During the winter months, in order to travel up the Leeds and Liverpool canal you need to book passage in advance with British Waterways. We did this today, travelling from Leeds basin to Rodley to the nearest boatyard where we could fill up with diesel. As well as several single locks there are a couple of staircases with three locks each.
We only passed a couple of moored boats on the towpath; the moorings at Kirkstall are empty and the only boats at Armley are in the marina. It’s not just the centre of Leeds that’s a ghost town for narrowboats in winter.
BW’s staff are very friendly and helpful and they worked the locks for us and another narrowboat. They were out in the cold and snow yesterday, and these locks only fill up very slowly: it’s not a fair weather job. In the photo above their van had stopped to help the other narrowboat which had a fouled propellor (probably caused by all the autumn leaves in the canal). The canal’s quite shallow in places and both boats scraped the bottom a few times.
We’ve booked to travel back to Leeds in a few days’ time – and we have a comfy winter mooring to look forward to. Just for once I’m looking forward to a settled existence and to not travelling constantly.