Day 3: Leeds Liverpool canal trip September 2014
Another grey morning and it had rained quite a lot overnight but today’s plan was again pretty simple, about 40 miles at a leisurely pace, breakfast in Skipton where we would leave the canal to check that Susan’s car was still where she had left it and I had decided I was going to leave the panniers. We had taken out the pump and inner tubes so we would not need anything in them for the rest of the trip. On into Leeds then back to Skipton by train to stay with Susan’s friends Julia and Ian at the Napiers.
We left at about 8 am not really rushing and prepared to tackle the worse part of the track. It was not as bad as the day before but had become more overgrown than when we were there in July. Susan managed to fall off properly this time banging her knee again. For old times’ sake we took a picture where we had locked our bikes on the last trip when we had watched “Le Tour”… a very smelly dog shit bin. Off to the car where I very happily dumped the very dusty dirty HEAVY panniers.
Breakfast was at a little cafe on the canal in Skipton, it was very pleasant watching the hustle and bustle of people going out for the day on narrow boats…
Surely those 3 men could not drink ALL that beer, perhaps they were going for a week or two?
It was now time to get on so I mounted my bike “carefully” as my backside was by now very “raw” and set off towards Silsden. Surprisingly we now found out that everyone had been fibbing about the track being bad into Skipton because now the track did get very bad and not just for a short distance. I think we must have had close on 10 miles of agony our wrists were aching from the pounding we were getting and I was spending more time riding standing up than sitting on the saddle for obvious reasons….
Susan never complained but it was so bad that I could feel how pissed off she was just by cycling behind her. Eventually we came off the crappy surface and the path returned to normal… mostly good with bad patches.
Next stop was 5 rise locks in Bingley. We had to stop here it is one of the wonders of world waterways and despite being brought up only 5 miles away I had never actually seen them close up.
More pictures and a brief chat with some very fit looking young men who marvelled that two old people had come so far. They were only going to Skipton about 20 miles away!
By now even I could tell Susan was really really not happy she was slowing down and we were stopping more frequently so at the next sign of civilisation we decided to stop for a proper rest, an energy drink and a cup of tea. That was just what we needed and we left the tiny tea room refreshed and lucky us, after a slight shower had passed.
From there on in the trip was pretty uneventful the path was mostly tarmacked and I counted the bridges down as we went under them we came out of the last bridge almost under Leeds Railway station…………………..
WE HAD DONE IT.
As if it was a sign it was all over it started to rain properly so we pushed our bikes into the station bought tickets and I popped into M&S to buy a couple of essential items… two sandwiches, two tins of G&T and a small bottle of fizz for Susan, she deserved it.
We boarded the train and ate and drank it felt really good. The trip to Skipton flew by Susan had managed to get chatting to a body building cyclist who would not shut up… he sounded like Julian Clarey, If you get my drift?
At Skipton we went back to the car took the wheels out of the bikes and placed them carefully in the boot packing cushions and blankets between them so they did not get any more scratched. They had done us proud, mechanically there were no real issues and they had taken quite a pounding.
We had a drink or two at Julia’s and showered ready for dinner… This was when it was realised I had no wallet.
After shopping in M&S I had put it in the carrier bag with the supplies. After eating and drinking I threw the rubbish back into the bag, tied a knot in the top and threw it in the bin…. guess what my wallet was still in the bag.
All my cards and about £350 in cash straight into landfill, what a F***ING IDIOT I AM! All who know me will be shocked I had any cash….LOL I had just been refunded for a flight expense so a wad of £20 notes.
The trip was finished off with an excellent dinner and overnight stay at the Napier’s Restaurant and Hotel in Skipton…. Link below
On Sunday we drove over to visit my Dad in Keighley followed by lunch at Natalie’s. Before we drove home we had a quick trip to Dad and Natalie’s allotment where we picked some fresh produce to take home, Rhubarb, Peas, Beans, Beetroot, tomatoes and some leafy thing that I cannot remember what it was called… tasted pretty good though.
It was a very tedious, miserable drive home but that is the “M1” for you on a Sunday afternoon.
To sum up
What an excellent trip and fun…… (mostly)
It had taken us half a day longer than anticipated but 60 miles on a mountain bike off road is pretty tough going, 74 was just too much. Without the falls heat and the puncture maybe we would have made it but day one had been tough enough.
It was interesting how easily we were able to change our plans and still achieve the aim… mobile phones and Sat Nav made just about anything “arrange able”. Starting during the week giving us the weekend to play with also helped.
Would I do it again?, Probably not this route but never say never.
I would like the next trip will be Aldershot to Kendal, you can do it all by canal, I wonder if there is a tow path………..
A couple of footnotes..
My bike had been quite noisy and stiff.. so as if the weight of the panniers were not enough I had a flattened set of bearings in the rear hub…. now changed.
Despite the heavy traffic Susan managed to collect a speeding ticket on the M1… don’t ask me how we seemed to be crawling most of the way!