Up, Up, And Away – But Mostly Up

Up, Up, And Away – But Mostly Up

Today we bid a fond farewell to the thriving metropolis of Leeds, home strange brick towers…
Strange campanile
…and the cheapest office space in Europe (coincidence?), and headed up the east face of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. The Leeds and Liverpool took forty years to build, mostly thanks to Desmond (god of cost overruns) and they still got it wrong. Instead of spacing the locks out evenly like the great flights at Caen Hill or Tardebigge they are clumped together in staircases of two or three where the upper gate of one lock is the lower gate of the next. The gates are huge and heavy and the paddles, especially the ground paddles, are a struggle to operate.

Luckily we teamed up with our buddies in Festina Lente, as this is a broad canal and two narrowboats will just fit in a single lock.
Lock Staircase
That meant that there were two people to work each lock, and we could take turns on the swing bridges. We made it through fourteen locks today, four singles, two doubles, and two triples. Happily the triples had lock keepers to make sure we got things right.

The weather continues to be hot and sunny, and most of the way had pleasant scenery. We passed feral rhododendrons…
Feral Rhodies
… irises…
… and nesting swans.
Nesting Swans

This swan is attempting to show the cows how to swim, possibly to enlist them into some sort of aquatic militia.
Swan and cows
The cows aren’t having any, which is probably just as well. We’re going to be in big trouble if the swans ever hook up with a herd of water buffalo.

There was a carrion crow perched on one of the lock gates, hoping no doubt that a tragic lock accident would save him from having to go to Sainsbury’s for a month.
Crow on Lock Gate
He should be at our mooring tonight, above Apperley Bridge, where a dead fox in the canal is making its presence smelled. Apart from that, it’s a lovely mooring, with horses and bunnies in the field opposite, pigeons cooing, and house martins swooping over the canal to keep the bug population under control. Life is good.

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