We have been doing very short cruising days as we were in no hurry to get back. Last Tuesday we came only a couple of miles through East Marton because we particularly wanted to stay on the Bends - the very curvy section of canal above Bank Newton Locks. Here the canal zig-zags around several upper valleys in the hills and you can see boats coming on another zig or zag long before they reach you. It is a wild and lonely place and quite delightful.
This is the well known and often photographed double bridge at East Marton. The road level was changed so they built another bridge at a higher level. We walked back from the Bends to have lunch at the Cross Keys next to the canal here. Going back along a track we saw more pheasants and partridges than we have ever seen at one time.
On Wednesday we came down the Bank Newton locks, all six of them, with another boat, Wych Way, and then joined them down three of the Gargrave locks to moor in the centre of Gargrave.
Lock gates often have a plaque saying when they were last replaced. This one is seen through the water cascading over the bottom lock gate.
Here is Mike on Wych Way following Leo into one of the locks (not sure which one).
A lot of the hills round here are neatly rounded and green. They reminded us of the Tellytubby Hill when the kids were small. No sign though of Tinky Winky, La La, Dipsy or Po.
Here we are moored at Gargrave. Ian is busy giving Leo a coat of polish before the winter. She looks very well cared for at the moment.
We stayed two nights at Gargrave and went for a walk the following day up three of the hills between Gargrave and Skipton. Two are called Rough Haw and Sharp Haw and the other one doesn't have a name. There should have been good views, but in fact the atmosphere was very murky and we couldn't see very far at all.
This fine house is Eshton Hall just to the North of Gargrave.
And, as I haven't any photos of the views from the top, here is a picture of thistledown as a marker that Autumn is around the corner.
Now it is quite an easy day from Gargrave to our mooring near Skipton but we decided to stop short of Skipton at Roy's Seat where there is a well made bank and a winding hole next to it. This was so that we could paint the gunwales where they had been scraped by numerous lock walls. So it was paint one side, then turn the boat and paint the other. So it was not until Saturday that we got back to our mooring.
This is Niffany Farm Swing Bridge on the way into Skipton. As you can see it had been raining but, at this point, the rain had stopped though the hills on the other side of the Aire valley were in the mist.
Here is a view looking down the Springs Branch at Skipton. This short branch creeps round the back of the Castle, but has nowhere to turn and lots of moored boats, so is best explored on foot, as we have done before.
And then the heavens really opened just as we got back to our mooring. Not a nice welcome back!
Despite the weather, Ian still managed a smile when Helen brandished the camera.
This year we have only managed 412 locks and 765 miles, rather less than previous years. I guess we are getting more relaxed in our old age. We've probably spent more of our time on walking or short cycling trips and mostly been boating in the mornings and doing something else in the afternoons. At least that is our excuse.
Getting home was not straightforward. Ian took the train back to Knaresborough and found a flat battery in the car and a plumbing leak in the house. Oh dear, back to life on land. Let's go back to the boat. We hope you've enjoyed the blog this year. There may be an update or two during the winter and we may well go out for some short trips. There will be more, much more, in 2016. Part of our cruise next year will have to include the Lancaster Canal and the Ribble Link. It's about time we actually managed that. Other than this, which has to be booked in advance, Helen has the novel idea that we won't plan where we go, just travel on impulse. We'll see.