After you get through Riddlesden, on the Leeds & Liverpool, the locks come thick and fast. They also come stuck together in staircases, the most famous of which is the Bingley Five Rise – yet another of Robert Aikman’s seven wonders of the waterways.
To explain to non boaters, staircase locks are a series of locks with no gaps. The bottom gates of one locks form the top gates of the next when you’re going down. This means that as you empty the lock above, the lock below fills up and so needs to be empty before you start.
You’re assisted down the Bingley Five Rise by a pair of lock-keepers who, when not operating the locks, live in this little hut at the top.
Unassisted, the mayhem potential for inexperienced users would be vast.
On the second lock down we were joined by a couple of blokes who were obviously a bit serious about their exercise. It was not a warm day and the area around the lock was pretty damp. They stayed there doing press ups for the best part of 15 minutes while we sweated operating the heavy lock gear!
After the five rise comes the three rise, also assisted…..
……which sits beside the Damart factory in Bingley. Thermals anyone?
From there on you’re on your own through a two rise, a one rise, a few swing bridges and on to a mooring just past Shipley. We’d wanted to spend the night in Saltaire but all the available moorings were six hours only – no overnighting – shame.
From there we took a couple of days to tackle the fifteen locks to take us down into Leeds. The first day was rather lovely…….
….and we had a great overnight stop in the village of Rodley.
The next day, however was horrendous! At one point we thought that the flow of water was so strong that we might not be able to get onto the River Aire to moor in Clarence Dock.
We were utterly drenched, but at least the locals looked cheerful!
We made it down the Aire and into Clarence Dock where there is power and water provided to the mooring. The weather cheered up as well. Happy days!