8th October 2019
We have been moored at Gargrave for the last week and now move in a south Easterly direction to Skipton, the day started of cloudy and cold. However before leaving Pat reversed back to Frederick and Sons coal merchant and we stocked up with some winter fuel. we can't recommend them enough, the coal is very reasonably priced and much cheaper than marina prices.
After negotiating the only lock and four swing bridges we arrive in Skipton, where there are moorings within 2-3 minutes from the town centre, a couple of large supermarkets and train station. Skipton is described as 'probably the most handsome town along the whole of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal , the gateway to the magnificent Yorkshire Dales' a reputation which it strives to uphold. It has a 900 year old castle, a ruined priory and historic cobbled streets. a walk up the Springs Branch to the castle woods is a must do activity.
Watch out for the Victoria Mill a former steam powered corn mill and mill chimney built in 1847 as we approach Skipton, now turned into residential apartments.
We stayed here for 10 days, one of the reasons for doing so was weather related. It had rained constantly for the past few weeks and water levels on the navigable rivers were exceptionally high. Our original plans were to cruise the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to Leeds then onto the Aire and Calder, Calder and Hebble Navigations and onto the Rochdale Canal, this being the only crossing over the Pennines which we had not completed. However the River navigations were closed due to high water levels and there were lots of boats queuing up at Leeds waiting for the levels to drop. If we did manage to get onto the navigations there was always a risk that we would be stranded in one area for weeks waiting for the levels to drop. We therefore decided that the sensible option would be to turn around and make our way back before the winter closures on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal commenced.
19th October 2019
We had finally made our decision to turn around, we left Skipton and returned to Gargrave. Ironically on the 21st October a culvert collapsed between the top of the Wigan flight and Addlinton. This was due to be repaired as one of the Canal and river Trusts programme of winter closures in January 2020, but due to the collapse the repairs had to be bought forward and it would now mean that the canal would now be closed at that point until the 15th November.
We therefore had plenty of time to slowly return to the top of the Wigan flight.