5+6+7+8 July 2016
It’s been a busy few days with lots of exciting places and things to do and experience. Let’s start by going back to Tuesday the 5th July which saw us go from the uneventful and unexciting location of Rodley on to Saltaire. We got to pass by the largest sewerage works in the world as listed in 1924 – we really do get to see quite the variety of things along the canals.
During our passage to Saltaire we had a three rise of locks where we got to do this very unique maneuver within the locks which we had never heard of. We have put a drawing in below that goes some way to explain what it involved but the bottom line is that two boats came in to the bottom lock together whilst one came into the top lock. In the middle lock we passed by one another using the Bunbury Shuffle. The first photo shows the three boats in the middle lock.
The diagram below shows you how we did it.
The purpose of this maneuver is bragging rights. Some might say it is to save water but really, at the end of the day it is just to say that you can do it. You must be extremely cautious when doing this kind of thing as one chamber of water may well be larger than the chamber above or below which can cause issues.
It was easy cruising for the remainder of the day apart from the five locks.
We arrived in the town of Saltaire later in the afternoon. Saltaire is a very interesting little town as it was a purpose built mill town by a Sir Titus Salt. Originally his textile mill was in Bradford but he found the living conditions and pollution unbearable so he built his own town to provide his workers with a better standard of living. He supposedly was a Quaker and did insist upon no pubs in the town. He built schools, health facilities, church (of course), town hall, sports facilities and every house in the town – oh, and of course his mill. He imported the alpaca wool from South America and the wool from Australia and blended the two to make quite a tidy sum of money for himself but he was very philanthropic. The whole town is World Heritage listed.
The gardens in Saltaire which had been extensively renovated in 2010. They had a lotto grant along with many volunteers which after nine months of work got it back to it’s impressive beginnings. Unfortunately none of our photos are doing this town any justice. We spent a few hours just walking around the streets soaking it all in. The mill did not stop production until 1980’s which considering all the other mills ceased before the 1950’s was a remarkable achievement.
We did come across this sign in the park in Saltaire warning against feeding those damn Canadian immigrants – Geese that is !!!
The next day was W’s 60th birthday. We had snuck out during the early hours of the morning to do up his boat with balloons.
We then spent the morning having a lovely morning tea on their boat and working out our strategies for the next few weeks whilst we continue to travel together. The purpose to stick together besides enjoying one another’s company is to share the locks. All the locks on the Leeds and Liverpool canal are big double buggers and it is easier with two people working them than just the one. On the positive side it is kind of fun to enter into the locks in a parallel maneuver as demonstrated by this movie
We headed off after lunch to make our way to Bingley which is just at the base of the Bingley Five Rise. The Bingley Five Rise is one of the seven wonders of the waterways. We have already done one of the wonders of the waterways, that being the Standedge Tunnel back on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Altogether we will be doing five of the wonders on this trip. We have done one of the other wonders on a previous trip and the other wonder is on the Kennett and Avon Canal which we will not be getting to this time. The previous wonder we have done is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal (see below). We suggest you google some photos of this awesome piece of engineering.
Our mooring location tonight was probably the ugliest and harshest we have had to date but we didn’t care too much as we headed off to a superb Indian dinner for a 60th Birthday Bash.
You can just see NB Lucy in the distance but the reason for this photo was the train line, highway and canal all being side by side. Each one outdoing the other over the years.
We got up extra early as we wanted to be the first up the Bingley Five Rise as it can get rather busy as the day progresses. These locks have full time lock keepers on them as the potential for accidents is great. It’s just not a matter of letting in water from the top lock into the next lock. Also, there is no way they would allow the Bunbury Shuffle to occur within this rise.
Di and W heading off to preview the lay of the land and speak to the lock keeper. There were two full time lock keepers on today along with two volunteers plus numerous gongoozlers*. Will explain this term further down. Unfortunately they have not painted the locks in the traditional colours of black and white as they would then stand out a lot better and you would get a clearer idea. The locks were recently extensively renovated but they are talking about leaving them in the traditional non-painted appearance. You climb 60 feet during the lock climb which is not insignificant.
Aerial view of the Bingley Five Rise.
The two NB’s in the locks with Fraser and M at the helm.
It took us approximately 1 ½ hours to ascend the locks which was very quick we thought. Our timing was also perfect as at the top of the locks the heavens decided to open up – yet again.
Thought you all might get a giggle out of the weather forecast on the cell phone. Well at least its consistent !
We have been having pretty miserable weather of late and there doesn’t look like much improvement coming up. The weather of course changes all the time with England being an island and the weather passing over it quickly. We just have to take the windows of opportunity and head off but if it is just nuisance drizzle it isn’t too much of a concern.
Our plan was to go from Bingley to Keighley which was only about four hours cruising. We also had a touch of sunshine so Toque made the most of it. Tough life Eh !
Whilst we were waiting at one of the swing bridges a puffed up swan came cruising up towards us. In the other direction was a group of white geese consisting of about 15 of them. The swan then flew towards them and grabbed one of the geese and tried to drown it. Fortunately it got away but then it went for another goose which it proceeded to chase under the water and peck the hell out of it’s head and bite it’s neck. We threw an apple at it but it didn’t deter it though it was enough for the goose to run away. Who said that swans were graceful beautiful animals – they are ruthless aggressive birds. The swan then came towards the boat of which Toque and Mapes knew to stand well back from the edge.
Last night we were woken on two occasions by very heavy rain pounding on the roof of the boat. This did not bode well as we had intentions of spending the day in Keighley so that we could go on the Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Railway. We had a 35 minute walk to the train station so called two taxi companies which refused to take us due to the dogs. We then learnt that dogs were allowed on buses so in the end we did ourselves a big favour to our wallets.
We spent the day catching the train up and down the valley and getting off at a number of the little villages. Whilst on this trip we met a Canadian gentleman from Vancouver who was walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End – meaning, from the south west end of England to the North East tip of Scotland. He had given himself four months. He was taking a day off as he had worn out his shoes so was having his new shoes stretched prior to heading off again. Amazing man. You do get to meet some very interesting people on the way.
We are in the heart of Bronte country. One of our stops on the train was the town of Haworth where you can then walk to the home of the Bronte’s sisters. If you are keen on their novels this would be a must place to investigate. The little village of Haworth itself was extremely pretty and they have preserved it in it’s original form.
Even though it was a wet old day we still got to see everything we had planned. So far the pooches have travelled by plane, car, train, bus and narrowboat. The only thing missing is horse and cart and that ain’t going to happen as they think horses are just big dogs.
*Note – Gongoozlers are people that hang out around locks looking and offering advice (often incorrect)