Jubilee Venture & Scouting Venture
Trip Report – 1st Clifford Scouts
Date: 14th – 16th March 2014
Crew: 2 leaders, 8 Scouts aged 10-11
Route: Wakefield Basin → Royal Armouries, Leeds → Wakefield Basin
Blessed with sunshine, the leaders left Wakefield Basin for the short trip to Stanley Marina on Friday lunchtime with the aim of picking up the youngsters for a post-school 4:30pm pickup. The rendezvous was uneventful and we left Stanley at around 5pm with the intention of a short leg including a lock before parking up for the night just short of King's Road lock. The wind was getting up but the steel pins went in strongly and we had a secure night in relatively open country. Everything runs a little slower on the narrowboat which surprisingly the Scouts don't mind. Tea was David's best home-prepared meatballs shortly followed by bed. The bunks on JV take a little construction and it's a little like one of those games where you have to move 'A' to get 'B' into place as the four extra berths take shape. Soon everyone was tucked in and the increasing wind served only to rock the crew to sleep.
In the morning, the canal was choppy with white-tops! The daily checks were completed and after a quick breakfast of cereal we headed off on a dash to the Armouries. Much of the route is along the river rather than canals, but we chose to potter along and JV made good headway in the face of still-increasing wind and the modest river current. We kept our eyes peeled for a good overnight location as we passed upstream. Swans normally require quite a run along the water to get going, but today we saw STOL performance with a near vertical into-wind take-off! Through the lock and a very sharp turn to the left (should that be port?) into Clarence Dock. The vistor berths are on the left (adjacent to the Armouries) and were all in use except the last one so we had a confined space, a u-turn and a fiendishly strong wind funnelled by the adjacent buildings and driving us fast into the dock. It was an anxious moment being broadsides to the wind with little space in front or behind, but Keith's excellent training worked wonders and we managed to slot into a 70ft slot without hitting anything. The Scouts had an hour to use the nice, clean toilets and buy some souvenirs before re-boarding and setting off for our return.
In no time at all we were passing Thwaites Mill Museum (perhaps a future destination for us) and then on to our overnight stop above Lemonroyd Lock. It's a beautiful location and is immediately adjacent to the RSPB St Alban's Reserve. The Scouts went exploring a little in the gloaming and we returned to the reserve the next day to find one of the hidden gems of West Yorkshire.
Setting off around 11pm was perhaps a little late but with Sandwiches for lunch, it wasn't too long before we arrived back at Stanley Marina to empty the loo, fill the water tanks and break the back of packing and cleaning. (Note to self, a full portaloo weighs A LOT – well worth emptying every day). Half an hour after leaving we were back at Fall Ings lock – the only manual one that the youngsters had done, and then into the basin comfortably by 4:30pm.
A great weekend with smiles all round. Thank you to everyone in the JV team for providing a fantastic resource. We hope to be back.
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