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.

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