time and place long ago

The church of Titus Salt

Some of the houses built for workers and overseers

The mills as they stand today - the exteriors as they would have
been 160 years ago

We spent about 3 hours wandering the streets and buildings of Saltaire and finding out about more of the history of the area - like many areas of the industrial north, jobs and markets were lost when the first effects of global trade on a grander scale made it's mark England.

Yet another 3-lock staircase on this section of the canal

Diane and John (nb Tumba Rumba) in another lock

The remains of Kirkstall Abbey in the midst of the fields

Do you like my new hat?

Arriving into Leeds was a bit like a few other cities we have been into, but most like going into Manchester - both have relatively rubbish-free waterways - and good moorings in the centre of town. We found a mooring spot with power and water; managed to reverse into the spot almost perfectly (with spectators - a win for us); and then set about doing our tourist bit.

The renovated interior of the Corn Exchange - wouldn't have looked
like this 100 years ago

Leeds Council have set aside many parks around the city - just like this one

The town hall

We certainly have come a long way

These two chimneys have been modelled along the lines of towers
found in Italy - Flornece and Genoa

Leeds waterfront in the morning

A change for the management

Enjoying the Olympics in the Millenium Sqaure
just before the heavens opened and managed to
clear the area

Madam le Pompadour with woollen wig - a reminder of one of
the products which helped to build Leeds

The Doctor Who exhibit in the Leeds museum

We had become ready for some of the downpours along the way, but the rain that came down on Saturday evening was one of the biggest we had seen; the water rose up and up and up - so much so that the boat in the next finger mooring had its bottom almost on the stone edging of the mooring; due to the sloping nature of the walkway between we remained quite safe - but it was a lot of water falling and staying around - but like other times it managed to disappear in an hour or so

The river level however did rise significantly over the night as the water flowed in from other parts - it didn't make it to the yellow section on the indicators but was not far below - we spent Sunday engaged in markets and watching the water levels in aticipation of our Monday journey onto the river.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Eastwood Ho!

Friday 20th July to Tuesday 31st July 2012
28 Miles, 22 Locks, 1 Tunnel, 4 Swing Bridges for this week

Totals: 1255 Miles, 958 Locks, 39 Tunnels, 18 Lift Bridges, 58 Swing Bridges

One needs only to ask themselves the question – “Is the countryside and the views of sufficient wonder that you would gladly return?” – never mind the heavy locks and the multitude of swing bridges, the outlook over the valleys and dales of this area everyday are worth the effort.

No wonder those folk of Yorkshire are quite proficient at extolling the virtues of the landscape.

After exiting a lock and having to travel past a number of moored boats we have quite often remarked that some of these boat handlers – I won’t qualify it with either hirers or owners – are literally going at full speed before they have past the last of the boats trying to quietly sit at the side.

It has been one area of concern – not just here but a number of boaters seem to think that they don’t need to concern themselves with any sort of etiquette.

Whilst we really skirted around Burnley – mooring one side and then the other – I have to say that it seems to be a town that lacks an identity – too small for a city; too large for a town. There is no real character in the centre of the town and this contributes to the situation.
Around Burnley - there are quite a few areas in need
of improvement, but it was pleasant cruising

Journeying on we pulled in at Nelson, where Diane left some more money in the coffers of Morrisons.

If you look carefully at these two photographs you can see the
marks left by the stone masons to identify who crafted each block

After all of this it was onto the locks at Barrowford – heavy locks were nothing compared to these – well it wasn’t so much that the locks were heavy, what made it difficult is that almost every lock either had top paddles or bottom paddles which were inoperative – so filling or emptying was a problem and on your own it was a bit exhausting.

But the views from the top were quite something to enjoy.

We took the time to explore both Barrowford and Colne – lovely towns each of them, but why was Colne built on such hilly ground – didn’t they realise that you would have to walk up and down the hills.

Colne High Street - it went on for over a mile and the view down
the hill with the countryside in the background

But really it was quite lovely that we stayed a couple of days more that we had originally intended to do – in my defence I did use some of the time to do the oil change which became due to be done.
We picked up two gongoozlers down the Greenberfield Locks
- John and Joshua with Diane
Hand feeding the locals when we moored at the bottom
of the locks

Getting back into the swing of cruising we managed to move ourselves along through Foulridge tunnel – which was quite wet inside – but the northern portal was really quite lovely.

The  north portal of Foulridge Tunnel - showing the traffic lights
to allow passage - red and you stop

Making use of the services to replenish the water tank, we stayed a little longer and had coffee at the café right next door – very nice indeed.

The cafe after exiting Foulridge Tunnel and at the left is the
C&RT services building - the only thing missing was the sun

One of the things which  have to say about the canal is the problem with finding suitable mooring points where you can get close enough in without being on a ledge and this very problem meant that we needed to travel just a little bit further as we found designated mooring places already fully occupied.

We think that this used to be a Chinnook helicopter -
now converted to a boat

Nonetheless it was pleasant enough.

Redevelopment along the canal - it is slow in places but getting there

Double-arched bridge

The canopy almost excludes all of the light.

A day in Gargrave, where again we explored the village and then a bit further along to Skipton where we have stayed for the weekend after arriving on Friday.

Diane was having tooth problems so we needed to find a dentist available for her – not one in Skipton that could see her; the nearest was at Shipley – so she was off on a train journey to see to her teeth and I was left to content myself with the computer.

still keeping a smile - despite the pain

She was almost OK if you count that a revisit for an extraction means that all is OK – so here for the weekend and she has another trip on Monday.

Skipton was described in the Saturday Guardian feature as one of the 10 best towns in England in which to retire, and whilst I can agree with sentiments of the article in that there is plenty to do and see here, the population profile does not support it as a town to be labelled as God’s waiting room.

Banjo in natural state - asleep
Banjo has seen rabbits for the first time and chases them with the enthusiasm of a much younger dog, in much the same way as he chases ducks.
It pretty well doesn't matter if it's rabbit season or duck season he chases with equal vigour - now we are thinking of changing his name to Elmer (Fudd)!!
A visit to the castle was more than well worthwhile as was just a simple wander around the town – plenty of little alleyways and street full of strange and wonderful shops to explore.

Sunday lunch was given a thumbs up from the boat management and this was just at a little café which was a bit out of the way.

Someone may be able to answer me this one.

I understand the need for authorisation when you are purchasing alcohol and tobacco products in the supermarket, but no one was able to explain to me why I needed to be verified before purchasing bungy straps – was I going to flick someone in the eye with them or worse still tie them to my ankles and jump off a bridge – please give me strength.