Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A Mini-cruise for Easter

We have been harbouring a wish to go back up to the Bends near the summit level of the Leeds and Liverpool and, as we are heading back the other way towards Leeds for our summer cruise, we decided to go up there for a few days over the Easter weekend.  In fact we had been intending to go a few days before, but the wind was horrible so we stayed at home and finally left our mooring late on the Wednesday afternoon before Easter.  We cruised through Skipton and stopped at a popular mooring with our fellow moorers at Snaygill.  This is called Roy's Seat.

 This is Snaygill Swing Bridge which is the first one we met.  There are six of these on the stretch up to Gargrave and one in particular was almost impossible to open on our return trip.  This one was OK and Helen could manage it on her own while Ian steered Leo through.

Here we are moored by Roy's Seat.  We have been told this has been erected as a memorial to a local chap who used to walk his dog along this stretch of canal.  It is a useful spot for painting the side of your boat, especially as there is a winding hole close by where you can turn the boat round to do the other side.

On Thursday we carried on through more swing bridges to meet the first of the six locks around Gargrave.

This is Scarland Lock heading out of Gargrave.  We stopped to have a look round the village and saw a couple of houses that we had considered to buy two years ago when we moved up to Yorkshire.  One was still for sale!

We were heading for a favourite mooring by Priest Holme Aqueduct where the canal crosses the River Aire for the last time and then climbs the Bank Newton Locks out of the Aire Valley.  You can see the Aqueduct in the picture and just make out Leo to the left of it.

On Friday we ascended the Bank Newton Locks with the help of the relief lock keeper, Edward.  We soon got up to our son David's favourite mooring on the Bends.  This is a stretch of canal that zig-zags around a series of high valleys in beautiful countryside with extensive views.

The Bank Newton Locks have curious ground paddles with a long lever that you can just see to Helen's right behind the lock gate.  Helen is concentrating on checking the flow of water into the lock so that Leo is not swamped.

Here we are moored on the Bends.

This is the view from our mooring looking towards distant hills at Elslack Moor between Earby and Skipton.

Here a slightly different view shows the next bends of the canal.  On the first bend you can see some boats moored and the further bend is among the distant trees.  We did some boat jobs in the afternoon and then had a short evening walk on the Pennine Way, returning along the canal talking to the several moored boaters enjoying this lovely spot.

On Saturday we went round the Bends to East Marton and a little further to a winding hole before heading back down the Bank Newton Locks to moor overnight on the edge of Gargrave.

East Marton is well known for this interesting double bridge.  Last time we came this way we visited the Cross Keys in the village but we were too early in the day this time.

While Ian spent the afternoon touching up the paint along the hull, Helen concentrated on taking photos of these young lambs.

Sunday was our last day cruising back to our mooring on the South side of Skipton.

Coming through the Gargrave Locks you cross the Pennine Way.  Helen and Ian have both walked its whole length quite a few years ago.

At the last Gargrave Lock we had to queue for the lock.  This is a most unusual situation on these Northern waters, but it was Easter weekend.  Here two hire boats from Snaygill and Silsden go down together while we wait above.

As we cruised through Skipton we passed this fellow.  A toy monkey rows the boat, controlled by radio control from the bank.

And how about this bicycle?  The chainwheel is linked to a shaft drive which turns a propellor at the back of the floats.  It would have been fun to see it in action.

We were pleased to find that Leo was working well on this trip and we are now looking forward to setting off for the summer, hopefully on 24 April.  The only remaining job before we go is to replace the onboard washing machine for one that actually works!  Two more weeks as landlubbers and then we're off!!

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