Saturn, 126m From Half Way. 29th August

Naburn Water Point Pontoon

I woke at 6:30, my internal clock nudging me awake at the time we could have been leaving if the levels were good. But there was no surprise as I looked out the front, the levels had gone back up again! Back to sleep it was.

Some old wires for the telephone engineers

This morning’s Geraghty Zoom included Revengeful Gutters, Ging Gang Goolie, Currier Couriers and slight envy of Marions new Fire Pit they’d be trying out tonight.

By 11 the levels at Viking Recorder seemed to be levelling out, but would they fall sufficiently for us to head off downstream tomorrow morning, which is when our original plan had been. A look at the forecast suggested not and the level would drop a bit, but then go back up again!

She tried to explain things to me. ‘It’s like your be’doingee ball Tilly. We can only tie the good dry outside up when the ball hits the floor, but at the moment it spends a lot more time in the air than on the floor. When it does hit the floor it immediately jumps back up into the air.‘ I’d be able to put my paw on it to stop it bouncing back up, they’d do the same if they really cared about me!!!

Sign post

After watching, La Course, the Womens one day race of the Tour de France we had a chat with the Lockie. He confirmed that we wouldn’t be going anywhere tomorrow morning, but with fine weather for the next few days Monday is looking like it might be possible. Fingers crossed.

NB Large Marge following us downstream in 2016

Four years ago today we’d woken early and entered Naburn Lock in the mist heading back to Selby after a few days in York. We’d managed to visit the city when the levels had stayed low for a few days and as we left the river was rising again, by the end of the day the mooring bollards at Naburn were under water, today they were nowhere to be seen!

Would the shop at the campsite have our newspaper? We went to ask, but they don’t sell papers. With no shop in Naburn Village we’d have to do without a paper today.

St Matthews Church, Naburn

Instead we went for a walk. The grass verge to the village is wide and mown. St Matthews church sits on the outskirts. We could smell food coming from the pub, but resisted and headed off down Vicarage Lane to find the old railway line, now Route 65 of the National Cycle Network.

The old East Coast Mainline

In 1864 this route was opened knocking half an hour off the journey time between London and Edinburgh. It carried trains like the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard, coal and steel from Yorkshire to other parts of the country. Trains would also take workers from the villages south of York in to Rowntrees factory on the Foss Islands line. Local passenger services stopped in 1958 and the goods traffic ceased in 1964.

Only 10 miles to Selby, it feels like another world today

In the 1980’s work was underway developing the Selby coalfield which coincided with electrification of the rail line. Possible subsidence in the area might cause speed restrictions on the line, now was a good time to bypass the swing bridges at Naburn and Selby creating a new route, getting British Coal to pay for it.

Once the new route opened, the stretch from Riccall to York was sold for £1 to Sustrans and formed the first six miles of the National Cycle Network.

The solar system

To mark the millennium, staff from the University of York created a 10km, 575,872,239 to 1 scale model of the solar system. Scale models of the planets are positioned along the route, The Sun being closest to Tescos in York and Pluto just outside Riccall and there are 1/3 scale models of the Cassini probe and Voyager 1.

King of the castle

Today we joined the route around about half way between Uranus and Jupiter. Heading towards the Ouse we soon came across a raised mound up to a turret made from signal ducting. We climbed to the top expecting a view, but trees got in the way. Below a sign suggested sitting on a bench at the base and lining your view up with a stick. This we did, and there was the view, the central tower of York Minster. Originally this could be seen from the turret, but an oak tree has grown to mask it.

By Naburn Station there is the Tuck Trike Saturn Stop. Here picnic benches offer a break to walkers and cyclists, there is a cafe, a hut with a portapottie and quite a few artworks around the site.

We then walked past Saturn on it’s plinth, a sign post pointing the way to the next planets in each direction.

Naburn Swing Bridge was our next landmark, sitting over the fast flowing Ouse.

Naburn Swing Bridge

Murals have been painted on the concrete walls, poetry added to the rounded sides of the bridge and high above everything sits The Fisher Of Dreams with bicycle and dog.

Designed by Pete Rogers the sculpture was commissioned as part of York City’s Millenium celebrations. The design involved the community, three ideas were formulated, in January 2001 a vote was taken and The Fisher of Dreams was chosen.

On the bridge

The sculpture depicts a person holding a fishing rod sitting on the supports of the old control tower. On the end of the fishing line is a cut out of the Flying Scotsman.

Behind the figure lies their bicycle, a dog with cocked leg taking a wee on it’s saddle. A very amusing sculpture which it was nice to get to see from a different angle.

From below

Down below a big cruiser fought it’s was upstream against the current.

We retraced our steps and then walked down into the village. Those chips smelt good!

Late afternoon we could hear funny noises from outside. Was someone having a shower? Did someones engine have a strange rhythm? It was in fact a cruiser turned up to fill with water. They pulled in behind us and tied up to the boat on the outside, hoses passed over boat roofs. He’d run out a few days ago, so today he really needed to fill up!

Big bum!

That wasn’t the end of the excitement for the day. I’d just served up our lamb potato and spinach curry when there were voices and engine noises coming from the lock area. One big cruiser was in the lock facing upstream.

One on the way up

Ropes were being passed round the swing bridge, then another cruiser came in behind them. The tidal river was so high the height difference up onto the none tidal section could only have been about a foot. These were almost certainly the two cruisers that had left the other day. Wonder how much diesel they’d used pushing against the current to get here from Selby?

Make that two

0 locks, 0 miles, 3.75 miles walked, 1,443,300,000km to Uranus, 648,860,000km to Jupiter, £1 for 6 miles, 1 swing bridge, 1 fisher, 1 engine, 1 bike, 1 dog, 3 cruisers moving, 2 boaters wondering what cat kebabs taste like.