Today’s been quite uneventful, even dull, matching the sky and the temperature. The fact is that we are feeling pretty knackered and need some time off!
We started away from Woodlesford at 8.30, thinking that we might get as far as Wakefield where we would look at the new Hepworth Gallery. Actually, looking back, it was sunny as we headed into the first lock. I very much admired the beautiful cottage style flower borders alongside the lock, my idea of a perfect garden. The BW mechanical maintenance team seem to use the lock control tower at Woodlesford as a base and one of the team told me that the flower beds are maintained by volunteers including a lock keeper and that the lock had just won a prize for best maintained lock.
He also reassured me that all the mechanical locks ahead were in tip top order so I asked him about the swing bridge that had given us so many problems just before Rodley. Apparently these bridges are adjusted for winter or summer working because their contacts are very delicate and they are affected by the damp. Perhaps that bridge had not been changed over to summer working or maybe it had been and had decided, like us, that summer has been and gone!
The five mechanical locks that we went through today all performed impeccably. We had two descents, one through the deep Lemonroyd Lock where there was a lock keeper on duty. This took us onto the River Aire and it was a lovely cruise down to Castleford with river depth under us. Though, like most rivers, there is no view because the banks are too deep.
At Castlefood we turned towards Wakefield and onto the River Calder until the first of the three ascending locks, Woodnook, when we were back onto the navigation channel. The most excitement came from passing three boats full of school pupils who all waved with great enthusiasm.
By the time we reached Stanley Ferry we were hungry and ready for an afternoon indoors. The moorings here aren’t great because we can’t get into the bank and we will probably go on to Wakefield for to explore tomorrow.
When we turned the corner at Castlefield another circle in our journey was joined up and we are back on old ground until we head off towards the Rochdale at Cooper Bridge.
Today we did 10.33 Miles, 5 Locks
Statistics so far:-
2626.61 Miles, 1560 Locks, 175 Swing Bridges, 90 Lift Bridges, 45 Tunnels