|End of the line – Ripon's attractive canal basin|
After all this journeying it was a little disappointing to discover that boat mooring is relegated to the edge of the basin which is left empty save for a small trip boat. It could easily hold 2-3 more boats without interfering with the houses around its edge.
Anyway, we squeezed into half a space on the end of the moorings, with our bows tied to a tree and later when other boats shuffled along we managed to make that 3/4 of a space and went exploring.
|The solid, chunky looking cathedral sits above the river|
But what makes the place truly delightful is the river that runs through it. The Skel is crossed by no less than a dozen bridges, road and pedestrian and even a ford. When we were there it was running wide and shallow, burbling prettily over weirs and rocks but it can come up high enough to flood nearby roads and houses.
|Fabulous arts & crafts altar is one of its star features|
|The picturesque River Skel runs through the city|
|Market square with obelisk and cabmen's rest cabin|
|Cobbled street of stylish shops links cathedral to the market square|
But you can't go to Ripon without visiting the market square at 9 p.m. There you will find the Wakeman (or more precisely his successor, the Hornblower) carrying on the tradition of 'setting the watch' that has has been carried out every evening without fail for a staggering 1128 years. The Wakeman would blow his horn to all four corners of the city to let people know that the watch was set and they could retire for the night knowing the Wakeman would be patrolling the streets to keep them safe.
|The Hornblower blows his nightly signal|
|And then captivates his audience with an entertaining chat|
That was last night and today, with our 48 hours up, we have turned round and begun retracing our route southwards. Tonight it's Boroughbridge and tomorrow York.
*Actually the Lancaster Canal goes further north but involves a short estuary trip so it's not quite 'connected' to the inland system.