Monday, 17 April 2017

Nearly down to Leeds

We have been taking small steps towards Leeds each day.  The logic behind the slow progress is that we don't want to go through 'bandit country' around Kirkstall on a Bank Holiday when the delinquents are about.  So we have been spending the Easter Weekend on some really leisurely boating.

On Saturday morning we washed the winter grime off one side and the roof of the boat before setting off.  We reached the top of the Bingley Five Rise Locks for an early lunch while we waited to see if another boat would turn up to share with us.  None did, so we set off down on our own with the help of lock keepers Nick and Claire.

 The Five Rise is one of the wonders of the waterways with a staircase of 5 wide locks dropping a total of 60 feet down a steep hillside.  Left is the view looking down.  The tall black chimney is by the Three Rise which soon follows the Five.

And here is the view looking back from the bottom of the Five Rise.  A pretty impressive sight.  It took us just half an hour to get down.  Going up takes longer as the water flows can be intimidating.

Edward was the lock keeper at the Three Rise which again we went down on our own but there was a pair of boats waiting to come up when we got down.

The gates on these locks are enormous.  This is the view looking up from Leo's back deck as we went down in the Three Rise.  Just think what would happen if the gates failed!!  No, on second thoughts, don't think about it .

From the bottom of the Three Rise we went on just a short way and moored above Dowley Gap Locks right by the Fisherman's Inn.  Guess where we ate on Saturday evening.  The Fisherman's changed hands in 2016 and is much improved.  Excellent Saltaire Blonde to drink and the food was good too.

On Easter Sunday we set off down the Dowley Gap staircase of two locks.  These were the first locks we've done on our own this year as the Bingley Locks have lock keepers.

The gear for the ground paddles on these locks is unusual with a vertical screw pulling up a wooden paddle.  Here you can see Helen turning the handle to achieve this.

It is Easter and here is Helen about to unwrap an Easter Egg for the occasion.  Full of truffles and very nice.  Thanks to Aldi for this one.

After going down Dowley Gap we carried on to Saltaire and moored just below Hirst Lock.  We enjoyed a short walk through the village which is a World Heritage Site.  Titus Salt built houses for his workers and a huge mill for them to work in.  He was a great Victorian mill owner and philanthropist but he didn't approve of alcohol which was not allowed in the village.  It is now and one pub is called 'Don't tell Titus'.

We liked the stone lions outside the Victoria Hall.  The one above is licking his paw and this one looks very superior.  Living on a boat called Leo, we are always on the lookout for other lions.

This is Victoria Hall an example of the fine architecture in Saltaire.

Today we teamed up with Jane and Douggie on a boat called Yorkshire Rose and we have come down another 5 locks with them as well as sharing numerous swing bridges which are a feature of this canal.

Here is the view from Leo as we cruised through Saltaire passing Salt's Mill on the right and another mill on the left.

The climate in Saltaire must be getting more tropical with global warming.  This bed has palm trees above and tulips below.

As well as an endless collection of swing bridges, the run into Leeds is also notable for the number of staircase locks.  Here we are with Yorkshire Rose having just come down Field Locks which is a staircase of three locks.

And here you can see Yorkshire Rose following us out of the bottom of Dobson Locks which is a staircase of two deep locks.  We had plenty of spectators here as it is Bank Holiday Monday.

Tonight we are moored near Rodley well placed for an early start tomorrow morning to go down the rest of the locks into Leeds.  We have agreed to share with Yorkshire Rose again so this should be easier than it could have been on our own.


  1. How far do you travel in a day? Having cycled 56 miles today it would be good to compare. Andrew W.

    1. Hello Andrew
      How far do we travel in a day? How long is a piece of string? If we're really trying we can manage 25-30 Lock Miles in a day (as a general principle you can do 4 miles or 4 locks in an hour). These days we take it more gently working on an average for planning purposes of 11 lock miles a day. But this varies a lot. For example on the tidal Trent we will be doing about 30 miles in just a few hours!

  2. Thank you, I enjoy your posts. Very informative and excellent photos. I hope to be travelling the Leeds-Liverpool solo within the next season or two, so all information most gratefully received! If you'd like to visit my blog it's at We're currently in Leicestershire, our journey north delayed for a number of reasons. Hope you enjoy Leeds.

    1. Good to hear from you. Our paths may cross as we head south. We'll keep an eye open for the Blue Ship.