A Slowly Birthday. 20th May

Keighley Golf Club to Skipton 3 day Visitor Moorings


Another early start, but time to have tea in bed along with some birthday surprises. Presents and cards were opened. A new pair of jeans, a Boot Buddy and a limited edition print by Ant Savage. The boot buddy was from Tilly to assist when one treads in woofer deposits. If you haven’t come across Ant Savages work then they are worth a look, lino prints of bendy narrowboats among other subjects.

A bacon butty then we were on our way, pushing off just after a boat that had been moored behind us on the bridge landing for the night. Well that would have been the case except we very quickly made scraping noises, we were stuck on something. Reverse didn’t work, forwards neither, trying to push the stern out, nope! Persevering worked in the end.

The cow bridge

The pound to Skipton keeps you busy, lots of wonderful green views, with plenty of swing bridges. The chap on the boat ahead of us handed over the tiller to his wife and went ahead to open the bridge. Brilliant we’d got a boat to leapfrog the bridges with. Well that’s what we thought!

The bridge opened, the boat ahead gradually made it’s way through. We weren’t sure if the lady on board had seen us. She tried to pull over to the side, but it didn’t really work. The bridge closed behind us and the chap walked along the towpath to where his boat finally touched the bank for a second. We were still behind. Hmm not a leapfrog.

Swing Bridge after swing bridge

At the next bridge the chap hopped off again, but had serious problems moving the bridge, so I joined him, extra bum power required. Both boats came through. He explained that his wife has MS so her balance isn’t so good, possibly also her spacial awareness. This explained why she was finding it hard to pull into the side to let us leapfrog.

We pootled on behind, they clung to the towpath which we thought was a suggestion for us to pass, so Mick cranked Oleanna up a gear as we got closer to Silsden. The back gardens immaculate as ever. Here hire boats waited for the next set of guests to arrive, this is where we’d hired our first boat from together, the start of our journey to living afloat.

Not upgraded yet

Paul from Waterways Routes had asked us to make note if the towpath here had had an upgrade. His maps not only show moorings and services but also what type of towpath runs alongside the navigation. The next stretch had not been upgraded to cyclable, rough and bumpy, it would remain purple on the Waterway Routes maps, also no new moorings to report.

Birthday Boy

The next few swing bridges were opened, either by myself walking between them or we were now starting to meet other boats coming the other way and one heading towards Skipton. Maybe we’d now got a three boat leapfrog, even if one boat couldn’t leap over the others.

It’s getting busy now!

It turned out that the other boat we’d caught up with was a hire boat from Skipton and their handling skills were still being developed. Warehouse Swing Bridge was operated stopping and starting for us, then I hopped off to swing the little footbridge after I’d taken a photo of Oleanna going through Parson’s Bridge 186 to add to our collection.

Oleanna going through

Milking Hill Swing Bridge was being held open by a day boat. Just how many passengers are these little boats allowed? We counted fifteen!

A very pretty stretch

The woods here would have been spectacular a few weeks ago with a sea of bluebells. Shame we missed it.

How many to operate a swing bridge?!

At Bradley Swing Bridge we managed to become lead boat, others dropping behind or pulling in for lunch. The day boats from Skipton were now coming thick and fast along with the trip boats. Assistance was required at Snaygill Swing Bridge to get it moving. Maybe I’ve lost some umph, or have the bridges just become harder to move?

Now the uninterrupted length in to Skipton. We pulled in on the water point and filled up the tank very quickly as the pressure was so good. Where to moor up? Along this stretch where a high wall and a carpark are the view? Round past the Springs Branch where the footfall is heavy? Or further on? We opted for the more central position as it would be handier for a visitor to find us.

A late lunch was followed by Birthday Cake. Maybe the omitted milk would have made it slightly more moist, we’ll see the next time I make it. A message was sent of out location to Frank. This was soon followed by him calling. When were we meeting up? Today? NOt Thursday?!!! Blimey, good job I’d sent him the message when I did as he had a two hour drive from Scarborough on busy roads.

A few items were needed, mallet and spikes mostly, so we headed out to see what we could find. Boyes came up trumps with a mallet and Pennine Cruisers sold us two new shiny spikes. No suitable container for sawdust though or high ball glasses. We’ll carry on looking.

At 6pm Frank arrived, a hunt for a free parking space was successful and then we headed over to Bizzie Lizzie’s for fish and chips, followed by a drink in one of the many pubs.

Ooo! Skipton, why can’t we skip it!?!

0 locks, 8.9 miles, 12 bridges, 1 left open, 6 maybe held up, 1 brother positive, 1 very slow boat to Skipton, 2 boaters who’d forgotten how busy it can get, 5o many day boats, 2 many sailors hats, 1 rejected mooring, 1 Frank stirred into action, 1 full cooler box, 2 spikes, 1 mallet, 3 of each, 3 beers, 1 boy turned 65.


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