Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Going Down


Finger post-1

Going down the Bingley Five Rise, if that isn’t a contradiction

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The Bingley Five Rise, is a set of locks, five of them, no surprises there then; they are in ‘staircase’ formation, with each lock opening into the next rather than being separated by ponds of ‘neutral’ water.

Here are the  names and the figures

Bingley Five Rise 6-1

For me, apart from marvelling at this amazing feat of engineering, 1774, for goodness sake, to put that into context, that’s two years before the American Declaration of Independence.  The locks contained all that I do not like about boaty things,  that is deep sheer sided drops

Bingley Five Rise 5-1

in to broiling black waters ( the things I do for this blog)

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Mr Uhdd sensed my unease ‘You really don’t like this do you?’ It’s OK there is nothing to worry about’  he said, I pointed out that this was about as helpful as me standing with him at the top of a cliff and saying ‘don’t worry you won’t fall off’. (Mr Uhdd doesn’t like heights, which can, on occasion, be inconvenient for a fellrunner.)

Bingley Five Rise 7-1

Wisely British Waterways lock keepers are on hand to guide novices through the locks. I went and stood at the bottom, and waited for our narrow boat and a photo to emerge

Bingley Five Rise 4-1

British Waterways, will be handed over as part of government reform, from government control, to a ‘civil society’ next year. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, idea, the locals are thinking about.



Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

10 thoughts on “Going Down

  1. Doubly worrying to look down into if you have a small dog with you. Rani fell in the canal for the first time yesterday, but not, thankfully, into a lock. She thought all the freshly fallen leaves on the surface of the water were ‘terra firma’!

    I have my emergency dog-in-lock drill all worked out, you know. I would put the dog-walking bum-bag over my jacket, unzip the jacket, climb down the lock ladder and then scoop the little dog inside my clothes so I can climb back up the ladder again. This relies on the little dog being able swim to the bottom of the ladder, and not growing too much bigger from now on. There are never British Waterways staff around here should you need them, even though we have a flight of 16 locks!

  2. It’s always nice to be reminded about the technological achievements of our predecessors. Some of the solutions to long-standing problems that people came up with before the introduction of “necessary technologies” like steam power or the internal combustion engine are fascinatingly ingenious (although often labor-intensive).

    That heron has a knowing look.

  3. Locks always exercise a fascination, I find. When barges go through town locks in London, there are usually people who gather to watch, though we have nothing as complex as a five-fold step-lock.

    I don’t like heights, either, though for some reason I always have to look down. I daydream of being a bird and having no fear of heights. I’ve never thought of falling into a lock, though. Perhaps I’ll think about it next time I visit a lock.

    Herons are thought of as shy birds but in some places along the Thames they stand on the bank within feet of people passing by. I love to see them in flight when they are quite unlike most other birds.

  4. I find this post about going down those locks very interesting, we do not have such locks in our flat little Denmark. Great post 🙂

  5. Interesting collection of vegetation on that lock gate. One assumes the locks raise as well as lower boats — or is the traffic all one way?

    The government privatized our mail service and it’s gone to H*ll in a handbasket. The price of postage goes up so often that before I can finish a book of stamps, postage has gone up again.

  6. Great photos, I’ve always been fascinated by locks, the mechanics and engineering involved is amazing. We live close to Caen locks near Devizes which is part of a 29 lock flight in around 2 miles. Well worth a visit if you’re in south wiltshire, a great feat of engineering!

  7. As a one time mechanical engineer I find things like this fascinating. Mind you nowadays I think that the heron would be of more interest.
    I’m not keen on heights either! xx

  8. Those photos just knock me out. You made clear the challenge the engineers faced. Also, um, the challenge certain boaters, such as myself, might face. (We’re going where?)

    I am impressed, too, with the work of the stonemasons–and with a community that memorializes them name by name.

    Can’t wrap my mind around an acrophobic fellrunner. Mr. Uhdd meets my basic definition of brave: being afraid and doing it anyway.

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