Sunday, 24 August 2014

On to Rodley

Well the last of the vanilla slice has gone… straight to my waistline.  You “muffin top”!

After sitting out the rain In Shipley we used the break in the weather and moved to the 7 Day moorings at Rodley.  Not being in a hurry, we slowly prepared Waiouru for cruising (tiller arm on, stow pram cover, set up gps, keys, cameras, swabs, etc)  Just as I was about to cast of the mooring lines a bloody great CRT working boat came around the bend.  The bow was almost square and whilst it wasn’t going fast it was pushing a large amount of water in front. 

Whilst we resigned ourselves to a very slow trip there was an upside.  The CRT boat had an accompanying vehicle going ahead of the CRT boat and the occupants were opening the swing bridges and kindly letting us through as the ‘following boat’.  So Jan had a bit of a rest until we reached Fields Staircase locks(3). I had an opportunity to chat to the CRT staff whilst assisting them with the flight.  They were a gate crew prepositioning the boat for the winter maintenance work.  The boat had originally come from Liverpool and was apparently rather hard to steer.  After watching the steerer navigate a couple of the bridge openings it was apparent he only had a couple of inches to spare on either side.  I asked what the large square plastic containers in the bow held and was informed they held water as ballast.  Without it the stern would be dragging on the bottom.

The CRT worker then noticed a marking on the inside of one of the lock coping stones and got down on his knees to have a closer look.

He told me that he’d replaced the adjacent lock gates several years ago and hadn’t noticed the date at that time.  He was also very positive about CRT’s future as a charitable trust.  Telling me he though the new CEO seemed an excellent choice and that he and his colleagues were impressed that the CEO delivered on his commitments.  He also believed there had been a significant increase in available funds from commercial donations.  I do hope he is right!

After the working boat had gone down the flight and departed I reset the locks.  That wasn’t quite as easy as I had thought because someone had stolen the large metal CRT sign which had the instructions.  Looking at the second chamber I could see a red strip in the inside of the left gate.

I guessed this was a marker and the lock water level in the lock had to cover the marker before releasing the water in the top lock.  This subsequently appeared to be correct.  The second lock chamber was bigger than the top chamber.  If the second chamber wasn’t partially filled first then the boat might catch on the gate sill when going from the top to middle chambers.

I had just entered the top chamber when a hire boat arrived. <great timing>  We had a partner to go down the flight and; more importantly; an additional two lock assistants.  We then alternated stopping for swing bridges until arriving at the top of Dobsons Staircase Locks (2). There were CRT facilities at the top and we wanted to top up the water tank as well as disposing of the rubbish. 

Our locking companion didn’t want water as they were returning the boat the following day, however they decided to wait for us to go down the flight together.  The water pressure from the tap was woeful and despite our tank already being three quarters full it still wasn’t full after the tap had been running 30 minutes.  In the end we gave up on the tap and decided to push on.

Further leap-frogging took place at the swing bridges until we reached Apperley Bridge Marina where the hire boat crew stopped to return their boat.

The canal continued through semi rural countryside.  It was slow going as the bottom of the canal appears to be rather close to the top.  However the long weed appears to be doing a good job of filtering the water.  Actually this may not be a good thing because you could see all the rubbish on the bottom.  At one point an enormous fish (500mm) swam beside the stern.  It looked like a predator to me!

We’re in the Aire Valley with the River Aire to one side of the canal and now we also have the railway squeezing in beside the canal.

Railway crosses the River Aire

We called it a day at Rodley stopping on the 7 Day moorings which we have to ourselves.  Timing was perfect because the heavens opened just after we had moored and erected the pram cover.  Jan is going to make blackberry and apple jam and we’ll probably wander along to the nearby Railway Inn for a Sunday roast. 

I need to walk off the vanilla slice…. We actually the four vanilla slices.


Pip and Mick said...

We've just come up from Leeds this morning and are moored a few upsteam from you near the swing bridge (NB Lillyanne).
When you go down through Newlay locks have a chat with the old lockie there. He has a different opinion on CRT to the chap that you met at Field locks. He doesn't like them at all!
Personally I think they do ok.
It's a shame they need security guards there. The recomendation is to leave Rodley early in the morning.

Narrowboat QISMA said...

4 slices is what I think I managed .. We were moored before SaltIre near a rather unfriendly pub . I kidded myself the walk in and out = the slices!!

Tom and Jan said...

Now attempting to work them off my waistline before they become permanent!