Sunday, 21 May 2017

A bit of an Aire crawl

Sunday 14th May to Monday 15th May 2017

What would be the first thing to do on a Sunday morning – yeah, well after that – apparently there is a very good car-boot sale on this very morning and someone on the boat had a need to visit it.

So after our morning coffee, we headed off.

There had been some overnight rain and the shortcut through the ploughed fields did not seem the best option for us – even though it was a legitimate one – we, instead, chose the solid surface of a good made road which seemed to takes us miles out of the way; we negotiated a busy A-road roundabout and found the location – full of people with cars and things to sell.

In Australia we would call these “Trash and Treasure Markets” and in some ways a similar description would apply here – there are some things that really should be elsewhere, but there were quite a few things that under normal circumstances we would buy – thankfully with limited space on a boat it was a no-brainer.
There was a bit of a crowd there already by the time that we arrived

We did however find yet another ship’s decanter for just £1 – neither of us could resist – so we now have four of them.

Wandering around the rest of the site we could not justify spending a lot of money and we bought nothing more of any significance.

Facing the return journey we found a “short-cut” under the A-road roundabout which only took us a mile out of the way but it was a whole lot safer.

Back on board and it was time to head off – this time we wanted to head towards Selby and there would be a few more locks; more unexplored water; the usual uncertainty of moorings.
Not exactly the correct way to moor up a caravan

Turning right at the junction after Skew Bridge took us onto more new waters but now the locks were not electronic and Diane had to get her windlass back out; and then going down onto the River Aire, where there was a bit of flow, I had to get the boat out into the stream and then reverse back to the pontoon to pick her up – if there had been much more flow, it may have been a 2 mile hike for her to the next lock, but we managed it.
The Junction ahead and we will swing around to the right...

...and under that bridge...

...that one that we have left behind...

...and onto the lock.... electronics here my lovely - all woman power for this one
It was clear almost immediately that the river was quite low; we couldn’t gain any speed and pretty much crawled along the entire 6 miles with only Beal Lock to break the cruising.

It appears that the river does get up a bit

One of the locals that came down to see what all the noise was about,
and promptly turned her back on us

Finally, it was a welcome sight to see West Haddlesey Lock, the pontoon and the river veering off to the right. The water level difference was quite small – probably no more than half a metre, but with the heavy gates it took quite some time to get through.

It is lovely and would be more so with a bit more water, but this
is a river after all

Approaching West Haddesley Lock - we needed to moor at the pontoon whilst
the lock was readied

Straight ahead that way was the river and un-navigable

Around into the lock - they can be quite deep on the rivers

After all of that it was plain cruising for the 5 miles to Selby.

The scenery was much as we have been seeing since leaving the Aire and Calder Navigation, but it was more enjoyable to be able to not be struggling along.

We saw a few promising mooring spots for our return journey if we needed them, but finally we made it to Selby, pulling in before the swing bridge whilst Diane went ahead to see what lay beyond it in terms of mooring spots.
The stone work for this bridge looked really wonderful in the light 

and we arrive at Selby - swing bridge in place 

Her return was only as far as the swing bridge itself, which was my cue to get the boat untied and ready to proceed through where we found ourselves alone on the visitor moorings but just feeling a bit more secure than outside.

It was not too late by the time we had completed mooring up – being around 3 pm, so we decided to go for a bit of a walk – first and foremost was to have a bit of a look at the river that we would be confronting us in a couple of days time, and after that it was just a matter of finding a nice friendly pub for a quiet drink and time to relax – naturally we picked the one with the football on and watched the second half of the West Ham v Liverpool game and the first half of Spurs v United – neither game went the way that we would have wanted so we left to head back to the boat.
Here you can see the huge build up of silt around the
lock mouth...

...and some of the flotsam that inhabits the river
- we would be seeing more of this

The first business of the new day (after emptying the cassette) was to officially book in with the lock-keeper, so I introduced myself, explained that we would like passage to Naburn and it was all done.

Our passage would be on Tuesday morning about 10:30, so we had a full day to explore the delights of Selby.

Earlier I met a guy off nb Predator who had arrived late the previous day and we chatted a bit – he and his wife also would be going up to Naburn the following day, so at least we would have some travelling companions.

We had been advised by Helen and Tony (nb Holderness), whom we had only missed by an hour or so at Knottingley, that we must see the Abbey.
We came upon it all from the wrong angle – we had been seeking the Tourist Information Centre (which we found) and then the Monday market, which because of rain was substantially smaller in size, but walking through the arched access of The George Inn, we “stumbled” into the main street – full of shops and right beside the Abbey.

Coffee time first; then we went off to view the Abbey – we do so love looking through all of the old churches, but we both went “wow”as we entered – it is a remarkable first impression and to anyone making the journey up this way, you must see it.
Selby Abbey - impressive from the outside...

...but more so on the inside

Bapstismal font

There are links to the family of George Washington (before at least one of them went to the colonies), remarkable architecture – especially the vaulted ceilings; and not afraid to point out the bad points either.

We spent more time than usual in here before heading back outside again – it may have been the rain that kept us in the Abbey for longer but I think that it really was the building.

We explored our way around the town an bit more – found the Quaker’s dedication and the forever garden that they had left for the town of Selby; many of the other older buildings that were on the maps that the TIC had provided and followed the “three swans” trail as well.
A reminder to all about the legacy of the Quakers
who had been part of Selby

All-in-all it was an enjoyable day out in Selby – rain or no rain.

After all of that we still had a couple of things to do on the boat for the following day so we took care of that and then checked on the river again.

16 Miles, 4 Locks
YTD:  423 miles (681 km), 220 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 18 Swing Bridges
Total: 5055 Miles (8135 km), 3371 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 190 Swing Bridges

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