The question we kept getting asked in York was had we been to Ripon. The answer was No, the maps say the maximum boat length for the Ure and Ripon canal is 57 foot. But for some reason the boaters thought better, although non of them had actually done the trip in a 60 foot boat. So undeterred by the printed word we threw caution to the wind and set off. Actually we’d studied the map pretty carefully and knew where all our turning back points were if we couldn’t do it. It was a beautiful tranquil river cruise blue sky, kingfishers and herons at every turn. I kept looking out for places we could wild moor, amongst all this nature, but nothing looked viable.
We cruised onto Linton for an overnight stop on the floating pontoons, and then upto Boroughbridge. So far the locks were just about long enough for us to squeeze in. However my wish to moor amongst the trees came true when there was barely 20foot of mooring space left and with much balancing and rope throwing we managed to tie off the stern around an old oak tree.
Boroughbridge is a pretty market town with some history going back to Roman times. I couldn’t find any dates for the town’s water pump in the centre of the square, I suspect it is Georgian.
Now on the River Ure, we debated some more about the last 7 miles into Ripon. We made easy enjoyable progress to Westwick lock, but this was to be our undoing. We nudged in cautiously, but even though Eric angled the boat diagonally I couldnt quite close the lock gates behind him. We suspect if we had removed the fenders we’d have been ok, but not knowing our ability to wind up ahead we played safe and reversed out. Going up a lock is less risky than coming down, because you are already below the cill. Therefore you know by the time the lock is filled there will be more length of waters , where as coming down, because the cill is below water level if you haven’t left enough room it could have catastrophic consequences if the boat gets caught up on the cill.
Moored safely back in Boroughbridge, we caught the bus into Ripon. Its a lovely place full of character, and twisty streets,
and on the day we went, also full of Morris dancers.
If we come this way again, or should I say when we come this way again, we’ll probably give it another go at getting into Ripon. We like a challenge.