Monday, 11 July 2016

Leeds and Beyond

We had an absolute ball while we were in Leeds. It was a city of intriguing discovery ………


…….. the “ginnel” pubs for instance. This one is Whitelocks (originally the “Turks Head” dating back to the 18th century).


In the Leeds Indoor Markets building Marks and Spencer still have a stall very close to the site of the original M&S Penny Bizarre.


I another one of the “ginnels” we found the City Varieties Music Hall which was the venue for famed “The Good Old Days”.



The city night life was pretty good as well! The “Viaduct Show Bar” was buzzing on Saturday night ………..


………. and, while we were there, our new York-based friends Chris & Paul (in town for a show) called in to join us with their friends Rob and Richard. Richard, Paul, Doug, Chris, James and Rob.


On our final day in Leeds we met up with one of Doug’s longest friends – Nick. He was on business in the city and we’d arranged for an evening out with him. After a drink in one of our newly discovered ginnel pubs (The Ship) ……….


…….. we had a good meal at “Bills”, after which it was a visit to a show bar and then back to the boat.


Nick had earlier opted for the comfort of “Chance” rather than a top hotel to spend the night. (Or only half the night as it happened – just look at the time on the clock!)


The next morning we’d planned a reluctant departure from Leeds and Nick plumped for a ride up the canal with us.


We’re always excited to enter a city but usually very sad to leave. This is our ‘SAD’ picture – lock 1 Leeds and Liverpool Canal.


Nick and Doug’s friendship goes back over 30 years and they hadn’t seen each other for the last 14 of those, so there was much catching up to do. Nick had never swung a windlass before and he needed to take frequent breaks!


The dark ruins of Kirkstall Abbey rose out of the tree line east of lock 7 …….


…….. where Nick needed another one his rests!


Slightly bemused at the sight of three locks together, Nick sallied forth to tackle the task. He’s partially hidden in the trees to the left as he watches Doug putting his back into the gate arm on the right.

We moored up at Apperley Bridge for the night where Nick took his leave and caught the train back to Leeds to collect his car. It was a fun 24 hours we had while he was with us and we look forward to the next time – hoping it won’t be 14 years again!


A great joy awaited us at the moorings at Apperley Bridge. Only a few hours before our arrival we learnt that Irene and Ian on nb “Free Spirit” were there as well! Our celebrations of the ‘chance’ meeting started on board “Free Spirit” soon after we had said good bye to Nick and they continued when we all walked the short distance to the very attractive Stansfield Arms.


We had a truly splendid meal there before returning to our moorings ………..


………. where celebrations continued further on “Chance”. This time we supped on our respective versions of home made sloe gin followed by Irene’s home made Bailey’s and our (bought) Indian Cashew Fenny. Irene approved of them all!


Our enjoyment of Irene and Ian’s company was equal only to our sadness as we waved good bye to them the next morning. So much fun, and we look forward to next time with them.


Taking the opposite direction to “Free Spirit”, we too continued our journey on a cold, damp and windy British summer morning. Most locks on this section of the canal are in the form of 2 or 3 chamber staircase. These are locks 14 and 15 …….  


…… which we shared, together with the other locks and frequent swing bridges, with an elderly couple and their elderly boat.


It wasn’t long before we’d passed through Shipley, where there were no suitable moorings and, in what seemed an instant after that, we were at the very imposing mills at Saltaire. The moorings on the far side of the cruiser were designated “No overnight” and once we’d got beyond the cruiser the wind was so strong between the huge towering mills that we couldn’t safely reverse back. So on we went, with no real chance of any moorings until ……..


………just after bridge 205 where we took advantage of the solid wharf and bollards in the face of the very strong winds. Having missed Saltaire this time we plan to visit it via other means in the next few days.

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