Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Return journey

Monday 22nd to Wednesday 24th May 2017

The return journey from a canal which terminates can be seeing the same things again but in reverse and to some extent that is true of our trip back to York with a stopover night in Boroughbridge.
But a friend of ours some years ago pointed out that going along a canal in one direction is vastly different to going the other way and once again he was correct.
The day itself played an important role in how we see things on the way back and in anything, a little bit of sunshine can be truly delightful.
Ripon to York for us is 2 days and we gently cruised along on both days seeing things that we had missed first time around.

Certainly we missed the "dalmation" cows

On our trip up from York to Boroughbridge, it rained for the first 10 miles and in that situation you do not look around so much; fine houses that we had not seen were suddenly easily visible; places that one or the other had not seen because a boiling kettle beckoned were now to be admired; also just knowing what would be coming up and having a second chance to look at it again.
We knew it was coming up, but I have to say that the sign was almost a bit too late.
Approaching Linton Lock, the sign is right on the cutting and is less than
fully erect

You should never just go through the motions of the trip – a life on the canals and rivers is interesting almost all of the time….

….and can be quite eventful without even looking for it.
We had been fore-warned about the locks leaking a lot and in more than
one of them, the back deck was deluged
The unusual lock winding mechanism that we encountered
on the way up to Ripon, but this shows it.

This guy scampered away as we approached

More sand martin nesting holes

We were about a mile or so from mooring up in York when we were coming under Clifton Bridge; one of the tourist boats (quite a large one) was a good 200 metres in front and coming towards us when it decided to suddenly (in our mind it was sudden) turn to port and commence to wind.
I say suddenly because there were no horn signals to indicate that the captain was going to do what happened; there was no way that we could not be seen; and there was no acknowledgement of any kind of apology.

I can see you, surely you can see us...

....mmm, maybe not or maybe couldn't care less, because "I am bigger than you"

....so I will just do as I want to anyway...

...so you can "#@%&; off"

We needed to slow down completely – almost to a full stop – to avoid being way too close to the vessel.

The boat quickly picked up some speed; we kept pace with them at our normal cruising speed and then moored up pretty much in the same place that we had vacated a few days previously.
So I guess for anyone coming to York, I would say just be careful of the tourist boats – a one-off episode like this can be written off as just a bit of bad luck, but as I will explain later, this was not isolated.

We settled down to have a bit of a rest – after all we had been cruising for 20 miles and the concentration on keeping an eye on everything and on the landmarks we were passing means that when you finish you suddenly feel a bit exhausted.

We had nothing planned for the rest of the day, but being a lovely sunny day, there were plenty of people about, just enjoying themselves and having a great time – being near to the water has a calming and positive effect on most people.
Having a couple of drinks as well usually enhances that feeling, but for some it can have the reverse effect.
I have to commend the local constabulary for their excellent work in patrolling the area, particularly along the riverfront – the one that we saw was very quick to have a chat to a group of young lads (and a couple of young lasses) that they might wish to move along and leave behind what they had been consuming – all done very quickly, easily and without any fuss.
A good feeling from the police officer involved – Thanks a lot.
No matter where you are, The Minster is a point of reference
The next morning after I had finished most of my work for the day, we were off to the Yorkshire Museum for a newly opened exhibition that had been advertised prior to our previous departure from York – a Viking exhibition, which looked to be of great interest – so we were off to see that.
There really wasn’t much else that we would want to see in York, and so I made the call to the Naburn lock-keeper to arrange our outward passage from the lock for the following morning (it would be at 8:30am)
But for now it was off to the museum.
For the relatively small sum of just £15 we had entry into the whole museum, of which the display we had sought was just one part.

From pre-historic times, through the Roman times and then the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and the Englich Civil War we were transported to the past of York.
It was excellently presented and chronologically presented as well – there was none of the back and forth between different periods that can easily happen.
We have gained such a good knowledge of quite a lot of British history and times that it is comforting to see that it all fits in perfectly with each other and not get lost in some parochially mis-direction.

After enjoying all of that, and realising that we had been inside on a lovely day, and that we had an early lock appointment for the following morning, it seemed right that we set “sail” and had down to Naburn Lock – just an hour and a half away (and no locks).

As exciting as it had been coming into York over a week previous, the entry and exit to and from York was anything but – the words hair and raising come to mind.
I have already related the experience that we had the previous day with the tourist boat, well again today we had another one with another one.
We were following a tourist boat down the Ouse (not by design, just by timing) about 200 metres astern and preparing to pass under Skeldergate Bridge behind her.
Luckily I had been paying attention and saw yet another of these blasted tourist boats coming upstream – I could see them and in particular, I could see the wheelhouse, so for some reason I cannot fathom, I do not understand how the skipper at the tiller was not concentrating on what was going on and decided that he should just boldly cruise through the centre archway when the rules state that boats heading downstream have right of way.
We needed to take action to avert a potential problem and come to as close to a complete standstill as we  could – I didn’t much care for his wave of thanks as he passed by.
All boats – yesterday and today were from the same company – so maybe their training program is not as scrupulous as one would want it to be – just me supposing.

So, in a way we were feeling quite happy to be getting away from any further possible mishaps and heading down to the lock.

Sun, cruising, clear water – the earlier episode was forgotten for the present time and we moored up on the lock moorings and strolled down to chat with the lock-keeper about the passage tomorrow.
Nigel, the lockie, was very helpful, about the times, the journey and the best approach for Selby Lock.
From our initial lockage through Selby, to York, to Boroughbridge and Ripon and the return journey we had been  leap-frogging nb Predator 3 along the way – we have chatted to both Jackie and Cyril  - they are simply lovely people and so very much down-to-earth and have a wealth of stories about their adventures on the system, so it was nice to be again sharing the trip back to Selby with them tomorrow.

32 Miles, 6 Locks
YTD:  501 miles (806 km), 234 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 18 Swing Bridges
Total: 5133 Miles (8261 km), 3385  Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 190 Swing Bridges

Monday, 29 May 2017

Ripping Ripon

Saturday 20th May to Sunday 21st May 2017

First up for the day was to push the boat over to the other side of the river to the service block – cassette to empty and a water tank to fill (don’t get them the wrong way around).
After that we only had to pull the boat forward one boat length and we were in position to fill the diesel tanks.
Popped up to the garage and let them know and it was a couple of minutes and someone was down to get us going – easy as – then paid them and we were on our way yet again.

Today would be fewer miles than yesterday.

We would pass from the River Ouse to the River Ure and then onto the Ripon Canal.

The locks do not seem to get any easier – they are still double locks and short – 57 feet is about the limit but going diagonally you could squeeze another couple of feet, but even us at 55’ are getting to the front and back almost at the same time – easier to go up, will be tighter coming back down.
The sun being out created such a perfect day for cruising

Spotted this pheasant  by the river...

...but this little chap was the prize of the day

Doesn't get much better than this
It has been such a great day cruising, and coming into Ripon it was simply a matter of winding at the end – missing a couple of small tourist boats moored right there and back to the moorings – long enough for three narrowboats.

Our thoughts initially (before getting here) were that we would stay two nights before we return back down the canal/river, but first it was necessary to do our work to explore the city.
Ripon has such a lot of these plaques around, that it is easy enough to do a
tour of the history without a map

As in most cities, the cathedral dominated the lives of everybody

There are three museums in the centre – a Police and Prison museum; a Courthouse museum; and a Workhouse museum. In addition there is the huge cathedral dominating the skyline (as they all seem to do).
We sussed out where things were and what we would need to do; found out some more interesting things about the city and started to make our plans about what we would be doing.
But first we needed some shelter from the rain that had started and as it happened we were right outside the cathedral, so it was a visit to church (yet again) – I think we can be placed in the category of regular church goers.

The Cathedral from the front

As it happened, there is an orchestra in the nave going through a rehearsal for the performance later in the evening, so we are able to wander around the place and seeing all of the interesting bits whilst listening to some extremely lovely music; even after we had finished we simply sat and listened for a good half hour – even Diane was enjoying it all – and she is not the classic music lover.

It was also a good excuse not to go outside into any remaining precipitation.

We listened and looked at the information that we had and talked about our plan of attack for tomorrow, before finally and a bit reluctantly heading back to the boat.

Diane had a couple of things on her mind – one was Dr Who and the other was Eurovision – so for me it would be a not-first choice evening.

Sunday morning definitely had a better start than Saturday had finished, so not long after breakfast we were off up the hill.

First calling point was the Workhouse Museum – we had seen examples of the other two but had not really touched upon this aspect of 19th century reality in any detail.

The Entrance - just as much a harsh place now as it must have been
all those years ago

It gives the stories of people who found themselves in a position that they were in the workhouse – the problems that they had faced; the conditions in the workhouse; the misery faced by all.
On the left was the female accommodation and males on the right

The reception centre where names and details were taken down

I only include this because a couple of years back we bought a set of these
scales in a charity shop

This was a typical bed for a mother (and her child)

The menu 

The outside work area for the men

D is for Diane, but it may mean something else
if she doesn't stop playing with her phone

The Laundry area../

...a lot of the vegetables and fruit were grown on site - obviously
to keep the costs down - nowadays they have replanted according to
how it would have been - the produce is used and sold to local businesses

One of the buildings was set aside as a hospital wing
and was used for elderly people until quite recently

We were glad to be able to add this part of history to our experiences.

It makes you feels glad that we live in the times that we do and we, personally, are in the position that we are.

A time for reflection, but time for lunch as well.

We had spotted a place the day before so it was a simple matter to go there – The Royal Oak Hotel.

In we went, and a table was found for us – roast for each of us, a half of Guinness each and we sat back to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

The meals duly arrived; well presented; it all smelled as delicious as it looked.

We both tasted and immediately knew that this would be special – it all was exceptionally good – not a bit was left on the plates.

The dessert menu arrived and we both were feeling a bit comfortable and nothing to worry about doing in any hurry – Why not?
The desserts were simply to die for – Diane had the sticky toffee pudding whilst I had the chocolate/orange truffle.

We eventually paid the bill (which was reasonable) and waddled our way back to the boat to recover – we had one more event to attend this evening.
If you go to Ripon – either by boat or by car – do yourself a favour and eat at the Royal Oak Hotel.

In amongst all of the literature concerning Ripon we had found an interesting item concerning the nightly performance of the Hornblower in the Market Square.
This ceremony has been going on every night since 886AD - a Ripon Wakeman (Hornblower) enters Market Square blows a note on his at each corner of the market cross at 9pm, which is known as Setting the Watch.
After the ceremony, the Wakeman for that night (there are two at the present time) gave a talk about the history.

Market Cross

The Wakeman

Worth staying up past my bedtime for that.

7 Miles, 4 Locks
YTD:  469 miles (755 km), 228 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 18 Swing Bridges

Total: 5101 Miles (8209 km), 3379 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 190 Swing Bridges