Sunday, 30 August 2015

Clarence Dock, Leeds.

Hi all,
This week the tale of our travels comes to you from Leeds, a City in West Yorkshire at the Eastern end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. We have now covered the whole one hundred and twenty seven and a quarter miles from Liverpool and we are moored in Clarence Dock just off the River Aire, above Leeds Lock in the City. There are other moorings on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal as you enter Leeds, some in the Basin above Office Lock and then some below the lock in Granary Wharf but the ones here are the best. Some of the moorings in this dock have electricity and water while others have only water, we've been lucky and got  one with both. Its just a short walk into Leeds and there is also the free River Taxi that travels from here to just below River Lock,the first of the locks on the L&L near the Railway Station. We are now back in the company of Pete and Val on Tadpole 2 who had to get here along a different canal from us,The Rochdale, due to a stoppage on the Bridgewater Canal near Castlefield.
Lisa & Val boarding the free Water Taxi here in Clarence Dock.
Sadly the blog that I had prepared for last week and which was almost ready to be published somehow vanished as I was doing a minor edit after Lisa had read it to spot the faults. I've no idea what happened, I pressed the space bar and the page went blank. I searched the history on my lappy and there was nothing but the blog title, everything else had disappeared. A search of the help pages on Blogger failed to give me any other ways of recovering the blog but it did show that I wasn't unique in losing everything. As a result though, I just didn't have the heart to start all over again.
Anyway,lets move on. We stayed in Skipton till the Thursday before last having a brilliant time walking, eating and drinking.Richard and Geraldine left us on the Wednesday morning to get back to Kirckaldy, and shortly afterwards Sandra, a friend and former boater from Whitley Bay,arrived for the day with her well behaved dogs,Pheobe and Molly. On one evening during our stay in Skipton we enjoyed a great meal in the Aagrah Indian Restaurant next to Pennine Cruisers, and also, on another day, a lovely lunch in the Pie and Mash Shop next door. A few of our evenings were spent in The Yorkshire Rose  pub where on Thursday night, our last in Skipton, Rob, Suzie, Lisa and myself entered the quiz  and came a credible third, afterwards enjoying free pie and peas which were delicious.
Lisa with Richard & Geraldine on the walkway alongside the Springs Branch below Skipton Castle.
One of the many Swing Bridges that are found on the L&L. Suzie has opened this one while Rob waits for us to go through to set the next Swing Bridge. Leapfrogging like this spreads the work of opening & closing the bridges 'cos some of them can be quite heavy, even requiring myself or Rob to lend a hand.
The Leeds & liverpool crosses the Pennines and the views are amazing. This one is from our mooring at Kildwick.
On Friday morning after filling with fuel at Pennine cruisers and using the nearby boaters services, our two boats,Chyandour and Swamp Frogs said farewell to Skipton and we made our way some five miles and through five swing bridges to Kildwick where we managed to moor before the heavens opened and confined us to the boats till the next day. Saturday had us doing just under eight miles and another nine swing bridges to Micklethwait, just West of Bingley where we had the pleasure of a few beers in The Royal, just down the road from the swing bridge over the canal. We had tried to moor alongside the towpath after passing through Riddlesden but wherever we tried the canal was too shallow, we have to remember this canal,like all the others, wasn't built for pleasure craft, working boats only moored where they loaded or unloaded. That night we had the spectacular thunder and lightening with the rainwater pouring off the roof of Chyandour like a waterfall. Next day was bright and sunny and we did the couple of hundred yards or so to the moorings just above the Bingley Five Rise Locks where we would wait till Monday for our Daughter and Grandchildren to come and stay for a few days. Bingley Five Rise Locks are a tourist attraction on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal where the canal drops sixty feet down the steepest flight of staircase locks in the UK. This flight is then followed by the Three Rise Flight that drops the canal another thirty feet, both of the flights first opened in 1774.
Lisa working us down the Bingley Five Rise assisted by one of the CRT Volunteers, Suzie supervising on the other side.
At the bottom of the flight after saying thanks to all our helpers,there's always plenty of help on the lock gates on this attraction.
After our new guests arrived on Monday we set off down the Five Rise and Three Rise, assisted by a Lock Keeper and volunteers from CRT and then cruised to just outside the town of Saltaire, where we intended to spend a few hours on Tuesday before moving on again. Lisa and I have been to Saltaire before but our family and Rob and and Suzie hadn't so it was a new experience for them. Saltaire is a Victorian Model Village and World Heritage Site near Bradford in West Yorkshire, built by Sir Titus Salt in 1851 for his workers in the new textile mills he'd had built alongside the L&L Canal. We moved on from there to a lovely mooring above Field Locks where we stayed just one night and then made our way to Rodley for Wednesday. Sadly it would be in Rodley that we were to say farewell to our very very good friends Rob and Suzie who had decided to stay for the weekend for the Rodley Beer and Music Festival before retracing their journey back along the L&L. 
Lisa's turn on one of the Swing Bridges. It's certainly starting to look a bit Autumnal now.
Early on Thursday morning we left Rodley and Rob and Suzie left their beds and joined us to help with the final leg of our journey into Leeds, what lovely friends. With so many of us and assistance from CRT volunteers at Newley and Forge staircase flights of locks the journey looked like being an easy one, then we entered Kirkstall Lock. With the ruins if Kirkstall Abbey overlooking us we tried to shut the top gates, and failed !!!!! Something was obstructing the gate on the towpath side and we just couldn't get it to close fully, even after scraping away any debris along the cill. A phone call to CRT got assistance from the guys who'd helped us earlier but nothing we did would work so, after nearly two hours, we decided to chance it and empty the lock. Fortunately, Kirkstall Lock only has a drop of about five foot six and, despite a lot of water entering through the top gate, we managed to equalize the water at the bottom gates and open them to get on our way again. From there it was relatively easy as we were also sharing the remaining locks with another boat and crew and we finally got here around two o'clock.
Water entering Kirkstall Lock under the top gate. We'd spent two hours trying to get the gate fully closed without success.
Rob and Suzie said their final farewells to us shortly after we moored and made their way back to Rodley on the bus, what fantastic friends they are to have helped us and for leaving a mug to add to our collection. Our Daughter and Grandchildren waited for our Son in Law to arrive and then we all spent an interesting couple of hours in the Royal Armouries Museum that overlooks our mooring, before having a meal and saying more farewells. That left Lisa and I on our own and some much appreciated peace and quiet, we love having friends and family around us but it is nice to be just on our own for a bit. The next day, Friday, we met up again with Val and Pete off Tadpole 2 and went to explore a bit of Leeds and enjoyed some lovely beer in three interesting pubs. The Angel, with the delicious and inexpensive Samual Smiths Bitter, Whitlocks, with its ornate interior and exterior, and the very friendly Palace. I think I will enjoy the Angel again before we leave though.
The Robin Hood clock in Thornton's Arcade here in Leeds. Being a lad from Nottingham myself, which is the home of the Robin Hood legend, I don't quite understand the connection with Leeds. You can make out the figures of Robin and Friar Tuck, with a mini skirt, which I wouldn't have thought was suitable attire for a man of the cloth. The other two figures are, not, Will Scarlet or King John and Little John, as we first thought, but King Richard the Lionheart and Gurth the Swineheard. The latter we've never heard of but is apparently from Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" and that is the connection.
The view over the River Aire and Leeds Lock from the window of The Royal Armouries Museum.
Well that's the lot again for this week folks. Since our last blog we have gone through 29 Locks, under 27 Swing Bridges and cruised 30 Miles. That gives us a Grand Total of 1,291 Locks and 2,197 Miles since we set off back in October 2012. Please take care everyone.

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