Sunday 13 September 2015

Going with the flow

Just after 7 this morning Nigel was ready to usher us down his lock on to the River Ouse. The tide seemed to be running less swiftly than it had been last night – he said it was just beginning to build.

The gates began to open to give us our first river-level view of the flow.

As we came out the current caught the bows and swung us round. The right hand hand of the boat dipped under the pressure of the water. That was a bit disconcerting – I somehow had been expecting Erin Mae to keel over to the left.

At this point there was a bit of debris in the water, which we tried to avoid.

This was nothing, however, compared to the huge logs we had to steer around as the journey progressed.

Apart from that there were not many obstacles – two bridges at the start and one in the middle of the tidal stretch, which had to be negotiated with care.

It was actually a fine morning, once we relaxed enough to enjoy it a bit, though it was pretty chilly.

Quite a lot of the river was edged by banks too high to see over, and about the only thing of particular interest was the constant task of avoiding the floating debris and keeping out of the shallows. Eventually, however, after about two hours, we caught our first glimpse of Naburn Lock – the end of the tidal section. We were accompanied in the lock by the boats that had been released from Selby after ourselves.

Naburn lock was having an Open Day.

Volunteers have been restoring the buildings housing a forge and a workshop, which used to manufacture tools for local farmers and industry, as well as for river operations.

It's a nice setting, and we thought about stopping here, since we were unsure about the availability of moorings in York.

In the end, however, we decided to push on, taking advantage of the weather, which was getting better by the minute.

We passed an ingenious sculpture attached to a bridge, and a Bishop's palace.

We came under the Millennium Bridge, where streams of cyclists were participating in a York charity event.

A little further on we found the cyclists crossing over a dubiously navigable branch which you enter at your own expense and peril.

A few more bridges bring you to the heart of York,

where you have to watch out for boats considerably smaller and considerably larger than Erin Mae.

We've tied up at the best moorings in town, by the museum gardens. Space was limited during the day because of contractors doing work on the moorings, but we breasted up to NB Isobel at the invitation of its crew, who then moved on after a couple of hours to leave us well set for the night.

So the tide had fewer terrors than feared, for which we are thankful. Of course, we now have to do the return journey, later in the week, and negotiate the turn into Selby Lock with the river rushing Erin Mae downstream. Time will tell!


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