Total running hours: 245.1. Number of Locks: 404. Number of miles travelled: 479 miles.

Average speed 1.95 miles per hour. Average Lock Miles per hour: 3.6

Map of the route
51 8/9/2013

Scarborough Bridge just before starting off on the final leg home.

7.50am start. George and the girls were going to join me but had the call off at the last minute. Uneventful journey up to Linton, although progress in some stretches where the river is quite narrow, particularly near Beningbrough and Beningbrough Hall, was quite slow. Arrived at 11.15am to be met by Kit, Melissa and Millie. After some delay at the lock as a boat coming down was in no hurry to move, we again made good progress. The current seemed to be a lot less strong above the lock. Melissa had a go and helming which she seemed pick up very quickly, and I was able to catch up on some sleep. Arrived at Ripon at 6pm, where Alison was waiting. Alison took K, M & M back to Linton and then returned to Ripon to help clear Kestrel.

Oxclose Lock - The first and last lock.

Half a stone lighter than when last at Oxclose Lock!

Total running hours: 245.1. Number of Locks: 404. Number of miles travelled: 479 miles.

Average speed 1.95 miles per hour. Average Lock Miles per hour: 3.6



50 7/9/2013

The water level rose steadily through the day, and just as we thought it was peaking just below the towpath there was a late surge at about 6pm when it took it just over. Moved up to the bottom of Mary Gate and twinned up on the outside of one of the boats that had come up from Selby at the same time. The water fortunately started to subside by about 9pm. George came and collected me and had a very welcome meal with the family. Returned to the boat somewhat earlier than I might otherwise have done due to the uncertainty about the river. Unfortunately the Environment Agency web site was not particularly helpful as it was not updated all day, so it was impossible to gauge how things were likely to progress by looking at gauging stations higher up the system.

The River Ouse lapping the tow path...

49 6/9/2012

Early morning shower and just about ready to depart at 7.30am. Two other narrow boats went through at about 7.15am, then I went out onto the river, with a third boat. The river was flowing quite fast and there was an enormous amount of debris on its way up. I thought that it was petering out by the time we neared Cawood, but no such luck and I had to compete for space under the bridge. However, we made good time, arriving at about 9.45am. and I had had no further problems wit the rudder. The weather had definitely turned and I was very grateful for the roof. I was the only boat to continue straight up to York as others were stopping to warm up and dry off a bit. The rain increased as I got closer to York and the Museum Gardens moorings and I donned my dinghy suit (the first time I've ever used it on the boat) in preparation for mooring up. The other three boats all turned up a bit later. The Ouse water level was well down, so hopefully, even with the amount of rain that has fallen, we shouldn't be having problems with the towpath going under water. I marked the height of the towpath on the side of the boat so that I could monitor any rise in water level and slacken the lines off is necessary. Kit joined after he met up with Melissa for lunch, and David also called by on the off-chance. The rain stopped, but still fairly overcast. Decided to have a quiet evening aboard as it had been an early start, and negotiating the tidal section had been hard work. According to the Canal Planning program I negotiated my 400th lock of the trip today. Just about visible on the York Rowing Club we cam, but partially hidden by the tree.

Almost the same view as from the York City Rowing Club webcam

967.3 2
48 5/9/2013

Enforced rest day while the lock gate was repaired. The diving team arrived early and started preparation, to be joined a couple of hours later by the workboat that I had met the day before, which positioned itself in the lock.

When the diver eventually examined the gate he was able to retrieve a number of short planks that had come off the bottom of the gate. Trust staff were able to make up some replacement pieces which were fixed on during the day and the lock was fit to use again by about 4pm. Advised by Nigel, the lock-keeper, to be ready for 7.30am on Friday for passage up to Naburn. Did some shopping at Morrisons, which would have been less hard on my knee had I not forgotten to take my wallet with me. Also bought some Ibuprofen Gel, which the pharmacist at Boots reckoned was OK to use with Beta blockers. That, together with a couple of doses of paracetamol has helped a bit with the pain. Set my alarm for 6.45am.

962.6 0

Work up relatively early to a beautiful sunny morning with low mist hanging over the canal.

Early morning at Castleford Junction

The windows of the wheelhouse were very misted up and in the end I dropped the front window, which gave me a very clear view of the waterway ahead. Bulholme Lock was manned so dropping down onto the river was quick and easy. The river is quite wide at this point and was mirror smooth, just like the proverbial mill pond, except for a patch where a group of cormorants were ducking and diving - some very smoothly and some with a great deal of splashing. Three or four egrets put in an appearance, to be joined by numerous heron and plovers (?). Quite a wildlife treat.

The River Aire

Rail bridge near Ferrybridge

Bank Dole lock tail gates were open, with no one else in site. I closed the gates (not easy) and started filling. Within seconds a Trust workboat hailed into site - I then realised one of the tail gate paddles was still open, so closed it. Having started I continued to fill. The crew of the boat turned out to be on their way to Selby lock via Goole to act as safety boat while the divers are down. It was apparently thought, after examining the gates with an underwater camera, that the divers would be able to repair the gates by fixing on a new piece of timber which had already been got from the Stanley Ferry depot. Work was still going on, but almost complete, at Beal Lock. There hadn't appeared to be that much left to do when I had been through on 25th July, still, maybe there was other less obvious work done than resetting all the cobbles. Moored up for lunch as my favourite point on the Selby Canal to have lunch, but phoned Selby Boat Centre first to see if there was anyone who would be able to check the rudder's bearings, as it was still becoming very stiff at times. He advised coming straight there as the mechanic wouldn't be back until Friday. At the Boat Centre they tried greasing the bearings again, but without much improvement. There seemed a surprising reluctance to take it apart, but eventually did so. All appeared OK - they cleaned up the bearing surfaces and greased everything thoroughly. It was a bit better, but still some grating noise. We concluded that getting it any better would have to wait until Kestrel was next lifted out for blacking. Moved down to the lock basin, after co-opting help from one of the boats already there to help with the swing bridge. The basin was full of duck weed, which had started as far back as the A19 bridge and got thicker and thicker along the way. One might almost be tempted to try to walk across it.

Selby Basin - weed bound

At last I got my fish and chips.


Negotiated the rest of the Hebble and Calder Navigation, without too much difficulty, although the bottom lock of Figure Three locks was hard work - usual problem of paddles not working and leaking gates which are hard to move. I wouldn't mind, but having managed the top lock fairly easily I declined a passing offer of help before I started on the bottom lock. Stopped to shop at Sainsburys in Wakefield. It was a bit further than I remembered and my left knee was protesting.

The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. One can only hope that it is more artistic inside than out.

Kestrel moored up in the flood lock at Wakefield

At Fall Ings lock I readily accepted help from a passing boater who saw me struggling with the head gates. The tail gates weren't that much easier, but he had gone by then. The Aire and Calder also went reasonably smoothly, it certainly helped that all the flood locks were open. Approaching Castleford Junction it was starting to get dark and I was treated to four sightings of kingfishers. The first circled the boat twice for disappearing into the willows. The other three were also very much more than a passing glimpse, as they normally tend to be. Moored up at Castleford Junction near the Sanitary Station and enjoyed a lovely hot shower.


Made use of the Aspley facilities with a lovely hot shower before setting of, with Alison for Mirfield. It was strange to be back on 'wide' canals with double width locks. Cleared the Huddersfield Broad Canal, the main trouble seemed to be with gates which wouldn't stay shut, made worse by the fact that it was quite windy. Turned left onto the Calder and Hebble Navigation, which involved several joinings and leavings of the river, with joing via worked locks and leavings via open floodclocks.

Quizzical geese at one of the locks

Arrived slightly later than planned, but in time for Alison to have some lunch before catching the 2.07pm train to Leeds and thence to Middlesbrough. Had a short sleep before continuing on to finally end up just past the Dewsbury Arm junction. Shepley Bridge lock was a bit of a pig to do. Also had a bit of trouble at the Thornhill Double locks, just before the junction as the pound between them was empty, which was strange as a boat had just calm up through them. There seemed to be some messing about at the tail gates of the bottom lock, with someone using a winder there, watched by the occupants of the adjacent cottage. Managed to get sufficient water into the pound to get safely through. Moored up at the visitor moorings just beyond the junction, though with some slight trepidation. Check the Canal Route Planner program again which reckoned that I should get to Ripon in four days, with tomorrows stop at Castleford Junction. However, the program makes to allowance for delays caused by waiting at Selby for the tide. It also proposes an overnight moor up at Upper Poppleton, which really isn't an option.


Joined by Thomas, Nicky, Beth, Sam, Eddie and Alison. Great team work saw us safely down the twenty two locks, or maybe only twenty one as lock 4E seemed to be missing, into Huddersfield and through the Bates tunnel. The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy working the locks and being on the boat. The only significant incident was when Tom tripped at one of the locks and accidentally lost the windlass he was carrying into the lock. A search with the Sea Magnet failed to locate it, only a few rusty nails and an iron bar. He then cycled back to Slaithwaite to get the car and drive to meet us in Huddersfield. Moored up just beyond Aspley Marina, where we said goodbye to Tom and family. Replaced the wheelhouse and roof, with the help of a passing boater, as the Bates tunnel was the last low structure to negotiate. Tried the local hostelry but they were having a problem with the ventilation system so the menu was very limited, but what was available was fine. A not very quiet night as it was very window and the boat bumped around quite a lot.

Beth, at the helm, negotiates a tricky bend in the narrow canal.

The junior members of the crew take a well earned rest between locks.

Lock 13E yields to Sam's muscle power.


Not such an early start this morning as the two other boats that also came though the tunnel on Friday had already gone and the system needed to recover. Passage down the twenty odd locks planned went reasonably smoothly, although at lock 35 I had to give assistance to a Trust worked opening the header gate, as only one paddle was working and with the tail gate leaking too much it wasn't possible to make the level. However, with both of us pushing we were able to get it open and I was able to go on down, leaving him to try to get the paddle to work. Has a minor disaster at one of the later locks when my starboard mid mooring line slid overboard, which I didn't notice until it suddenly went very tight, before it broke and whipped back across the deck, breaking the radio aerial as it passed. I stopped in the next lock to remove the last five feet from around the prop. At lock 24 trouble began with a Trust workboat that had had one of its mooring lines taken off, and it had drifted across the canal. I was able to re-secure it and get to the entrance to the lock. This lock is unusual as it has a guillotine bottom gate, that has to be raised using a winder. I opened the top sluices to fill the lock but eventually realised that it was only getting to half full and that the tail gate wasn't actually fully down. I had to close the upper paddles and empty the lock again before dropping the lower gate the final six inches and then successfully fill the lock. In the process the pound above the lock had dropped significantly and Kestrel's stern was well and truly jammed on the bank and she was listing alarmingly. The water level seemed to be still falling so I re-closed the gates and paddles to minimise any further loss, and even then it still seemed to be falling. In desperation I called the Trust emergency number, and they promised someone out within the hour. However, due to the concern about Kestrel's list I decided that I had to get some more water into the pound even though it was about a quarter of a mile back to the previous lock. I locked up Kestrel and legged it back to lock 25 without keeling over and let through enough water to raise the level by about a foot. Back at lock 24 Kestrel was at a better angle but still aground, but by using the stern line to the bank I was able to pull her free. I was then able to top up the lock, get the gates open and get Kestrel into it. I resolved that I wouldn't get back to the Trust until I was successfully through the lock. Having managed to empty the lock I then started the long arduous task of raising the gate - some 200 turns I've been told. Fortunately a cyclist, with his young (10 year old?) son came to my aid, and in spite of only having one arm he, or rather 'they' raised and lowered it for me. I then phoned the Trust to advise them that I had resolved the issue. As I neared lock 23 a Trust worker appeared and helped me through it, having checked that all was well. Finally moored up below lock 22, not far from the sanitary station where I was hoping for a hot restorative shower, but it was closed due to vandalism - just my luck. My luck didn't improve when I found that both of the recommended Fish and Chip shops in Slaithwait were closed by the time I was ready to eat, and the gas bottle ran out in the middle of cooking my tea. Fortunately the spare was actually full, as I had expected it to be, and I was able to change them over without too much difficulty.

The Guillotine gate was built when the bridge below the bottom gate was widened and there was no longer room for conventional gates.


Friday: Standedge Tunnel Day. Walked along to the tunnel entrance just after 9am and saw a small group of men with cameras standing on the bridge looking down the railway line. It transpired that a steam train was due up from Stalybridge at about 9.30am. I returned with my iPhone in time to take a picture, but without too much success. Don't ask me what class it was...

A passing steam train

Having thought I was going to be the only boat going through another boat slipped up past me when I wasn't looking. I then moved up to the water point ahead of him and filled up and reclaimed first place in the queue. A third boat joined on the end. Eventually three boats came through from the east end, and by 1pm my chaperone clambered aboard, and suitably attired we entered the tunnel. At 45' Kestrel was reasonably easy to get through the more awkward places and although there was a bit of bumping and scrapping of the bottom edges no upper paintwork was attacked. About an hour and forty minutes later we reappeared into daylight. The tunnel structure varied enormously, from open bare rock to full brick lining, with some places sprayed with concrete, which made it look like a very unconvincing Hollywood set. Decided to moor up for the night, daunted by the 42 locks ahead before reaching the centre of Huddersfield. Walked down into Marsden to do some shopping - a bit more of a stretch than I was expecting.

Marsden, where the light at the end of the tunnel came from.

Rest day! Put a top coat on the wheelhouse windows. Had several naps. Went for a walk through Diggle, but not much to see. Took a few photos of the tunnel entrance. Replaced the pegs in the pole/plank deck rack, and rubbed it down ready for repainting. Had a slightly nervous evening as there was a group of 'young persons' in the adjoining play area who stayed 'till nearly 11pm, when it was completely dark.

The plan was to move up nine locks today. The first two locks were no problem, the third lock was more difficult as the top gate wouldn't close properly. Some work with the pole shifted a rock that was obstructing it. The next lock was also problematic as the bottom gate was leaking badly and only one upstream paddle was working. Eventually managed to fill it sufficiently to get through but had to let water through into the pound above as the water level had dropped so much. Difficulty getting into the next lock, but a passing lock keeper managed, by using his rake from the front of the boat, to remove something obstructing the lower gate. The next four locks went OK although the water levels were none too high. Nine locks done and it was only 12.30pm, so seemed a bit pointless to stop, even though there was mooring available. With some further help by a passing volunteer lock keeper completed the further nine locks and arrived somewhat exhausted but satisfied to moor up above lock 23W. Has a very welcome ice-cream. Took a (short) walk to the tunnel entrance, and read up about its construction. Apparently there are four tunnels, the canal tunnel, two single track, now disused rail tunnels, and the double track currently and frequently used rail tunnel. The sound of drumming was heard from nearby buildings, so retaliated with my trumpet.

The West End portal of the Standedge Tunnel. The gates are reputed to have cost £31,000! The Transpennine railway line runs immediately next to the canal at this point and when going through the tunnel passing trains in the adjoining tunnel can be heard.

Three boats are allowed through the tunnel in each direction on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each boat has a 'chaperone' on board who advises on the navigational hazards to be found along the way, of which there are plenty. Helmets are also supplied, which provide valued protection.

Pump out at Portland Basin Marina at the head of the Macclesfield Canal. The boat became a more savoury place. Dropped Alison and Kit off at Stalybridge to return home by train, having been up six locks. Moved up a further seven locks to just below Roaches Lock (15W). Mooring was difficult as it was very shallow at the moorings, but managed to get close enough without having to use the plank.
Early start doing the first nine double locks with a friendly family on a hire boat who were planning to do the 'Cheshire Ring'. Passed through Piccadilly Lock (an underground lock) without incident, although not a 'happy' place. At the turnoff for the Ashton Canal we took the lead, but at Bewick Lock (5) one of the upstream paddles jammed open after we had filled the lock and we weren't able to empty it again for the hire boat. Contacted the Trust to advise them, then continued on our way. Moored up at the Droylsden Marina for the night, costing £6 which included water and power. Put the undercoat on the inside of the wheelhouse windows. Had a Chinese takeaway.

Stopped at Timperley to pick up crew (Alison and Kit) who arrived via the MetroLink - good timing. Turned east off the Bridgewater Canal onto the Rochdale Canal. Moored up at Castle Quay, Manchester. Found a place to moor up, but there were a lot of boats in the 'protected area'. A bit noisy with the trains going overhead, but all things considered a quiet night.

Stopped at Anderton for water. No trouble at the Sandersford Tunnel as I still had the wheelhouse roof down. Moored up at Moor.
Early start, as usual. Left the Llangollen Canal north onto the Shropshire Union Main Line and then East onto the Middlewich Branch, then north onto the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich.. . Not too busy going through the locks although there was some delay caused by water levels. Moored up at Middlewich between Big Lock and Middlewich lock 3.
Stopped at the Swanly Bridge Marina for fuel (130L), and oiled the steering gear as it was making a most unpleasant noise. A very helpful mechanic had a look at it and managed to scrounge some oil from somewhere to do the job - at no charge. Much better after that. Moored up between Platt's Bridge (5) and Lee's Bridge (4)

Homeward Bound: Left the mooring at Chirk at 7.45am to get clear passage through the tunnel and across the aqueduct.

Kestrel (with roof down) crossing Chirk Aqueduct - the tunnel portal is visible in the background. The abscence of a visible helmsman is because he's taking the picture.

Stopped at Ellesmere for water and to shop. Walked up the Ellesmere Branch and realised I should have taken the boat as there was plenty of mooring available and there was a Tescos right at the end. Moored up between Duddleston Bridge (37) and Spark's Bridge (35) (Bridge 36 is missing!).


Stopped at Ellesmere for water and disposal of rubbish. Shortly after the junction with the Montgomery Canal I notice the port side mooring line sliding gracefully into the water, so immediately took the boat out of gear to prevent it being wrapped round the prop. And had no option but to drift rapidly into the near bank where there just happened to be some substantial overhanging branches. Nimble footwork prevented the flue from being ripped off and damage to the wheelhouse. The rope had started to wind round the prop, but not tighten up and I was able to free it. The boat following, not quite realising what had happened offered advice about the bridges ahead getting lower and the probability that I would have difficulty getting under them, in particular Monk's Bridge (21) in Chirk. Polletts Bridge (6) [for some reason bridge numbering changes after the junction with the Montgomery Canal], proved them to be right, and I had to ask the crew (Spanish) of another boat that was moored up nearby to help me take the roof down once more. Monk's Bridge was indeed one of the lowest I went through. I arrived in Chirk to find it very narrow and crowded. I was the last in line of four boats to go across the aqueduct and through the tunnel, and in fact didn't have to wait at all. Moored up about three quarters of a mile past the tunnel exit. Quite a noisy spot as there was an industrial area above the cutting. Later than anticipated as I had forgotten that there were two locks to do. By the time I arrived Sarah was about to go to Ellesmere. Decided to walk to their house as Simon had given directions and it didn't seem too bad... Some concern that I might have taken a wrong turn, but when I eventually thought about using the Sat.Nav. app. on my phone I was able to reassure myself I was going the right way. Also being able to eventually see Chirk Castle helped. Arrived somewhat exhausted but revived by a lovely meal. Sarah ran me back to Chirk station and it was a not too bad a walk back to the boat from there, although it seemed further in the pitch dark than when I had walked it before.

Cole Mere, glimpsed through the trees from the Llangollen Canal. Used for sailing, it is actually quite a bit lower down than the canal.

19/8/2013 Continued, making good progress along the Llangollen Canal. At Grindly Brook Locks (triple) a helpful brother and sister on a hire boat waiting to come down worked the locks for me, under the guidance of a lock-keeper. I gave them my last remaining chocolate chip cookie as a thank you present. More lift bridges helped improve my technique for minimal mooring to operate the gate. At one stage a lass on a hire boat ahead of me decided that opening the bridge was the end of her duties and nimbly reboarded there boat as it went through, leaving me to have to moor up to close it - not normally the way it works. Moored up near Hampton Bank Bridge (50)

Very Early Start (7.05am). Turned left (South) at Barbridge Junction onto the Shropshire Union Canal Main Line and then, after about two miles right (West) onto the Llangollen Branch. These locks were quite easy to operate as they were only single width and had walkways attached to the gates. There were usually two tail gates and a single head gate, and it was possible to step across an open tail gate - one just had to remember the right order in which to open these gates. The locks also filled quite quickly.

One of the early locks of the Llangollen Canal

Wrenbury Lift Bridge looked like posing more of a problem as it was an electrically operated road bridge (not too much traffic), but on a bend by a boat yard and operated from the non-towpath side. Fortunately a passing stranger offered to open it for me, which was a great help. Wrenbury also offered up several smaller manually operated bridges, which did have the possibility of mooring up at to operate, for those agile enough. Moored up just after Steer Bridge (24) for the night.

One of the manually operated Wrenbury Lift Bridges. The base of this bridge actually sits in the water.

Early start heading for the Shropshire Union Canal. At Middlewich came to the Middlewich Big Lock (75). Since it only has a rise of 5'10", which didn't appear to make it too worthy of the name. In fact it relates to the fact that it is a double width lock, whereas the other locks in Middlewich and all the other locks from this point onwards are only single width. Stopped at a marina there to buy the Nicholson Guides Book 4 to cover the Shropshire Union Canals. Managed to negotiate the Middlewich 3 locks although there was some hold-up with Hire Boats being manoeuvered round the place. Apparently some boats had had to queue for some three hours to get down the previous Friday because of hire boats being returned to base. Stopped just before the right turn onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal to check the bridge height, but decided it was OK with the roof still on. Moored up just before Eardswick Bridge (13) for the night.
8.45am start to continue down the Bridgewater Canal. Negotiated the Preston Brook Tunnel without any problems, having to wait only a few minutes to go through. This was followed shortly by the Dutton Stop Lock (76), which marks the start of the Trent and Mersey Canal. The name would suggest an impressive highway connecting these two great rivers. The waterway got off to an unimpressive start with the rather crumbly stop lock where the water level difference was no more than an inch or two. This was rapidly followed by a sunk plastic boat obstructing the lock moorings, and a couple of hundred yards further on another sunk boat, a steel Trust barge, which also provided another unnecessary hazard to navigation. The waterway continue to meander through the countryside with some tight bends and narrow section where reeds take up more than half the width. All very pleasant but not very relaxing as one has to be wary off oncoming boats suddenly appearing in view. Attempted to go through the Saltersford Tunnel but got stuck after about 10 yards. Managed to free myself but the front end of the handrails on the roof ended up a bit chewed. One of the problems was that using reverse tended to lift the stern and make the problem worse. With help from a passing stranger managed to take the wheelhouse down, but with some difficulty as some of the boats holding the two halves of the joining blocks together wouldn't undo and had to be taken off completely. We managed to get everything down OK in time for the next time slot for passage through the tunnel. I left the roof off for passage through Barnton Tunnel, which made life easier. Moored up just past Soots Hill Bridge (200), not far from the Anderton Boat Lift, and close to the sanitary station where there was a hot shower and water tap. Enlist the help of a passing stranger to put the roof back on the wheelhouse, having sorted the blocks as best I could.
At 8.15 am we departed and cautiously navigated through the debris strewn waters below the bridge. It is probable that most bridges have as much debris below them, it was just the clarity of the water that allowed the full truth to be known in this instance. Kit was most impressed with Salford, wanting to live there, and we noted the brownness of the water due to the iron content. Crossed the Manchester Ship Canal on a very narrow aqueduct which was quite spectacular. Arrived at Waters Meeting (the junction with the Rochdale Canal) at 11.45am where Kit got off to return to York for his evening shift. Continued down the Bridgewater Canal to about a mile from Lymm where I moored up for the night.
8.45am start for the great descent of the Wigan flight (22 locks). While 'preping' the first lock I notice a black ferret on the top lock gate, which then ran off to scamper on and off several of the boats moored above the lock. Cleared the bottom lock by 2pm and moored up just below it for lunch. Turned left (south) at Wigan Junction onto the Wigan Branch. Half a mile past Dover Bridge (4) moored up for an hour to await the allowed opening time for Plank Lane Swing Bridge. Arrived at the bridge just after 6pm so OK to go through. Just the other side was a large expanse of water with firm concrete sides and fenced, as if for a marina that hadn't yet been equipped. Moored up at Leigh, opposite the Waterside Inn where we went for a meal. Crossed the road bridge which marks the start of the Bridgewater Canal and was somewhat bemused by the large number of traffic cones and other debris to be seen in the very clear water
7.10am start but had to stop at Johnson's Hill Locks (lock 59) as there was no water in the pound bellow. Called the Canal and River Trust. Trust workers eventually arrived and got the pound filled. Kit also arrived having caught a train to Chorley and cycled from there. Arrived at Wigan Top Lock at 4.45pm where we moored up for the night. Had a very acceptable meal at the local pub (Kirkless Hall), and Kit beat me at pool by 2 games to 1 (but closely fought.). Spoke to some boaters who had just come up and they said they had taken all day to come up because of problems with pounds being empty.
Departed for Wigan at 8.30am. Underestimated the time to get to the Wigan flight so moored up at Riley Green Bridge (91A) when it got to 7pm.
Stayed at Altham Marine. Did more work on the windows and the roof. Work actually completed on Friday 9th but stayed an extra two days so that I could time my arrival at the top of the Wigan flight with Kit's arrival.
At about 9.30am Steve from Altham Marine arrived and effected a temporary repair by replacing two of the bolts. I was then able to return to his yard located adjacent to Pilkington Bridge (114C). Remained there until work was completed to replace the shaft coupling, gearbox and drive plate.
Set off at the same time as the solo lady, but she was going very slowly and fell well behind. Stopped at Reedly Marina (at Oliver Ings) for a Pump Out. Fascinated by the Burnley Embankment - a long strait stretch of canal on a high and narrow embankment. Weather turned inclement and canal was not looking its best with a lot of floating and sunk debris. A couple of swing bridges to contend with, but access wasn't too bad. However, at Rileys Swing Bridge (114) while trying to moor up the engine started making a distinctly nasty noise. Managed to moor up to inspect the weed hatch and notice that the drive coupling was coming apart and that two of the bolts had sheered off. The remaining two couldn't be tightened. Resigned to having to call up and join on the spot the River Canal Rescue service. On the spot joining cost an extra £50 but didn't seem a lot of options. They promised an engineer would come out and they would phone back to say when. Eventually called them back and they advised it would be the following morning, so had to stay put overnight.
10am dropped Alison off at Coate's Bridge (154A) Barnoldswick to catch bus for Skipton and thence home by train. Arrived at Foulridge Tunnel at 11.47, so had to wait about 13 minutes for the green light to go through. No other boats about. Having gone through the Barrowford top lock on my own I then waited for a solo lady to catch up so as to go through the remaining locks of the flight together. Then got assistance from a volunteer lock-keeper with the rest of the flight. Moored up bellow at Barrowford Locks Bottom Lock (51).
Stopped for lunch at Bank Newton Top Lock and moored for the night above Greenberfield Top Lock.(44)
Late departure towards Gargrave and moored for night above Scarland Lock (34).
Stayed in Skipton for the day, shopping etc. Managed to get some brass hinges that I could remove the pin from, instead of having lift-off hinges.
Alison arrived by train. Got stuck at East Riddleton for an hour by a jammed swing bridge. Unfortunately, being a Sunday the nearby veg. shop and the chandlers was closed so we couldn't make good use of the time. Stopped at Snaygill Boats marina to refuel (130L). Moored up at Skipton before the Gawfield Swing Bridge (176). Went to Evensong.

Resumed progress along the Leeds - Liverpool Canal and made it to Bingley Five Rise. Had some difficulty mooring up above the top lock. Went some way trying to find somewhere and eventually turned round and moored up quite close to the lock. We had come across Barry working at Field Locks - not, by all accounts too happy about it, but "doing what he was told." Dave D returned home by train.

One fo the many hand-operated swing bridges on this canal, which are worked from the non-towparth side, making it, in many instances very difficult for solo cruisers to manage.

Visitor moorings at Saltaire. The Salts Mill Gallery, home of a large collection of David Hockney's work, is just to the left of the canal.

Wating patiently at the bottom of Bigley Five Rise for a boat to come down.

Bingley Five Rise

Sharing a lock saves water, provides more man-power and makes for a more comfortable ride when going up. This particular boat had a bit of a problem at Hirst Lock, above Saltaire, when they got too close to the upper, very leaky gate, with their cratch doors open, and managed to fllod the main cabin in several inches of water.


Departed towards Leeds and the start of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal:

Woodlesford Lock in the morning.


Knostrop Falls Lock

Entering Leeds by the 'back door'

New builds just by Knostrop Flood Lock

Slightly older builds nearer Leeds

Or as seen reflected in Kestrel's bow wave.

Leeds sanitary station nestless by the trees on the left.

In the Leeds Armoury lock.

Crown Point Road Bridge, Leeds
With the rapid development of the city in the 1820's, and increasing traffic using Leeds Bridge, there was a need for another crossing over the River Aire at the eastern end of the town. In 1840 an Act of Parliament was obtained which allowed the building of a bridge at Crown Point. The architects were George Leather & Son. Of Leeds, who designed a single span bridge, 120ft wide, made of cast iron, with an ornate fretted iron parapet. The iron castings were made by Booth & Co. at the Park iron works in Sheffield, and the stonework was by James Bray of Leeds. The bridge was opened in 1842, and cost £36,000 to build. Crown Point Bridge was originally a toll bridge, but the toll was abolished in 1868. The bridge was widened in 1994.

Leaving the centre of Leeds behind and making for the start of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Leeds No. 1 Lock - the start of the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Moored up for the night above Dobson Locks. Dave D went scouting for somewhere to eat not too far away, which proved fine.


Dave Dodds arrived by train to crew. The view that greeted him...

Departed for Lemonroyd Marina. Moored outside Lemonroyd Marina, but decided to go on to Woodlesford, where moored up above the lock. Given information by passing local about lots of places to eat, but turned out to be mostly out of date. Eventually found somewhere still serving food, but only just.

Departed for Selby. Nearing the top of Spring tide so quite an exciting trip. Another narrowboat had been advised not to go. Made good time but quite exciting getting in at Selby as it took quite a long time to get back up to the lock having turned a bit late, but made a clean entry. Went to get fuel at Selby Boat Yard but they had run out. Returned and moored up near the swing bridge.
Departed for Naburn Lock. Moored up at Naburn Lock ready for passage down the tidal Ouse section.
Stayed in York. Alison returned home.
Stayed in York.
Youths jumping into Millby Lock, which was a bit irritating. Moored up in York, Lendel Bridge.
Depart from Ripon Marina, with Alison as crew.