Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The ascent has begun

Ten miles and thirteen locks, three of them in staircase flights. The climb up into the Pennines has begun. And pretty energetically too.
Fortunately, after the first couple of locks we got ourselves teamed up with another narrowboat for the rest of the day. Wide locks are done much more easily by two. (The work is shared and two boats don't bash about in the lock like a singleton does.)
But finding the right locking partner is just a matter of chance. A fumbling, bumbling newcomer can make life frustratingly slow; a macho team will have you struggling to keep up and leave you exhausted by day's end.
Luckily our boating buddies were spot on: father, student son and his friend in a hire boat but all of them highly experienced boaters. They were half way round the Pennine Ring and due back in Blackburn next Monday so they were keen to keep moving but not at the expense of making our life unpleasant. We mucked along happily together all day.
Unfortunately, locking can also bring out the worst in people. We found ourselves behind a Dutch barge crewed by a healthy looking gang of five blokes. They were waiting at the foot of a three lock staircase...and watching a single bloke work his way down while his wife steered. None of them helped and nor did any of them even head up to the top of the locks to begin re-setting them for their trip up. No, they were happy to dawdle their way up, uncaring of the queue of four boats built up behind. So we went up, helped the boat down, re-set the locks for the barge and then re-set them again for ourselves. Not a word of acknowledgement.
At the next three lock staircase the same thing happened so, to make life quicker for ourselves, we prepared the locks for them. And then for us. No thanks again. Maybe they thought the middle and top locks refilled themselves by some sort of magic.
Fortunately boaters like that are few and far between or canal boating would soon cease to be the pleasure it is.
Tonight our twosome is moored at the three lock Field staircase near Apperley Bridge. Soon after that will come the famous Bingley Five Rise and then we shall almost be at the summit.

And finally...can you read the sign below? It's a clever piece of mirror writing that the water reflects back the right way. In case you can't it says "The remains of a wooden icebreaker lie submerged"


Anonymous said...

AND a hearty Starwomans meal to finish the day....sound as if you need tokeep the carb intake up for the next leg.

Nicholas said...

Glad we were spot on! It certainly does make it easier when there are two boats together. We enjoyed your company for the day. We did not realize that we were in the company of such famous people (your own blog AND and article in The Tillergraph!)
Happy cruising and I look forward to following your travels via your blog.
Nick F (temporarily of NB Bridie Bear)