Sunday, May 11, 2008

Riding the Tide

After the excitements of the Aire and Calder, the Selby Canal was peaceful and almost deserted. If we had been in the Midlands or South at this time of year (near Bank Holiday weekend), we would have been meeting boats all the time. Seemed like no-one else knew that this canal was here! There are lovely stone bridges along this stretch, though sadly most have ugly pipes next to them. Here's one that doesn't! We knew that our passage through Selby Lock onto the Ouse would be governed by the state of the tide, but we also had to wait for a spare part for our central heating boiler to arrive at Selby Post Office. It was due to arrive on the Saturday but, thanks to the Bank Holiday and some confusion in the Post Office (at the sending end this time!), it didn't get to us until the following Wednesday. No problem; Selby is a nice town, the Basin was quite quiet, plus the tide times were getting slightly later each day. This meant that we could leave at about 8.30 a.m. on the Thursday instead of 6.30 a.m. on the Monday – much more civilised! The plan was to join the River Ouse as the tide was coming in and ride it all the way up to Naburn Locks, the upper tidal limit. Our only experience of tidal water so far had been the run down the Thames from Teddington to Brentford last July, and that was downstream. Now we were riding upstream on the rising tide – a new experience, but not much different from going downstream on any river, except for the speed of travel relative to the land! We went from Selby Lock to Naburn Locks (14¾ miles) in 2½ hours, which means we travelled at just under the 6mph river speed limit! We spent a lazy rest of the day at Naburn; a pleasant quiet spot, not far from York, and an easy place to meet visitors – where they can park their car as well. And then on towards York, passing Bishopsthorpe Palace. We didn't see Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, but that is apparently where he is based. And so to York, where we are now. We arrived on Friday and will probably leave on Monday morning, after we have sampled the fellowship in one of York's many churches. A rare (but very welcome) thing happened on Friday evening: a local Christian saw the 'fish sign' and the Alpha and Omega on the side of Zindagi and started into conversation, inviting us to visit them at 'St. Mike's'. So that's the plan for this evening!

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