The Tidal Ouse

Well it has been an interesting few days with our first foray up to York. This involves a transit of the tidal Ouse. Joining at Selby from the Selby Canal we entered at right angles into the incoming tide. You exit the lock and go straight out and are grabbed by the incoming tide, maybe 5 or 6 mph and your off! Never moved so fast against the ground, no need to turn the current does that for you. The technique for getting around the bends is quite entertaining because as soon as you start to turn the current takes control. A little bit of technique goes a long way and avoids brushes with trees!

Talking of trees the tidal piece has huge amounts of what is known as natural rubbish floating up and down in the tide and not leaving till a winter flood carries it out to sea. Whole trees and some huge branches make  up islands of debris, not so bad in a large steel hull but must be a bit scary in a composite boat.

As you near Naburn the tide slackens off and it is a gentle entry into the lock and then a nice run up the river to the centre of York. Nice friendly moorings, we shared with the Stickleback cafe.

Then it’s thinking  of the return journey which does sound a bit scary, having to enter a lock at right angles to the outgoing tide!  I have to say one of the key things is to listen to the lock keepers. Both Naburn and Selby are keeper only and they let you out when the tide is right for both exit and entry.

You leave Naburn with the tide against you so that you will arrive with the tide going out, but hopefully not too strong. Well we slogged against the tide barely making one and a half miles an hour for the first hour. Then the tide started to turn and we are off again. The swing bridges, huge operated ones not like the canals, are high enough so we don’t need to have them swung for us but we do have to make our way through the arches.

Then it is the final approach to Selby lock. Through the last bridge and then turn so that you are facing into the current then drift back with it past the lock and gently turn into the dead water at the face of the lock and gently into the lock. An exciting manoeuvre and I am pleased to say we entered cleanly into the lock without even a graze along the wall, the keeper was impressed, so was I!

A great trip, something really different to do, a trip down a little travelled  Selby canal with it’s interesting features, a fabulous transit of tidal waters and lovely York. This really is a great addition to our schedule and truly something different to do on a canal boat.

One thing I almost forgot was that coming around one bend in the river I was greeted by a high speed motor boat and a water skiier! No that is something I am definitely not used to having to avoid on the canals.

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