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Monday, 6 August 2018

Leeds to Skipton, Resin injections (to lock walls) and grafters

We left Leeds bright and early - the plan being to get through the (allegedly) trouble hot-spots before the yobbos bored youth of today, got out of bed.

We miscalculated how long the water tank would take to fill and as such ended a little behind our planned schedule.  No matter though as the cruise was nice enough as usual and although the water was a little down, nothing worse than we've come to expect.

The clarity of it though WAS really good - SO clear we could see the bottom and loads of fish as we chugged along.

A thoroughly lovely trip and despite planning to stop at Rodley for the night, there just wasn't space so we continue on as far as Apperley Bridge.... which was by contrast a ghost town.  THAT's the trouble with the grape vine - WHEN CRT announce they are closing a section of canal - (in the case of the Leeds and Liverpool it's from lock 30 Gargrave to Wigan bottom lock) SOME folk assume they have to get off the canal altogether and make a dash for alternate waters...  They are missing out on spending time on a lovely canal as a result.

Of course, it makes no odds to us - having dragged our arse sttruggled with the Rochdale the other week, the L & L a few inches down is no big deal.  We spent a night outside the marina and caught up with Rob there - he and his wife are still working hard and the coffee shop is keeping them VERY busy.    Expecting a quiet night, we had a brief panic attack when 2 scout boats turned up and tried to moor opposite... LUCKILY after a few minutes faffing around they had a change of mind and continued onwards.

Next day, we went up Dobsons Locks and planning on filling with water, sods law meant we'd meet another boat coming the other way that had beaten us to the water point...  the water point with the SLOWEST tap in know England btw.  We had a chat with them (a Hire boat) and they were enjoying their trip despite the difficulty in finding places deep enough to get in and moor up for the night.  The further we went the more hire boats we encountered... obvious of course that with at least 3 hire companies we know about (Pennine, Silsden and Snaygils) nearly all their traffic HAD to come this way.  It's east to see by the way the hirers handle the boats, which companies give the better instructions  AND look after their boats... some of the Silsdens ones look totally battered to say the least.

Dobsons lock is due for some grouting work to reduce the leaks through the chamber walls in the next few weeks. I read about it on the CRT notices page...  Passage through will still be possible (it's a good job cause we need to come back this way) but there will be delays.

The water here is still crystal clear and chugging along looking down at the fish was a pleasure.

Further along, when we got to Field 3 locks, we encountered a delay whilst contractors carried out the same repair as planned for Dobsons - I'd obviouls NOT spotted that on the notices page lol.  There was already 1 boat in the top lock waiting... 1 in the bottom and Us on the lock landing.  It took about half an hour for things to get moving and during this time a group of kids turned up to play around in the lock. 

For kids, they were quite organised... bringing towels and changes of clothes with them.  They just don't see the dangers we adults do.  

Whilst I don't like kids per say, I go onto auto-pilot danger patrol and went for a chat with them .  The water clarity by the time we'd gotten to these locks had deteriorated and unlike the previous locks, it looked really filthy.  I suggested they would be safer at Dobsons locks - given that there really is NO point in telling them NOT to do it... kids will be kids and will do it anyway.  At least at Dobsons locks, there are houses not far away so that if one of them gets hurt, help would be to hand.  They weren't rude but replied they used to play there but the people in the houses kept chasing them away - I dunno what the answer is - if they were MY kids, (and ignored what I'd said) I'd STILL  rather they did stupid things where help is to hand than in the middle of nowhere.

As we ascended the final chamber, we could see the work the contractors we doing.  Basically, they are drilling big holes in to the lock wall, screwing in metal nipple type things and then injecting expanding foam - similar to the boat insulation.  This in turn expands and supposedly fills any gaps.  Apparently, it's Good for 20 years!  - I'm not convinced  as the "structure" of the foam appears honeycomb to me but time will tell I suppose.

Next stop was Saltaire - we'd hoped to tie up for the night just before the "no over night moorings" bit but there were too many boats already there (pointing the opposite way) - just as we decided to carry on a bit farther, I was hailed by a chap on the tow path... turned out, he recognized me from an internet chat room... what were the odds of that?  After a brief catch up, we continued and ended the day just before the aqueduct in the woods.  The towpath there is very busy so Andy was in his element people watching.  As the evening progressed, a CRT chap (cycling home from work) stopped and asked if we planned to go up Bingley the next day - turned out it was John who'd helped us up and down the flights a few times this year.  HE suggested there we pair up with the boat behind as there were 2 boats ahead of us.  What he didn't know was that a couple of the boats coming DOWN in the morning, planned to turn around and head straight back up!

The plan was to get to Bingley about 11am - in preparation for the afternoons' "up" session that was scheduled to begin at 1pm.  Alas, a couple of boats appeared from behind and queue jumped early doors so we decided it best to pull pins and get in the queue before we ended any further back .

By the time I took a photo, 4 boats had already began their ascent and we paired up with Rupert and Rachel who were having a holiday on their friends boat.  They were 60 ft long and getting the gates closed behind them proved a challenge.  Note that Andy and I had changed roles... the plan being that as I need to lose 2 stone, I need to do more lock work... I don't know how that will hep though as from what I've seen, it's just lots of nattering to passers by! 😉

We stopped for the night in Keithley and then completed the journey into Skipton the following morning - luckily for us we were able to moor right opposite Pennine cruisers.  Whilst it's can be a Little bit noisy until the bar closes, it's actually probably the nicest mooring in the town with very little footfall passing by the boat at night but with the bonus of being able to watch everyone else.  Including the comings and goings of the day boats.  

Pennine have 6 day boats, 2 trip boats, a chandlers and a bar and EVERYONE working there we observed is a grafter.  Including the boss man.  It's clear he leads by example and gets stuck in... in a good natured and encouraging way.  

We spent a few days in Skipton and before we left, had a pumpout.  It still annoys me that CRT self pumpout cards cost MORE than paying for someone else to do it at a boat yard does! Go figure.

We've headed off towards Gargrave now - we know we can't go up the locks but will turn and enjoy the boat free section below.  At least that was the plan... we keep getting clonked into the side as day boats go by.  It's not the end of the world.  

We took a walk up to Gargrave yesterday and it does seem strange there being no boats in the pound...

The gates have been Ashed up to reduce water leaking through - it's working as there is plenty of water up there... just seems a shame some of it is leaking over a by-wash straight back into the river a bit further down near lock 30.

Here's a panoramic view of last night's mooring... 

I think we'll stay another night and do some jobs today as it's cooler and cloudy.

Until next time...


Tom and Jan said...

I suspect CRT don't really want to be in the pumpout business and would be quite happy for private commerce to take over.

NB Muleless said...

Boatyard pumpouts must be really cheap up your way! We paid £16.32 for CRT pump out cards at Red Bull and Anderton, but paid £18 to Anderton Marina for a pump out. Further south (Oxford Canal and Grand Union) you can pay £20 for a pump out and there aren't many CRT ones!

Quaysider said...

They are - certainly on the L & L - The cheapest has been £12 - more often than not it's £15 ... without Blue mind.