Saturday 9th July 2016
What is it with the weather in this country!!! Today was possibly the wettest that we have cruised during. The countryside was exceptional even with the precipitation but we kept imagining what it would be like in the sunshine.
We followed the contours of the land which is what we are calling the “Brindley Way”. Brindley was the initial mastermind behind the construction of the canal system and had to get Acts of Parliament passed to be able to build them. His method was to follow the contours of the land reducing the cost of having to build locks or aqueducts. Of course the downside of this was that the canals meandered along at great distance. For us though, this is a fantastic bonus and we get to enjoy the magnificent countryside.
After Brindley came Telford who was the rip, roar and bust kind of character who was into going in as straight a line as possible resulting in much more expensive construction techniques meaning locks +++ and aqueducts etc etc. Just a little bit of canal construction history for you.
We cruised a total of 4 hours today along green carpets of meadows with dry stone walls, cows, sheep, those aggressive swans and lots of day boaters…hmm. The day boaters are people who hire these extremely small boats – some as small as 12 feet – and do a short length of the canal. This gives them a small idea of what driving a narrowboat feels like but the ones we saw it today were in the rain – this might well turn them off the idea. With all these inexperienced boaters around, you needed to have your wits about you!!!
Our chore today was to put some diesel into the old girl. This is only the second time we have had to do this which for us has been a surprise. According to our budget we are filling it up only one third of the time we thought we would. This is a very nice offset. What we didn’t budget on at all, which was a big error, was the amount of times we would still need a laundromat and the expense of it. Due to the very wet weather we have had to do laundry every 10 days or so and the average wash and dry is £8 and there are usually three loads each time. We try to do some handwashing in between but with the wet weather it is very difficult to get anything dry. When it takes nearly three days for the smalls to dry it doesn’t make for much sense and the smalls do not smell a lot better for the wash.
Coming into Skipton was like arriving at Grand Central Junction – boats galore!! Besides all the day boaters there are a lot more wide beam boats. These wide beam boats can be as wide as 14 foot. Nice to live on but they are very limited as to where they can go on the canal system. When two of these buggers pass one another it is real touch and go as there is very little room for them to maneuver. We have seen the inside of some of these are they are quite palatial with the kitting out and of course the space.
In this photo you can see nb Lucy who is moored and the two wide beams – this is a very wide spot in the canal in the centre of Skipton.