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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Naburn back to Selby on the Tidal River Ouse

Well we survived.

Talk about every man for himself though ...  oddly, we were given no instructions on leaving the lock at Naburn (6.30am yesterday morning)... 3 narrowboats and one GRP.  I'd done my research before hand speaking to "proper" boaters and salty sea dogs with years of experience in the area.

I'd even read back through Tom's & Jan's blog about when they did it - an experience which in the end pretty much echoed ours.

The plan was, we'd leave Naburn and punch the incoming tide for an hour ish... then tottle downstream in slack water and then arrive in Selby with a "bit of a push" from the now ebbing tide - BIT OF A PUSH?  -  we were varying between 8 and 9 mph in tick over to maintain steering towards the end of the trip.

HOWEVER, before I can explain what the procedure was there, we had to contend with a convoy of 4 boats making their way down stream VERY Slowly, trying to fight against the still incoming tide, WHILST avoiding a whole forest of trees that were determined to make life difficult.  Things went a bit wrong for the boat at the front (poor Eddie & Wendy) as they initially didn't manage enough speed to create the bow-wave required to push the detritus ahead as they went ... which resulted in multiple trees, bed frames and branches gathering on their bow - the outcome of that being them doing 1900rpm and only managing 1-2mph ... whilst we were stacking up behind, slipping in and out of tick over so as not to crash into them. We had our handheld radios set to the same channel so we could communicate with them.

TRYING to dodge the "big stuff" really was a challenge.

You can see on this video from the bow camera (sorry it's unedited) from about 8 minutes in, the struggle they'd been having with the aforementioned tree.... i.e. by then they could barely move forwards and the tide clock was ticking on.

Andy and I discussed the best thing to do to help and we planned to go alongside to try and push the tree off their bow using ours...  It worked pretty well and once they were free from it, we pushed on ahead and created the "gap to maneuver" I figured we'd need to make the 180 degree turn in Selby and get into the lock.  

All had been going well from here onward until we phoned the Selby Lock keeper (as instructed to do on our way up there) to tell him we were just passing Rank Hovis.... the theory being that he'd have the lock ready for us.

Trouble was, the GRP that had been hanging back (presumably to avoid the floating forrest) had recently come racing past and therefore was now in the lock on his own.  The lockie suggested slowing down as he'd need 10 mins to turn the lock.  No biggy, so we radioed back to get Eddie and Wendy to do the same...  I must have gone TOO slow because when we came to do our turn to point back up stream, within moments they came around the corner... along with the other boater.

My turn wasn't pretty but at no point were we out of control - I take a little solace  from that fact lol

Anyway - in the interests of transparency, here are the videos from the bow cam of the 180 degree turn, followed by the mad dash into Selby lock trying to avoid Eddie and the other boat coming downstream with the tide....

Sorry, but the 1st one doesn't show us coming around (if that's the correct parlance) until about 9 mins in - the 2nd one takes over the calamity  precision maneuver and resultant "kisses" with the stone work - no damage was done to either boat or lock btw... the "falling noise" is the TV remote jumping off the top of the wall-mounted unit in the bedroom.

The lesson we've learned here is to get everyone in the lock at Naburn to agree a 2-3 minute  delay on exiting so we don't all get in each others way in Selby- only the last boat had the space to himself by going PAST the lock and then coming back upstream... something which in the same position again with no space to maneuver, I might do.

We live and learn.

Until next time...

Sunday, 8 July 2018

York to Ripon ... and back.

'Life' has a habit of messing plans up...  take the friends we're travelling around with at the moment... the ones in the 60 ft boat who were really looking forward to exploring up to Ripon.  Just as we arrived in York, they received a phone call which meant they had to get on a train and do family stuff.  I won't go into details as it's not my place but suffice to say, they gave us their boat keys and off they went.

Later, I got a text to say they didn't know how long they'd be away so we should go on to Ripon on our own to meet up with friends as planned.

Given how hot and sunny it's been (and looks likely to continue to be) we thought it prudent to take THEIR plants off their roof with us to keep them watered.

So off we set up river.

The early part of the journey was nice enough and we enjoyed the trip ... for a couple of hours up to Linten Lock... AFTER which it all got a bit samey...  endless chugging on the river with not a lot to see.  Saying that, there were lots of Kingfishers flying around but none giving us enough time to get a good photo.

The locks up here all seem to taper - I don't know whether that's subsidence or the way they were built... I suspect it's the former - they'r not in a good state either way.

By Boroughbridge lock, we really were bored...we don't usually get bored chugging (on canals) but on the river, going up stream (with the additional engine noise required to make progress against the flow) it just gets monotonous.  Still, it was a means to an end and eventually (after about 7 hours chugging) we came to the end of the navigable Ure and made the turn on to the Ripon canal...

Our spirits lifted by finally  being off the river we dropped the revs right down and enjoyed the canal. 

The Ripon Canal Society clearly take great pride in their canal... the locks and painted, grass cut and not  a scrap of litter in sight.  The water is crystal clear too... it's just a shame how badly the gates leak.  

We went along to the basin before turning and tying up on the 48 hour moorings with another boat.  It's next to quite a noisy road but we soon made ourselves at home and my friend Helen appeared with her father for a quick visit.

We had a wander in to town to stock up on bits and bobs - there's not a lot of point in us doing touristy things here as it was my home stomping ground when I first 

began driving - ergo, I know the town quite well already.

We ALSO had a visit from a couple we met on holiday in Cape Verde (maybe 6 years ago?) and it was lovely to catch up with them... they had a look at the boat and made kind noises about how fabulous it is and how clever I am to have done most of it lol... WHO could argue with them?

When they'd left, we moved the boat down to the service block to top up the water tank in preparation for an early departure the following morning for our (boring) journey back to York.

The facilitates in Ripon are however beautifully maintained and kept spotless... so much so, we both actually used the shower for a change (not that we don't shower - I mean used the shower block rather than boat shower)...

Next morning we began the return leg at about 7am... heading downstream, nothing spectacular to report.... we managed to knock an hour off and arrived back in York about half 2 (and had to breast along side our friends boat as the moorings were chockablock.

We DID toy with the idea of going to a pub to watch the football but it was just SO hot by then so we opened a bottle and dozed in the sun - the cheers from the pubs near the bridge, kept us informed of the score.... that and then about 200 or so random folk walking by later on singing "Football's coming home" lol.

A lovely atmosphere in the city though and later on John turned up again - THIS time with Rachel and we all sat chatting and drinking .

Before long, Eddie and Wendy returned from the Station and had a glass with us too.  A lovely end to a lovely day.  The plan is to spend tonight in York and then head to Naburn tomorrow in preparation for Tuesday mornings 6.30 am trip back to Selby on the tidal Ouse... we are NOT looking forward to making that turn - currently the plan is to turn upstream a few hundred yards before the lock and then hold the boat and then gradually drift backwards..... that might all change depending on how much pull the tide has.  

Until next time....

Friday, 6 July 2018

Selby to York and a change of underpants...

You'll excuse the delay in the posting - It's been a hectic couple of days...

We moved into position in the basin about half nine on Wednesday morning once a couple of boats had chugged passed us.  We took the opportunity to top up the water tank and get rid of rubbish etc.  Having taken a look at the water flowing upstream, it didn't look too scary at all.  That all changed by the time the lockie shouted us to prepare for take off!

Anyways, we donned our life-jackets, made sure we had numbers for Selby and Naburn locks in our phones and had our walkie-talkies between us and the other boat.... HOW difficult could it be?

The lockie instructed us to creep out slowly aiming towards a tree in the distance and when we felt the front end being pulled, begin our turn and apply a bit of power...  I have no photos of the maneuver but it felt like the boat was going to tip over.  Once in the flow, we were amazed at how fast we were going up stream - barely on tick-over.  Cornering was interesting - it felt a bit like doing handbrake turns and it took a while to get my head around doing the opposite to what I'm used to on rivers - ie, rather than taking corners wide - trying to hug them tight whilst the tide pushes you back to deeper water...  we got the hang of it and the tide gradually began to peter out the further up stream we went - by the time we'd arrived at Naburn (the usual tidal limit) it was back to clear water and a normal river cruise.  

Our friends seemed to enjoy it more than we did but I suppose for a first attempt on tidal waters it could have gone worse.

Once through Naburn lock we stopped for a quick lunchtime snack and then continued our journey up to York.

Compared to the previous 2 and a half hours, it was lovely up there...  nice buildings, lots of boats to look at and a relaxing cruise.  That was until our friends got a call saying they needed to return home as quickly as possible.

As we came into York, we spotted our friends boat that had (until March) been moored down at Stanley Ferry near us.  I gave Rachel a quick call to say we were passing and she nipped into the wheel house to give us a wave.

Later on, her other half  John, rowed up the river on his (hand crafted) wooden dingy and we sat in the evening sun catching up with a glass (or 8) of wine.

It was nice to see him and a shame she'd already made plans... hopefully, we'll catch up on Sunday when we head back from Ripon... MEANWHILE, our next leg of the journey is an 8 and half hours chugging up the Ouse (which becomes the Ure) and on to the Ripon Canal.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

And we're off....Wakey to Ferrybridge to Selby...

Before we could leave, it was a morning of chores: a pumpout, trip to the chemist to collect the next 3 months prescriptions and a haircut were all among the excitement (not).

We left Wakey on Monday  about 1pm and headed to Castleford to break our journey... In Castleford, at the visitor moorings, I spotted a fellow tweeter's boat: "On a Whim"... they'd been up in Wakefield the other day and experienced the same annoying generator noise we had whilst on the visitor moorings... sorry to say, they'd moored opposite the inconsiderate soul who was running his generator until 11.30 the other night when we were in Castleford  ... I hope THEY had a quieter night than we'd had!

Upon arrival, consensus was that we'd go on to Ferrybridge and stop for the night as it was still early.

The river once through Bullholme lock is wider than we're used to but it was a pleasant journey down to Ferrybridge (I can't recall whether that should be one word or two) - Still, Tilly the duck was enjoying her water-skiing lesson ;-)

Having arrived there around 4pm, we moored for the night and had planned sitting on the towpath watching the world go by.  The resident insect life had other ideas.  Talk about being eaten alive.  My left leg is bitten to buggery AND to ad insult to injury, one of those blister causing horseflies even had a go... grrr.

Our plan for yesterday was to get to Selby and wait for our (just booked slot) on Wednesday morning.

The journey began easily enough along Ferrybridge cut and all was fine until we arrived at Bank Dole lock.  Another boat was already waiting to go in and as we spotted one following behind us, we pulled in so they could pair up.  Feeling benevolent, Andy and I worked them through what must be the heaveiest gates we've encountered thus far.

When they'd gone, we filled the lock (slowly) and took our places.

Eddie and Wendy went out first and our plan was to come out slowly and edge on to the stupidly placed pontoon.  All would have been well if at the critical lock exiting moment, I hadn't gotten a duvet wrapped around the prop - stalling the engine.

Quick thinking managed to wedge the boat behind the other closed gate whilst I removed all this from the prop.

It was fair tangled up but after about 20 minutes of faffing, we were good to go.... the same can't be said about the next maneuver to get back to the landing stage - least said about that the better lol.

Our journey down stream was enjoyable though...  we even encountered "Lady Teal" - a proper Hotel boar, who greeted us with a friendly wave and asked where we were going.

The cattle were enjoying their impromptu beach day though!

As we turned on to the Selby canal, the scenery changed and weed was abundant... it's a lovely chug but you can't stop anywhere (there are a couple of mooring points but they had boats on them).  
Tilly was a bit confused - AS were some more cattle who clearly mistook the weed for grass!

On arrival, rather than risk the basin (which turned out to be a good idea given it was full) we tied up just before the swing bridge and then had a wander.

Until next time - WHEN we'll have been on the Tidal Ouse !!!