Flooding in York

These are the moorings beside the museum gardens in York. The towpath is flooded, hidden below about a metre and a half’s rise in the water level.

Flooded River Ouse in York

I had some difficulty getting back on board, had to borrow another boat’s gang plank.

I’d slackened off the mooring ropes last night, and fortunately another boater (thanks Narrowboat Olympus) had slackened them even further. Drove the boat to a safer spot, and the water seems to be receding. But I’ll be watching out tonight in case the water level suddenly drops, or more rain brings even worse flooding.

York’s had it much worse than this of course.

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Selby to York

The River Ouse between Selby and York is a tidal waterway, so some precautions were in order. Checked the anchor was attached to its rope and chain, and ready to deploy if needed. Put the life ring on the roof, within easy reach. Took the phone number of the boater that was accompanying our boat out of the lock. The tank was full of diesel and – because there’s nowhere to stop and put the kettle on – a flask of tea was poured.

The lock only fits two boats. So a couple of narrowboats went out before us, and a couple of cruisers were behind (and soon caught up).

Bridge on River Ouse

My companion boat had been on this river before so I followed it under the bridges. There was a surprising amount of floating junk to avoid, mostly large logs and branches but also a dead cow.

Dead Cow in the River Ouse

Left the tidal section at Naburn Lock, which was effortless to approach and enter, and headed on the final few miles to the city of York.

Naburn Lock

I arrived in York a few hours after departing Selby. The waterfront is lively, with small boats to hire by the hour, big trip and party boats, and rowers. The river is overlooked by cafes, and there’s a floating cafe that puts out tables on the towpath outside the museum gardens. Loved it here so much that we stayed a couple of weeks.


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Another Paul Widdowson boat in Sheffield

Narrowboat Audrey Too was built by Paul Widdowson.We hadn’t seen another boat by the same builder, but on arriving at Sheffield’s Victoria Quays, we were put near to another Paul Widdowson built boat called Trilby.

Here’s the front deck of Audrey Too. I appreciate the handles cut into the steel to help you get on and off the boat, it’s a great feature.

Narrowboat Audrey Too's front deck

Trilby is very similar in design, with similar but straighter handles, the same t-stud at the front and similar decorative touches on the roof and gas bottle hatch.

Narrowboat Trilby

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Through Tinsley Locks to Sheffield

Alisha’s doing temp work near Sheffield until the end of June, so we’ve decided to stay there for a few weeks. Sheffield is a dead end, as far as the navigation goes, so once her job ends we’ll have to head back the way we came.

The Tinsley Flight of 11 small locks has to be traversed to reach Sheffield. We booked passage 24 hours in advance: Derek from British Waterways met me at Holmes Lock and worked all the locks to Sheffield, while I did the driving.

Operating Tinsley Locks

These locks require a windlass to operate. Which makes a change after all the huge automated locks we’ve got used to lately. Continue reading

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Sprotbrough on the River Don

We really love this mooring in Sprotbrough, a few miles from Doncaster. The village is hidden behind woodland, so whilst it’s quiet and secluded, there’s shops nearby. The Boat Inn on the opposite side of the River Don is handy for a coffee and pub meal.

Sprotbrough from road bridge

Continue reading

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Sykehouse Lock to Doncaster in windy weather

We’d moored for the night after Sykehouse lock on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire New Junction Canal. It’s an unusual one, with a swing bridge in the middle of it. You have to open the swing bridge first, then the sluices and gates to let the boat in. You can’t close the swing bridge until the boat’s out the other side of the lock. Bet that really annoys drivers wanting to cross the bridge.

Sykehouse Lock Continue reading

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Painting and varnishing, getting our narrowboat ready to travel

After several months during which hardly any boats came in or out of the marina, the sunny weather has brought all the boats out. Several of the long-term moorers have left, and narrowboats and cruisers are stopping off at the visitor moorings, on their way to elsewhere. We’re looking forward to moving on, our mooring period ends this week, and there’s the rest of Yorkshire’s canals to see.

This clement weather, a relief after the cruel winter, is a call to paint, varnish, tackle rust, and generally fix and spring clean. This Easter weekend I sandpapered and varnished the wooden seats at the fore and aft of the boat. The aft seat had been loose for many months, and I finally got round to glueing and screwing the wooden seat back onto the metal railing.

Cruiser style narrowboat's railing seat Continue reading

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Narrowboat Audrey Too’s interior

What’s it like inside a sixty foot narrowboat? Narrow, obviously. But also cosy.

This is our living room, which has a sofa bed, cupboards for books, and the door leading onto the front deck. The curtain, made by Alisha, was made from fabric I’d bought in India a decade ago.

Narrowboat Audrey Too's living room Continue reading

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Clarence Dock, Leeds

This is the mooring we’ve staying on in Leeds over winter. Ours is the blue narrowboat with the cream roof, second from the left, between a dutch barge and a tug. Just outside our door is Mumtaz restaurant, which does superb Pakistani food.

Moorings at Clarence Dock, Leeds

Opposite is the Royal Armouries museum, where the photo above was taken from. Continue reading

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Mikuni diesel heater repaired and refitted

Our narrowboat’s Mikuni diesel heater was playing up. It produced a lot of white smoke from the exhaust. It tripped the switch, often taking four or five attempts to start it; and eventually it stopped working altogether, during the great freeze of winter. When the outside temperature is 14 below zero, you need to know that your heater’s reliable. So we winterised the boat and abandoned ship over Christmas.

Mikuni Diesel heater in narrowboat

Only a few months beforehand we had had the heater repaired by a boatyard on the River Lee, where they’d replaced the glow plug and given the heater a service. Soon afterwards the heater was misbehaving again. Turns out that they’d failed to spot several other burnt out components.

Thanks to Mellor Auto Electrical, a company in Ossett, West Yorkshire, the heater’s been working reliably for several months and the rest of winter was comfortable and warm onboard our boat. Continue reading

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