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1 Day, 7 Miles, 4 Locks

Ripon Racecourse Marina
Westwick Lock (Downstream)
Westwick Lock (Downstream) Newby Hall Landing
Newby Hall Landing Ripon Racecourse Marina


What an unexpected opportunity...... a day out on Tumbarumba down the Ripon Canal and River Ure thanks to new owners John and Anne. By 10-30 a.m. we had the boat fettled and ready to go, the Izusu engine ticking over almost unheard as we slipped out of Ripon Racecourse Marina timidly...... as you would when taking out someone else's boat! Immediately to the right of the exit is Bell Furrows Lock, one of two between the marina and Ripon Canal basin 1-mile along the canal. But we were turning left for the short trip to Newby Hall.

Ready for off!

Leaving Ripon Racecourse Marina.

Bell Furrows Lock leading to Ripon Canal basin

The first part of the canal is very rural and overhung with large trees, but soon you pass under Nicholsons Bridge with Ripon Motor Boat Club (RMBC) marina, on your right. Passing under Rentons Bridge you approach Oxclose Lock, with the River Ure coming in from the left hand side below the lock.

Oxclose Lock

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. But what surprised us was the lock gates; after 2,000 miles on the canal system yet another lock feature that we had not experienced before. 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 soon arrived at Newby Hall, but it was such a nice day and we were enjoying cruising the River that we decided to have a look at the next lock, Westwick, a further half mile down the river. A cut leads off the River Ure a short distance to the lock to bypass a weir on the Ure. We arrived at the lock at 12 noon. The lock itself only has a height change of 7' 4", quite a lot less than the 10' 0" of Oxclose, yet it seems much bigger. The gates close to a sharp apex and are heavy; in fact it was necessary to angle the boat across the lock to enable Sue to open the gate. I doubt whether boats above 58' can get through this lock. Opening the heavy lock was not easy; trying to close it was more difficult! If only I had bought Sue that gym membership for Christmas! We agreed that the aim of the day was a gentle cruise and lunch at Newby Hall, not a distance record attempt, so I turned the boat around and re-entered the lock. We were soon cruising back up the Ure and moored at Newby Hall. There is sufficient moorings for about 3 boats at Newby Hall, and a path leads directly to a rear entrance to the gardens over a minature railway track. The "Yorkshire's Great Houses, Castles & Gardens" guide book says:-

"Newby Hall is one of England's renowned Adam houses, an exceptional example of 18th century interior decoration The superb content's of the house include a rare set of Gobelins Tapestries, a gallery of classical statuary and some of Chippendale's finest furniture. Visitors can also enjoy 25 acres of stunning gardens full of rare and beautiful plants. The famous double herbaceous borders are flanked by numerous compartmented gardens such as the Water garden and species Rose Garden."

Newby Hall

Leaving Newby Hall at 2-30 p.m. we headed back to Ripon. Just before the RMBC marina we spotted a couple of kingfishers darting across the surface of the water. I never tire of seeing that flash of blue and the realisation that there are kingfishers in the area.

Nicholsons Bridge

Entering Ripon Racecourse Marina


The old touch came back as I reversed the boat on to the pontoon. Sue leapt off with the mooring rope assuming that the pontoon was the same type that we have been used to at Barton Turns Marina (i.e. fixed) and it came as quite a shock as the pontoon bobbed around like a jelly! My guffawing did not go down very well at all! A thoroughly enjoyable day out, and we only saw one other narrowboat and one GRP boat during the whole journey. A bit different to the traffic jams on the Trent & Mersey at places such as Fradley!