Friday 31 July 2015


We were sneaky this morning – stole off our mooring very early to fill up at the water point and reverse back to the same place – we want to be tied up there over the weekend. I was pleased that both the new sound insulation and doing everything at tickover meant I could hardly hear Erin Mae myself, so I don't think anyone else could.

Staying put for a few more days is part of the lead up to the Norwegian grandchildren coming shortly. And today, with the Met Office saying it wasn't going to rain, we decided to check out what we think we'll do with them during the couple of days we intend to spend in Gargrave. So it was onto the bus again and then, of course, we needed to check the quality of the coffee at the Dalesman tea rooms.

Took a while to do that.

Then we walked past the memorial in the square, and up to St Michael's church. Two things struck me there. The first was the decorations on the organ pipes.

The second was an A4 booklet detailing all the stained glass windows of the building, linking them to Bible passages, and inviting the reader to think about their response. It was very well done and I've never seen anything presented in quite this way before. I thought it deserved a clap, but since we were in church, I confined myself to leaving a long piece of applause in the visitors' book comments section.

In Gargrave there is a fine expanse of recreation ground alongside the River Aire, and I'm sure we'll be doing some paddling in a couple of weeks, between bouts of French cricket. But today it was time to find the Pennine Way out of the village southwards (i.e. in the opposite direction from the field where our feet got saturated with liquid manure last week). We found ourselves climbing to where there are some grand views across the valleys.

The route turned out to be exactly what we had wanted for the children – it should stretch them without exhausting them, and give them an experience of something very different from what they're used to. We found a good lunch spot, but ate our own lunch at the 5th lock of the Bank Newton flight, before turning down the towpath back towards Gargrave.

It was between the first and second of the Gargrave locks that, much to our surprise, we encountered CRT's chief executive Richard Parry, walking along the towpath in the company of Canal Boat magazine columnist Steve Haywood. Later on we passed Steve's boat NB Justice moored up.

Now Steve's column suggests he's not afraid of offering his own critique of waterway matters, so I imagine they've been having a very interesting afternoon (or longer). Be that as it may, we stopped to say hello and have a brief chat. From the distance at which we sit, it seems that Richard has so far been making a very good fist of an extremely complicated role. Really enjoyed running into you both, gentlemen, and I hope you enjoyed your walk.

I also hope the route we've established will have the same soporific effect on the children in a couple of weeks as it seems to have had on us today!


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