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Archive for August 8th, 2015

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 πŸ™‚

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 spendΒ  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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Yet another type of paddle gear :-)

Yet another type of paddle gear πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

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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