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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 17

Posted by indigodream on 16 July, 2015

Monday 6th July

Leeds to Rodley

Come on Ollie and Arcie, up you get - nah!

Come on Ollie and Archie, up you get – nah!

Today was a busy day so I didn’t take notes, but I have some very fond memories of our “boating buddies” cruise with four young ladies from Leeds CRT’s HR Department – Harriet, Jemma, Georgia and Debbie.

We had a very relaxed start to the day as we’d planned a departure time of 10am and we were moored right outside CRTs office, so no early morning manoeuvres to be done. The ladies arrived in good time, though I had thought the cruise might be cut short when we found out that Debbie is allergic to dogs! Luckily she thought she’d be ok if she stayed outside in the fresh air and she was very sweet, apologising to Archie for not giving him the fuss he was so obviously craving πŸ™‚

Once we’d got everyone on board and loaded with coffees, Richard went off to set the lock while I brought the boat round. I cast off at the front and was surprised by how quickly the bow swung out, I’d expected it to be pinned by the flow from the weir. By the time I’d got back to the helm, the wind, even though it didn’t feel that brisk, had turned the boat through 180 degrees. It took all sorts of shenanigans to get her moving forwards – at one time I though I’d have to just let the wind turn her through the 360 degrees and then try to correct, but eventually I got her moving in the right direction. Of course, once she was lined up, I had to do an immediate turn back on myself to get into the lock – now the wind came in handy!

On our way...

On our way…

The ladies on board said “wow, that was awesome” as I manoeuvred Indigo Dream into the lock; I caught Richard’s eye, only he and I knew what a pig’s ear of a move it had been in the unhandy wind!

I found out later that Leeds is notorious for rogue winds – apparently the newer tall buildings funnel wind in a dramatic fashion, creating vortices at pavement level that can affect cars and pedestrians – our flat-bottomed boat had no chance!

Today must rank as Archie Beanz’ best day on the water ever – Jemma, Georgia and Harriet lavished him with fuss and kisses; he got to schmooze passers-by during his frequent lockside rummages and, because we decided to drive home later in the day, there was the most almighty fridge clearance feast at dinnertime πŸ™‚

But I’m ahead of myself, once got past two boats moving out of Leeds Dock, it was time to make the CRT ladies work. Fair play to them, they all took turns on the helm and helped at the locks, even though some of the mechanisms are very hard work. Harriet was a natural driver and within minutes had fallen in love with boating (and greyhounds!).

Tutorial :-)

Tutorial πŸ™‚

The locks on the Leeds and Liverpool are still a bit short, but nothing like the Calder and Hebble. Locking up, I had to take Indigo Dream’s bow right up to the cill, but once the bottom gates were shut, I had room to reverse back into the “mitre” and had room to spare.

There are three great staircases coming out of Leeds, and we soon left the city far behind and below. Although I’d seen the staircases marked on the map, I hadn’t realised how huge they were. There were lock-keepers at the third staircase – a mixed blessing – it’s always nice to have some guidance when setting a staircase, but they were painfully cautious when opening the paddles and it took an age to get though.

With so many competent crew members on board, it was easy for me to duck off the helm and make lunch – our standard fajitas – easy to prepare and everyone can help themselves to what they want. Later on we stopped for a cream tea – with my home-made jam of course! Our guests were gobsmacked at the level of hospitality they were being offered, but I explained that we had to live up to the Herbie Special Award that we were privileged to receive a few years ago. Can you imagine the shame and disgrace if it were revoked!

Group photo...

Group photo…

Sadly the weather today was grim – it poured with rain for most of the day – the ladies had brought a degree of waterproofing but we were soon handing out rain hats. The weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, the ladies really got involved, did really well and seemed to have an overwhelmingly positive experience of boating.

We’d spent the day in boat time, where the day lasted forever but went by so quickly – by 5pm we were in Rodley and decided to moor just beyond the swingbridge – a fine 14-day mooring with excellent access to the car parked in the adjacent road.

We said farewell to our guests – they were catching a cab back to Leeds. We then had a decision to make – stay overnight in Rodley and drive back in the morning or make a big effort to get home tonight.

We went for the latter and, as I mentioned, the hounds enjoyed a gargantuan fridge-end feast made up of all the meat that we’d failed to eat at lunchtime or had kept by for supper Even little Ollie, who’s not that excited by food, enjoyed it.

It was a long drive, though we shared the driving, which made it a bit easier. The hounds were flat out – they’d had a great weekend. We eventually got home around 12.30am – horribly late, but it gained us a useful day at home so we won’t complain πŸ™‚

Note: In the photos below, Ollie has a shaved area and small dressing – on Thursday night he had a scan and bone marrow biopsy to see if we could find a cause for his malaise over the last several months. We’ve had the results and the good news is that there are no signs of cancer, though they did find that he had two “slipped” discs in his neck and arthritis in his shoulders (this explains a lot of his pain). However the scan/biopsy didn’t give us an explanation for some very abnormal blood results and his continue bouts of malaise – back to the drawing board 😦


Where the dogs could sleep...

Where the dogs could sleep…

Where the hounds actually sleep!

Where the hounds actually sleep!

Jemma was a natural on the helm :-)

Harriet was a natural on the helm πŸ™‚

Yet another type of paddle gear - canal builders were very inventive!

Yet another type of paddle gear – canal builders were very inventive!

It's such a shame that the rain set in...

It’s such a shame that the rain set in…

Still smiling - even though those paddle mechanisms are very hard work :-)

Still smiling – even though those paddle mechanisms are very hard work πŸ™‚

Eveyone had a go at the helm - they did really well :-)

Everyone had a go at the helm – they did really well πŸ™‚

The ladies were very petite but these beams are huge, and heavy...

The ladies were very petite but these beams are huge, and heavy…

Jemma calm and confident on the helm

Jemma calm and confident on the helm



Working hard..

Working hard..

Great view - we climbed quickly up the big staircase locks :-)

Great view – we climbed quickly up the big staircase locks πŸ™‚

The staircase locks fill nicely

The staircase locks fill nicely

Time for a nap :-)

Time for a nap πŸ™‚

IT's a wonder that the hounds didn't stick their tongues out too :-)

It’s a wonder that the hounds didn’t stick their tongues out too πŸ™‚


Our treasured Herbie Special Award :-0

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