Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No Food At 'The Romping Donkey' On Monday!

We left Wheelock going up the ten locks to Hassall Green. A good day as all the locks were for us and in some cases the gates were left open by the boat leaving the lock. BW has been busy on these paired locks since we last came this way and it shows with well maintained gear and gates. We took just over three and a half hours with to work the locks. Ben and I walked most of the way, just getting on for a ride under the M6- it was lovely and cool under it too.
At Hassall Green we spied the 'Romping Donkey' which has good food! Alan went to have a quick look and found the bitter off and the kitchen closed this evening as the coolers had failed. We'll have to sample the food another day-what a disappointment!
The rumble of the M6 can be heard but nevertheless a pleasant place to overnight. I visited the shop for pop and ice creams and it's so hot! I bought my dad a postcard to add to his collection and posted it off to him.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend At Wheelock

Leaving Middlewich on Saturday and heading for peace and quiet, we worked through four locks and stopped briefly at Northwich Boats to get some replacement boats for the back hatch. One of the cranked bolts had snapped- it was weakened when we tried to open the hatch with the bolt still in place. We chatted to a couple looking at the boats before deciding which boat builder they were going to use and answered their questions.


Then we headed off to Wheelock to use the services before finding a spot to moor for the rest of the weekend. We ended up moored near a busy road but it's quieter than Middlewich as it's on a flyover. We couldn't face doing any more locks as it was so hot and it was near to the shop to get a Sunday paper.


The locks from Wheelock are duplicated being two narrow locks side by side, but often one of them is unusable but when I walked up to Malkin's Bank there were actually two chambers in use. Ben and I enjoyed several short walks up the locks and he met quite a few dogs to sniff. Being the weekend the cyclists are out in force so I had to keep him on a long lead. Wheelock has a useful Pet Superstore where we bought a big bag of complete dog food. They had lots of lovely dog beds too but it's a no go with Ben as he thinks they are to destroy-he's not happy until all the filling is out.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Middlewich (for great fish & chips)

King's Lock, Middlewich

Ben and I left Broken Cross and walked for about four miles before sitting in the shade cooling off and waiting for Eric and the boat to pick us up. A hot walk but enjoyable- no bikes and nobody else about. I passed NB Madassoles (not sure of spelling!) but there was no sigh of life. Ben managed to find some black mud all up his legs but luckily there was a small flash (lake due to subsidence) next to the towpath a bit further on. I said ' go and have a wash' and he stepped in gingerly testing the depth but came out much cleaner.

I cooled down with a cold drink on the boat and soon we were at Big Lock, a double lock just before our planned stopping point to do a Tesco shop. Eric came shopping too as we needed quite a bit. After lunch we worked through the four locks including King's Lock, quite busy today with boats following and a few boats coming down. Eric wanted a brass bolt so he popped in the chandlery with Alan- no luck with the bolt but they enjoyed a pint in the pub on the way back.

We decided to stay put- it's noisy at the moment next to the road and you can smell the fumes from all the traffic. I hope it gets quieter later otherwise it'll be ear plugs and closed windows. We had to sample the fish and chips from the King's Lock shop and they were delicious, the best we've ever had. It's a good reason to visit Middlewich!

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's Thursday Again

Doesn't time fly by when you're having fun? Ben and I enjoyed a leisurely walk to Saltersford Tunnel where we waited for the boats to arrive. The sun is shining,the sky is blue- I am so glad I'm retired! On part of the walk we were accompanied by a playful dog called Alfie who decided to join our walk after playing with another dog on the towpath. I waited a while chatting to a couple on a narrowboat and the elderly owner arrived calling him name. He said he usually doesn't wander but today he obviously fancied an escape from his garden to play with Ben the dog.

We waited for our allotted time slot and took the boat through Saltersford and Barnton Tunnels following another couple going very slowly. Both the tunnels are far from straight but we escaped unscathed. At Anderton we found a spot to stop for lunch and a quick visit to see the Anderton Lift. Perhaps one day we'll get to take NB Bendigedig down onto the River Weaver- I hear it's not a busy place. It's certainly busy on this stretch of the Trent and Mersey with Black Prince Hire Boats who seemed to think it's ok to honk their horn, fail to slow down and then we'll magically get out of the way- and if we always do!

It's hotter than ever today but it's cooler cruising along. We passed Wincham Wharf where our boat was craned into the water for the first time to be fitted out at Sandbach. I know I've mentioned this before so sorry for repeating myself. We moored up near Broken Cross- not exactly picturesque and certainly not quiet with frequent jets flying overhead, but a good spot for finding the dot in the sky to watch TV tonight.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Return To The Trent And Mersey Canal

Leaving Moore behind, Ben and I left the boats to catch us up later on the Runcorn Arm about two miles further on where we got back on board for a short trip to use the Services at Preston Brook Marina. It was a lovely walk as Ben could run off his lead and we only met one biker ( I saw him coming so he didn't get chased!). After filling up with water we turned around and heading towards Midland Chandlers for a few bits and pieces. We headed for Preston Brook Tunnel and arrived on the half hour so were just in time for the ten minute window for south bound traffic. It's one way traffic so you have to make sure your watch is right or you'll get a nasty surprise in the tunnel.


Now we're back on familiar territory back on the Trent and Mersey. We moored near Acton Bridge and we can see the River Weaver to the south of us. It's cooling down a bit this evening but it's been in the 80's (degrees F) today inside the boat with the windows and doors open. It's quiet and peaceful- all we can hear are birds singing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Moored At Moore (Sorry!)


Leaving Lymm behind Ben and I left the boats to walk on ahead- they caught us up after about an hour and I was quite glad to get back on as it's so hot and humid today. A lovely stretch of the Bridgewater Canal with long stretches of countryside and no industry in sight. We stopped at the shop at Moore and moved just around the corner to the visitor moorings where there was space to stop. Also a great spot for satellite TV- it's Holby City tonight! Only a short run today with only three hours travelling but it's so hot at one o'clock we're taking cover inside. Even Ben is flaked out by the bed!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lovely Lymm in Cheshire

Can you see NB Bendigedig?




A View From NB Bendigedig



NB Shush Moored At Lymm




NB Bendigedig Moored At Lymm


We moored in a quiet spot near Oldfield Brow and watched the world go by this weekend. There were loads of boats, cyclists, walkers and dog walkers passing us by. We went for a quite a few walks as the TransPennine Cycle Way runs nearby along the course of an old railway and there some permissive footpaths with maps telling you where you can go. We also walked back to a big recreation field on the other side of the canal and played ball with Ben the dog.


Monday morning came and we set off to moor at Lymm. On the way we were stopping for water and I walked on ahead with Ben the dog for about two miles to the waterpoint. The tap was very very slow so it took an hour and a half to fill the tanks on both the boats. I got back on board and we were off to empty the cassettes just before Lymm. We arrived at Lymm about two o'clock to find enough space for us to moor but it soon filled up on either side of the canal. On the side we moored there was a 48 hour limit (and no return in three days) but that suited us fine as we're planning to move to-morrow.


Lymm is a charming place to stop- it satisfied Ben with a lovely walk up to Lymm Dam and around the man made lake surrounded by woods and a heritage trail. We enjoyed reading the blurb and Ben enjoyed any mud he could find- which he washed off when he paddled in the lake. We got a few bits and pieces at the Spar and at teatime we sampled the Chinese Take Away which we could see from the boat- very nice too! The barber's (Sweeney Todd) did a busy trade with Eric and Alan going for a much needed haircut.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Back On The Bridgewater

We stayed overnight in Dover (Lancashire or Greater Manchester?) and it was lovely and quiet once the trains had stopped. The widebeam boat moored in front was running a generator but he turned it off about ten pm. In the morning Ben and I walked two miles as far as Platt Lane Lift Bridge expecting to open it myself when the boats arrived, but a BW guy does it all and it's been manned for the last twenty five years. He filled in his form with the names of the two boats. On the outskirts of Leigh we stopped to do a shop at Sainsbury's which is about ten minutes walk away on a retail park with Next, Pets At Home, Halfords and many more. There's even a sign on the canal side telling you it's five minutes by bike!

Leaving Leigh we're now back on the Bridgewater Canal and heading to Bridgewater Marina to get some much needed fuel. We pulled in to the boatyard before this marina- they watched us reverse in and the pump has a tiny notice 'no pleasure boaters' so were a bit annoyed as they could have told us it was for commercial boats only. It's strange because we haven't seen any commercial boats. Not to worry the guy at Bridgewater Marina came out to greet us and ask what we wanted. We filled up with 120 litres of diesel, signed the form for 30/70 split and got some gas too. I told the lady in the office it was 36 litres propulsion and 84 litres domestic and she was delighted I'd already worked it out. Last time we called in she was struggling to work it out! While we there we filled up with water, emptied a cassette and got rid of the rubbish.

We continued on our way to Waters Meeting and turned right to head towards Lymm. It was a change of plan as we were going to go back through Manchester and go on the Ashton to the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. We've heard so many tales of the Ashton Canal about boaters unable to get through because of vandalism and lack of water and now I read Libertybelle were water bombed from 6 floors up and picked up mattress springs which stopped them dead and needed RCR to come to their rescue. So now we're chickening out and going down the Trent and Mersey and going up the Macclesfield Canal to the Peak Forest Canal as a there and back trip.

The Wigan 21

We had a quiet night at Adlington next to the park for the first night we stayed. In the morning we had a change of plan as it was chucking it down and decided to stay put. I must be the only person mad enough to get their wet gear on stand under a big tree and play ball with a very wet dog. It did stop raining for a bit later in the day so Ben and I had a stroll around the perimeter of the park until it hammered down again and Ben made a quick exit to the boat. Our second night at Adlington wasn't so quiet as about 1.30 am Ben started creating- we could hear voices and it turned out to be two blokes with a dog calling their lost other dog. The shouting didn't stop until an hour later when there were two blokes and two dogs.


The alarm went off at 7.30am (it felt like the middle of the night) as we needed an early start as we're about an hour from the top of the Wigan 21 Locks. The thought of 21 locks in one day is daunting- we hope someone is coming up as it makes it so much easier.We used the services at the top lock and the lock keeper set the first few locks for us. Counting locks as we worked down was made easier by Lock Numbers in Roman numerals etched on the stone wall below the bottom gates.



I walked a lock ahead with Ben to open the four paddles and fill the next lock while Eiddwen opened the gates and closed the paddles on the previous lock. By two o'clock I was peckish so we had a quick sandwich and I was tired so I took over steering the boat while Eric worked the locks. Nearing the bottom the lock keeper set the last three locks for us with the gates open ready it was nice and easy for me to put the boat in the lock as I didn't have to hover in the pound and wait for the gates to be opened.

Now we're down them we're on the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and two more locks - that's 23 today-a record for us! No more locks for miles and miles- yippee! If you want to follow our trip down the Wigan 21 click on the link to the Pennine Waterways and click next section for the next photographs in the sequence.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Adlington By The Park

Our morning walk took Ben and I to Bridge 83 just before Johnson's Hillock Locks- a flight of seven locks separated by short pounds. We walked about four miles and it was hot walking so Ben had a few drinks from the canal- he actually prefers canal water to fresh water. We sheltered from the sun under the bridge and didn't have to wait long for the boats to come. At the top of the locks we topped up with water after doing a load of washing while waiting for the top lock to fill ready for us to go down. Further down the flight we met a boat which made it a bit easier.



The canal meanders through the outskirts of Chorley and there are lots of boats on the move today. A fisherman told us 22 had passed him today. We were looking for somewhere to moor and ended up in Adlington (after Bridge 69) next to the park. It's nice here and Ben can have some exercise playing ball rather than walking the towpaths. If Liz and Nik are reading this Connie would love it too!



I went looking for a shop to get bread and milk and found the Co-op nearby. There's quite a few take aways here but I'd already cooked a chilli con carne ready for tea so we gave them a miss. We're next to an area with ramps for bikers and skateboarders so let's hope they go home when it gets dark!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What A Pity There's So Much Rubbish!

Leaving Hapton behind I set off with Ben the dog to walk a few miles to the swing bridge and as the boats set off later I ended up waiting for them- sat under a big pipe in the rain. I opened the swing bridge when I saw the boats coming. Ben and I got back on the boat and enjoyed the views of the Lancashire hills. The view of the canal was less pleasant, we've never seen so much rubbish in the water. There were planks of wood, bottles, cans and discarded toys. The canal meanders through villages and eventually we were approaching Blackburn and the debris in the canal just got worse- now we had easy chairs, bikes, trolleys, prams and other invisible debris which fouled the propeller. The cruise became a case of avoid the floating debris rather than enjoying the scenery. It rained but we were lucky as we didn't have the forecast storms. On the Pennine Waterways site you can see a virtual cruise in a series of photographs of where we travelled and there's no rubbish on their photographs.



We worked through the six Blackburn Locks, pausing after four locks to use the services. All the locks were against us and as there were no boats coming up we had to fill each chamber before we could use it to go down. Leaving Blackburn the canal became rubbish free as we headed out into the country and moored up near Feniscowles where we had a good south easterly window for the dot in the sky and we could get the boat next to the bank and still be floating. We could see the M65 but it was far enough away not to cause us a problem- we wanted peace and quiet.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Passing Through Burnley

I left the boats below Barrowford Bottom Lock and took Ben along the towpath to the playing fields with his ball (he carried it) and the thrower as I wanted to give him some exercise. We played for half an hour and then I saw Eric steering the boat over the aqueduct next to the playing fields so it was time to go to be picked up at the bridge. We planned to stop at Nelson (after Bridge 141B) where you can access Morrisons from a landing stage as long as you have a handcuff key. It was lovely not having to carry shopping- we just wheeled the trolley to the boat.



Leaving Nelson and heading towards Burnley the scenery was littered with mills and talking about litter- the garbage in the canal increased too. There was visible and invisible debris and Alan on NB Shush made an impromptu stop when something got caught on the prop. We enjoyed seeing all the old mills with their huge chimneys as we cruised along the Burnley Embankment in the sunshine. I spotted Slater Terrace (by Bridge 130) where a ground floor workshop is topped by a terrace of two storey worker's cottages accessed by a balcony with a cast iron balustrade according to Pearson's Guide. It's a pity it's derelict just waiting to be saved, as are many of the old mills.



Leaving Burnley we passed through the towpathless Gannow Tunnel and headed for the services at Rose Grove Wharf. Just room enough to get to the water tap as two BW workboats were where the visitor moorings were supposed to be. So we moved on to stop near Hapton where there was room for us.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Barrowford Locks- Going Down!

Moored Below Lock 51 Barrowford Locks



Pulled the pins and left our overnight mooring and headed towards Foulridge Tunnel . Ben and I walked as far as the services block before the tunnel. We topped up with water and then moved to moor on the tunnel moorings to wait for passage through. The tunnel is controlled by traffic lights and we had to wait until on the hour at the eastern portal. A nice straight tunnel which is nearly a mile long with quite a few drips, Ben went out of the way of the drips! Fifteen minutes later we were through and heading for the seven locks in the Barrowford Flight and going down locks is so much quicker. We met a couple coming up who had a fright- their swan neck tiller got caught on the bottom gate as they rose up in the lock and got badly bent. They were new to boating and very lucky as they could have sunk their boat. It reminds you how careful you need to be at locks.



We moored below the locks on the offside next to grass and trees- Ben was delighted. Later Ben and I followed a permissive footpath through a new wood full of young trees, over some stiles and through another new wood until we came to a lovely recreation field next to Colne Water. I didn't take a ball as I didn't know the field was there so Ben wanted to play ball with the other dogs and their owners -but nobody would let him join in.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At The Summit- Where's The Visitor Moorings?

In the morning I set off with Ben to walk to the waterpoint at East Marton ahead of the boats. It was funny seeing the boat moving along on the other side of a loop, it looked like a different canal. At the waterpoint a hireboat was having bacon butties for breakfast and not using the waterpoint but they did move when our boat came to fill up with water.



The canal continued it's meanders to the three Greenberfield Locks taking us up to the Summit Pound which is 475 ft above sea level. We stopped to get rid of the rubbish and empty the cassettes before we were on the move again looking for a place to moor up. Although our book says there are visitor moorings they are now permit holders long term moorings. We stopped near Barnoldswick to go to the shop/post office but it was an empty building and the local garage was boarded up too. A local told us that town was only a mile away but it usually ends up being much further so Eiddwen and I decided to use our part baked loaves and shop another day.



Our search for Visitor Moorings continued and at Saltersforth there was a mooring big enough for two boats but one boat was already there. We couldn't moor two abreast as it was close to a bend and a bridge. We passed a long line of offside permanent moorings and sections where the banks were roof height or there was a growth of small trees all along the edge of the canal and we couldn't get to the bank. We finally stopped near the Mill before bridge 149 and managed to get a satellite signal after moving the boat along a bit. The sign on the bridge says 'Welcome To Lancashire' so we hope there are more visitor moorings than in Yorkshire.



Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Going Up- Nearly At The Summit!

A Visitor At The Lock


We left Skipton in convoy with three other boats leading the way. We took it in turns to open and close the swing bridges and then we worked through the first three of Gargrave Locks and stopped. The visitor moorings were full so we moored above them and put in the pins. It was a shallow edge so we could hear the boat scraping but we were fairly level so it wasn't a problem. Eric managed to get a satellite signal after moving the dish along the boat with a longer lead as I wanted to watch 'Ashes To Ashes' as it was the final episode.



Ben was playing ball and running on the towpath and he cut his pad - the one on the back of his leg. I noticed blood when he came back on the boat so I got out the first aid kit and cleaned it and put on a dressing and bandaged him up to stop the bleeding. He held up his foot but soon forgot all about it. In the night he managed to get it off with his teeth but it had stopped bleeding so it didn't matter. He's a funny dog if you says "how's you foot?" he gives you a big lick!



In the morning boats were queueing up before night even though the locks don't open until 10am. The reduced opening times are due to concerns about the available water lasting through the boating season. We worked through the final three of the Gargrave Locks. At one of them I had to move Ben over to the non towpath side of the lock as a farmer was moving part of his herd of cattle along the towpath to the another field.



The Bank Newton flight of six locks was next where the lock keeper was waiting. It was one way traffic up the locks so we lifted a paddle for the pair of boats behind. We struggled with opening the strange gate paddles called cloughs and some of the gates didn't want to shut, but we got through them quite quickly. At one lock a bullfinch took a rest sitting on the satellite dish , only flying off when the boat came out of the lock.



The scenery from the Marton Pound is stunning with the Pennines showing themselves and it's so peaceful.Before tea I took Ben for a walk along the loops and bends of this canal towards East Morton. In the reeds in the fields below the canal I saw some curlews and heard their distinctive sound. The only noisy things around here are sheep.
There's a virtual cruise of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on Pennine Waterways. if you want to see where we've been and where we're going.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bloggers Meet At Skipton

Skipton-Gallows Bridge Visitor Moorings

NB Poppy Getting Water

We'd had a pleasant weekend here in Skipton. Ben has enjoyed playing ball in the huge space of the nearby Aireville Park and lying in the long grass under a tree cooling off. He's met lots of local dogs and behaved himself even when they barked at him. One couple exercising their Alsatian dog made us smile- every time the dog brought the ball back she carefully wiped it with a towel before giving it to her husband to throw again!


We left Eric watching the Grand Prix and walked along the Springs Branch. The towpath which becomes an elevated path running parallel to the north side of the castle. Either side of the elevated path is water- the canal branch one side and a beck (stream) on the other side. A trip boat passed us advertising the fact it goes alongside and underneath the castle- I just saw the canal disappearing into greenery.


I went to have a look around the shops as I needed a jewellers to get a new watch battery fitted and I found one in a little courtyard. It was the cheapest job ever they charged me £3 in total. I didn't have to walk far as the visitor moorings are opposite the bus station and all the shops are nearby. It's been very busy here with lots of people and boats out and about.



NB Poppy crept in behind us Saturday teatime and Julia and Mark came to say hello when we went over to the other side of the canal to use the sanitary station on Sunday morning. We'd been following their blog and hoped to see them before they turned around and headed back home as Mark still has to go to work. Ben was pleased to see them too.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Visiting Skipton

Within Skipton Castle Grounds


Inside The Watch Tower




Leaving Kildwick behind we only went through about half a dozen swingbridges Eiddwen and I taking it in turns to open and close them. We are seeing more boats on this section of the canal as Silsden Boats and Snaygill Boats have hireboat bases here. We moored at Low Bradley before Swingbridge 182A which is an unusual one as the BW key unlocks it and opens/closes the road barriers but you still have to manually swing the bridge. You hear the hum of the A road nearby but it didn't keep us awake. We ended up lighting a fire as the boat got quite cold in the evening.


In the morning we set off towards Skipton, no locks just swing bridges and some of them were mighty stiff. Near one is a memorial of an accident where a Wellington Bomber suffered structural failure of a wing strut and it cost the lives of all it's polish crew. It's a lovely stretch of canal with beautiful views of open countryside and some high points which must be the Pennines. Ben and I enjoyed the walk as the towpath is grass and hard mud rather than the hard surface favoured by speeding cyclists. We got back on the boat after an hour or so and cruised into Skipton meeting lots of other boats.


We moored up on the Visitor Moorings after Bridge 179 and Eiddwen and I went off to Tesco to get those cupboards, fridge and freezer restocked as it's quite near the canal. Lots of boats are moored up here and you can stay a maximum of 3 days so they want visitors. After lunch Eric and I decided to go and have a look at Skipton Castle with Ben the dog. We didn't expect to be able to go inside with him but as it's unfurnished they let us in once we'd paid the admission charges -£6 for me and £5.40 for my senior citizen. It tells you that 900 year old Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best preserved mediaeval castles in England. It stands fully roofed and in a remarkably good condition. After an interesting time exploring all the castle open to the public we went for a walk and ended up in Skipton Woods and a sign showed us we had to follow a footpath across two fields of cows to get back to High Street.


Walking back to the boat we spotted a hairdresser with a notice saying no appointments and great prices for a trim- £4 for ladies and £3 for men! It was empty so I went inside and had a quick haircut while Eric walked back to the boat with Ben. I bought us fish and chips for tea on the way back and they were very nice too.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Going Through Bingley

At the bottom of Bingley 5 Rise

In the bottom lock


At the top- looking down Bingley 5 Rise


The sign at the top of Bingley 5 Rise



We didn't have a very good sleep last night as there was a strong smell of diesel. The central heating (used to heat water) had been playing up and refusing to go through the full process and Eric had it in bits as no fuel was getting through. In the night it decided to leak from a valve in the fuel pipe line so he had to turn off the fuel.


In the morning we cleaned up the spilt diesel and set off towards Bingley. I walked with Ben the dog and arrived at Bingley 3 Rise Locks to find them all ready for us with the lockie waiting- the bush telegraph had told him we were coming. He worked us through the locks ,Eiddwen and I helped him. There were those unusual scissor gate paddles on some of the locks. Ben and I walked on as round the corner was Bingley 5 Rise Locks- what a sight as the locks raised the boat 60 feet in five locks. It took forty five minutes to get through as the lockie carefully worked the boats up with Eiddwen and I helping once again. At the top we filled up with water and sampled the local icecream- delicious!



Our next stop was Riddlesden where there's a chandler called Puffer Parts who we'd seen advertised in a magazine. Eric wanted some LED's to fit our wall lights and they had the bulbs. We've replaced 20w halogens with LED's using only 2w to try and reduce our power needs. The owner was most helpful . We told him about the leaky valve and he suggested bypassing it and now the heating works. We'd moored up at the Visitor Moorings ( between Bridge 197 and 197A) so we decided to stay put and quite a few other boats have stopped her too. A short walk from here is East Riddlesden Hall and Ben and I had a walk in the grounds. Ben joined in with a man playing ball with his dog in the field and he was kind enough to let him play while we had a chat about our travels and living on a boat.


I noticed a fruit and veg shop near the swing bridge so Eiddwen and I went to get some. The tomatoes were local Yorkshire and you could taste the difference- Eric's not keen on tomatoes and he enjoyed a taste. It's a good place to stock up the cupboards as there's a Co-op as well. It's even got a fish and chip shop and a chinese take away. Now we're relaxing watching satellite TV and Ben is having a sleep.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Visit To Saltaire

We moved on to Saltaire Visitor Moorings and the sign greeted us with 6 hours only and a £5 fine per hour if you overstay- do they want visitors? We were impressed with the size of Salts Mill as we moored up. We had decided to go on one of the walks on the Saltaire leaflet (from BW Office- Apperley Bridge) to Shipley Glen and Hurst Lock to give Ben a good walk so we could leave him on the boat while we had a look at Saltaire itself. The weather was very hot and sunny so we enjoyed walking in the shady woods. We paused for a break on one of the uphill sections and look over a five foot wall. Ben decided he'd like a look too and jumped up on top of the wall and promptly overbalanced and jumped down on the wrong side in a field of cows. He ran up and down the length of wall in thick undergrowth looking for a way out- it was higher on the field side and came when I called him to the gate of the field. The cows didn't see him and he ignored them- just as well.
Back on the boat just over an hour later we had a cold drink and were all ready to go out again leaving Ben on the boat. Eric closed the hatch and locked the padlock and then realised the keys were inside. Alan to the rescue- it was a good padlock and the only way he could get it off was using a disc cutter. Sparks flying and some strange looks from walkers but he cut it through. We put on a spare padlock and went off for a quick visit to Saltaire. The blurb on the leaflet told us Saltaire was named after Titus Salt and the River Aire. Titus had the idea to relocate his entire business from Bradford and to build a model village in a greenfield site. He wanted to make fine woollen fabrics using the most efficient methods available and provide a healthy environment for his workers. There was a regular grid of streets with houses for the workers as well as a hospital, schools, churches, almshouses, allotments and a park but no pub. Apparently it's a World Heritage Site.
We left Saltaire and moved on through a single lock, a swing bridge and finally (for the day) Dowley Gap 2 Rise Locks with it's lock keeper. The gate leaked badly and battered my potato plants growing in a thick plastic bag on the deck. They needed a little TLC but recovered quickly once I'd added some more compost. They won't need watering tonight! Moored for the night outside 'The Fisherman's' above Dowley Gap 2 Rise.

Rodley To Shipley

After we'd moored up at Rodley Eric went down the weed hatch as the boat felt odd when were approaching Rodley- there was a length of rope well and truly wrapped around the prop and it had to be cut off. We had a quiet night once all the walkers, cyclists and dog walkers went home.
We left Rodley about ten as I've said before we don't do early starts if we can help it. Today we had seven swing bridges to go through - some needed a handcuff, some a BW key and the last one at Shipley needed a windlass and a BW key. We managed to get fuel at Calder Valley Marine but a notice said 60/40 only but it worked out at about 87p a litre overall which is less than we paid last year before the new charges came into force. We filled up with water, emptied the cassettes and got rid of the rubbish while we were there. Eric bought some oil to do a service on the engine when he gets a chance.
We came to Dobson 2 Rise locks and got them ready to go up but by the time the boats had gone in the bottom chamber the top one had leaked away half a lockful so we had to fill it back up before we could raise the boats. This staircase is in a particularly bad way- very leaky and only one paddle working on the one lock and it's next to a BW yard and office so why don't they do something.
While walking today I met a few dog walkers and I met a lady with a wet brown labrador. The dogs sniffed each other and hers had a bark at Ben and she said don't worry it's all noise. Eiddwen told me afterwards the lady was 'Nicola' from Emmerdale. Apparently the village of Esholt aka as Emmerdale is near here where they film the soap. As I don't watch it- I had no idea who I was talking to!
Waiting at Field 3 Rise locks was a willing lock keeper and a passing cyclist had told him we were coming so the bottom gates were open waiting for us. Once again very leaky gates and he said make sure your front doors are shut. He was chatty and helpful and we were soon through them and on our way again. Finding somewhere to moor was difficult due to the shallow sides of the canal. We stopped at the visitor moorings near Aldi in Shipley but found we couldn't get off the wharf as the gates were locked and it wasn't a BW key. The next visitor moorings (Ashley Lane Wharf) had room for one boat so we breasted up and even then our back end wouldn't come in as the water was too shallow. Tonight we have satellite TV the first time for nearly a week- it's nice to be able to see a clear picture. Eric missed the FA Cup Final as he couldn't see the ball!