The water points were busy so we pulled over and waited a while, the tank must have been on the last few dregs. Skipton soon disappeared, replaced with open countryside along with a trillion swing bridges. Each seems to bring it’s own challenge, from those that won’t budge an inch to the temperamental electric ones that eventually open, only to get stuck open whilst waiting traffic curls up over the Dales. There was one that Nick didn’t moan about too much though – and yep he did get them to push.
The plan was to be moored for Murray’s first match but shallow sides saw us continuing, shady wooded stretches moved us on a bit more and the outskirts of Bingley pushed us right on, into Bingley Five Rise.
It was ten past four by the time we arrived at the top lock and it seemed the lock keeper had mentally clocked off for the day. ‘They’re sharp 60ft locks, you’ll get wet and you’ll be needing that bow thruster.’ In we went.
Top of the flight is the lock equivalent to an infinity pool, views that look as though you could topple from the edge of the world. With Canal and River Trust working one side and Nick on the other we were down Five Rise, a drop of 59ft, in 35 minutes – fifteen minutes slower than the first boat ever down in 1774 – perhaps the locks were all for them. Bingley Three Rise soon followed, The Damart Factory stands over the bottom lock, apparently there’s a well stocked mill shop selling ‘good, sensible underwear’…
We didn’t stop for the factory shop but moved a mile or so before deciding no more locks today and reversing back from Dawley Gap. Judging by the squiggles in Nicholson tomorrow’s lock/bridge combinations are a Super Mario for narrowboats.