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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 23

Posted by indigodream on 27 August, 2015

Tuesday 11th August

Gargrave to Barnoldswick

Welcome guests :-)

Welcome guests :-)

We’d invited the crew of nb Jubilee over for coffee before they caught the bus for their adventurous trek to Malham Cove. This persuaded us to get up early, which meant that we got to meet a lovely brindle greyhound girl on her morning walk – eleven and half years old; the boys greeted her nicely but the girl’s owner was a bit anxious – even at her advanced age, the greyhound girl gives her mum the runaround!

The crew of Jubilee gave a very persuasive description, both of Gargrave Village and of Malham Cove; we’ve marked them both for future visits, particularly if we can get closer to the cove by car! But today we needed to cruise. Sadly our guests couldn’t stay long, buses to Malham are infrequent, in fact, they’d probably end up walking several miles back to the boat – they were undaunted!

In the meantime, we had another coffee and set off around 10.30am, with the weather pleasant but cool – my new fleece jackets came in very handy!

Today we shared locks with a different hire boat, granddad Terry, on the helm, was a cheerful soul and I soon had him doing tandem manoeuvres into the locks – this is such an efficient way to travel on quiet flights! He seemed well chuffed at mastering this new skill, and at one lock where he came in after me, he did so confidently and at speed :-) In the meantime, his eleven year old grandson had fallen in love with Indigo Dream, I gave him a little tour, anyone who loves my boat is ok with me!

Nicely done grandad Terry :-)

Nicely done granddad Terry :-)

We were treated to yet more spectacular scenery today – the Bank Newton lock flight is stunning and the canal beyond meanders extravagantly around the contours. This is a landscape to fascinate the geologists, with its distinctive post-glacial features plain to see. The humpy hillocks (drumlins?) were as regular as upturned basins. I thought I’d try some research into moraines and drumlins, but I didn’t get too far, there are many authoritative articles but few photographs to make sense of the scholarly prose. Geologists don’t mess around, their history of the Dales starts many many millions of years ago and I don’t have the patience for it; though I would love to be able to “read” this fascinating landscape.

Barnoldswick was surprisingly down at heel after the glories of the surrounding countryside, but at least it has interesting industry, being the home of Rolls Royce. The Rolls Royce facility has comprehensive security with a high concentration of CCTV cameras – hardly surprising as I’ve since found out that the Barnoldswick plant manufactures fan blades for aircraft engines and has been a part of its defence business. Despite the security here, Rolls Royce has dedicated some leisure facilities for the use of the whole community.

I think this distinctive "upturned bowl" is a drumlin - a feature of the post-glacial landscape..

I think this distinctive “upturned bowl” is a drumlin – a feature of the post-glacial landscape..

We had booked a 3-week mooring with the friendly folk at Lower Park Marina just past the main industrial sites. Barnoldswick seems to be a popular mooring spot – there is almost half a mile of offside online moorings leading up to the marina (by bridge 152) and well-occupied visitor moorings towpath side. This narrowed the channel quite considerably and I’m glad we only met oncoming narrowboats!

We stopped off at the marina office to confirm our mooring spot and were delighted to find that we would be on an offside pontoon just beyond Bridge 152.  Each pontoon was full length and fixed, making for a stable offload for our senior hounds. Richard got a cab back to the car while I got the boat and packed and got acquainted with our friendly neighbour, who has been a resident of Springfield Marina on the River Lea.

Because the canal meanders and doubles back on itself, the car wasn’t actually that far away by road, so Richard was soon back and we set off. Although it didn’t feel as if we’d pushed the cruising this weekend, we had travelled far enough West to be taking the M6 home instead of the M1 – hurrah!

We had originally planned to cruise one of the next two weekend, but when we looked at the logistics we decided to stay at home and concentrate on our main cruise at the beginning of September, when we’ll have two weeks of uninterrupted cruising without the commuting – bliss!

Photoblog:

I’m posting a few photos of hire boat Tamarind – and here’s a link to the album on Facebook – hope it works, it’s set for “public” – hope that Terry and family will pick them up – he can be proud of his helming :-)

The river Aire - just a stream here....

The river Aire – just a stream here….

This is so efficient in flights...

This is so efficient in flights…

Smooth...

Smooth…

The view from Bank Newton Locks - this is a fine flight :-)

The view from Bank Newton Locks – this is a fine flight :-)

More picture postcards...

More picture postcards…

Lovely - the L & L just gets better and better...

Lovely – the L & L just gets better and better…

Those drumlins are everywhere :-)

Those drumlins are everywhere :-)

With all these hills in the way, it's no wonder that the cana meanders so extravagantly...

With all these hills in the way, it’s no wonder that the canal meanders so extravagantly…

Dry stone walls are beautiful..

Dry stone walls are beautiful..

You'd never guess that this traditional bulding, protected y high fences and an array of CCTV cameras, was part of Rolls Royce's high-tech manufacturing plant..

You’d never guess that this traditional building, protected by high fences and an array of CCTV cameras, was part of Rolls Royce’s high-tech manufacturing plant..

Manufactuers of swanky stoves - similar to an Aga or a Rayburn, but better, or so my mum says :-)

Manufactures of swanky stoves – similar to an Aga or a Rayburn, but better, or so my mum says :-)

We weren't sure what used to perch on top of this huge pier - there isn't one on the other side of the canal...

We weren’t sure what used to perch on top of this huge pier – Maps show an old railway but no sign of it on the other side of the canal…

Tired puppy - his illicit and impromptu run through Skipton a few days ago wore him out!

Tired puppy – his illicit and impromptu run through Skipton a few days ago wore him out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 22

Posted by indigodream on 25 August, 2015

Monday 10th August

Skipton to Gargrave

Skipton canalscape...

Skipton canalscape…

 

It was persisting with rain when we woke up so we decided to delay our start and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a bimble around town – minus the hounds this time. We had some shopping to do, and Skipton is replete with outdoor/treking type shops – perfect as I needed a boat fleece (or two!) and Richard needed some waterproof boots. Every boating weekend this year I have left my fleece at home because it’s 25 degrees in Surrey, then by the time we get oop north it’s distinctly chilly! We had a very good shopping trip – especially as I also found some very nice frocks for work in a quirky clothes shops by the Tour de France sheep!

We also found a couple of decent pet shops where we bought some very nice, but not too stinky, tripe sticks for the hounds and a selection of puppy foods for Ollie (he needs calorie dense but balanced foods to maintain his weight).  We needn’t have left the hounds on board, as Skipton high street is uncannily dog-friendly – all the shops we visited said “oh you could have brought the dogs, we let them inside”! But maybe after yesterday’s adventures a quiet morning on board won’t have done them any harm. I’m pleased to report that Ollie has made a full recovery from his crisis a few weeks ago – he’s still ancient with multiple problems, but he’s pretty good for his age.

A southerners view of Yorkshire - tight industrial revolution terraces and soaring hills behind....

A southerner’s view of Yorkshire – tight industrial revolution terraces and soaring hills behind….

We got back on board just in time to shelter from a vicious rain/hail storm – nothing nicer than being snug inside with good food and good coffee while the rain made an unbelievable racket on the boat’s steel roof.

We set off after lunch, just as the sun emerged – it didn’t last long, but although it was overcast, the rain was finished for the day.

We were happy to say goodbye to the last of the interminable swingbridges today, but then we were back to locking – amazingly we’re still not at the summit – what a magnificent landscape this is!

We had a curious experience at Holme Bridge Lock – there were two boats waiting to come down but the lock was set for us to ascend. We were sharing the canal with a hire boat who expressed an interest in sharing the lock with us. We thought nothing of it and locked up smoothly as a pair. At the next lock we were greeted by an irate and officious little man from the hire company – he said that the hire boat shouldn’t have come up the first lock without him; in fact, he said WE shouldn’t have gone up the lock without him. I beg your pardon!

Cruising with Ollie and Herbie is a quiet affair...

Cruising with Ollie and Herbie is a quiet affair…

He went on to give the hire boat some truly weird advice which involved the helm (all the crew were on shore), running from the tiller to the front of the boat to throw up his front rope to the hire boat “instructor” while the back of the boat slewed all over the lock. In the meantime I waited patiently outside the lock waiting for them to get sorted. I mused on the fact that there may such a thing as too much advice and felt very sorry for the hire boat’s crew!

We shared locks up to Gargrave where the hire boat got into strife again by accidentally pulling up to moor in what turned out to be a winding hole. This time they were “advised” by a CRT man walking the towpath. Luckily they found a space a little further along – wow, I bet they were ready for a beer!

In the meantime, Richard had bagged the mooring space directly nb Jubilee – summer home of fellow blogger Halfie. We’d hoped to meet them on this stretch and our rendezvous couldn’t have been better. We went of with the crew of nb Jubilee (John, Jan, David and Penny) to the Old Swan for a merry dinner. The food in the Old Swan was plain pub grub, served by a diligent but uninformed young waitress who tried very hard. At least the pub was dog friendly and had plenty of room for Herbie and Ollie. We finished the evening with a few drinkies on board Jubilee. We hadn’t been on board Jubilee before – she’s lovely and has a particularly fine galley and hidden cupboard for the whiskey bottles!

When we left the pub we were surprised it was still light – we’re far enough north to notice the longer summer days; no doubt we’ll notice the shorter winter days soon!

Photoblog:

Temptation :-)

Temptation :-)

One of Skipton's canalscapes...

One of Skipton’s canalscapes…

Looking up the Springs Branch - there's no winding hole at the end so we didn't venture, though it looked charming....

Fred Truman in action :-)

Fred Truman in action :-)

An unusually shapely modern bridge..

An unusually shapely modern bridge..

Quirky...

Quirky…

More quirkiness at Niffany moorings...

More quirkiness at Niffany moorings…

How do you get a 70' boat through 60' locks - cut her in half of course :-)

How do you get a 70′ boat through 60′ locks – cut her in half of course :-)

Views...

Views…

And more views...

And more views…

Cruising through a picture postcard...

Cruising through a picture postcard…

The gold lettering on the lock beam is a poen - I like the idea, but you don't get to appreciate it from the boat...

The gold lettering on the lock beam is a poem – I like the idea, but you don’t get to appreciate it from the boat…

Looking back towards Ray Bridge on the approach to Gargrave..

Looking back towards Ray Bridge on the approach to Gargrave..

 

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 21

Posted by indigodream on 23 August, 2015

Sunday 9th August

Snaygill to Skipton

A nice breath of fresh air after a long drive...

A nice breath of fresh air after a long drive…

Because of a family committment we gave Saturday’s cruising a miss and travelled up on Sunday after doing a few domestic chores. We left Surrey mid-morning and endured the usual tedium on the M25. There had been a crash, it looked like a shunt in the second lane; that lane and the outside lane were clearly marked as shut but lots of totally moronic idiots were haring down the outside lane at speed, leaving the crashed cars stranded. Their drivers had managed to cross to the hard shoulder but how terrifying it must have been to dodge traffic that shouldn’t have been there – unbelievable. No sign of the police – I hoped that they would turn up and book everyone driving down a lane clearly marked as closed.

I was glad to get off the M25, though the M1, with its interminable roadworks, is hardly an improvement! But we found a little gem today – we stopped at Donington Services and found a superior service station with really excellent dog-walking and a Harvester restaurant which did a take-away service so that we could eat outside with the hounds – result! We enjoyed a long lunch, though this weekend’s canine crew, Ollie and Herbie, are seniors and not particularly interested in the ample walks available!

Herbie exploring Skipton - a bit more than we wanted really :-p

Herbie exploring Skipton – a bit more than we wanted really :-p

We got to the boat around 4.30pm – the staff at Snaygill Marina are so friendly and kind; although it was late and they were finishing off preparing the day boats for hire, they made time to fill us up with diesel and do a pump-out. We also filled the tank with wholesome Yorkshire water – we didn’t think we’d reach the problem areas for the contaminated water this weekend, but best to be prepared.

It was a nice evening and we both needed some fresh air after the long drive so we cruised to Skipton. There were a few boats moored up, but there was plenty of room for us, though the spaces disappeared during the evening. There is a useful water and rubbish point opposite the visitor moorings; as we passed by, a boat filling up there told us “we’re mooring in front of that boat opposite”. We asked their length and left a precise space for them, but really, can you ‘bag’ a space on the towpath? They hadn’t laid a towel (or the canal equivalent) on the space :-D

It was still light, so we and the hounds had an aimless wander round Skipton – it was charming! It didn’t take long to work out that Skipton’s emblem is the sheep, apparently from the Anglo Saxon “sceap tun” or “sheep town”. It even has an annual sheep day! We enjoyed our bimble, but Ollie can’t walk very far and Herbie has corns which make walking on hard surfaces painful. As we walked back, we spotted a Tour de France “sculpture”; we stopped to take photos of the hounds with this over-sized sheep and took Herbie’s lead off for a microsecond for a pose. Oh dear, BIG mistake, he suddenly hared off down the road and was heading back toward Indigo Dream at speed, even though she was out of sight. We’ll never know whether he would have found his way back. Richard chased after him (we tried the old trick of running the other way to see if he’d run after us, but Herbie was fixed on getting back to the boat). I followed on more slowly with Ollie – a small jog finished him off, so by the time I caught up with Richard he’d managed to catch Herbie – what a relief!

That was more than enough excitement for the evening – we got back to the boat, shut the doors very tightly and got the DVD going – we’d had a huge lunch so it was enough just to while the evening away with a brainless box set.

Bedtime with Ollie and Herbie is very straightforward, as Herbie likes to sleep on the sofa while Ollie takes the den at the end of our bed; no need to trip over Henry in his favourite spot in the corridor outside the bathroom and the kerfuffle of Archie trying to get as close as possible to us in the front cabin! But I miss the two Beanzy boys – it’s very quiet without them :-)

Photoblog:

How did that boat get up there? That crane surely isn't strong enough...

How did that boat get up there? That hoist surely isn’t strong enough…

Plenty of interest in Skipton...

Plenty of interest in Skipton…

Charming....

Charming….

Looking down to the visitor moorings...

Looking down to the visitor moorings…

Herbie just before he scarpered!

Herbie just before he scarpered!

The sign says "closed - someone ate all the pies" - Herbie??

The sign says “closed – someone ate all the pies” – Herbie??

There's not much flat land round here!

There’s not much flat land round here!

 

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 20

Posted by indigodream on 9 August, 2015

Monday 20th July

Riddlesden to Snaygill

Archie enjoying the view :-)

Archie enjoying the view :-)

We had a day of highs and lows – literally high as the canal hereabouts perches above the dales (northern word for valley, apparently!) with magnificent views – it is as beautiful a stretch as I’ve ever cruised. I’ve been a bit sad because some of our friends have long boats that will never cruise these waters. For the Rochdale/Calder and Hebble I thought “c’est la vie” but for the Leeds and Liverpool I’m thinking “if your boat is too long then hire a boat (or invite yourself on board Indigo Dream) – this canal MUST be seen”!

The valley sides are so steep hereabouts that our usual pursuit of looking into people’s back gardens was replaced by the more uncomfortable pastime of looking into people’s back bedrooms (I promise that we averted our gaze!) – the canal was level with the house roofs below!

We’d started out at 10am and it was a fine sunny day full of wonders – I began to regret that I’d agreed to work on Tuesday and would have to cut our long weekend short. As it happens, I never made it to work, but that’s a story for later…

We had a wonderful morning, but as the hours passed the day started to sour – the clouds gathered, it started to rain, heavily; there were just too many swingbridges (the novelty had worn off by now) and it seemed to be taking a long time to get to the mooring that we’d booked with Snaygill Boats. Though Richard wasn’t surprised by how long it was taking, having not missed a page in Nicholson’s when counting the miles we needed to cover! The swingbridges are an opportunity to talk to people, so many had tales of them breaking down (arghhhh), none did fortunately and at two Richard enlisted the help of two little boys who were walking along with their father. One of the boys complained that his finger hurt after holding down the button for such a long time but they seemed to really enjoy working the bridges. I hadn’t catered for us to eat on board today (hoping for a lunchtime pub) so I didn’t have any food that would translate into a lunch and, to top it all, Ollie started to yelp in pain when he moved. By the time we got to Snaygill I was quite dispirited, but the friendly folk at the boatyard sorted our mooring (we’d booked on the way up on Saturday), though we were a bit disappointed not to be on a pontoon. We’re actually near the end of a long stretch of online moorings, brested up to another boat – not ideal for Ollie.

I like this photo, even if it out of focus - it really captures the dreamy quality of our morning's cruise...

I like this photo, even if it out of focus – it really captures the dreamy quality of our morning’s cruise…

With the afternoon wearing on, Richard caught a cab back to Bingley to collect the car and I packed up the boat. In the meantime, Ollie was becoming more and more uncomfortable and lame on his back leg – I decided he needed a vet visit to check that he would be ok for the long drive home. I got him an appointment at the Vets4Pets franchise in Pets at Home, Keighley. The long walk along the online moorings back to the car became critical – but Ollie managed to hobble along and I was relieved to get to the vet by 4.15pm.

There was a lovely vet on duty, obviously a greyhound lover, who gave Ollie the once over, but she couldn’t find an obvious cause for his pain other than maybe he’d overdone things – he had walked a lot more than usual over the weekend in the company of the other greyhounds. He has a complicated medical history, so the most we could do was agree an interim plan of giving him an extra dose of his strong painkillers to tide him over the journey and see how he was when we got home and he’d had a chance to rest.

We set off down the interminable M1, swapping drivers at the Tibshelf services (I think that’s the name). We were pleasantly surprised – although there are limited food options here, there is a pleasant dog-walking and seating area, which is not a feature of the older services. We toiled home, getting back to a melancholy message from my mum that her little pekingese, Sybil, also an Indigo Dreamer, had died. It topped off a niggly afternoon and I was glad to get to bed – though on Tuesday Ollie became very ill indeed and I thought we might be saying goodbye to another Indigo Dreamer…….

r_Leeds-Liv-20Jul15-279

The memorial at Bridge 186 – now I’m wondering whether that circle below the plaque is the old altimeter…

Today’s Trivia:

As we approached Bridge 183 (another swingbridge), we noticed a discreet cross that had been erected on the side of the towpath; then alongside the bridge there was a substantial block topped off with a Polish eagle. The cross marks the site of a plane crash which killed seven Polish airmen in 1943; the structure by the bridge is a memorial where wreaths are laid on remembrance day. Ironically, the airmen were not killed in action, but during a routine training flight when the plane’s wing fell off in mid-air – literally! What a way to go so far from home.

I found some more history here. The memorial was unveiled in 2007, and the plane’s altimeter was apparently built into it. The oldest man in the crew had married a local girl just a month before he was killed in this accident; his widow, aged 84, was present at the unveiling ceremony. There’s a fuller account of the memorial’s construction here, but it is touching that so many local people and businesses felt moved to construct the memorial stone. Richard grew up meeting many ex-RAF Polish pilots, indeed of all the Polish Veteran’s associations in the UK they were the strongest with fantastic links to the RAF. They were some great characters there, many became leading Engineers but sadly none of the ex-Pilots amongst Richard’s family friends are still alive.

Come to the Leeds and Liverpool - this canal just has to be cruised :-)

Come to the Leeds and Liverpool – this canal just has to be cruised :-)

Ollie Update:

Although Ollie showed no sign of lameness on his front leg when the Yorkshire vet examined him, on Tuesday morning he lost the use of his front right leg – we rushed him to our local vet (his own supervet was off sadly) and had to carry him into the surgery :-( We feared the worse – had he had a stroke, or had one of the slipped discs in his neck (that we found out about during a scan a couple of weeks ago) slipped further and damaged his spinal nerves? It looked very bleak, but we decided to refer him to a specialist for investigations before making any drastic decisions. I had to cancel my work committment and we dashed him to the Royal Veterinary College hospital in Hertfordshire where he was admitted for tests and intravenous pain-relief. I hated to leave him there, but the neurologist who saw him was able to give us the good news that she didn’t think it was a stroke or spinal nerve damage – his symptoms were pointing at a problem with his shoulder joint.

A barrage of x-rays and tests over the next two days showed that Ollie’s lameness was because of blood in the synovial space of his shoulder joint (the tiny space between the ball and socket bones, which cushions and lubricates the joint’s movement). They drained 5ml of blood from the the joint, which, as far I can work out, is a lot, given that there should be less than 1ml of clear fluid in there. The tests didn’t reveal what caused the bleeding, but the combination of hospital rest, easing the pressure by draining the blood and some heavy-duty pain relief has given Ollie the use of his leg back. Within days of coming home (lots of TLC and intensive feeding), his mobility was back to what it was before the episode and his appetite really perked up. He’s on some new painkillers which seem to making a big difference. The genius vets at the Royal Veterinary College agree that Ollie is a medical mystery and, because of that, we don’t know if or when he might relapse, but for now I’m just relieved that the old boy is still alive!

Photoblog:

Good rummaging country here - of ocurse, Archie and Henry have wee'd here before on nb Greyhound :-)

Good rummaging country here – of course, Archie and Henry have wee’d here before on nb Greyhound :-)

Lovely...

Lovely…

Swingbridges - there are a tedious number on thie canal, but its the only way when the surrounding landscape is so steep..

Swingbridges – there are a tedious number on this canal, but its the only way to cross the canal when the surrounding landscape is so steep..

Though sometimes the road does manage to drop precipitously under the canal!

Though sometimes the road does manage to drop precipitously under the canal!

Waiting for a lift - they had a slightly longer walk than planned as the last bridge was pinned open so I didn't stop for them!

Waiting for a lift – they had a slightly longer walk than planned as the last bridge was pinned open so I didn’t stop for them!

Sheep!

Sheep!

More dreaminess...

More dreaminess…

The cross marking the site of the 1943 plane crash by Bridge 186

The cross marking the site of the 1943 plane crash by Bridge 186

A tranquil place for a memorial...

A tranquil place for a memorial…

A last view before the rain closed in for the afternoon

A last view before the rain closed in for the afternoon

 

 

 

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 19

Posted by indigodream on 8 August, 2015

Sunday 19th July

Shipley to Riddlesden

Grand canalscape through X

Grand canalscape through Saltaire

The day started with the drumming of the rain on the boat roof – our hearts sank, we had a substantial party of people coming on board today and although rain never stopped a cruise, it’s much easier to host guests when it’s dry.

We needn’t have worried – by the time our guests arrived at 10am the rain had stopped and the weather got better and better as the day went on, though the gusty wind pushed us around the canal all day long!

First to arrive were Kristel and Iain with greyhounds Freya and Dottie. Ollie was very pleased to see Dottie – she’s 11 and also rescued from terrible neglect/starvation – they’ve got a lot in common and were the boat’s “Darby and Joan! Freya is not a big fan of boating, but she really settled with her protectors, Henry and Archie, who are super laid-back and love boating! Their early arrival meant that Richard and Iain could do a car shuffle so that we’d have a car at the top of Bingley.

The menfolk got back from the car shuffle just as the rest of our guests arrived, a party from CRT Leeds for another “boating buddies” cruise – four CRT employees, two partners and one precocious five year old – it was a boatful….

Getting to grips with the old infrastructure...

Getting to grips with the old infrastructure…

It’s fair to say that we had a busy day and I didn’t have any time to take notes. I remember the Leeds and Liverpool continued to delight, but, of course, the phenomenon of the Bingley Five Rise overwhelms any other memories!

But there is plenty to see. Although the Leeds crowd were concerned about “trouble” from Bradford, the canal is pretty and peaceful. Where there is industry and infrastructure, it’s on such a grand scale that it awes rather than offends. We stopped for lunch in the shadow of the Damart Factory – a name all too familiar to winter boaters :-)

Although the menfolk all had a go at helming the boat, there were surprisingly few opportunities to do so (too few opportunities to be honest) – we travelled very few linear miles, but we climbed a long way thanks to a series of deep staircase locks. At the locks, the CRT group got off to do the hard work and learn more about the infrastructure that they look after. With experienced boater Iain helping at the helm, I got to spend  lot of the day in the galley chatting greyhounds with Kristel, who kept me company – that’s a good day in my book!

I did helm us through the five rise – although there were lock-keepers on duty (just as well, there’s an art to setting the staircase), they were only too pleased to have an additional eight helpers from Indigo Dream – including 5-year old Isobel, who had a go at opening the heavy lock gates with the help of another enterprising five year old! The entry into the bottom lock was interesting. We shared with a hire boat – they went in first but between the wind and a fierce bywash below the lock, they ended up wedged diagonally across the lock. The lock-keeper kept waving me in, so I had to come in very gently and nudge the front of their boat across – it took a bit of time but we were soon tucked in and marvelling at the immensity of the lock gates towering above us.

Approcahing the monumental Bingley Five Rise...

Approcahing the monumental Bingley Five Rise…

Of course, steering through a staircase is easy peasy – it’s all in a straight line – but you can’t fall asleep either – it’s worth keeping the boat to the back of the lock to avoid the turbulence and showers available from leaky gates/lock wall at the front. Some of the lock walls also have large cap stones which overhang the lock chamber – only by an inch or so, but enough to catch unwary gunwhales. The lock-keepers were meticulous in pointing out potential hazards and we had a smooth passage up the staircase.

We caught up with our crew at the waterpoint and handy cafe on the right above the five rise. We filled with water and Isobel had an ice-cream; the rest of the crew relaxed and looked very pleased with themselves, but in case they got bored, I taught them a few very rudimentary knots (the only ones I know!) and how to throw a rope round a bollard. I set them to practising while I started preparing another cream tea – well, I’ve made 350 pots of jam this year so far – may as well use it!

Once the water tank was full, we loaded the crew and pushed over to the visitor moorings on the opposite bank. Chris cycled back to get his car and Iain drove Richard back to get my car; the rest of us settled down for our cream teas – it seemed like a fitting end to a fine day’s cruise.

However, it wasn’t the end of the day for us – once all the car shuffles were done, we waved goodbye to our guests and moved on. We were amazed by how late it was – almost 6pm by the time everyone had gone – we’d expected to be in Skipton by then. Mind you, when we had manually calculated our cruising time, we’d forgotten to factor in the swingbridges. Nonetheless we needed to move – not least because the boat moored behind us, on spotting the greyhounds, asked somewhat gruffly – “Are they alright with cats? I’ve got cats” – hmmm, time to go!

We cruised on, intending to stop at the Marquis of Granby in Riddlesden; however when we rang to check whether they served food on a Sunday they told us that their kitchen was being refurbished and they weren’t doing food at all. It was a shame, as Richard said that the person who answered their phone was really friendly and helpful. We could have moored in Riddlesden, but there are extensive canalside developments going on, and we didn’t fancy mooring next to a building site. We pressed on another mile or so to Stockbridge and moored in a seemingly rural stretch just by swingbridge 196.

Luckily the dogs were tired and didn’t need much rummaging time – we didn’t realise that the towpath here was also an access road until we saw a tractor driving past our windows :-p

I had enough food on board to rustle us up a pasta dinner and we settled down with a random box set (Tru Calling) that we picked up in the Tia Greyhound charity shop in Todmorden – it wasn’t half bad, but after two episodes we were done – no box set all-nighters on this boat!

Bowling Green Mill..

Bowling Green Mill..

Today’s Trivia

I decided to look up the history of the Damart company, expecting it to be a lot older than it is. But Damart was established in France in 1953, and the monumental factory building in Bingley is dated 1871 – hmmm. The factory does indeed date back to 1871, when it was a textile mill built for the production of worsted – a yarn apparently spun from long-staple wool and woven into a close textured fabric. In fact, Bingley was known for its textile mills. As always when I start researching these trivia, I find some quite unusual sites – who would have imagined that there was a “British Water Tower Appreciation Society” . I wouldn’t have spotted it myself, but the tower next to the tall chimney is an old water tower.

 

Photoblog:

Steady as she goes! Iain from nb Destiny supervising a novice helmsman :-)

Steady as she goes! Iain from nb Destiny supervising a novice helmsman :-)

Never too young to learn to lock...

Never too young to learn to lock…

Ollie and Freya taking it easy :-)

Ollie and Freya taking it easy :-)

Yet another type of paddle gear :-)

Yet another type of paddle gear :-)

View from the bottom of the Bingley Five Rise (courtesy of Iain fron nb Destiny)

View from the bottom of the Bingley Five Rise (courtesy of Iain fron nb Destiny)

That's a deep hole....

That’s a deep hole….

Pressure washer....

Pressure washer….

Re-settting the locks after letting us out...

Re-settting the locks after letting us out…

And the view from the top - awesome (again courtesy of Iain from nb Destiny)

And the view from the top – awesome (again courtesy of Iain from nb Destiny)

Dottie and Freya enjoying the deck sheepies - I wonder if sales of sheepies increase when we've had new Indigo Dreamers on board? :-)

Dottie and Freya enjoying the deck sheepies – I wonder if sales of sheepies increase when we’ve had new Indigo Dreamers on board? :-)

And on we go - there's a long lock-free poud at the top of the Bingley staircase. It follows the contours and gives an amazing view of the steep-sided dales falling away below us...

And on we go – there’s a long lock-free pound at the top of the Bingley staircase. It follows the contours and gives an amazing view of the steep-sided dales falling away below us…

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 18

Posted by indigodream on 4 August, 2015

Saturday 18th July

Rodley to Shipley

Six go boating! From the left: Max, Archie, Henry, Ollie, Freya and Dottie

Six go boating! From the left: Max, Archie, Henry, Ollie, Freya and Dottie

We had planned to travel to the boat last night but we were saved from a late journey round the a gridlocked M25 by Henry Hound’s spectacular bout of sickness and an after-work vet visit. Luckily it wasn’t anything serious, though he did look very woebegone and the vet was careful to inject him with some long-acting heavy duty anti-sickness medicines so that he’d be well for the five hour drive in the morning. Luckily, Henry recovered really quickly and was well for the rest of the weekend.

We set out early on Saturday morning and had a great drive up. Although we were on a deadline, we made time to stop at Watford Gap services, where I could get a quirky gift for my sister-in-law’s birthday (spotted on our previous visit there) and chat to a fine blue greyhound – we found each other on Facebook later – I love social media :-)

We were on a mission as we had a special guest coming to the boat at 2pm – Max Greyhound (from twitter) and his humans Anna and Michael.

Although we got to Leeds before midday, we were watching the time, so when we passed a Tesco store near to the boat, Richard dropped me off to shop while he took the hounds to the boat and got set up for the cruise. The Bramley Shopping Centre (LS13 2ET) was a bit down at heel but had everything that we needed for a weekend’s cruising and more.

The Leeds and Liverpool is a lovely canal - bt there is so much more to come...

The Leeds and Liverpool is a lovely canal – bt there is so much more to come…

As I got to the checkouts, I rang Richard and he soon picked me and the shopping up – efficient or what?!

We were pottering round the boat when our guests arrived – Max is younger than our boys and has been in his forever home for less than a year. He’s renowned for being naughty, but we knew that he’d be fine on board! We introduced the hounds to each other on the towpath – as anticipated, they soon formed a bit of pack, though Archie having a wee all over Max wasn’t a typical Indigo Dream welcome! We found out that as well as having the love of greyhounds in common, Michael is a retired pharmacist – this cruise was meant to be :-)

We soon settled on board and set off along the canal – it was a lovely afternoon and we were almost too busy chatting to say much about the shy delights of this section of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. It was slow going, the canal’s not deep and the huge staircases and endless swingbridges take a lot of time, but once our guests were on board, we weren’t on a deadline.

I didn’t write any notes, though I must say that Max was a natural boater who had the time of his life – he’s an Olympic Looking medal contender :-)

Before I cruised here, I never appreciated just how many staircase locks there are on the L & L, or swingbridges!

Before I cruised here, I never appreciated just how many staircase locks there are on the L & L, or swingbridges!

We were aiming for Shipley and got there late afternoon. Just as we arrived at Dock Swing Bridge, we were hailed by our next guests, long time blog readers Kristel and Iain from nb Destiny with their greyhounds Freya and Dottie.

We had a merry time with a cream tea on the back deck while Richard cycled back to get the car. Once we had transport we all piled into the cars and drove back to Rodley. Max and his family left us here, we’d had a great day and I really hope that they’ll come cruising again.

We’d planned to eat out with Kristel and Iain, but we found that the Railway Inn at Rodley (as recommended by another tweeting boater) had finished serving food at 8pm (early for a Saturday we thought) and the other local pubs were not serving food. It looked as if we’d have to go back to Shipley/Saltaire to eat but it was getting late and our friends needed to get back to their campsite before dark (long story). We said a regretful goodbye, we’d hoped to spend more time with them. We were really pleased when they agreed to come cruising with us on Sunday :-)

We wended our weary way to Saltaire, arriving at the Boathouse Inn 15 minutes before they were due to stop serving food. By the time they’d kept Richard waiting at the bar to be served, the deadline had passed and the chef refused to take his order, saying that he’d shut his kitchen down and everything was cold. This might have come as news to the people who’d placed a food order just 2 minutes before us! We were vexed! We were heading back to the boat when we decided a last-ditch attempt to find a pub! We were passing the Noble Comb on the way back so I gave them a quick ring – they were serving food until 10pm and offered really good customer service. It belonged to the same chain as the pub in Stanley Ferry so it didn’t take long for us to find our favourites on the menu.

Wow, it had been a long day but how wonderful to cruise with such good company (as the photos show) and to introduce greyhound Indigo Dreamers number 41, 42 and 43 respectively :-)

Photoblog:

Family resemblance - Max is related to Archie, Henry and Ty, but, amazingly, they're not brothers!

Family resemblance – Max is related to Archie, Henry and Ty, but, amazingly, they’re not brothers!

Max - a natural talent for the Olympic looking team...

Max – a natural talent for the Olympic looking team…

Max is a fine hound :-)

Max is a fine hound :-)

THE Indigo Dream pose...

THE Indigo Dream pose…

Why am I smiling? Well, I'm on the helm on a fine canal with good company and I'm enjoying greyhound cuddles - what's not to like eh?

Why am I smiling? Well, I’m on the helm on a fine canal with good company and I’m enjoying greyhound cuddles – what’s not to like eh?

Probably best to avoid sitting on the front deck - quite a few of the locks are equipped to give the bow a good wash!

Probably best to avoid sitting on the front deck – quite a few of the locks are equipped to give the bow a good wash!

Ollie enjoying a bimble....

Ollie enjoying a bimble….

And here's a triple staircase - we're climbing up to the dales so quickly :-)

And here’s a triple staircase – we’re climbing up to the dales so quickly :-)

Pressure washer...

Pressure washer…

Max learning another key Indigo Dreaming skill :-)

Max learning another key Indigo Dreaming skill :-)

I love this photo - I'll treasure these cruising memories..

I love this photo – I’ll treasure these cruising memories..

You can't have too any happy greyhound photos :-)

You can’t have too any happy greyhound photos :-)

 

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Odds Blog: Bake-a-Thon and Bake Sale – update

Posted by indigodream on 1 August, 2015

My dear friends and helpers

Counting......

Counting……

What a magnificent group of people you are – we had such a lovely day at the bake sale, wonderful to see so many people and dogs enjoying their cream teas on the terrace – and the dog treats went down a storm.

So now for the final accounting:

Although we didn’t have a great number of people at the bake sale, we obviously had great quality, as we raised £373 – add that to the sponsorship and my bakeathon and bake sale has raised……drumroll……

£963 – wow!

Twice my wildest dream estimate! ….and I’ve heard whispers that the total may get topped up a round £1,000!

I’ll split the proceeds of the sale equally between my two charities which, added to the sponsorship,  means that:

£707 will go to the Retired Greyhound Trust – Greyhoundhomer
£256 will to Pharmacist Support

Thank you so much for donating, encouraging, baking and selling – because of you, I consider my 30 years as a pharmacist truly celebrated!!

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Odds Blog: Sue’s Bake-a-Thon – the finale!

Posted by indigodream on 31 July, 2015

Friday 31st July

Bake-a-thon Day 3: The finale!

A satisfying end to an epic bake-a-thon :-)

A satisfying end to an epic bake-a-thon :-)

I’ve done it!

  • 30 years a pharmacist
  • 30 hours baking
  • 30 different recipes
  • 1,766 individual dog treats!

There’s still time to donate to my favourite charities:

  • Greyhoundhomer – a branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust: When I was very young I didn’t want to be a pharmacist, I wanted to be “Julie the kennel maid” and dedicate my life to looking after dogs! My early ambition never really disappeared, so now I’m looking after my eighth rescue dog (my 6th greyhound!) and have dedicated my spare time to supporting the rescue and rehoming of retired greyhounds. Click Here to Sponsor me!
  • Pharmacy Support: a charity dedicated to supporting pharmacists and their families in times of need. Pharmacy Support offers a range of services from financial help though to specialist advice and a confidential “listening friends” helpline. Click Here to sponsor me!

Of course, all these treats will be for sale tomorrow, along with some wonderful human cakes (baked by my friends), my home-made jam, cream teas and a bit of bric-a-brac to browse – come along if you can! :-D

Come along if you can :-)

Come along if you can :-)

 

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Odds Blog: Sue’s Bake-a-thon

Posted by indigodream on 31 July, 2015

Friday 31st July

Ready for Day 3....

Ready for Day 3….

As of yesterday, I have been registered as a pharmacist for 30 years.

I am celebratng with a fundraising event to support my favourite charities:

  • Greyhoundhomer – a branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust: When I was very young I didn’t want to be a pharmacist, I wanted to be “Julie the kennel maid” and dedicate my life to looking after dogs! My early ambition never really disappeared, so now I’m looking after my eighth rescue dog (my 6th greyhound!) and have dedicated my spare time to supporting the rescue and rehoming of retired greyhounds. Click Here to Sponsor me!
  • Pharmacy Support: a charity dedicated to supporting pharmacists and their families in times of need. Pharmacy Support offers a range of services from financial help though to specialist advice and a confidential “listening friends” helpline. Click Here to sponsor me!

This is the last day of the Bake-a-Thon – so far I’ve baked for 20 hours – that’s 20 different recipes and over 1,300 individual dog treats…

Cheer me on to the finish line by donating to one of my favourite charities – 30 hours baking, 30 recipes – one for each year that I’ve been qualified – it’s going to be a warm day and I’ll need some motivation :-D

 

 

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Odds Blog: Sue’s Bake-a-thon Day 2 Report

Posted by indigodream on 30 July, 2015

Thursday 30th July

A good day's work :-)

A good day’s work :-)

I started baking at 9am and downed tools at 7pm…..I was congratulating myself for doing so well when I suddenly realised that I had one more recipe to mix – waaaah! I’ve compromised – it’s a yeast-based recipe so I’ve mixed it today, it can rise overnight and I’ll bake it tomorrow – phew!

So today I only made 9 different types of dog treat!

Carrot Cookies
Sweet Potato and Carrot Cookies
Minty Mouthfuls
Raspberry and Blueberry Delights
Golden Wonders
Carrot Cupcakes
Elegant Shortbreads
Tripe Biscuits
Liver Muffins

That comes to 686 treats – add that to yesterday’s total and that makes a grand total of 1,339 dog biscuits and there’s still a day to go!

If you hae a few pennies to spare please sponsor me for the last day, the last 10 recipes, the last 500 or so treats!

Click here to donate to Greyhoundhomer

Click here to donate to Pharmacist Support

Ty helping with quality control :-)

Ty helping with quality control :-)

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