In the lock and dropped by 8.30, the gates swung open revealing the muddy flow of the Ouse. Second out, the nose was swept by the water and the end whipped round to follow. We soon built up a fair pace and the miles ticked by. With the tide just turned the water was low – mudflats and all sort of items long lost to the Ouse marked the way. The boat in front seemed to be going almost impossibly slowly and as tempting as it was to rip past them we held our position. Around eight miles in another narrowboat caught the end of our line. The Canal and River Trust widebeam couldn’t resist burning past us all, shame he didn’t think to check on his VHF to see if the Nayburn boats had been fired downstream, a near boat slam that would have been like a rocket up the slow go infront. Conditions are everything but it’s almost spring tide and the tidal experience up to York was no big deal.
A great trip from Nayburn up to York. From ingeniously adapted boat houses to grand bridges spanning the Ouse there’s an overload of sights to take in. Having let Murk out for a run around at Nayburn we were the last of the boats to arrive in York, five minutes conversation with two guys on a boat in Nayburn Lock meant they’d kindly kept a look out for us and called for us to moor alongside until another space opened up.
As city centre moorings go it would be hard to top this one, bang in the middle of York with the Ouse flowing past the window.
The Selby Canal is weedy, a little while of whizzing round the prop leaves one variety almost felted. Five miles today took a while but in no real rush it didn’t matter. Through the swing bridge we arrived at Selby Lock just in time to see today’s boats make the tricky lock turn manoeuvre. No surprise to see the cruisers appear first, they wobbled about awkwardly but then they’re a whole different kind of boat. We looked up river waiting for the main event. Next up, the first two narrowboats, screaming down on the tide. Yikes they were moving fast, turning involved some loud engine revving and what seemed to be a painfully long time being swept sideways before straightening up into the flow. Not sure if I’m glad to have seen it or not.
We’ll be shooting off on the tide at 8.30am. Heard a fair few warnings about York that we didn’t expect: ‘Have you got chains?’ ‘Stop at Naburn, catch the bus in.’ ‘We had kids on the roof before we called the police.’ even opening this month’s Towpath shouted more of the same with an article on a spate of boats graffitied on The Ouse at York. Suck it and see. We might end up Marpisser yet.
Thanks to the very friendly lock keeper who offered us an overnight, offside, floodlit Selby mooring we’re only a lock length from the river, so we’ve been on river watch…checking the tide is still working? And watching very big bits of wood drift on by.
Appalled by the conditions of the slums in Bradford, Sir Titus Salt relocated his textile business to the banks of the river Aire and set about building better living conditions for his workers. Stone cottages, wash houses with tap water, a hospital, school, a reading room, billiard hall, allotments and even a boat house were among the features that made his vision a success. He was in the Cadbury camp so far as alcohol was concerned and there was no pub, things have improved on that front, there’s now an international award winning brewery. His legacy lives on, Saltaire is widely considered an important development in 19th century urban planning and the village is a World Heritage Site. The mill closed in 1986, now art galleries, offices and housing – passing between the intimidating giants is a ghostly spine tingler.
On through Shipley, we finally said goodbye to a couple we first passed on the approach to Blackburn. It’s funny how you flip-flop boats putting in a similar daily average (although theirs tended to happen much earlier in the morning than ours). We hadn’t exactly travelled together but saying goodbye was strangely sad. As usual the drifting boat forced conversation to an early end, calling back everyone agreed to enjoy the rest of summer which was as good as saying it was great to know you for a while, have a nice life.
Leeds is around five miles away but tonight is strictly rural and the barbecue got HOT!