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After 12 months in Leeds, we decided that corporate life doesn't suit us so much so have both quit our jobs to go cruising. Quite a big decision but after 3 days of boating we are already realising that we have made the right choice.
We left Leeds early on Mon 12th August to head up through Kirkstall to Rodley. This stretch of the canal is definitely worth doing early in the morning before other canal users get out of bed. If you know what I mean. We like to think we are both experienced boaters after 4 years of it. Dave better at driving, Victoria better at locks. All was going well until we attempted a triple staircase without the lock keeper. We had swapped round, Victoria watching the boat and Dave doing the lock. The lock had been left with the paddles open at the top gates by the previous boats (!!) and Victoria got a rope stuck, causing Pas Mèche to rise but the rope to hold her down in the water...... nothing a fast moving Dave with the largest sharpest kitchen knife could not solve. Although he did ask Victoria why she had had to get the nicest rope stuck. Due to the lock not being set properly and having cut the centre rope PM flew over to the other side of the lock and became wedged against the overflow of the lock. Oh dear and of course we had an audience. We managed to sort this out with some force of both muscle power and engine power and the use of a rope (one still in existence). Once resolved the CRT van arrived and the lock keeper asking is everything was OK, I explained he was about 10 minutes too late. Lesson learnt, stick to your strengths, especially in difficult staircase locks and have plenty of ropes to hand! At this point Victoria did momentarily question whether her office (important to note - with no windows) would have been the better option with a potentially serious sinking narrowly averted. Notice the word momentarily.
We ended our first day with a lovely scenic mooring just west of Rodley having entered swing bridge land, bit of a change to Clarence Dock. That evening we vowed to have a serious calm it down in locks to check we were doing them OK.
Tuesday 13th August we set off from Rodley. Through Apperley Bridge (slowing down all the commuters with the road swing bridge ha ha) and then up the staircase. We seriously took our time at this lock and all was well. If it hadn't been I think we might have been turning back. We passed through Shipley stopping at the marked shopping mooring right by Aldi to stock up. We then carried on through Saltaire up Dowley Gap Staircase locks mooring just above them. This is a lovely mooring and it was surprising how many locals were using the canal for running and cycling. One cyclist commenting on how nice our dinner smelt.
Wed 14th August we set off up towards the Bingley Three Rise locks. The weather was beautiful. The lock keeper was not there but we found him. We waited for about half an hour to see if another boat turned up - they didn't so we headed up the flight alone with the help of the lock keeper. We then headed straight up the five rise locks. Not much work for Victoria today as there was a lock keeper plus two volunteers.
The countryside opened up and we shared driving/swing bridging Dave doing the non - motorised bridges of course! Mooring at Silsden tonight.