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7 Days, 67 Miles, 12 Locks

Ripon Racecourse Marina
Westwick Lock (Downstream)
Westwick Lock (Downstream)
York (Lendal Bridge)
York (Lendal Bridge)
Naburn - York (Lendal Bridge)
York (Lendal Bridge)
Westwick Lock (Downstream)
Westwick Lock (Downstream)
Ripon Terminus - Ripon Marina


Saturday 13th September 2008
If we had planned this journey 7 to 10 days earlier it would have been impossible due to the heavy rains and the fact that the River Ouse was in flood, particulalry through York and down to Naburn Locks. We were fortunate that the weather was reasonable and the river level was falling fast; it was still higher than normal by the time we reached York, but it was manageable.

The Crew at Ripon Racecourse Marina

After stocking up with food at Morrisons in Ripon we were on our way by early afternoon.The first part of the canal was very rural and overhung with trees, but soon we passed under Nicholsons Bridge with Ripon Motor Boat Club (RMBC) marina on your right. Passing under Rentons Bridge we approached Oxclose Lock, with the River Ure coming in from the left hand side below the lock.

The tree-lined Ripon Canal


Straight away it is obvious that someone takes loving care of Oxclose Lock and its environs, as the gardens are well tended and looked after. The lock gates are equipped with walkways, but it is necessary to lift a small "door" to enable the gate to go to the fully open position.

Unique "door" mechanism


We checked the water level on the River Ure before descending Oxclose Lock to join the river, and found the water level to be within the "green" indicator on the lock wall. Within half a mile we passed Newby Hall (one of England's renowned Adam style houses) on the left hand side, and then entered a short cut towards Westwick Lock. By the time we passed through the lock it was 4-30 p.m. and we had to decide whether to moor up on the landing stage for the lock, or whether to press on. It was by now turning into a pleasant evening, and the lock was very quiet and peaceful. A passing boater told us that the towpath was very muddy down at Boroughbridge, and that clinched it. We moored for the night at Westwick Lock.

Moored at Westwick
Sunday 14th September 2008
A sunny day! We left Westwick Lock at 10 a.m. for a leisurely cruise to York. We soon passed under the two bridges at Boroughbridge and confirmed for ourselves that the towpath there was indeed very muddy. A wise choice to have stayed at Westwick Lock the night before. Passing through Milby Lock we headed for Dunsforth where there are mooring pontoons on the river, but not a very inspiring place to moor unless in an emergency. Passing under Aldwark Toll Bridge, one of the very few bridges over the River Ure in this area, we approached Swale Nab, where the river changes name to the "River Ouse".

nb "Derbyshire Poacher" out of Chesterfield

Watch out for scouts in canoes!

The landing stage at Milby Lock was very muddy from the floods
At Milby Lock the red barrier pontoons across the river are right next to the cut, making it impossible to take the wrong route. Not so at Linton Lock. Here there is a tail of the River Ouse used for mooring just above the weir, and the entrance to the cut leading to the lock is quite narrow. Due to two GRP boats buttied-up doing maintenance in the entrance of the cut we nearly missed it! Not a place to go near, the Linton weir when it is in flood!

Linton Lock


Linton Weir
The rest of the journey to York was uneventful and we were soon passing under the Scarborough Rail and Footbridge into York itself. The best moorings are to be found between the Scarborough Bridge and the Lendal Bridge, but due to the river being much higher than normal the mooring platform and mooring rings were under several inches of mud and water! We were fortunate that there was a space alongside some steps half way along, and we moored up for the night.
Monday 15th September 2008
No chance of a lie in on Monday morning as we were awaken by City of York workmen with a big compressor ond water jet who had turned up early to clean the mud away from the steps where we were moored. It was either move quickly or irsk being splattered with mud!

We moved down the river and moored next to Lendal Bridge, although it was a bit muddy on the landing strip. There are facilities for boaters next to the bridge but they are not very special.
York is a great place for a short stay. We spent quite a lot of time in the National Railway Museum, which is really interesting and not just for anoraks! Then the narrow streets of York, the Minster, the city walls , Betty's cafe etc etc provide plenty of things to do.

Boat trips on the river at York

The National Railway Museum

The Yorkshire Wheel
We settle in for a good night's sleep only to be awaken at 2 a.m. with a small GRP boat called "Filey Lass" coming upto the moorings with a full scale party going on! The next day we saw someone coming to retrieve this boat, which appeared to have been stolen and abandoned, and when we saw the newspaper billboards that morning we thought that one of the party-goers had gone over board.

However it turned out to be a person in the nearby "Pitcher & Piano" pub who had had too much to drink and had fallen off the pub's balcolny into the river!
Tuesday 16th September 2008
We were ready for off by 10-45 a.m. and decided ot vcruise down to Naburn Locks, arriving ther just after 12 noon.

The Bishop's Palace, on the way to Naburn
The full extent of the floods becamne apparent as we reached Naburn, and the locks were still closed for repair. Although the water level was not a record, it was close to the highest previously recorded level.

Naburn Locks

The water level at Naburn in the floods
We stayed for a while at Naburn Locks and had lunch, and to our surprise we spotted a seal in the water above the locks! It seemed likely that it had been chasing fish up the Humber and had come as far as Naburn. With the locks out of action it had no way out. We made a quick call to the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall, and they agreed to have their local representative check it out just to make sure that it was not in distress.

"Sid the Seal" at Naburn Locks
We cruised back to York in the afternoon and moored up again next to Lendal Bridge for some more sightseeing in York itself.
Wednesday 17th September 2008
A lazy day wandering around York, with yet another visit to Betty's formore of their delicious "Yorkshire Fat Rascals". It is no wonder we are putting on weight.

Remnants of trees carried down to Lendal Bridge in York

York Minster
Thursday 18th September 2008
We had been hoping for a lie in; after all we had had compressors going one morning, the late night revelers the next night...... surely we we in for a quiet time and a much needed lie in! No such luck. We were awakened by the clanking of steel, rather like being in the middle of a shipyard as men assembled a steel pontoon right behind the boat!

Ex-Nato pontoon assembly at the crack of dawn!

Apparently repairs were to be made to the span of Clifton Bridge upstream from York, and York was the only place they could get the pontoon into the water. We set off at 9-30 a.m. and retraced out steps back towards Ripon, mooring up at Westwick Lock at 5-40 p.m.
Friday 19th September 2008
We were soon back on the Ripon Canal and decided to go past Ripon Racecourse Marina and to the terminus of the canal in Ripon itself.


Ripon Basin
So, the end of another enjoyable week on Tumbarumba. We overnighted at Ripon Racecouse Marina and headed home the next day.