Thursday, 13 August 2015

Grange Swing Bridge 188 the hardest to operate?

This morning we went to the very end of the Springs Branch, with Skipton Castle towering 100 feet above us.

Few boats other than the trip boats from Pennine Cruisers venture up here as boats longer than about 35 feet have to reverse all the way - 1/4 mile - back to the junction with the main line in order to get out. We did it, though, to approval from the Pennine Cruisers man, who told us that he thought the encroaching vegetation would be cut back soon. Reversing was made relatively easy with David at the bow with a cabin shaft.

Having reached the main line we continued to Kildwick where we stopped for lunch. There is a fine aqueduct over a road. It's more that the road tunnels under the canal at an oblique angle. There was a wedding about to take place in the church; as we walked up the road under the canal we saw the bridal party leaving a house to be transported by an old Rolls Royce.

David cycled off to Colne from Kildwick in order to get a train to Adlington where he'd left his car. We carried on to Silsden but we could have done with David as crew. There are loads of swing bridges on this stretch; I got off to open Grange Swing Bridge 188 but very nearly couldn't manage it as it was so difficult to move. By rocking it I eventually persuaded it to open in degrees (literally) but it was a slow, back-breaking (not literally, I hope!) process. I'm not exactly a heavyweight but there must be many boaters with less muscle power than me. I don't know how they cope if no other boats come along to help.

Having tied up about a mile past Silsden - about the first place deep enough not on a bend - we walked round the town. After 100 years of individuals spinning cotton in their cottages the industrial revolution happened. Silsden became a centre of nail making; here's a sculpture in homage.

I wonder what the townspeople make of the implication that Silsden produced wonky nails.

The rain started at about 8 pm. It's forecast to continue all night and into the morning, but I can't hear it now. We'll see.

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