Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Gypsy Rover’s Birthplace

10 Locks, 13 Miles. Now moored at Mirfield

Mirfield 007 First of many railway bridges over the Calder and Hebble. This one is still in use.

It was to be an early start again today so that should our planned destination not be to our liking we could carry on. Unlike yesterday there was very little activity on the navigation until we reached Broad Cut low lock. Once we were in this first lock we realised that there was actually another narrow boat in the second lock ahead of us. We hoped that they had seen us and would wait and share the next lock but no such luck. We did catch up with them at Greenwood lock but not until after they were ready to make their exit. We finally got to share Shepley Bridge lock with them.

Mirfield 009 Wakefield flood lock has had a lot of work done on it including a new footbridge. The wind blew the gate shut.

Back at the Figure of Three locks Dot got a helping hand from some Environmental Agency workers who were just in the process of putting a Bailey Bridge across the lock so that they could get several trucks (lorries) across.

Mirfield 016 Figure of Three locks where EA workers were waiting to close the navigation to put a Bailey Bridge across the lock.

They were repairing a wash out in the course of the river below the navigation which happened 18 months ago. It must have been one hell of a flood because it came up to the navigation level dumping several thousand tons of gravel etc. in the navigation and washed away three boats.  They were good enough to allow us and another wide beam through before closing the navigation for the afternoon.

Mirfield 010 Fancy stone work on this railway bridge which is an electrified main line.

We were not too fussed about where we had planned to moor so we carried on to Mirfield where Gypsy Rover was launched in 2004 and we took her south to the River Wey in 3 weeks with a crew of five, before returning to New Zealand for work.  We had plenty of time today and despite the ominous rain clouds it remained dry. We were lucky to get a mooring right alongside the Lidl store in Mirfield after a marathon 7 hours cruising (for us anyway) where we have stocked up ready for another early start tomorrow.

Mirfield 014 BW were repairing the lock gate collars here but this weed just got worse.

Mirfield 022Dot gets to grips with a Calder & Hebble spike.

1857 locks, 3768  miles, 68 tunnels, 127 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Aire & Calder Navigations.

8 Locks, 14 ½ Miles. Now moored at Stanley Ferry.

It was an overcast and windy farewell to Leeds this morning. It was going to be a long cruise as moorings along these 2 navigations are few and far between. Local boaters had told us that Stanley Ferry would be the ideal mooring and it would only take 4 hours. Well they must either travel a heck of a lot faster than we do or they have Mickey Mouse watch’s because it took us 6 hours. Admittedly all but 2 locks were set against us and boy some of these locks are gigantic and take ages to fill.

Aire & Calder 008 Woodlesford lock where somebody takes pride in it's appearance. (Note the size of the lock!)

With the strong wind which was behind us on the Aire Navigation and head on once we turned onto the Calder Navigation, locking has been tricky at times. Quite a chop was being whipped up by the wind bouncing us around at times and creating bow waves with plenty of spray. You would have thought we were on the open sea.

Aire & Calder 018 Castleford Lock closed for a major repair.

We called into Lemonroyd Marina to buy some diesel only to be told that they don’t sell it and again upon arrival at Stanley Ferry Marina we were told “Sorry no diesel” even though there is a pump clearly visible. Enquiries with a local resident boater revealed that they buy Red diesel from a garage at Normanton. They even offered to drive us into town if we were desperate, now that’s the “Cut” camaraderie for you.We are not desperate at this stage but we will hopefully get some fuel before we reach the Rochdale Canal.

Aire & Calder 015 Gypsy Rover leaving Lemonroyd lock where a local boater did the honours of operating the lock for us.

Aire & Calder 023Stanley Ferry's 2 aqueducts. The front one completed in 1839. The concrete aqueduct behind was built 1981. Calder Navigation.

1847 locks, 3755 ½  miles, 68 tunnels, 127 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Royal Armouries, Leeds.

Leeds 121 The Royal Armouries  Museum Leeds.

Leeds 137 Players in the Civil War re-enactment at the Armoury, Leeds. 26th/27th Sept,2009.

Our decision to stay outdoors yesterday proved to be the right one as today has been overcast, windy but not too cold. A good day for a visit to the Royal Armouries Museum. This museum came about because the Tower of London and the museum at Portsmouth had become full to overflowing with exhibits and artefacts that a new site was required.

Leeds 124  The Royal crest surrounded by weapons of war.

What a museum it is, five stories high of amazing displays not only of war and fighting but of hunting through the ages and modern day gun and knife crime in the UK. We spent the best part of 5 hours in the museum but really to do it justice you really need to spend a whole day in there.

Leeds 127Hunting section of the Royal Armoury depicting a Tiger hunt.

Leeds 134 Japanese mounted warrior.

When you feel like a rest there are little covered in glass balconies overlooking Clarence Dock where you can sit and enjoy what ever is happening below. Today there was a procession of people all wearing bright pink “T” shirts with other brightly coloured apparel. Some of the men were even wearing bright pink high heeled shoes. We presumed that it was an organised fund raising walk as there were a couple of medics among them carrying huge first aid packs. Just seen on the BBC news that it was a fundraising  for Breast Cancer “High heelathon!”

Leeds 130Even the men were wearing high heeled shoes.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Potato Wharf (Clarence Dock) Leeds

2 Locks, 1 Mile. Now moored at Clarence Dock (Potato Wharf).

Leeds 030 Granary Wharf dry docks now part of a new complex in the heart of Leeds.

We have been blessed with a beautiful day today, clear blue skies and sunshine. The only downfall was the biting wind in exposed places. With it being such a glorious day it was too nice a day to waste at the Royal Armouries Museum so it was off into the city with camera at the ready.

Leeds 032 Granary Wharf redevelopment.

Like so many places we have visited, Leeds has a 300 year old history just on the canal and river navigation alone. Coal was a big factor with the Leeds Corporation Electricity Dept having a power station at Kirkstall which had its own very large wharf, now Fallwood Marina and a long forgotten about power station in the city which was reached by a lock in the bowels of the labyrinth below Leeds Railway Station on the River Aire.

Leeds 087Clarence Dock or “Tattie dock” as the boatmen called it for its regular potato cargo's.

Wool, potato’s, produce and grain also figured in the growth of Leeds around the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Boatmen of old knew Clarence Dock as “Tattie Wharf” due to the preponderance of potato cargo’s through the wharf. Many of the old warehouses have been lovingly converted to office or apartment blocks to retain the canal/river side image. Some, like the Tower Mill alongside our previous mooring above Office Lock have not been so fortunate. The street facade has been retained along with the 3 towers which were actually very elaborate chimney’s but the rest is being demolished in preparation for another new development.

Leeds 072All that remains of Tower Mill. They are actually chimneys. A new apartment building is to be built around them retaining the street facade.

There is a lot of activity around the Royal Armouries Museum this week-end with  a re-enactment of the Civil War taking place and lot of people wandering around in period costume. We will visit the museum tomorrow.

Leeds 091 Re-enactment of the Civil War at the Royal Armouries Museum.

Leeds 103

When it came time to move from Office Lock to our present mooring we found that BW had assigned a lock keeper to Office and River locks for the day so we got assisted passage. The lockie told us he had been helping out at the Bingley 5 Rise. Since we arrived at Clarence Dock about 5 other boats have appeared which is probably the most boat movements in one day that we have seen since leaving Liverpool. There are not many spare moorings left now.

1839 locks, 3741 miles, 68 tunnels, 127 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 26 September 2009


11 Locks, 6 Miles, 2 Swing bridges. Now moored in Leeds.

Leeds 002Ross Mills at Rodley, L & L Canal.

As we had a longer than usual cruise planned for today we were on the ball bright and early. Another reason was that we had actually moored over night on the swing bridge moorings which was our only option due to the visitor moorings being full. The boss from Rodley Boats had told us not to go any further last night and to set off early today which we did.

Leeds 004Armley Mill Managers house and Weavers cottages.

BW workers were at the flights of locks so we only had the single locks to do solo. The only hassle we had was at Spring Garden lock where we had to open all 3 working paddles to get the lock to fill. The moment one paddle was closed you could see the water level dropping. We spent over half an hour at this lock before we finally got through.

Leeds 007The remains of a wooden ice breaker lie submerged. (dyslexic?)

The lock keepers who had some knowledge of the cut, and all of them are only part time casuals these days, suggested that we go as far as Granary Wharf today as we had to pick up our prescriptions from the chemist at the railway station but the actual moorings are closed due to redevelopment of the area.

Leeds 009 Our first sighting of modern Leeds.

The old long term moorings above Office lock have now been made into 7 day visitor moorings (not sure you would want to stay for that long by choice). The site is on the non towpath side and is fenced off so hopefully is reasonably secure. If we leave the site on foot we need to take our anti vandal key with us to get in and out.

Leeds 014 Oddy 2 Rise locks Leeds. It is wearing a BW sweat shirt. Was somebody trying to make a statement.

Leeds 013Oddy 2 Rise locks Leeds.

We are directly below the railway so it is a wee bit noisy but it will only be for the night as we plan to go down to The Royal Armouries moorings on the Aire and Calder Navigation tomorrow.

1837 locks, 3748 miles, 68 tunnels, 127 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 25 September 2009

Emmerdale Country.

5 Locks, 7 Miles, 9 Swing bridges. Now moored at Rodley. 

Rodley 006 Fields 3 Rise flight on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Shipley. The lock keeper wasn't very talkative.

With Dot back on board last night it was time to slip our moorings first thing this morning. But first a phone call to New Zealand for her dad’s 91st birthday, its times like this we wish we weren’t so far away.  Along the way, we picked up a new gas tank as one of ours ran out about 2 weeks ago and put 80 litres of diesel in the tank . With temperatures dropping at night the Mikuni central heating unit has started working occasionally using more diesel so we will have to start being more aware of our fuel consumption.

Rodley 013 They live on this!! A real vagabond boat seen this afternoon.

At Dock Lane swing bridge Dot came up against a real odd ball swing bridge like nothing she had encountered before.

Rodley 001Dock Lane swing bridge 209 operating controls (could do with a paint, lack of maintenance is definitely becoming noticeable here).  Took a bit of working out, BW key to unlock then 18 turns with windlass on the left hand shaft and then turn right hand shaft until bridge opens with you on it.  The reverse on closing with 36 turns on the left hand shaft after the bridge is closed.  All this as well as unlocking and lowering the road barriers by hand.  What a rigmarole. Hope there’s not another one like this!

While at this bridge we got talking to a guy with his young son taking a stroll along the towpath. They followed us to Oddies swing bridge where the young lad went to help Dot while Dad chatted to some mates. He was most insistent that he could could open the bridge on his own which he did.

Rodley 003 Dot's little helper. He insisted on opening the bridge himself.

At the BW Apperley Yard facilities we had planned on doing a pump out but the machine was out of order and guess what, it was only serviced yesterday, can you believe it.  So that’s another card that has paid for a pumpout that we never got.  Do any of these things work?  We then had no choice but to do a self pumpout  using our own machine into the Elsan.  Not the preferred option but we really had no choice. After an hour trying to fill the water tank we gave up as the pressure was so slow we would have been there all day.  We got enough to last until we arrive in Leeds tomorrow anyway.  The washer drier has been working flat out today to clear the backlog of laundry.  Nearly done, last one tomorrow.

At the Field 3 Rise locks we were apparently not far by road from the village of Esholt aka Emmerdale of Yorkshire Television fame but we had no plans to visit the area.

Rodley 007 Bradford City Council Sewage works at Esholt. They had their own canal basin pictured and their network of railway tracks.

1826 locks, 3741½ miles, 68 tunnels, 125 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Shipley MRC Exhibition

With the editor having been away in London visiting family since the 16th I have been holed up at Shipley on my lonesome. The most interesting thing that took place while she was away was a visit to the Shipley Model Railway Club on the 19th.

Shipley MRS exhb 008St George's Quay in '0' gauge. The coal chute actually drops coal into the hold.

With 13 layouts on display including the clubs 2 permanent layouts there was plenty to see and watch. Spread over 3 floors it was probably the best exhibition I’ve seen this year.

Shipley MRS exhb 010Very well made river and viaduct on an 'N' gauge layout.

Other than this I have spent the rest of the time catching up on little repair jobs that get left for a rainy day. The weather wasn’t good enough to touch up any paintwork on the outside but the interior got a spruce up.

Shipley MRS exhb 017Welsh narrow gauge in 009 gauge. Real smoke included.

Shipley MRS exhb 032Breakdown train awaiting it's next call out.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Saltaire’s Harmonium and Organ Collection.

Saltaire 055 Truemans Harmonia in Saltaire

While in Saltaire we visited the Victoria Hall which is another grand building which was originally the Institute. This is still used as an events venue with a large reed organ in the main auditorium. In one of the side rooms is a collection of reed organs and harmoniums from around the world which is one man’s work along with his long suffering wife. Most of the organs are found in damaged or dismembered conditions but they painstakingly restore them to working condition.

Saltaire 056 Victoria Hall in Saltaire contains a museum of Harmoniums and Organs.

They have been obtained from churches,chapels,old cinema's where silent movies used to be shown before they were demolished. The proprietors told us that they had a picture of an organ that had been built especially for an exhibition which I suspect may have been the Festival of Britain some time around 1935. However they never ever thought they would see it let alone own it but their wish came true when it was found and it now takes pride of place among their collection.

Saltaire 057 This organ is a one off having been specially made for an exhibiton possibly the festival of Britain exhibition in 1935.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Fire! Fire! Just kidding and being prepared!!

East Riddlesden Hall 046 Fire buckets and hose pump at Oakworth Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.East Riddlesden Hall 047 100 years old and still looking good.

The Old and the New

Bingley 008 The road bridge isn't wide enough so a seperate pedestrian bridge was built.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Saltaire Combined Reformed Church.

Despite Sir Titus being a supposedly modest man and not one to spend money frivolously his church was something to be aligned with a grand mansion or hall. We only got a sneak preview in the church just as the warden was about to lock up so she could go to work.

Saltaire 022 The former Congregational church at Saltaire built by Sir Titus Salt for his workers.

We did learn that Sir Titus wanted his wife to sit among the congregation and get all the gossip from the workers about him or the company but she refused. She insisted that a balcony for her and the family be built at the rear of the church above the congregation. Sir Titus relented and gave her what she requested but then had two huge chandeliers built and hung in such a position so that her view was completely obscured.

Saltaire 028 Inside Sir Titus Salts Congregational church.

The church was closed for a period but was re-opened in 1958 after restoration and redecoration and has under gone subsequent restoration. Being a Grade 1 listed building under the guidelines of English Heritage everything has to be restored exactly as it was originally. Unfortunately vandalism in the form of smashed windows and lead stolen from the Mausoleum roof adds to the overall running cost of the building.

Saltaire 025 Sir Titus Salt is entombed in this crypt on the side of his Congregational church. Unfortunately thieves keep stealing the lead off the roof.

Saltaire 029 Sir Titus salt was supposed to be a modest man but his church is far from modest with his initials TS in abundance on the buildings.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Open All Hours?

East Riddlesden Hall 036 Shop sign in Haworth. Open all Hours? Yeah Right!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Saltaire World Heritage site.

With just a hint of sunshine we walked back along the towpath this morning to Saltaire. Walking between the two mill buildings that Sir Titus Salt had built gave just a hint of what this man achieved in his lifetime.

Saltaire 001 Salts Mill encompass the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.Saltaire 002 Salts Mill on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. There is a building on both sides of the canal with a walkway between them.

At the end of the mill building we turned into Roberts park which is officially closed at present undergoing a major restoration programme. Luckily the walkways are open so we walked through the park to Baildon and found the Shipley Glen Tramway. This is also closed for refurbishment but we had a good look at the distance and gradient of the tramway.

Saltaire 007 The housing for the rolling stock on the Shipley Glen Tramway.

Saltaire 010 Archway to the entranceway of the Tramway.

Back at the canal we ventured up into what is know as Salts or Saltaire (model) Village which is the housing that Sir Titus Salt had built for his mill workers circa 1860 and is now a world heritage site. This included a school, as he was a great believer in education, a hospital to care for the health of his workers, a church to look after their spiritual needs, almshouses and a pension for the aged or infirmed and Roberts Park to encourage sporting activities to keep idle minds away from alcohol. Sir Titus was believed to be Tee Total therefore no pubs were built or even allowed in the village.

Saltaire 034 Saltaire laid out in grid formation. This was the start of town planning as we know it today by towns and cities all over Britain.

The village being set out in grid formation was to make the most out of the land available and was a fore runner of other Victorian employer built villages, namely Bournville (George Cadbury) and Port Sunlight ( W.H Lever). From these came town planning as we know it today. There were also different style houses, the three storey houses were for communal living of single workers, a two storey house with a small front garden for foremen or Overlookers as they were called. The lowly workers had no front garden and just a small back yard but allotments were provided on land between the village and the railway. There was also a centrally situated Bath house where families went for the weekly bath but these have since been demolished.

Saltaire 036 The three storey buildings were accommodation for single workers at the mill while foremen had these houses with gardens. Workers had no garden.

Along the Western edge of the village he built some grander style semi detached houses for his executives, teachers and church minister with splendid views over open countryside but this has long since disappeared under more housing. Regardless of their standing in the company each house occupier had running water, a toilet, gas lighting and paved yards which was exceptional for the period. Sir Titus really looked after his workers but I suppose he did have an ulterior motive and that was to keep the mills operating producing luxury cloth from Llama and Alpaca wool. When he died his family found to their dismay that the fortune Sir Titus had accumulated had mostly be given away to worthwhile charities.

Saltaire 043Sir Titus also looked after the aged and infirmed by providing these lovely Almshouses.