Sunday, 10 August 2014

Lots more rain, so a quiet passage into Leeds.

(Boat Chalice- posted by Cath)
Retrospective post for Sunday 10th August

Saltaire  (If you are expecting any sunny pictures, you can forget it!)
A rainy day was predicted, and we needed to get to at least Rodley, for a run down into Leeds in the morning. So, just as we left our mooring, and headed for the staircase of two, I could see some people about to turn it.

"Are you coming up?"
"Yes, two of us"
"Could you wait and we will go down at the same time?"

"We are already in the bottom lock"

"No matter," said I, "that's my boat there"

The gate paddles are set high, compared to most in the South.
Puzzled faces, while I explained that we could go down while they came up.

One of the women went down to explain to her husband - who shot up to to top lock, waving his arms. "NO, NO, you CANNOT swap three boats in this type of lock"

"Yes, you can, we've done it loads of times"

"No, it's impossible" said the man.

Alan had arrived at this time, and was still sleepy, and couldn't think it through. We acceded, and they went through without us going down. David turned up outside the boat about a minute after they had started winding the paddles and reiterated - it is ALWAYS possible to swap three boats in a staircase of two, even if they are full length. Ah well, we only lost time.

Attractive cottages beside Dobson staircase locks
Eventually through the lock, we carried on through Saltaire.

As the morning progressed it began to rain, a lot. There were several more three rise staircases, most with lock keepers, but the one in the middle is DIY.

Leaving Dobson 2 locks in heavy rain.
We got to Rodley, and decided that we were in good time to be able to lock down into Leeds, last passage at Newlay Three Locks is at 3:00 pm, so we carried on. The rain stopped, and there were brief glimpses of sun. Then, at Forge Three Locks, (the second three rise staircase in quick succession), the lock keeper expressed surprise. Most people head into Leeds in the morning, to avoid the local youth who gather at the locks and cause trouble. "We had trouble at all the locks down from here yesterday," he said. A pity that we hadn't been told that before we couldn't turn back, or stop.

One of several 3 lock staircases - Newlay, probably?
We carried on, and fortunately, the sky greyed over, and moderately heavy rain began - enough to deter the youth of Leeds from visiting the local locks.

Approaching Leeds
In Leeds itself there were no moorings outside Granary Wharf arm, which was largely full. We managed to tuck in behind another boat, and then paid £6 to the security guard. Canal and River Trust do charge for mooring in the arm, but there are no signs to explain this anywhere, and when asked to provide a receipt the guard produced an extremely scrappy piece of paper.

The rising wind was dragged straight down the side of the Hilton Hotel, and whipped the water in the arm into little peaks, which bashed against the side of the boat all night. David tied down our boat poles with the centre line, for fear of losing them over the side.

Footnotes added by Alan to Cath's post.

David & Alan on lock duties.
On the canals we normally traverse, true staircase locks, (where a gate is shared between locks, forming the top gate of one chamber, and the bottom gate of the next), are somewhat of a rarity.  The Grand Union, for example, boast just one two lock staircase on the main line, plus one on a branch, and the whole of the Birmingham Canal Navigations has also just one small two lock pair.  Not so on the Leeds and Liverpool though, where as well as Bingley's famous "Five Rise", and its less famous "Three Rise", there are several other staircases or two or three locks.

Today alone we worked through three further staircases with three locks, and three more of two locks each.  Anywhere else, I would suggest this would be remarkable, but by this stage of the Leeds and Liverpool one gets almost blase about what is coming next!

Perhaps the most surprising is that whilst most of the staircases of more than two locks have keepers in attendance, one of today's does not.  The scope for novices, (or even the experience!), to get in a right muddle is considerable, although at least if you are working through the Field Three Locks you should by then have already done a similar flight under some supervision.

Dowley Gap to Leeds
Miles: 14.6 (Chalice), 0 (Sickle), Locks: 20

Total Miles: 527.6, Locks: 286

No comments:

Post a Comment

We have (finally!) been alerted to the fact that many people have been unable to post comments on this blog. (It seemed a bit odd, as people used to, but it has stopped occurring). We have changed some settings, so hopefully now possible again. Comments will be moderated, and you will need to enter word verification.