Friday, 28 July 2017

York - but not by boat

This morning we awoke in good time as our scheduled locking time was 10:15. Mike went early to pick up a paper from Morrisons. The, outside he spotted a fruit an veg stall that had just set up and was already doing a good trade. Mike bought a very fresh looking cauli as Christine had not managed to carry one yesterday and also some new season English plums.

Then, just after nine we moved down to the water point to fill up whilst we also attended to the usual disposals. A couple of cruisers were also waiting to lock through but we expected to be the first - the others had not pre-booked.

By this time the lock keeper had arrived and was opening up his cabin so Mike went across to check that all was OK. Almost immediately the keeper reported that he had been left a message from the Naburn keeper (it was last night's message as their shift times are not usually over-lapping because of the tide times) The message said that the river level was above the moorings above Naburn Lock which meant that the moorings at York would also be under water and that he strongly advised only going out if returning to a permanent mooring. One of the cruisers was heading to Goole so they were able to leave (even if they would use a lot of diesel as they would be pushing against a strong flood tide) and the other cruiser has a permanent mooring between Naburn and York. So, as they locked down and then out into the river we were left looking the forlorn bridesmaid. What is more, the keeper indicated that they did not expect the level to drop sufficiently for them to advise passage for two or three days at best - and heavy rain is forecast for times over the weekend.

Nothing for it but to return to the mooring we had just left - at least the keeper said that we could stay there a couple of days even though it is marked 48 hours - not really our intention to be there longer!

So that we could at least explore York we found that a train was leaving in about an hour so we packed everything up, locked the doors and walked to the station. It is a good run and, with our rail card, only £11 return for the three of us.

It was pleasantly warm when we arrived and we walked along part of the ancient city wall to the nearest bridge over the river. Hear we could see that the moorings were indeed submerged. In the last photo, the place where the ducks are standing should be out of the water and the edge against which we would have moored!

We continued to wander through the busy, often narrow, streets and came to the next bridge down where we took a look at the visitor moorings alongside the wall outside a couple of noisy pubs. When Mike was here about three weeks ago the water level was very much lower and it was quite a climb up the ladder from a boat. With no boats able to moor at the main place, this wall was quite busy and several had taken up space on the opposite side (not officially a visitor mooring we believe)

Time now for lunch and we found a small tea room close to the bridge which offered toasted paninis and wraps which suited us quite well. We were amused that on the wall behind us was an old poster promoting the train as a way of getting to York!

Mike went back to the bridge to take a better photo of the visitor mooring and as he did so a short narrowboat came upstream and moored. It did so without much difficulty as the flow was not very swift but fir all boats left them with the quandary of how to put out their mooring lines just in case the level changed quickly. Although we are disappointed not to have made it to York - one significant place that we have not so far ever been able to navigate to - we were content that the lock keeper's advice was correct and well worth heeding.

Our next stop was the Jorvik Centre which we now hoped to visit tomorrow. Unfortunately we could not book tickets there other than for today - otherwise they have to be ordered online. So, we found a place to sit in the close by square and eventually persuaded our mobile phone to complete a booking. Why do all these sites want to take so much information and to register an account? after all, we are unlikely to come back again in the near future.

We then wandered a little further, taking in the famous Shambles, before reaching the York Chocolate Story visitor attraction. There was just enough space on the 2.30 tour so we bought tickets, had a short further meander before returning to await our guide.

The exhibition sets out the famous story of how a small number of families, mostly Quakers, established and developed major chocolate and confectionery products, many of which are still as popular today as they always have been. At each stage in the talks we were given samples - a well-received part of the visit! - although the small thimble of a cocoa liquid, supposed to be like the drink that the Aztecs enjoyed, was not to many tastes and quite spicy with not a lot of chocolate flavour. Later ones gradually turned into what we might expect!

We then had a chance to make our own chocolate lollipop! Hot white chocolate was piped onto a tray and we could decorate it with various items. (We had already had to put our names on the plastic bags) When our time was up they were whisked away to be refrigerated for a short time to set the chocolate and returned to us after watching the final display.

At the end we were shown how a chocolatier creates had-made chocolates - in this case an outer shell filled with orange ganache and then topped off with a further sealing layer of chocolate. As they take about 20 minutes to set in the fridge, we were fortunate that the chocolatier had made another batch earlier which we were instructed to make sure that we left none behind. No chance!

Outside it had clouded over and threatened rain. But first we wanted to finalise our plans for tomorrow - a day with a meaning for us but more about that in due time. So our next online booking was a table for three for lunch at Cote, a brasserie that Mike has been to on his last two visits to York.

Even though the air was damp we headed to the old walls but before we reached them proper rain arrived and we donned out waterproofs. The station was about as far around the walls as it could be so there was not much alternative but to put on a brave face. However, we were pleased that the rain quickly eased.

From the walls we could see down to many large and impressively maintained gardens of very imposing houses.

We now opted to attempt to catch a slightly earlier train but Christine reckoned that there was time to go around to Mickelgate and back to the station, rather than descend from the walls at the point where we started. However not only was it a bit further than we had estimated from our very small scale guide map but the rain returned - heavy!

We were a bit uncertain about the exact departure time as the train timetable was already rather soggy and we feared it might fall apart of we took it out just now! In the end we had ten minutes to spare.

When we planned on the later train we had decided to pickup a meal from a fish and chips shop along from our mooring to take back to the boat with us. It was raining heavily once more but we decided to find the shop and sport out what we would like.

Christine spotted sign in the shop that said that we could order online so, as soon as we were back at the boat, that is what we did! Our third online order of the day.

Time to dry off a bit and have a mug of tea before Mike was dispatched to collect the order. It was already waiting when he arrived at the shop and so he was back at the boat in good time.


  1. Shame you didn't manage to get to York by boat. Having been born and bred over looking the Ouse it certainly can rise quickly after rain in the Dales. We were fortunate last year as our departure from Selby coincided with the Ouse just having dropped enough for the moorings to come above the water at Naburn. The day we left they went under again. At least it's easy to get there by train.
    Pip NB Oleanna