Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A hard day's work

Today has been a hard day, it started with the Five Rise at Bingley, it looks very smart with the new lock gates that were put on earlier in the year but I think they are harder work than the old ones were.

Part way down Bingley Five Rise

We breasted Merlin up to Morgana to make for easier and quicker journeys through the locks and it worked well. After the Five came the Three then Dowley Two. We reverted to towing Merlin after that as the towpath changed sides and we only had one more lock to do. We really wish we hadn't, we had all sorts of problems at Hirst Lock, in future we will breast Merlin up if we are going through these short locks on our own.

I was kept busy with the locks and swing bridges, I needed help at Hirst Mill swing bridge as the locking mechanism was so hard, and I'm no weakling. We had hoped to be able to moor overnight at Saltaire but the canal edge was so shallow that I ran aground and the only official mooring is restricted to six hours with no overnight mooring.  Saltaire is impressive, the mills tower over you as you cruise through, one side is now occupied by the local NHS trust and some apartments, the other is an art gallery and retail outlets.

The next mooring point was in Shipley which I really didn't fancy, when business premises are protected with razor wire on their walls and roofs it doesn't encourage me to stop. So we carried on going until we reached Bridge 211, a bit in the middle of nowhere, it's called Buck Hill swing bridge and if anyone wants to find it it's about a mile east of Baildon and the same distance northwest of Idle. I could see a nice place to moor amid the woods the other side of the bridge. I pushed, I pulled, I jumped on the bridge (that sometimes frees them when they are stuck), Ray joined me and pushed and pulled, a helpful walker joined us, all to no avail. I was just about ready to give up. Then Ray went and got the towbar which we no longer use for Merlin, I pushed and he levered the free end of the bridge with the bar, it worked!! It is now no longer a redundant towbar, it is Ray's patented bridge opener!!

We are now moored in my nice wooded spot, we may stay here tomorrow as we travelled further than intended today, we are only about three hours from Rodley now.

We learnt today that Ray's nephew, Kevin , became a dad last Friday, welcome to the world Harvey Kevin Tofts!!

Today's journey 5 miles, 11 locks and 6 swing bridges

So far this year we have travelled 401.4 miles, 243 locks, 35 swing bridges, 1 lift bridge and 11 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1603.1 miles, 1329 locks, 91 swing bridges, 39 lift bridges and 51 tunnels

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