Wednesday 5 August 2015

Not in Skipton

At last it was time to get on the move again. We'll be back to sample the delights of Skipton next week with the children in tow – castle and steam train and other things – but in the meantime we have business down the cut.

You always see a complementary side of a town from the canal, and the eastern exit from Skipton is no different. Converted warehouses below a moorland backdrop is par for the course, and some of them seemed to have been done very nicely.

The canal follows the contour along this stretch, meandering along the edges of fields or through shady avenues, so instead of locks there are numerous swing bridges.

This German (I think) family just ahead of us were having a great time on their day-boat, until they encountered a swing bridge with an electric barrier they couldn't see how to work. The husband joined his wife at the console, and after a while my best beloved also went across to help them.

Unfortunately they hadn't spotted that when they finally opened the bridge they would be marooned on the far side, and the kids left on board (11 - 13 year olds) hadn't yet completed their boat-driving course! One of them was on the towpath holding the stern line but the bows had drifted right out across the canal. I got her to secure the line, and then nosed Erin Mae forwards and nudged the boat back towards the bank. Then I managed to make some instructions sufficiently understood to help them take the boat through to the other side. One or two car drivers got a little impatient at the extra delay – but I reckon the adventure was worth the tiny extra bit of hassle in the great scheme of things.

We were going to tie up at Kildwick, but the pump-out light had lit, so we came on to Silsden for the necessary. Some things you don't mess with!

Silsden Boats turned out to be a very friendly bunch. Steve did the pump-out, sold me a bottle of gas and stashed it in the gas locker while I was paying the person in the office, gave us some info about the town, pointed out the best place to moor, told me I could wind right there, and held the bow-line while I brought the stern round. Classy service! Nice one, Steve!

So we've tied up in Silsden, with a pretty residential row on one side, and a rather stunning view over the Aire valley on the other.

Steve thought there might be an acoustic session at a pub in the town tonight, but when we went to find out we discovered it's on Tuesdays – last night. Never mind. If we time things right we might just be here again in a fortnight.


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