Thursday, 4 August 2016

Leeds-Liverpool Canal Cruise from Leeds to Skipton and Gargrave

Friday 5 August Skipton to Gargrave
We ran the engine as the batteries were just above the recommended minimum 65%, sorted the boat and filled the car boot before leaving. The strong breeze made steering harder, but the sunshine made our cruise through this beautiful countryside of upper Airedale wonderful. We shared bridges and three locks on the way to the 72 hour mooring in the village.
leaving Skipton

tandem boat(s)

looking across the Aire valley to hills

Annie moored at Gargrave
High Land Lock, Gargrave, has cloughs

Thursday 4 August Skipton

Wet, wet, wet! We snook the mile into Skipton in between showers, after a night of torrential rain, shopped and found wifi in Costa.
the view from our quiet mooring at Low Snaegill near Skipton

Annie moored in Skipton

Annie moored in Skipton
Liana took the train to retrieve the car from Mirfield while John bought a fishing net and managed to catch his glasses, which had fallen off when mooring! He then finished off rebuilding the cratch and fitting the cover. Ali took us out to the nearby Kashmiri restaurant for a different Indian meal - medium hot and  with ginger - tasty!

Wednesday 3 August East Riddleston Hall and to near Skipton (13 miles, lots of swing bridges, 0 locks)

We all used our Nat Trust cards to visit this 17th Century stone hall, with grand old oak furniture of that period. Two ancient barns were in original condition. Gardens were ok, as were shop and cafe.

Bee Hive (skep) alcoves, maybe?

Having risen 120 feet up 11 locks near Bingley, the canal travels on a high terrace with beautiful views across Airedale on the left, and wooded hillsides, some with oak and rhododendrons, and fields on the higher ground to our right.

Oak woodland near Farnhill Hall

unworried old Heron and curious geese

Airedale is lovely
No locks, but about 13 swing bridges kept Liana and Ali busy, while the strong crosswinds made handling the boat interesting for John. The sun shone for much of the day, so the air was warm. Lovely Silsden gardens make full use of their canalside setting 7506-08, while stone houses abutting the canal in Kildwick reminded us of France – will our trip through Canal du Midi villages next year look as good?
we last saw Swallows Nest when we both travelled down the Ouse from Naburn to Selby earlier this year


sunny but dark skies to the west of Kildwick

Passing through Low Snaygill, half a dozen boats passed us, mainly day boats and returning hirers. Clouds crept in and rain started just after we moored in a rural setting just before Skipton. We are enjoying looking at the view, dry stone walls snaking across the landscape, rabbits, swans and cygnets, ducks. We gave water to a travelling kayaker, who was trying to avoid attention from the parent swans. NB Ooh La La passed on her way Eastwards again. Liana's Leeds sausages and mash with onion gravy was a hit! We had forgotten how lovely this whole stretch of the L&L is.

Tuesday 2 August From Shipley to Bingley 5 Rise and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (8 miles, 11 locks)

7.30AM saw our neighbour on Schipperke ready to go, so John quickly had us on our way through wooded scenery on this terrace above the Aire. As we passed through Hirst Lock, then the double riser with Schipperke, more boats followed.
Hirst Lock washed the bow!

shady wooded canal

sharing Bingley double locks with Schipperke

Reaching Bingley 3 Rise, the champion lock keeper asked us to pair up with NB Ooh La La (!) ahead of us, as there would be six or more boats going up. We had to wait for a couple of boats to descend Bingley 5 Rise, so John took the chance to walk up and help, taking a few photographs.
Australian-English skipper of Ooh La La and his cleverly designed folding roof

Liana on swing bridge above Bingley 3 rise

Annie's and  Ooh La La's crews walked the short distance from 3 Rise to 5 Rise
As we ascended together, John had a good chat with Ooh La La's Australian-English skipper,  including his own design of roof and solar panels. 
Annie and Liana below the Bingley 5 Rise Locks

Liana and Alison at Bingley

Liana operating a ground paddle high above
Ooh La La's drop-down roof and its designer

Ooh La La and Annie

Liana and lifeboat above Bingley 5 Rise Locks

Alison and Liana at the tearoom above Bingley 5 Rise Locks
After tea and cakes at the tearoom above, we carried on high above the valley floor, through three electric swing bridges to the mooring close to Keighley. 

A dash to the 662 bus stop (thanks, Pearsons Guide) saw us reach the Keighley Rail Station. Sadly, we had just missed a steam train on the KWVR branch line, but we loved the period station! We waited, bought a few bits and pieces in the shop and just had time for the last trip of the day in the steam train up the 5 miles through Oakworth Station (of Railway Children fame) and Haworth to Oxenhope (where we had a look at the engines and carriages) and back, which we all enjoyed (although a full day would have been better). We were surprised by the amount of sidings and the rolling stock they had amassed, including engines, repair wagons, cranes, carriages and goods wagons. Ali's stew awaited us, back on the boat ….. ah!

The Keithley & Worth Valley Railway is a fully functional branch line: the main line station is behind John

KWVR station, Keithley

Monday 1 August from Rodley to Shipley and Saltaire

Rodley moorings near the Railway Inn look out over pasture. A blue sky morning saw us opening the first swing bridge of the day, moving on up the lovely Aire valley towards Skipton and the west. With the river to the right and the railway often to the right, the view is very rural, with pastures and woodland bordering the canal.

The canal is high on a terrace above the shallow valley floor. The offside can have trees overhanging, but not too intrusively. The towpath is wide, well maintained and asphalted, and is well used by walkers, joggers, and cyclists. We passed through bosky cuttings to the deep Dobson double and Field triple locks, chatting with friendly hikers and families, passing a few boats on the way.

Dobsons 2 Rise

a very deep Dosons staircase lock

Liana and Alison at the Field 3 Rise staircase locks

Our favourite was the GRP boat with blue flashing light, who, when John said “We need the Nee Naw sound, too”, kindly obliged, to our amusement!

Reaching Shipley in light rain, we stopped at the small untidy visitor mooring to visit Aldi, before moving on to the recommended Ashley Lane mooring further on, where we breasted up with Schipperke. A walk to Salt's Mill to view Hockney's art and the shopping outlets followed. We found the Home exhibition designs interesting, the prices of everything fairly high and Hockney looks a bit of a lad from his photos! I hadn't realised that canal visionary Robert Aikman wrote books of ghost stories.
Salts Mill

Sunday 31 July leaving Leeds for the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and Rodley

We should have spent more time here, really, especially as the Staffordshire Horde was here at the Royal Armories, but the day was glorious and so we headed up river to the River Lock 1 of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
John sounded the horn as we left Clarence Dock, Leeds

looking back at the weir

travelling up river

nearing the River Lock
The excited children waiting for the yellow water taxi, which uses the same tiny lock mooring as boats waiting to ascend, chattered away and were keen for us to move when the taxi approached. John had to reverse a little as a boat emerged, then was able to enter the lock, leaving room for the taxi to land.
Annie crossing over with boat at Leeds River Lock 1, Leeds & Liverpool Canal (Granary Wharf behind)

Granary Wharf visitor moorings above River Lock

approaching Oddy 2 Rise locks 4&5
Granary Wharf had plenty of boats moored. We had been warned by both books and people to carry on up sixteen locks to Rodley before stopping, but we must say that the whole trip was scenic and pleasant, with families, walkers and cyclists making maximum use of the excellent footpath this lovely Sunday morning. Next time we must stop at Leeds Industrial Museum, adjoining the canal. The novel ground paddle mechanisms can crack you on the wrist, so take care! Lock keepers attended the two triple staircase (riser) locks. At Forge locks, the lock keeper was friendly and efficient, seeing up a wide beam and letting Annie and NB Schipperke follow her up. The three Newlay locks took longer.
Annie moored below Forge Triple Staircase Locks

Annie and Schipperke rose up Forge Triple Locks together quickly, with their efficient lock keeper

Newlay Triple Locks

Newlay triple locks volunteer and lock keeper
Reaching Rodley through pleasant scenery, we moored briefly at the first visitor mooring and walked to the Railway Inn, sneaking in before the 4PM deadline for excellent steaks and chicken.
Liana at first Rodley mooring

Mooring with a view near Railway Inn, Rodley
Seeing the nice views here, we moved Annie up to these scenic, quiet moorings just before the swing bridge.

No comments:

Post a Comment