The Wall

August 31, 2010

Our last day in York, and a beautiful sunny day at that. Just a perfect day….

We spent the first part of the day at the National Railway Museum, last visited when our children were… children! As always with these wonderful places there is too much to see before the legs give out. Of particular interest to us was an original and extremely well preserved wagon along with a section of railway and stone sleepers from the Peak Forest Tramway, which we walked along at the beginning of August.

Our second achievement of the day was walking the complete circumference of the city walls, with a short diversion to Morrisons and a restorative pint at the Yorkshire Terrier. Its a great walk with good views and many steps. (ED. And a good pub too.)

Tomorrow we are booked to lock down from Naburn at 1.30. We leave York with reluctance and a feeling that there remain many corners for us to explore.

Peak Forest Tram

Some Trains

Cliffords Tower

Monk Bar

Statistics so far:-

1789.02 Miles, 1074 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels

York revisited

August 30, 2010

Over the past two days we have travelled back down from Ripon to York. On route from Ripon to our Sunday night stop at Boroughbridge we moored at Newby hall and explored their wonderful gardens. The herbaceous borders were in full bloom and gave plenty of scope to the photographer. They were divided into many smaller gardens and we certainly didn’t do them full justice before a sudden flurry of rain reminded us that we should move on to Boroughbridge if we were to find a mooring. As it was we had to moor at the pump out point, which wasn’t working unfortunately as we were hoping to use it. The night was disturbed by several raucous groups crossing the bridge around 2.00 a.m and we thought we thought wistfully of the undisturbed nights at Ripon.

Given our antisocial mooring position we decided to make an early start at 7.30 this morning and moored at York just after 12. We weren’t in the best of places as there was an underwater ledge and moved along when all the cruisers returned home at the end of their weekend out. We also walked out in a new direction by crossing the Lendal bridge and walking round part of the city walls (looking very like a small version of the Great Wall of China) as far as Micklegate. It reminded us that there are still many parts of York that we have not explored. We have another day to do our best before we head back down the tidal Ouse on Wednesday.

Lendal Tower

Lendal Bridge


City Wall

Micklegate Bar

Yesterday we did 7.56 Miles and 4 Locks

Today we did 19.87 Miles and 2 Locks

Statistics so far:-

1789.02 Miles, 1074 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels

Raft Race

August 28, 2010

Its Saturday Bank Holiday and its been a fun day on the canal: the annual raft race. The races started at 10.00 with the final around 4.00, two teams competing in each heat. Any more and there would have been chaos. All the rafts are home made and some were very inventive: the Flintstones and a pirate ship were the best. Some weren’t as efficient through the water and we were wondering why an army team was very slow until we discovered that their very smart raft with four plastic chairs mounted on top had had to be paddled upside down with the chairs dragging through the water after it capsized as soon as they boarded. There were stalls at the canal basin and lots of bunting flapping in the wind and hopefully lots of money raised for charity.

We have really enjoyed Ripon over the past two days. We’ve revisited the Cathedral and wandered round the streets admiring the older houses and the market place. Its a shame that there is considerable traffic through the town, with a bypass it would be perfect. And we have found what is just about our favourite pub of all time, The One Eyed Rat. It has great beer and a great ambience and we are just about to head off there again. It will be hard to drag ourselves away tomorrow when we head back south.

It seems that not many boats make it all the way to Ripon; certainly we three boats moored together have provided a great deal of interest and entertainment to more onlookers than we have experienced since Windsor. Its well worth the long trip up the Ouse, Ripon’s a beautiful little canal well looked after by the very hardworking and conscientious Julie of British Waterways.

Flinstone Raft


Statistics so far:-

1761.59 Miles, 1068 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels


August 27, 2010


We’ve reached the end of the line – now we start the long trek south, but not for at least another day. Timing is important because we know that moorings will be hard to find further down over a Bank Holiday weekend.

We followed the River Ure out of Boroughbridge until it swept off on its remaining 45 unnavigable miles – in fact we nearly swept off with it until I noticed at the last minute the very small entrance to the Ripon Canal. The River redeemed itself for these last few miles as its banks softened sufficiently for us to be able to see some of our surroundings and the canal is a pretty miniature.

Yesterday was also a very good day for swallow watching and it is a joy to see them swooping over the river, knowing that they will soon start on their long trek to southern Africa. At Westwick Lock there was a nest in the lock gate and some youngish birds sitting on the gate with the older birds flying backwards and forwards constantly. We spent a long time watching them whilst waiting for a pair of small cruisers that obviously shouldn’t have been let out alone manage the extremely stressful descent in the lock. Even our patience was stretched by the time we had done most of the work for them, rescued them from a collision inside the lock (no other boats involved) and watched them waver their way off down river.

Fledging Swallows


End of the Canal

End of the Canal

Ripon Cathedral

Today we did 7.56 Miles and 4 Locks

Statistics so far:-

1761.59 Miles, 1068 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels


August 25, 2010

Boroughbridge is another place that we have been bypassing on the A1 for over 30 years and now we have finally arrived here by river. Its has attractive houses and an interesting array of shops for a smallish place. Plenty of rivers as well, as the Ure is divided into river with weir and the Milby lock and cut as it goes through the town and there is also a pretty little tributary which runs through the houses.

Readers who are concentrating will notice that I am now referring to the River Ure, rather than the Ouse. There was a name change east of Linton Lock. Otherwise the river has been somewhat unprepossessing up till now. We know that we have passed the NT Beningbrough Hall with its wonderful grounds but the river banks were too high for viewing and the only other mooring that we have passed was at Linton Lock. There is an RAF training airfield at Linton-on-Ouse and there was an occasional reminder of the Battle of Britain rather than the screaming jets we have experienced in the past. The river was in fact so uneventful that we shared steering and took the opportunity to read when not at the tiller. Probably not a journey that we will repeat in the future.


Boroughbridge Well

Veggie shop Boroughbridge

Today we did 19.87 Miles and 2 Locks

Statistics so far:-

1754.03 Miles, 1064 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels

Streets of York

August 24, 2010

We awoke to heavy rain and a very chilly day but the rain retired vanquished after a couple of hours and though the chill remained there has been blue skies and some sunshine. After a stock up trip to Morrisons its been a good day to do a more focused wander around the nooks and crannies of this lovely city and we found some areas that we hadn’t explored already.

Tomorrow we move on and it will be a long day’s travel up to Boroughbridge or maybe Ripon dependent on moorings.

City Wall

The Shambles

The Shambles


Oldest houses in York

Statistics so far:-

1734.16 Miles, 1062 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels


August 23, 2010

We moved up to York today – took just over an hour, and we squeezed into a Lazydays sized space that was waiting for us at Museum Gardens. We passed the Bishopthorpe Place, the home of the Archbishops of York for over 700 years.

The entrance to the River Foss was marked with the Blue Bridge – easy to remember its name as it is very blue indeed. It seems that it is possible to navigate the Foss for just over a mile after passing through a lock but boats over 36 ft in length cannot wind. We have been enjoying the glimpses we have had as we’ve explored the city centre.

The last stretch before our mooring contained some very handsome waterside buildings, particularly the Bond Warehouse. Alan was very taken with the water level access stairways on the right. It was all very reminiscent of Venice.

The rest of the day has been a wash out with constant and often fierce rain. Needless to say we are watching the water levels with some trepidation and hoping that tomorrow will be a brighter day.

Bishopthorpe Palace

Blue Bridge across River Foss

The Old Bond Warehouse

Today we did 5.90 Miles

Statistics so far:-

1734.16 Miles, 1062 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels

Family visit

August 22, 2010

Today has been a family day, with a visit from Alan’s brother and sister and spouses and one nephew. We had an excellent carvery Sunday dinner at the Blacksmith’s Arms in Naburn, took a short trip along to the Bishopthorpe Palace and back and generally enjoyed the sunny afternoon.

Its been a busy day on the river with several large cruisers coming up on the tide this morning and a long line of narrowboats waiting to lock down tomorrow morning. A great day has just ended with a brilliantly golden sunset.

Naburn Weir

A pub meal

Statistics so far:-

1728.26 Miles, 1062 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels

York (by bus)

August 21, 2010

Friday was a big day. We started with the shortish trip along the Selby Canal to moorings in the Selby Basin, followed by a wander into town. At 4.45 we locked out of Selby and into the tidal Ouse. The lock keeper told us it was a low tide, 5ft only, but the there was a strong wind and we could hear the reverberation of the waves through the hull. As with the Severn we found the tidal stretch of the river rather boring with high mud banks and trees blocking most views. We were in company with a cruiser and made good time reaching Naburn Lock in 2 hours only to find the two narrowboats that locked out ahead of us circling in front of the lock. We were kept waiting for 30 minutes or so: apparently the lock would normally have been open for us but three cruisers had gone down onto the river and decided that the level was too low for them and turned back.

By the time we got through the lock it was raining heavily and this continued through the evening. We moored on the day trip boat mooring, there being nowhere else. It was then 8.15 and we decided that rather than Alan starting to make pizzas we would walk to the pub for a meal. 30 minutes later and very wet we discovered that they had stopped serving and we were thoroughly soaked through by the time we made it back to the boat. The walk was notable, apart from the torrents of water, for the number of frogs we had to avoid stepping on, difficult when they were this year’s tinies.

A bright day dawned and two boats moved off in time for us to scarper along before the trip boat arrived at 8.30. We decided to stay put until the weekend’s business was over and took a bus into York. Its many years since we were last here but it remains a most attractive city, and improved by being more pedestrianised since our last visit. We are looking forward to a couple of days mooring at Museum Gardens.

We returned to the boat to discover that the river had risen a couple of feet as last night’s rain travelled down. We’ll keep an eye on it during the evening. We have about a foot before we worry seriously.

River Foss


St Helens


Statistics so far:-

1728.26 Miles, 1062 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels


August 20, 2010

Just a quick blog as we have had a very long day today, so here are some photos of the trip down the Ouse. No doubt Frances will have more to say tomorrow, we have just finished tea or is that dinner and it is almost 11 pm, enough said.

Coming in to the Ouse

River Ouse

River Ouse in the setting sun

Waiting for the Lock

Finding moorings

Today we did 18.11 Miles, 2 Locks

Statistics so far:-

1728.26 Miles, 1062 Locks, 112 Swing Bridges, 72 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels