The red type has links to informative pictures!!
Bosun Broadhead is fast gaining a severe aversion to locks in as much as he now thinks they should all be filled in. The only waterway worth a visit is the Norfolk Broads in his view and he harbours a burning ambition to own a Broom cruiser with mighty big aerials one day. I was planning a few days off on Bona Dea as a last cruise before laying up for winter. Where to take him? Where are the least number of locks? On the rivers of course, so initially York and Ripon was chalked up as a destination. Then British Waterways stoppages appeared and Naburn Lock would be shut for two months so that was amended to Selby and Stamford Bridge.
Spent some time reading the bible according to Nicholson then checked with Selby Lock and Bamber Barrage for passage. No problems except we had to purchase a certificate of non pollution which really serves as a licence for a year. Tide times say we must go through Selby about 8.30am and Bamber Barrage an hour later. To use our time to the maximum we needed to get to Selby for our first night.
Loaded up with lots of provisions and, in the Bosun's case, lots of lentils which means we must have access to "facilities". Its about time I introduce the Bosun to you in person, or picture at least. Those of you who have read "The Voyage Home" will be fully aware as to how we came to be acquainted. This was by a badly chosen career path into nursing !
And so we leave Broad Cut Lock amid beautiful autumn sunshine. Everything sounds sweet and there's plenty of water coming out of the exhaust ! Bona Dea also looked very smart, this being the first voyage since the complete paint, polish and antifoul plus the replacement of various navigation lights and vents with shiny new ones.
We meandered down through Thornes, past Dave Hinchliffe's "Shalom" and into the centre of Wakefield to Fall Ings Lock. The last time we had ventured through here it took three brutally large blokes to open one of the gates which resulted in contact with British Waterways. This time we find that this sort of contact indeed works as the gate had been eased and was no trouble. Through Fall Ings and onto the Aire & Calder Navigation. As I hinted earlier, Bosun hates locks and thinks they should all be filled with water so we have "flat" canals. We slowly chug past Stanley Ferry, over the aqueduct and the rest of the locks are either mechanised or have British Waterways folk working them so Bosun is not quite as unhappy. This time we manage to work through Altofts Lock without the mishap of last time and the offending fuel filter. One of Ian's (Bosun) greatest rumblings is that we have yet to complete any voyage at all without a disaster of some sort. Running up to Ferrybridge Lock, we sail very pleasantly through a very attractive stretch of the River Aire as it passes Fairburn Ings. Then through Castleford flood lock, after giving way to a sizeable commercial boat that came out a an unbelievable rate of knots. We pause at the BW Office in the hope of refreshing our vision of the young lady there with the very attractive "bits" not quite concealed. Tragically there is no sign of her and we have to proceed with the real purpose of our visit, to purchase a facilities card. We pass through Ferrybridge and Knottingley then branch off onto the Selby Canal which is a combination of canal and the River Aire. The first lock we encounter is Bank Dole with a drop in water height of about 18" it seems. We are trying to push on now as we must be at Selby Lock tonight. The next is Beal Lock and as we slip through it is beginning to get gloomy ! On to West Haddersley which is a flood lock also where we finally leave the River Aire. A very attractive little place is West Haddersley although the fact that the pub fails to open on a weekday lunchtime with the Landlord gleefully waving you away through a window does not endear oneself to the community!!! It is now 6.30pm and already becoming gloomy. We have at least an hours run to get to Selby. Looks like we are going to get our wish of night time cruising! The Selby Canal is surprisingly clean. The water is gin clear in many places. The surrounding vegetation and weed growth also indicate very "fishy" waters. We did not really encounter that many anglers taking advantage of this. The other very noticeable thing was the lack of other boats. We encountered none at all on this part of the voyage.
So now it is getting dark. Time to light up. New navigation and stern lights work very well. We also put on cabin lights and try and use the tunnel light for good measure. The tunnel light points anywhere but where we want it to point so out with the big torch. Bosun B is at the helm and experiencing difficulty in identifying bridges!! He mistakes the arch for a solid object and the bridge itself for the passage. Could have been a disaster but at last we manage to convince his eyes that he is looking through the damned bridge. The most helpful guide it seems, on the Selby Canal anyway, is the reflection of any light on the water itself, especially the moon. And darker it gets and I suppose its a case of what you can't see you don't worry about !
Into Selby we glide and have been advised not to moor near the boatyard but to carry on into the Lock basin. We encounter the Selby Swing Bridge and Bosun comes into his own. He loves this power thing. Lots of flashing lights and stop the traffic!! Even more impressive in the dark. Through the bridge without mishap and its a very short distance to the moorings. Nobody else at all on the visitor moorings but the long term moorings look to be fully occupied with a wide variety of boats including a very sporty and commodious launch belonging to British waterways labelled "Naburn Lock". We both agree that a cruise in that would not be too much of a toil.
Tied up and reconnoitred, Selby Lock is yet another example of a very well kept British Waterways facility. Bogs and showers very clean. The moorings pleasantly lit as is the lock. We have our first glance at the River Ouse and are impressed. Quite a size and a strong looking flow. Its quite early doors yet so a walk is agreed and we saunter off into Selby town centre where it proceeds to really piss it down ! We try to amble around with interest taking in the Abbey which is an impressive structure indeed. The rain becomes too much for us and we are forced very much against our wills to take shelter in a hostelry and purveyor of fine ales and mineral waters. Dripping coats off, very pleasantly warm and some interesting scenery to help console us along with some liquid refreshment we were forced to pour down our necks in order to continue to enjoy the shelter. Eventually we agree that the rain has slowed sufficiently to allow passage back to our haven. The fact that it is near shutting time is an incidental.
Back on board and the new addition to the ships equipment comes into its own. I happened to wander into a Camping & Caravan establishment just looking and I spied a radiant gas heater. Quite small and free standing. Silhouette pictures of boats on the box suggested that I might be interested. After a conversation with a man that knows and the dismissal of worries about fumes etc, I make the purchase for £50. Which might seem a lot but when compared to nearly £1000 for a basic diesel fired heater..... well you see my point. It uses smallish lpg canisters which last for about four to five hours and cost £1.50 each. It takes no time at all to render our cabin space very civilised and cosy. It has the added advantage, being very popular with Bosun, of heating the front end as well which the cooker and oven failed to do. So a very popular purchase.
We have hardly forced open our peepers and Lockie is asking if we are ready to go through. We indulge in good use of the "facilities", not sure when we will see some more. This reminds me of Bosun's visit to the bog during the night ! Ever heard anyone playing the 1812 by wind???
Its a very easy let down through Selby Lock and the keeper informs us it will take us around an hour to get to Bamber Barrage. He also wants to know when we will be back through, first thing Monday morning is the decision giving us a day to get back to Calder Grove. Little did we know!!!
The River Ouse is a big fast flowing affair and I can understand some peoples reluctance to venture out but we had no real problems at all. Parts of it put us in mind of the River Yare in Norfolk but a much faster tidal flow. Going down with the tide we fair raced along. I have to admit I had to have three goes at getting into Bamber Barrage which was ready for us having booked in. It takes a little practice to "stem the tide" which I believe is the boaty expression for using the tide to manoeuvre. The barrage is an impressive structure and can deal with high water either side with its clever gates. Not much of a lift and we are soon out and have to meander up river and moor at a pontoon. Then back to the barrage to gleefully part with £12 for an anti-pollution licence which is in effect a years cruising permit. The Environment Agency have responsibility for the River Derwent and abstract a lot of water. Already it is a very attractive prospect, very clear water and lush vegetation along the banks.
The first part of the river takes you past the EA abstraction plant and then nothing but grassy fields, trees and rural villages with the occasional very posh residence. Our first stop is at Bubwith. Why? Because we could find no suitable moorings anywhere else. As it is we just pulled the boat into a very shallow bay with an accessible bank. Bosun says there are fish and chips here and I'm starving so good news. We wander into the village and make a few essential purchases including my scran. Once again, this is clearly a hamlet of some wealth. Stockbroker belt we decide influenced by the size of the houses and all the BMW's Jags and Mercs. Back to the boat and we are stuck solid in the mud. It takes a lot of huffing and puffing, shoving with the boat hook and some judicious reverse to get us off and on our way again. The river gets significantly narrower after Bubwith with lots of overhanging and fallen trees and shrubs to circumnavigate. Some of the gaps we managed to squeeze through did not look at all inviting. This makes steering very interesting and requires a good deal of concentration. The surprising thing we both comment on is that we have not seen a single boat on the move since entering the Selby Canal at West Haddlesey. We arrive at the junction with the Pocklington canal which is run by British Waterways and is undergoing a very patient renovation. We saunter up to the Cottingwith Lock with the intention of trying to go through but decide that the weed growth on the other side and the look of the gates which suggest they have not been opened for many a week is sufficient to encourage us to see Stamford Bridge as the desirable destination. Onward we go and the hazards are even more frequent. We touch bottom a few times which, as is seems to be a gravel bed here, I fear is rubbing off all my carefully applied new anti-foul!! Its on this stretch that we spy a young cow apparently peacefully bathing in the river. Only its at the bottom of a steep bank with no obvious route out. Clearly the cow is incapable of putting on a miserable face. We have no chance of getting it out of the water so we resolve to pass the information on at the first opportunity. We arrive at Sutton/Elvington Lock around 5pm. The gates take a bit of shutting and then its a puzzler to try and figure out how to operate our first guillotine lock. The top guillotine is now electric but a very friendly and helpful fella informs us that its a case of might work or might not. If it does not work then there are a trillion turns of a windlass which supposedly takes an hour to wind up the gate. This is termed as a manual override in case of failure. The "wheel brace" type paddle key, a set of laminated plastic picture instruction cards are kept in the steel cupboard on the left hand side of the lock facing upwards. Access is gained by a BW key. Firstly you un - padlock the hatch to the sluice within the top guillotine gate and insert the wheel brace and have a good winding session. There is a micro switch to stop the electric guillotine working unless you have closed the hatch. Another BW padlocked hatch uncovers the control buttons on the other side of the lock. The lock took ages to fill due to a rather gaping hole in the bottom gates. We have a long conversation with the helpful fella who it turns out has the narrow boat above the lock. His engine gave up three years ago and he's not moved since and obviously loves his "enforced" surroundings. He tells us that the gates are the property of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust whom the Environment Agency seemingly deliberately skint in protracted legal arguments resulting in there being insufficient funds to repair the gates. The same applies to the absence of bottom gates at a similar guillotine lock at Stamford Bridge where the chamber and guillotine itself are in perfectly serviceable condition but now effectively form the limit of navigation by virtue of not being there ! Our new friend is convinced that the EA do not want the boating fraternity on their precious river and there does appear to be some merit to this view! This fella appears to have had no trouble in becoming a pillar of the local community and immediately knows who to inform about the swimming cow which he does by mobile phone. We wonder where his income originates but do not pursue this curiosity. We mention our surprise at the lack of boats on such an attractive waterway and he tells us we are only the ninth boat to come through the lock this year and it is now October! We promise to come back and visit him again in warmer months.
Its beginning to get gloomy and we wanted to get to Stamford bridge this evening. Our pal tells us that's no problem and we should make it easily. "your boat knocks on a bit??" was the observation which we took to mean went at a pace somewhat faster than walking! Also the river is much clearer without the hazards and tree dodging. So its ever onwards and we pass quite a few boats above Sutton Bridge but none appear to be "on the move". We now try to proceed with a little more urgency as we are not convinced that we will get to Stamford Bridge in daylight having carefully looked at Mr Nicholson's version of the distance. The water here is even clearer with a gravel bed once again and, lo and behold, we come to a grinding gravelly halt in midstream! He had not mentioned any concerns at the depth! This time its a real struggle to get off not helped by my own reluctance to blast the engine to try and pull us off that way. Its all hands to the boat hook and pure muscle. We try to ingrain this stretch in our failing memories for the return. Now its definitely getting dark and we know nothing of the route apart from the pretty map. Grounding has also cramped our enthusiasm for haste and speed. Once again the most helpful guide is light reflecting on the river surface and we cautiously proceed. Its a lovely clear night and Bosun is admiring the stars already, I would have preferred him to admire the course we were attempting. Eventually we begin to see evidence of civilisation and assume we are close to Stamford Bridge. The advice given was "go left at the bridge into the lock pound to moor". We were now approaching said bridge and not at all clear as to whether we were to pass under the bridge then go left or some other route. The old stone bridge is a three arched affair with the centre arch clearly appearing to be the navigation route in the dark ! That's our excuse anyway. We are still debating which way to go as we pass under the centre arch and find ourselves virtually near the centre of the town. Thankfully its too late and dark for an audience as we suddenly hear the awesome sound of lots of water passing over a weir and its too close!! We should not have worried as the river clearly knew we were heading for disaster in that it stopped us dead ! So suddenly and firmly did it stop us that the engine also stalled. So its eerily quiet apart from said rushing torrent far too adjacent for comfort and we are stuck in the dead centre of the river. Now Stamford Bridge is a well patronised touristy stop off and this being Saturday, if it had still been daylight we would have been the stars of the months mirth and entertainment. There was literally about a foot of water under the keel which would not even have flooded stubby wellingtons. Bosun suggests taking to our beds and awaiting rescue in the morning. No way ! I'll jump overboard and pull the damn thing off before I do that. It takes a good half hour of puffing and panting and pushing and pulling with the boat hook to move us sufficiently back to have a depth of water to turn around and retreat. We still are not sure where to go so it is with some trepidation that we go back through the bridge and steer into the left arch. All immediately becomes clear and we feel extremely foolish when we find ourselves in the lock chamber. Still, as far as we know, nobody has witnessed our frolics so we calmly moor up directly under the bridge and explore our immediate surroundings. Further into the lock a left turn takes you past the non-existent gates (thanks Environment Agency) and at the top of the lock is a sanitary station with in pretty good nick! Its a shame and a crime that the lock gates have not been replaced. Theoretically the head of navigation on the Derwent is Norton, some 10 miles further on. The beautiful clear night has a downside ! Its bloody cold and its back on board for sustenance and the wonderful warm cosy environment courtesy of my new heater. Then its Saturday night in Stamford Bridge. A walk and a peaceful drink was all that was wished for but the local pubs were brimming with the towns teeny boppers which encouraged us to not linger too long. And so back to our craft and its scrabble time! Can't recall the score but it may be safe to assume I won !!
The following morning we realise that there did not appear to be toilets at the sanitary station and our daily dependence upon "facilities" looms large until Bosun recalls some very acceptable bogs in the town. After all ablutions returning with the Sunday Times and a nice new very warm pair of gloves, its time to play annoy the fishermen. We have to reverse out of the lock chamber and turn around and, clearly, this is a good angling spot as the glares and disdainful looks were easily felt. We are a tad short of water and unable to reach the water point at the sanitary station. We hope to find a tap on the way back down to Bamber Barrage. It takes us less than an hour to reach Sutton Bridge/Elvington Lock and, lo and behold, our friend has the lock filled and the guillotine gates are opening! From Mr Nicholson's infallible guide we established that there was a water point here. While the lock was filling we enquired as to its whereabouts only to discover that the hose pipe had not yet been made to reach it. For some unknown reason the sanitary station and water point were by the roadside a good half mile away. Our mate and a passer by offered to close the lock for us so out we went with me managing to give the boat a hefty wack on something. I still don't know what. The run back down to Bamber is really rather uneventful apart from enjoying the attractive passing scenery. The weather was not nearly so kind in that it pissed it down from midmorning onwards. Sadly no water point is encountered. Surprisingly to us, we pass two other boats today and both are going at a rate of knots that were sending tidal waves across the adjacent fields! Obviously not expecting to meet anyone else.
The Locky at Selby had told us that there were few moorings on the Derwent, especially on the lower reaches near Bamber. He advised us to arrive at the barrage after 4pm then we could moor on the pontoon and would not be moved on as they would have all gone home! This we did and arrived with enough daylight to partake of some peaceful fishing. We were perturbed that such an attractive and "fishy" looking venue failed to even offer a bite never mind a fish. This lack of results and a creeping cold shortened the session and it was off to the very well presented facilities for a warming shower then some scrabble. We also managed to get some water into the tank even though the hose connector did not fit and the exercise ensured that we were very damp. We needed to be at Selby Lock for 9am, therefore through the barrage by 8am. It was early to rise and partake of long sits then back out onto the tidal Ouse.
It was about this time that we first considered the consequences of the weather! Visions of our captivity at Trent Lock resurfaced as we suspiciously viewed the rather lively flow of the Ouse. Although we were moving with the flood, we did not seem to be making the rapid progress we expected and it seemed that there must be a good amount of "fresh" coming down. We reached Selby Lock at 9.15 and I went past, rounded up and went straight in no problem! i was really rather pleased although at one stage it looked as though I was going to clout the lock wall and send Bosun headlong into the torrent. Locky passed me a magazine, this was my "Waterways World". I had left it in the bog. Now you know what a long sit is. Through the lock and once again Bosun exercises his power in stopping the traffic at the swing bridge. When he returns to the boat he is muttering about "nere do wells and cretinland". It seems he has made his mind up that this part of Selby is the equivalent to Stainforth in that its inhabitants are not on his Christmas card list. We stopped at Selby Boat Centre, also Banks Hire Boats, for diesel and water. They charged us for the h2o and it was still falling out of the sky free! I also bought some extra ammunition for my stove. The rain is slowing and we did not give it another thought until we eventually rolled up at West Haddlesey.
As we moor for the lock at ,West Haddlesey we notice quite a few figures in fluorescent garb on the lock gates. Just as we are about to meander up with our windlass a chap approaches looking glum. "The indicator is on red and the water is still rising, the BW lads say its come up 18 inches in the last hour". Curses were muttered as we walked up to see for ourselves. The River Aire was certainly well up and there was a lot of debris floating down. The indicator was indeed on red and it seemed nobody was going anywhere. We phoned the BW offices to be told that the Aire & Calder was always open as it was a commercial waterway. The recommendation was to stay put and abide by the advice of the signs. We could go through if we really wanted to but there is a very low wire across the river which could be a problem with the high levels. It took us a while to accept defeat and we decided to return to Selby rather than leave the boat here. I also phoned the Chairman of Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club pleading disaster and stranding and he agreed to pick us up from Selby. So it was back to Selby and Bosun's power craze activity with the swing bridge once again. We moored in the residential moorings this time leaving a message of explanation for the locky. Glyn rolled up about 90 minutes later and we sadly returned home. During the journey the locky from Selby rang to say where we had put the boat was fine, that it would be safe and to ring him to check water levels when we were returning.
I happen to have a day off on the Wednesday and vainly hope that the water level is dropping. I enquire of the local office and no sorry the waters still up! So I say my daily prayers for a fortnight hence when I have a weekend off and make some tentative arrangements. Come the Friday before I ring all I can think of and am assured that yes the water is subsiding and is passable at present. So Glyn is recruited once again to drop myself and Bosun off at Selby on the Friday night so we can get an early start in the morning. We wander off to the pub to pass a few hours and there is lots of water falling out of the sky!!! We convince ourselves that this will not affect our levels until a day or three later and sup on. Back for a game of Scrabble, no need to mention who won, and then fitful sleep.
Up with the larks and using the facilities. Then, once again, Bosun does a Bono and stops the traffic with his favourite bridge with its flashing lights. It seems to be a very pleasant day to us unless its wishful thinking and we arrive back at West Haddlesey. It is with everything crossed that we cautiously climb up to the lock gates to peer over at the River Aire and look for the indicator. Not to be seen anywhere I suggest that its been nicked! Bosun falls about laughing and says its under the effing water !! No matter how long I look at it the water remains up over the indicator which immediately tells any sensible navigator that he is going no further! I have to say I'm very tempted to give it a go but the fellow crew have no such delusions. We decide to wander into West Haddlesey to find a phone and see if we can contact any rescuers. I recall I have not eaten so far this am and suddenly warm to the idea of pub grub and a pint only to experience as earlier described a pillock of a Landlord waving us away from his establishment. Add to this that there is no shop of any kind and no sign of a phone box and all you can say about West Haddlesey is that its nothing but a retreat for urban commuters who never have a lunchtime pint and do all their shopping at Asda ! This time we will leave the boat here. So we batten down the hatches, lock up and regretfully wander away. We meet two locals on the bridge who reassure us that it is safe and that nobody ever wanders about here undertaking wanton vandalism. We enquire as to the frequency of the buses. "Once a day in each direction" we are informed. Our dislike of West Haddlesey is being reinforced. Nobody wants to come here by public transport either. We are also told that buses run on the main road about 2 miles away but they do not know where to apart from Selby. Off we trot and pass some enormous residences with three or four motors outside and clearly dripping with wealth. We reach the main road which turns out to be the A19. Study of the timetables tells us that there will be a bus to Pontefract in about 45 minutes. This will do. The bus must have visited every single hamlet in this part of Yorkshire before pulling into Pontefract and hour later. On the bus to Wakefield we pick up some passengers in Featherstone one of which is a woman of rather large proportions and possessing of a loud gob !! Bosun has the unfortunate experience of her farting rather forcibly in his face. And so its back to Wakefield and back to planning the next attempt to bring home my ship. I've had the occasional horrendous visions of Bona Dea being in West Haddlesey until spring!!
Its a couple of weeks later and I've had reassurances from all over British Waterways that all levels are down and still dropping. Arrangements are made with Bosun who grabs a sack of lentils and rat piss tea bags and off we go. We are not willing to be stopped this time! We park the car in West Haddlesey and cautiously approach the lock. It's on orange and there looks to be a fair bit of "fresh" in the river. Lets get going, stuff it is the unanimous verdict. Through the lock and out onto the river and we are on our way. Its not the brightest of days and its drizzling most of the time which encourages us to leave the canopy up. We take it in turns to feed, drink and get warm over that excellent little stove and all is well. Bosun is not the least bit excited at all the upcoming locks and it seems little compensation to him that a lot of them are mechanised and some are even keeper operated. It seems no time at all and we are through Bank Dole and out onto the Aire & Calder Navigation. It seems we always encounter commercial traffic on this waterway and its a pleasure to see the canals being used for the purpose intended. However, it seems that Mssrs Hargreaves contract to shift coal to Ferrybridge Power Station is to come to an end. Imported coal rears its ugly head again!! Will no government of this country ever realise that best for us is not always the cheapest. It will be a shame not to see those lines of tom puddings not being pushed around as they are an impressive sight. Especially when you see them empty and they stand at least 10 feet out of the water. On the plus side there is increasing traffic to the oil terminal near Lemonroyd.
Watch out ! Bosun is on the look out for his favourite vision. He loves to see burnt out cars saying that they say a lot about the community around. There is a really pleasant stretch of the River Aire here as it passes the Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve. Along the tree lined banks are old and forgotten basins from factories gone by. We reach Castleford and there is a bustle of traffic around here. Its incredible how low in the water some of these huge carriers are. We are stopped on a red to make way for a very large gravel carrier and then out onto the Wakefield Arm of the Aire and Calder. Some of the locks we pass through repeat the guilty feeling of all that water for one little ship. Some of them are huge. We stop at Stanley Ferry hoping to top up the diesel for winter storage as has been recommended. But there is not a soul about willing to sell us any and the notice on the chandlery door says back at 1. 30pm. Its now 2.30 pm so maybe they mean tomorrow!!!
At Broad Reach Flood Lock we see the gates firmly shut and a cluster of boats with attendant crews apparently going nowhere. The spectre of stopping haunts us once again. The indicator is clearly on red and a debate ensues. Most of those lingering say that their engines are not up to coping with the flow. We reckon ours is and the nice people work the lock for us as through the intrepid crew steam. It has to be admitted that the river is very "strong" shall we say and progress is not as rapid as usual. At Fall Ings we are very cautious with those fierce paddles and the gates open reasonably easily unlike on a previous trip. In Wakefield flood lock once again we encounter firmly closed gates. As we approach them windlass in hand a fella off a boat that looks permanently moored councils against going through saying British Waterways had closed them. Once again a meeting is held and Bosun is of the view that we stop here. At this stage I am more than a little reluctant to leave my ship in the middle of Wakefield. I get on the phone to BW seeking advice. The waterway is technically open due to its commercial stature. The signs are advisory only. We are less than 3 or 4 miles from home and I'm not stopping now!
I persuade Bosun and through we go. Once again the river is well up and there is a lot of floating debris. Have you ever had assistance that made things worse??? Well we did at Thornes Lock. Some waterways workers "helped" us go through and we hardly ever made such a mess of going through a lock. The boat ended up jammed across the lock. Enough said of that. We are on the last stretch now. Just up to and under the M1 and we are at Broad Cut lock. There is a hell of a vibration now under my feet and I have to go really slowly to try and keep it at a minimum. I suspect its one of the bolts come loose again on the joining between the engine and the out drive but I can't stop in the middle of this river in the sate its in so must persevere. At Broad Cut the waters not as high as we thought although it is on red on the indicator boards the mooring staithe is above water. As we are roping up in the lock, John from the live aboard broad beam appears and helps us with the gates. We are home! Tied up and secure. We are both very relieved and glad to have finished the journey at last. I'm especially relieved as I would not have fancied having to traipse to West Haddlesey to sort out the boat for winter. That is a sad and reluctant task i will have to undertake soon enough here. There is a very plausible case for hibernation you know at times!!