Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Boating time again

Sunday 6th April

After having managed to entertain ourselves over the winter months it was finally time to go boating again! We left our mooring in Clarence Dock, sad to be leaving as the mooring had worked out really well, but excited about what lies ahead on the canals and for future moorings. 

Victoria's family joined us for the first short cruise out of Clarence Dock up the river to Granary Wharf to join the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

We then spent the night at Granary Wharf ready for the leg out of Leeds the following day. We decided to moor on the lock landing as we knew it was unlikely other boats would arrive to go up the lock as it was so late and it is strongly advised to travel out of Leeds in the morning and not to stop in a certain area overnight. We were hassled by security men from the managing agent of the Granary Wharf complex. For the boating readers we have researched in the past and they do not have the right to charge you, nor is it any of their business where you moor on CRT property, especially not on the lock landing! 

We had a lovely farewell meal at The Pour House, everyone enjoying their meal which is unusual for my family! 

Monday 7th April 

We were awake at 6.30am to allow plenty of time for the passage out of Leeds. We enjoyed seeing commuters hurrying into work along the canal miserable on a Monday morning. Takes us back to how we used to be! 

It rained on and off but overall weather was not too bad. We arrived at the first triple staircase lock and didn't risk it like last year but instead Victoria walked onto the second triple staircase and found the lock keeper. He kindly gave me a lift back to the first staircase and we set about the ascent. 

We soon entered swing bridge land. For those of you who don't know the Leeds and  Liverpool get ready for swing bridges, and stiff ones at that. They were all really difficult. We think this might be because it is so early season. 

We moored just past Rodley for the night. 

Tuesday 8th April. 

We set off towards Apperley Bridge first going through the busy road swing bridge and then onto the Dobson Two locks staircase. We were accompanied through the swing bridge by boat Blue Moon. Unfortunately they were wide beam so we couldn't share locks. Their help through the locks was none the less appreciated. 

Some of the swing bridges today proved impossible, David having to do them and not Victoria. This was fine until we reached the bottom of Field Locks (which is no longer manned so you have to tackle the triple staircase yourself). Victoria was getting her driving skills back when strong gusts of wind made PM float across the canal and into the tree like a piece of tissue paper. David thought about some heroics of jumping over a fast flowing bywash to rescue her but reconsidered it and instead we just yelled at each other from boat to bank. David shouting instructions and Victoria mostly ignoring them and panicking, especially when she had to move tree branches off the back deck to get to the tiller. After much pole action, going back and forth and trying to get the bow thruster to turn on. Victoria made it back to the lock landing. Whilst she got over the traumatic experience, David spent 10 minutes picking bits of tree out of both front and back fenders, sweeping up off both decks and most of the roof. No one need ever know. For once there was no audience. 

Victoria then set about negotiating the triple staircase, which went a lot better than last year and with a lot of thought and time taken we got to the top safely. Victoria did not wish to drive any more on such a windy day after her trauma so she was back on swing bridge duty. One was particularly stiff so David gave her a hand by pushing from the other side of the bridge to get it going. This worked fine until it came to putting the bridge back. It would not budge. No problem shouted Dave, I'll grab the chain. However, chain not attached to bridge. Nice one CRT. So David returned with one of PM's ropes. Not long enough. David returned with a longer spare role. Long enough. After some pushing and pulling we managed to close the bridge. Think carefully before going along the L&L single handed!! 

We passed through Saltaire having stopped in Shipley for supplies:

We went up Hirst Lock where we were caught up by widebeam boat Blue Moon. They intend to get to Chorley by Friday - good luck to them on their new venture! 

We moored by Hirst Wood before the aqueduct, parallel to the river. Peaceful mooring but a bit shallow to moor properly and it was really windy all night so the boat banged against the concrete bank. 

Wednesday 9th April. 

Lazy morning and we set off at lunchtime, straight up Dowley Gap locks. 

David had spent the morning washing the boat which was spoilt by the leaky locks. Boaters beware. The ground paddle of the uphill locks leaks like nothing I've seen before into the lock chamber below. Make sure all windows and doors closed. Water poured onto PM's roof (into the flowers spilling soil out all over the roof) and into the front deck. We dropped the paddle quickly and filled the lock slowly with gate paddles. 

We then continued through Bingley and up and three and five rise locks. Again some leaks to watch out for here too:

We were helped up by the lock keepers and volunteers making light work for Victoria who is pleased Michael the lock keeper has been reading our blog :-) 

Lovely mooring above the Five Rise tonight, then onwards towards Silsden tomorrow.