A couple of hours in and there were still a few locks to tackle but Leeds was only a stones throw away so it was surprising to find no rubbishy water, stinky bridges, hardly any razor wire or any of the other usual city treats.
High water levels meant one lock needed a bit of help from suits on lunch breaks, happy to muck in they carefully placed their brief cases to one side before attacking the gates. After a bit of research we didn’t stop after Office Lock but continued past the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Warehouse and dropped down through River Lock, leaving the Leeds and Liverpool canal behind.
Started in 1770 and completed in 1816 at a cost of 1,200,000 – more than five times the original estimate, 127 miles long (excluding branches), it’s the longest single canal in Britain built by a single company. Not for the faint hearted but a fascinating waterway with a bit of just about everything along the way, it was the last biggy we had left to do…
Out onto the Aire and Calder Navigation we passed under Leeds Bridge, followed the river a little way before turning off into Clarence Dock. Visitor moorings are sparse – a measly five and they were all taken when we arrived. The end wall didn’t look such a bad option so we set up camp there, complete with electric hook up we were happy enough. An unlikely early evening departure from one boat left an official free space so we moved to where we coulnd’t be slung out.
The mixture of leisure, business and residential making up Clarence Dock was opened in 2007, apparently its had it’s fair share of problems and in 2012 Leeds City Council attempted to inject new life into what was considered a re-branding failure by renaming it New Dock, that’ll do it. We’re not complaining, floating pontoon, water and £5.60 on the electricity meter – what’s not like?