It was dreadfully windy through the night and it didn’t seem possible that we would be able to travel today, however it had calmed somewhat by 7.00 which was our agreed departure time. Everyone had told us that once we left Rodley we shouldn’t stop until we got to Leeds, and we were concerned that we might be forced to pull in if the wind was too severe. Our mooring position for the last two nights was exposed and we hoped that we would get more protection as we travelled so we decided to make a break for it. The sun was shining so that was a positive sign.
There were three swing bridges before the first of two 3 rise staircase locks, and they were straightforward to deal with, and not on roads thankfully. We arrived at the top of the locks just before they opened at 8.15, only to find another boat waiting, which surprised us. There were two BW lock keepers on the flight so when it was our turn they worked down with us and it all went quickly. Liz and I walked on to the second 3 rise staircase to find that there was a boat in the bottom lock, ready to ascend to the middle. It was agreed that our two boats would go into the top lock and that we would cross over. Robert and NB Blue Point arrived and he said that he didn’t know what had gone overboard but that he had looked back to see Alan fishing in the canal with the sea magnet. It turned out that as he went through a very narrow section an overhanging branch had knocked the backup computer aerial off the roof and into the canal. It was a small magnetic aerial. He thought that other people had lost items to the branch: he could see a bike in the water. But not the aerial!
With Lazy Days safely in the lock we descended. The bottom gates were opened and the dance began. First BP went forward into the middle lock, next to the hire boat. Then LD moved over to the side of the top lock vacated by BP. HB moved forward into the top lock to fill the gap. BP moved across the middle lock to the position vacated by HB. LD moved forward into the middle lock next to BP. The gates were shut and on we went.
Another funny side to the story was that the hire boat was the one that we had watched from the top of the Armouries Museum yesterday, when they were struggling to get off the side. We didn’t say much about it – there but for the grace of God etc. Who knows what daft capers we will get up to before this journey is over?
We went on through three single locks and a double staircase to our lunch time mooring in the centre of Leeds at Granary Wharf, where we both took on water. The wind made the journey difficult in the extreme but otherwise it was quite delightful. The canal was rubbish free, as was the towpath and the surroundings. The canal was attractive with greenery and birdsong on one side and old mills turned into apartments or the Armley Museum on the other side. We saw two pleasant mooring spots. As we got further into Leeds the high rises were in front of us and it was most cosmopolitan. There were no dodgy characters, drunks or belligerents. When we went on after lunch it was a wonderful experience travelling along the river between River Lock and Leeds Lock with the old mill buildings and new apartments on either side. I had hitched a ride on Blue Point and Liz was clicking the camera like a paparazzi. Is the bogey man storey about travelling into Leeds only an urban myth? We enjoyed it thoroughly.
After Leeds Lock we were on the Aire and Calder Navigation, wide, windswept with mechanised locks. By the time we got to Woodlesford Lock we had had enough: the wind was whipping the water into a frenzy and the sky was dark. This is a good mooring and it’s a pleasant village, what more do we want?
Today we did 11.93 Miles, 17 Locks and 3 Swing Bridges
Statistics so far:-
2616.28 Miles, 1555 Locks, 175 Swing Bridges, 90 Lift Bridges, 45 Tunnels