Saltaire to Farnhill, via the Bingley Staircase Locks, and signs of spring at last!

I’m not a winter person, especially of the British type! The past six months have felt more severe than I can previously recall, with an intensity of unremitting cold, damp and more than our normal share of frost and snow. Undoubtedly it’s a trait we’re known for, complaining about the weather – but it’s hard not to! Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we saw some fleeting signs of warmer days. The leaves have burst forth freshly on the trees and hedgerows. Unfortunately the three fine days were swiftly followed by a return to the dreariness and lowered temperatures.

Our journey on the Leeds Liverpool Canal was now taking us up into the Yorkshire Dales, and the scenery became even more spectacular as we travelled further towards Skipton.

Tall chimneys from previous mill buildings are prevalent around this area

The dramatic Damart factory overshadows the waterway as you approach the Bingley Three Rise

Bingley Three Rise by Barry Teutenberg

The bottom of the Bingley Three Rise

Stunning colours and shapes in this old building

Always a lock-keeper around on the Bingley Three and Five Rise Staircase Locks

Unusual ground paddles with the sign of ‘Spades’ – we think there’s a full house to be found on them on this stretch

It’s only a short cruise from the Three Rise to the Five Rise, and we were fortunate that as we approached the latter another boat was just about to go up – so the lovely Lock-keeper drained the water he’d started to fill the bottom lock with and let us in – phew! Otherwise it’s likely we’d have had to wait until the next day to make the ascent. You’re not permitted to work the locks yourselves, there’s been a number of nasty incidents here and the locks are rather deep. Last time we were here, another Barry was working the locks, and had been doing so for 32 years. He’s now retired we were told, but still visits.

Barry and Areandare shared the locks with a Silsden hire boat – and a nervous lady driver bless her. The lock-keepers fill each lock slowly and carefully, always watchful for anything amiss. We felt in very safe hands.

Top lock of the Bingley Five Rise Staircase Locks by Barry Teutenberg

The Top lock of the Bingley Five Rise Staircase Locks, looking out into the distance. Superb view – which would’ve been improved by some sunshine!

Massive lock gates, a little leaky …

We spent a night at the top of the locks, so that Barry could attempt to get some finer images of the Five Rise. He firstly  helped out the CRT folks who were doing some routine maintenance on the locks, and did a spot of lock gate scraping.

He’s got a gorgeous one from 2009 (showcasing my rather too ample rear end!), which is part of his Greeting Card range. He thinks he may have managed another fine one with a newly opened hotel boat emerging. If you’re reading this and you’re the people in the photo, post a comment or email us and we’ll send you a high res image and link to your website …

All scraped now and ready for a fresh coat of paint

After a night at the top of The Bingley Five Rise locks, we moved along a little further for some open countryside and chilled for a couple of nights. Barry had been hoping this beautiful boat had descended the Five Rise while we were there, but sadly we were a few miles away by the time it passed us.

More swing bridges – and look at those blue skies now!

Love this ex-Lifeboat camouflaged as a wooden ‘Ark’!

Shortly after stopping I recognised the sounds of Curlews calling – I have no idea how I knew, I can’t recall ever hearing the sound before, let alone recognising it, but I certainly shall from hereon in. If you’ve not heard it, click here and listen. It’s mesmerising and unmistakable.

Lambs were gayly frolicking all around seemingly without a care in the world, unaware of their likely fate in the near future. People always appear happier as soon as the sun shines, as it lights up our energy fields and gives us optimism that we’ll have more chance to be outside soaking in the rays and Vitamin D shots.

It took us a while to find somewhere suitable to moor, the sides of the canal tend to be extremely shallow or have ledges on that won’t allow narrowboats in

Splendid scenery – if only there were no roads so nearby

We wished we’d allowed even more time to cruise and chill along this route – and every time we moved on we became more determined to return again!

11 thoughts on “Saltaire to Farnhill, via the Bingley Staircase Locks, and signs of spring at last!

  1. Pingback: Farnhill to Skipton | Adventures Aboard AreandAre

  2. Lovely scenery, but oh how I hated all those swing bridges when single handed.
    Five Rise was supervised by Barry Whitelock when we were on a hire boat too many years ago to count. He couldn’t wait to tell us that he had been on TV! I inquired about him 3 years ago and he had been off sick for a long time then.

    • I can’t imagine how single handers manage tbh Ray.

      Yes it was Barry Whitelock in 2009 when we were last there. Lovely man. I think the current lock-keepers said he’s only partially sighted now bless him 😰

  3. Me again!
    That stretch of Yorkshire has got to be one of the very best on the entire system… not that I’m biased or anything, but you might recognise us by the flag we’re flying
    You’ll no doubt remember how it changes on the Lancashire side?
    It’s been a few years since we’ve been up that way, but I’ve heard it’s particularly bad at the moment
    This section from Wigan to Liverpool isn’t too bad, but above the Wigan flight we’re expecting to clear the prop several times a day!
    Let’s hope we don’t meet in a pile of plastic eh?
    Tarrant for now
    ps where did this bug thingy that represents me come from – I certainly didn’t choose it knowingly

    • Hi Chris. It was absolutely stunning round there. To be honest the Leeds Liverpool from Burnley onwards has far less rubbish in than it did in 2009. We’ve been extremely impressed. 😉

      • I quite like it actually!
        I forgot you’re ahead in reality and it’s good to know things have improved – whoever said it was bad probably never saw it before
        We will be moored in Parbold next week (probably) Burscough is proving hard to leave! 😊

        • Hi to you both came across your blog quite by chance a few months back and have read everything since then (both boats). We were going through a difficulft time I could physically feel myself withdrawing from everything and everyone on a daily basis. Your blogs have inspired me – to try and keep a positive attitude to life – and its trials – to ignore people who seem to enjoy others misfortunes – and to smile rather than moan. We bought a boat last week -only small Norman 23 which we will use to learn on and hopefully trade up in the future to a narrowboat. After all it’s not what you have or possess it’s who you share it with – that is important. x

          • Hello Mary and Terry! Thank you so much for commenting and letting us know our blogs have inspired you and helped you through a tough patch. That’s one of the reasons we spend so much time writing and editing the images. To encourage others to get off the treadmill and not get sucked into the media hype that the world is a dreadful place and you need to have heaps of stuff to be happy. You don’t. You can change your perspective. So happy to hear you’re making positive changes! Please keep in touch and let us know how the boating goes. And hopefully we’ll meet out on the water one day. Arohanui (big love)

Apologies for using comment moderation. This is to ensure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops! Plus we get the odd spam comment slip through. If you aren’t a Google member, you can still comment anonymously. We'd love it if you gave your name though. We prefer to reply to a person personally :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.