Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Arrival in Leeds

Since the last post we’ve travelled the length of both the Calder and Hebble Navigation and the Aire and Calder Navigation and we are now moored right in the centre of Leeds at Clarence Dock.

The Navigations along the rivers Calder and Aire consist of stretches of canal and lengths of navigable river which are wide and obviously flowing which makes for some fast sections going downstream and slow ones going up.  On Friday morning the lock keeper at Sowerby Bridge let us down the very deep Tuel Lane Lock and even helped us down the two following locks which was very generous of him.  This took us off the Rochdale Canal, which we have followed from Manchester, down onto the Calder and Hebble.  This navigation had some interesting problems in store for us.  First it has some lock paddles which can only be operated by a spike.  A spike consists of a length of wood cut with a squared end which you insert into a wheel to turn it to open the lock paddles to let water in or out.  So it was a case of first fashion your spike and then use it.
Cutting the square end - or fettling as they say up here

Using the spike to operate the paddle

The next problem with this navigation was the size of the locks.  We had read that they would allow boats up to 57 feet long and there was some talk of taking longer boats.  Our two boats are both 57 feet long.  So we drove into the first lock with two boats side by side and let the water out to drop down.  We then found that it was impossible to open the lower gates:
Tight at the bow - David is trying to lift the fender, but that did not  resolve things

Tight at the stern too
The only answer is to put a single boat diagonally in the lock even though the lock is 14 foot wide and that usually means wide enough for two.  Many boats round here are 55 feet long and we now understand why.  Sorting out this lock and refilling one pound where the water was only knee deep delayed our journey, but after a while we moved onto the part of the navigation where river sections alternate with canal sections.  The key is to get off the river before you go over the weir!!  After our canal travelling it was novel to be on a big wide river again.  

Wide River Calder - crossing under the M1

Coming into Wakefield - note Pas Meche turning onto the next section of canal

It reminded us of our days on the Thames.  

We travelled through Wakefield and on to Stanley Ferry where the canal crosses the river Calder on an aqueduct built to the same design as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, albeit 100 years before the latter.
Stanley Ferry Aqueduct
We saw a wonderful rainbow here crossing the sky from one side to the other – giving access to two pots of gold.

From Stanley Ferry it was a short day to Lemonroyd to the South East of Leeds first going downstream on the Calder to Castleford and then turning upstream on the Aire for a few miles.  David and Victoria had arranged to finish their journey with us at Lemonroyd and Pas Meche now has a permanent place in the marina just above the huge lock there.
Lemonroyd Lock

Pas Meche in her new home
This lock, which is electrically operated with a key, is so large because giant barges full of oil come up here from Immingham on the Humber estuary to a storage depot for onward distribution by road around Leeds.  We had hoped to see one of these barges but it was not to be.  The advice around here is not to moor using mooring pins because the wash from these barges can pull them straight out.

After a day not boating yesterday we left Lemonroyd for the short cruise of around 6 miles into Leeds.  The last mile or so was against quite a strong flow of the river Aire and then up the final lock turning acutely into Clarence Dock where there are a few visitor moorings.
Manoeuvring in Clarence Dock
We’ll probably stay in Leeds a couple of days before we set off up the Leeds and Liverpool Canal into the Dales and ultimately back to the fringes of Manchester once more.

1 comment:

  1. Wow,your photos look wonderful. I hope you are both having a wonderful time!
    Christine Haughton


If you ask a question in a comment it may be worth knowing that for some reason at present I am unable to reply to a comment unless you choose to let me have your e mail address.