Booths Swing Bridge to Bingley Five Rise
For some reason we’d stocked up on eggs even though we had plenty already. With the use by date just passed it was time we used some. Time for a cooked breakfast. Mick had a master class in making hash browns and we managed to get our pandemic stock pile of bacon down to the half way mark. Very tasty. Tilly also liked it as it meant she had a couple of hours still exploring. I bobbed back in for a quick snack still with another four holes to inspect and what did Tom do? Closed the blinking doors!!
Ahead of us lay more swing bridges, our aim to reach Bingley today.
Leache’s Swing Bridge was first the last of the manual bridges. Some chaps walking their dogs said that nobody could close the bridge properly and that it clatters all day. With this local information I expected to have difficulty swinging it back so that the latch engaged, so I kept the momentum going, only for it to clatter closed with ease. I wonder if the chap was referring to the bridge just clanking as people walked over it, nothing much anyone can do about that!
A sign regarding social distancing lay on the ground broken in half. The towpath was busy but thankfully wide enough for everyone to keep their space. I decided to walk from here.
From here on the bridges are automated requiring the key of power and a good strong index finger. At Bar Lane Swing Bridge we held up 3 cars, a couple had turned round when they saw the stop sign.
Graby Lane Swing bridge was busier, holding up 8.
I walked on from here, just after Swine Bridge Lane Bridge two cottages are for sale. Sadly I can’t find any details on them on line, but they looked compact and characterful.
Morton Swing Bridge is a busy one, I achieved 10 delays to the local traffic, my index finger starting to ache a touch by now.
On past the last place to moor before reaching the top of the Bingley Five Rise and round the bend to Micklethwaite Swing Bridge. Someone was already at the panel, the barriers to oncoming traffic closed, so my services wouldn’t be required. However!
The barriers may have been closed but the control panel had lost all of it’s lights. I asked the obvious questions that I knew Mick would also ask as soon as he’d tied Oleanna up. One barrier was locked in, the other you could move. This bridge is renowned to have problems, when we last came through it was being worked on. Extra pieces have been added to the barrier locks presumably to make sure they stay in place.
Mick had a go with the barriers too, this meant the one we could move then got stuck in the open position. A phone call had already been made to C&RT and we’d been told someone would be with us in half an hour, not bad for a Sunday. Cars arrived and as soon as you walked up to them they knew what you were going to say. They all turned round as soon as a half hour wait was muted.
But within about ten minutes a blue van arrived. The chap checked the panel, then crossed the bridge to open up the big box with all the workings inside. He did something and the barriers were released. They were opened then closed, then the buttons wouldn’t work. Time for him to operate it from the big box, we were told to get our boats ready, by now there were three of us waiting to go through.
The remote buttons worked thankfully, two boats came towards us and then we finally headed through, able to continue on our way towards Bingley. We paused at the water point by the ABC swing bridge to top up the tank before carrying on to see if we could find a space above the five rise for the night.
Several boats faced away from the locks, only one towards. There was space for a couple more boats so we pulled in, sitting a little bit out from the bank but we’d expected that.
Mick wanted to go and have a look at the five rise and see if any boats were heading up that we could watch. There were plenty of people about enjoying the sunshine.
At the locks hazard tape stopped anyone from walking up to them, in fact you could only stand on the swing bridge above or walk down the footpath alongside, not very good for gongoozling. Mick sulked!
Our timing meant that boats might be heading up the three rise so we walked down the footpath to have a look. Ahead blue t-shirts and life jackets could be seen and sure enough a boat was just rising up in the last chamber of the three rise. This was WB Little Duke a bearBoating hire boat.
Fortunately the view up the locks from the bottom is THE view of the five rise, so I managed to get a few photos of Little Duke entering the bottom, all the crew onboard and the Lockies working them up. Would it be the case that we wouldn’t be allowed to assist on the locks tomorrow?
Whilst we waited for the Lock Keepers to reach the top of the hill we decided it was time to partake in some chilled medication from the cafe. Double Chocolate Heaven was our choice and very tasty it was too. I think this is actually our first chilled medication of the year!
We checked in with Clare the Lock Keeper for the morning and returned to Oleanna. We had a new neighbour NB Tobias who were also planning on descending the locks in the morning. Tilly was let loose and she headed straight across the towpath for the big field, not to be seen for a couple of hours, returning just in time for dingding. I had a catch up with my brother and a plan has been hatched for us hopefully to meet up this month before my nephew Josh returns to school.
0 locks, 6 swing bridges, 1 left open, 1 stubborn one, 25 cars held up, 14 turned round, 2 outsides, 1 widebeam, 1 Lock Keeper, 2 volunteers, 1 cone, 1 tub, 27 crackers, 1 roast chicken, 1 plan coming together, 1 possible knitting commission, 1 hotel boat.