Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Along the towpath to the Five Rise.

I'd had an early morning doctor's appointment and, rather than just go home, I opted for a short walk along the Leeds-Liverpool canal from Dowley Gap to Five Rise Locks and then back. It was a very still and misty morning when I parked up but the forecast had said it was going to clear up and lo and behold they were right for a change!

By the time I had reached Bingley the clouds had broken, giving some super reflections and in no time at all I was at the foot of the Five Rise Locks. Plus, as luck would have it, a couple of barges were being lowered through them.

In effect, the five-rise consists of five locks connected together without intermediate "ponds": the lower gate of each chamber forms the upper gate of the chamber below. There are therefore five chambers, and six gates. As the Leeds Liverpool canal is a wide canal, the chambers are slightly more than 14 feet wide, and each gate consists of two half-gates, "hinged" from opposite sides of the canal. Each half gate is slightly more than 7 feet wide, so that the two halves close in a "V" shape (pointing "upstream"). Water pressure on the uphill side of the gate keeps it tightly closed until the water levels on either side are equal, when the gate can be opened and the boat moved to the next chamber.
The five-rise is the steepest flight of locks in the UK, with a gradient of about 1:5 (a rise of 59 ft 2 in  over a distance of 320 ft ). The intermediate and bottom gates are the tallest in the country. Because of the complications of working a staircase lock, and because so many boaters (both first-time hirers and new owners) are inexperienced, a full-time lock keeper is employed, and the locks are padlocked out of hours. Barry Whitelock, the lock keeper, after twenty years based here is now almost synonymous with the flight. Barry was awarded an MBE in the 2006 New Year Honours List for "Services to Inland Waterways in the North". The Locks also have an overflow waterfall at the side, which water runs down when the lock is not open. When descending boat enters each lock chamber, the water level rises slightly and the excess overflows via a channel at the side of each lock which runs into the main overflow. - Wikipedia


No visit to the locks is ever complete with out a visit to the cafe which is always a hive of activity. If you serve good tea or coffee, offer quality cakes and snacks then people will flock to places like this. I sat outside with my coffee for about half an hour, just watching the world go by and then I set off back down. By this time the light at the far end of the canal was better so I got some nice shots of the wooded sections. On the down side though, there were no sightings of either Kingfishers or Herons, maybe the canal was just a bit too busy for them at that time of day. Oh well, maybe next time...

Canal Reflections

Canal Reflections

Canal Reflections

Canal Reflections

Canal Reflections

Canal Reflections

Canal Reflections

Early morning walkers

Five Rise Locks

Five Rise Locks

Five Rise Locks

Canal Towpath

Canal Towpath

Three Rise Locks.

Canal Towpath

Canal Towpath

Canal Towpath

Canal Towpath

To Lochinver via Coigach

Again, I don't really think many words are needed for this blog. The photos tell the whole story of one of the best drives in the UK. ...