Thursday, 4 September 2014

Leo's Farthest North

I have not posted for some time, sorry.  Partly this was having a guest on board and partly lack of internet.  We've come to the end of the River Calder, down the Aire and up the Ouse and Ure to Ripon which is the furthest North we've ever been on Leo and almost as far North as you can get on the connected waterway system.  Teviotfield on the Lancaster Canal is a little further North.

Here are some pictures to bring us more up to date:

Here we are following another narrowboat, Naomi May down the River Calder under a railway viaduct and heading for the M62 whose bridge is beyond the railway.  The river is wide but was not flowing very fast.

We were not expecting to find much of interest in Castleford where the Calder meets the River Aire, but we were wrong.  To the North of the canal cut is an area of land that has sunk due to mining and is now a wetland area ideal for wildlife.  These Highland Cattle seemed to enjoy paddling and browsing on the water weed.
The town itself has some interesting bits and this amazing curved foot and cycle bridge spanning the river Aire just below the weir.  In the foreground is a fish ladder and behind that a sunken barge which presumably went over the weir.  The town has a good museum too, partly devoted to Henry Moore the sculptor who was born in the town.
This picture is taken from the stern of Leo sitting in Ferrybridge Flood Lock.  A dozen Leos would easily fit in the lock and it took Helen some minutes to walk from the top to the bottom gates.  Fortunately the lock is operated electrically.  The cooling towers are part of Ferrybridge Power Station.  As well as this one we could see Eggborough and Drax from the River Aire.


The cooling towers dominate the landscape in Ferrybridge. Further along the canal cut we came to the junction where we turned left towards Selby rather than right to Goole.


I like the appearance of the wake as you go round bends.  It can become mesmerising to watch the wake rather than concentrating on where you are going, especially on the wide rivers.

After six more miles on the River Aire you turn left onto the Selby Canal at West Haddlesey Flood Lock.  If you stay on the river you would soon come to the weir that marks the limit of the tide up the Aire.  The Flood Lock has huge upper gates which keep out the flood waters when the river is in spate.  The lower gates are remarkably small by comparison.  This is all the wrong way round compared with what we normally see.












Selby Canal was a delight after the huge rivers, running for five miles to Selby where a lock lets you down onto the tidal River Ouse. 

Selby Canal has lovely stone curved bridges which immediately let you know you are on a nice peaceful canal rather than a big scary river.

This is the Selby Lock Basin.  Just to the left of the house is the lock which goes down onto the tidal Ouse.  We booked to go down on Monday morning but later changed our minds and went out on Sunday morning.  We are coming to a period of high Spring Tides and were keen to get back before they arrive with their faster tidal flows.

Here we are on Sunday morning out on the tidal river heading upstream with the benefit of the incoming tide.  We are following another narrowboat, Mirean, which has been this way before.  The curious bridge is the railway swing bridge at Selby which is being repaired.

Two cruisers followed us onto the Ouse in a second lock full and, after an hour or so, they overtook us.  Leo hit 7 mph at times with the benefit of the tide.  Pretty fast for a narrowboat.  It took us two and a half hours to cover the fourteen miles to Naburn Lock.

You don't usually reckon on meeting waterskiers with a narrowboat, but on the Ouse anything is possible.
And here at last we are approaching Naburn Lock which marks the tidal limit of the Ouse.  The lock was set ready for us and we went up onto quieter waters above.












We cruised up to York, a further six miles or so from Naburn on Sunday afternoon.

This is Bishopthorpe Palace by the river.  It is the palace of the Archbishop of York.


And so into York.  The river in York on a sunny Sunday afternoon was extremely busy with big steamers, little motor boats for hire, canoeists, and private cruisers and narrowboats.

Here we are approaching Lendal Bridge with two trip boats in front of us.  The visitor moorings looked full and we cruised past slowly hoping someone was about to move on.  No such luck.  There really aren't enough visitor moorings in York.

Just beyond the visitor moorings and under the Scarborough Railway Bridge we managed to contrive a mooring by hammering our pins between the paving slabs and adding one in the sandy sloping bank.  It seemed to hold despite the steamers going up and down.  Ian took the train home to collect the post in the evening and bought take away pizzas to eat on Leo.  The advice is not to leave your boat in York.  Pranksters have been known to cast boats adrift.


From York we've come North to Boroughbridge.

This is our local river at Knaresborough, the Nidd, where it flows into the Ouse.  The floating buoys are to discourage you trying to take your boat up the Nidd which is not navigable.  The confluence is opposite Beningborough Hall which we had visited in March with Lucy.

For some reason the River Ure (upstream) becomes the River Ouse (downstream) at this point.  We've not found any proper explanation why there is a change of name.  Apparently the Great Ouse Beck comes in here but we were unable to spot it and it must be very tiny.

At Aldwark is a private toll bridge.  We have crossed this in the car.  It has wooden planks for the roadway and a passing car makes a clattering noise overhead as it crosses over the boat.  As you can see the roadway is well above any possible floodwater.  The River Ouse often rises 5 metres in flood conditions.  We are hoping for no rain!!





At Boroughbridge our friend Richard joined us for the cruise up to Ripon, his home town.

You can see that we put Richard to working his passage by helping us through the locks.  Here he is working the paddles at Westwick Lock on the river and there were three further locks on the Ripon canal too.

Just before the Canal turns off you pass Newby Hall which has a couple of splendid vistas down through wonderful gardens to the river.  The little signs either side of the steps say "Beware of Trains" as there is a ride-on model railway in the grounds.


Ian was too busy talking to Richard and nearly missed this left turn off the River Ure onto the Ripon Canal for the last two or three miles into Ripon.

Having turned round in the basin at the end of the canal (to applause from some passers by) we moored at the fine visitor moorings.  We were the only boat there overnight.  This canal definitely needs some more visiting boats.  Ripon is a great place to visit with museums, a Cathedral and loads of places to eat.

At 9 pm every evening in the square (apparently since 886) the Wakeman blows his horn, gives a bit of history and entertains visitors and residents alike.  We could not miss this.  Helen even got given a lucky wooden penny by the Wakeman.  It was noticeable that only the pretty girls got given these!

Here is the West Face of Ripon Cathedral by night as we made our way back to Leo afterwards.













So Ripon was the end of the line as there is no more navigable water beyond here.  Since Ripon we've come back down river to Linton on Ouse and we are booked to go back out on the tide at 6.15 am on Saturday.  Not our choice of timing of course, but 'time and tide wait for no man'.  We are planning to go beyond Selby to Barmby Barrage which is where the River Derwent (the Yorkshire Derwent, not the Derbyshire one) joins the Ouse.  We plan to spend some time on the Derwent and the Pocklington Canal before making our way back through Leeds to our winter mooring on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.  So the season is far from finished for us yet.

And here to close is a picture of a cultivated thistle flower which I took at Newby Hall which we visited by boat on our return down river.

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