Today was a memorable day's boating because the scenery was great and the weather was glorious, although on occasions it was a bit chilly. We left Rodley and stopped off at Apperley Bridge Marina for some coal - spring boating requires cabin heating, particularly this year! 

Apperley Bridge Marina

All the three rise locks along this section climbing out of Leeds are lock keeper operated but the two risers are boater operated. Dobson Two Lock is just after Apperley and lies alongside a BW Yard but we had to operate it ourselves. Interestingly, considering the close proximity of the BW Yard, the lock gates leaked a lot and this made it more tricky. We had to close up the cratch cover and it got a soaking; also adjusting our position in the lock was more difficult.

Dodson Two Lock

Leaky Gates at Dobson Two Locks

A new van at Dobson maintenece yard sporting the new Canal & River Trust logos

Above the locks the canal winds through a tree lined valley and in the distance we got our first view of the Yorkshire Moors. There were also lots of bluebells growing under the trees and the odd length of crumbling dry stone wall which made it very atmospheric.

Operating a swing bridge

Field Three Locks were delightful. The locks were operated by Nick who has created an attractive small garden around the three containers from where he operates. Another boat was moving down the locks when we arrived so we had to wait but it was very pleasant in the sunshine. We received some helpful information about overnight moorings from both Nick and other boaters and decided that we would try and moor up close to Bingley Three Rise Locks at Hirst Woods.

Field Three Locks

Lock keeper offices in containers at Field Three Locks

We lunched around Oddies Bridge and then continued through Shipley and Saltaire. All along this stretch there were joggers,walkers and cyclists all enjoying the brighter weather. Community use of the canal along the Aire Valley appears to be very strong. It reminded us of the stretch of the Kennet & Avon that runs from Bradford upon Avon to Bath except there were no lines of moored boats!


Mills at Saltaire

Mooring at Hirst Wood, Saltaire

We moored up above Hirst Lock. By the lock is Hirst Wood and Hirst Mill. Just along from our mooring is a magnificent stone aqueduct where the canal crosses the River Aire. Just outside our window is a bluebell wood - an idyllic mooring.

Hirst Mill, River Aire

We went for a walk this evening exploring the local area. We walked along the River Aire, where two crews from Bradford Amateur Rowing Club were training. We then returned via Hirst Wood which was carpeted with bluebells.

Quad sculler on the River Aire, Saltaire

Leeds & Liverpool Canal Aqueduct across the River Aire

Bluebells in Hirst Wood, Saltaire

At the heart of Hirst Wood is an area where tall beech trees form what can only be described as a tree cathederal. We had just remarked on this when a couple passing by said exactly the same thing.

"Cathederal of trees" in Hirst Wood

 Tomorrow we travel to Bingley where Maggie was at college. With that, and the three and five risers, it should be an interesting day.

Quiet evening mooring at Hirst Wood, Saltaire