Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Flying the Ouse

Tuesday 16th May 2017

We had heard so many stories about the River Ouse journey up to Naburn on the way to York, that we did have some concerns – it is always the same before trying any new river and this year we have been seeing more new rivers than ever before.

But…there is always that little voice behind you saying to you “just be careful and in control and you will be OK” – at least the kids will OK be if anything happens to us.

Last minute preparations; another look at the river and early on it was flowing out; a couple of hours later it had turned and we were being called up into the lock.

Three boats in total would be going out – two narrowboats and a cruiser – so two lock movements would be needed.

Ourselves along with nb Predator would be out first – as they had done the trip before, we would follow them.

Down, down in the lock the boats descended and then all of a sudden the lock gates open; the words of the lockie are in your mind about what to do; you ease out after letting the other boat go first; the mouth of the lock is protected by the silt build-up and so at first there is no effect on the bow, but a bit further on and you see the bow move dramatically around as the current captures it – there is nothing that you can do except put some power on and make sure that all of the boat is out.
The bow continues to swing; the starboard side dips as the current seemingly pulls it down slightly, but as you move the tiller to straighten the boat it is all OK and you are out – moving at speed.
The lock gates open and there's a river flowing out there - do we really have to go?

Someone was enjoying it - she didn't have to negotiate getting out of the lock

You need to keep the revs up at bit, even though you are doing 14 kmh, because without it the steering is dramatically reduced.
Bridge number 1 - we had to use the right hand arch - I think it had something
to do with the object on the left (circled)

Wouldn't want to meet that 

Safely through Bridge 1

Under the right arch of each of the first two bridges – as the lockie had instructed – then the first bend and steering is again a bit harder, but as we move further along we have acclimatised to it all and we can settle down and relax (a bit).
Around the first bend and already it had started to get a little easier

Further on it was even calm - in a river sort of way...

What we have seen is that there is an awful lot of flotsam about – especially trees, large branches and the like – no other rubbish – and it takes some care and I have to say a bit of skill to evade/avoid hitting any of this.
...until these started to appear

Our travelling companions have opened a bit of gap and by now are about 500 metres ahead, but we have to be concerned with our own passage.
There was a bit of a gap between us and the first boat, but we were occupied with
what we needed to do

The rain starts but it is not heavy; luckily we have the wet weather gear already on.

We traded places on the tiller to have a break which helps – even in 20 minutes, the concentration has been intense and it is a good time to have a change.

There were stretches where we could simply enjoy it all

The speed relative to the bank was still around 14 kmh – estimated passage time was about 2 hours.

After 7 miles we encountered the third bridge and this was the middle arch – the lockies words for the bridges were “right, right, middle” – there was just a bit of a delay for the final bridge.
Bridge number 3 - the last one

This is just beyond the halfway mark and the river had by now settled right down; our speed was now down to about 12 kmh; we had long lost sight of nb Predator and expected that we would not see them until the lock at Naburn; no sign of the cruiser that came out after us; unexpectedly we found a boat heading towards us – as it turned it was a rib-boat operated by three police officers.
Hill Top Farm (I think)

Moreby Hall behind those trees

We could definitely enjoy the journey a bit more and before long we had reached Moreby Hall, the nominated point at which we contacted Naburn Lock – which we did – unfortunately there was no response, but we were not overly concerned and when the lock came into view we contacted again – no response – a little annoyed that we had done the correct thing and the response was not forthcoming as you would expect.
That's the weir and just on the right of the weir is the lock wall

getting closer...

Anyway as we edged closer to the lock, the lockie did give us the signals of where he wanted us, which we were able to comply with after a little while as we didn’t see the signals until late and were not quite in the right position.

...and in we go

Diane was at the tiller into the lock - a river queen I would say

Roped up on the ladders, we waited and within a few minutes we were joined by the cruiser and then just as the lock gates were about to close, the police rib boat was in there as well.
Diane up front and chatting away - as she does

The cops are here - but they seemed concerned with finding the keys for the car

It seemed like a slow filling lock, which gave Diane plenty of time to chat with the guy on Predator and it transpired that they were in Stanley Dock (Liverpool) a few years ago when the Yellow Duck started to sink and were first on the scene to rescue the people from the amphibious vehicle before it sank, thus saving a number of people.
We were in the company of so many heroes.

We were second boat out and had decided to moor up on the Naburn mooring – Predator and the cruiser were heading into York that day, but for us we had had enough and we were pleased to find plenty of space.

The TV signals were good; the internet could have been better but was fine for what we wanted; the moorings were pleasant and quiet; and the cows beyond the small hillock were out of reach of Diane – for which she was very grateful.
The trip up was a little bit more difficult than we had previously encountered – only because the current was a bit stronger – but we did not experience any problems that could not be handled.

The moorings were reasonably empty but lovely

14 Miles, 2 Locks
YTD:  437 miles (703 km), 222 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 18 Swing Bridges
Total: 5069 Miles (8158 km), 3373 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 190 Swing Bridges


  1. Wait until you have the trip back down and the turn into Selby. That will get the adrenalin flowing!

    1. We did think about the return trip for a couple of days, but just decided to enjoy everything else and wait for it to happen