A Slow Meander to York – Part 4 – Enjoying Naburn and On To York

Here’s Part 4 of our ‘Slow Meander to York’.  

 Naburn Lock to York

We enjoyed a great cruise from Rotherham to York.

If you’d like to catch up with our big canal journey then below is;

Part 1 – A Bumpy Start

Part 2 – A Challenge On The Selby Canal

Part 3 – Tackling Our Tidal Fear – The River Ouse

I think Rosie and Millie were exhausted too

After the excitement of the river Ouse, we’d arrived at Naburn around midday and immediately relaxed, in fact mooring up was exactly what we needed to do because we both felt quite exhausted!  It wasn’t long before the chairs were out on the bank and we had a cup of tea in hand whilst enjoying the tranquil surroundings and sunshine.

Naburn lock is such a pleasant and relaxing place to moor, where you can enjoy a fairly easy walk into Naburn village and take in the delights of the beautiful surrounding countryside or you can walk across the two locks to a small, well maintained island where there are seating areas.  Here you can sit, relax and generally lose track of time whilst watching the boats glide gently on the calmer side of the Ouse, take in the nature and get a close up view of some beautiful wood carvings, (shown below).  There is also a building, which unfortunately was closed whilst we were there, but after nosing through the windows, it seemed to be a museum showing various interesting, nostalgic machinery from Naburns’ past.

Naburn Lock 2
Moored at Naburn Lock, showing the Locks behind us and the island

Below is an excerpt taken from the Naburn Village website;

“A weir was made at Naburn, a mile downstream from the village, in 1741 and a ‘dam’ or weir and a lock were opened in 1757. As a result this created an island on which a water-mill was later built. A second, larger, lock was constructed beside the old one in 1888 and opened by Prince Albert Victor”.

Naburn Lock

We decided to stay the night at Naburn.  Jon was working the next day, (we’d already juggled the cars previously, which meant our cars were already in Naburn) so we would set off and enjoy a more leisurely cruise toward York, when he returned later that afternoon.

On to York, but with a dramatic turn around!

The great thing about boating, is that each days cruising is totally different, experiencing different conditions, seeing various sights from new perspectives.

Tackling the Ouse from Selby Lock to Naburn had been both exciting and concerning, but this last section of the cruise from Naburn to the centre of York, although only around four miles and still on the river Ouse, was totally different.  It was the final leg of our journey to reach York from Rotherham and we were thankful that it was to be relaxed, (well, it was until we hit York!  More about that a little later).

We slowly and calmly set off around 3pm, with the sun shining and glistening on the water ahead of us, all we needed to do was to navigate along the winding river and enjoy the scenery.

As we gently glided from Naburn Lock, we very quickly passed a large caravan site on the left, with families enjoying BBQ’s on the river bank.  caravan site Naburn

The river banks then began closing in a little more with large trees beginning to hide the outside world beyond the water, allowing us to enjoy the natural noises of the rivers’ inhabitants.   River Ouse

There was also the chance to see various boats along the way, which is always interesting for us.

We knew we were nearing York as we spotted a public day cruiser, with their occupants enjoying their tour of the Ouse.IMG_1817

We were passing through Bishopthorpe at this time and I asked Jon to slow down as we passed this stunning building.  I was trying to listen to the loud speaker of the tour cruiser as the captain was giving his passengers all the information that I was eagerly trying to listen to.

The building is called Bishopthorpe Palace and is the official home of the Archbishop of York and has an amazing history which dates back before 1226 when Archbishop Walter de Grey bought the town of Thorpe, (later to become Bishopthorpe), demolished the building and used some of the old stone in, what is now, Bishopthorpe Palace.  You can read about the buildings history Here


It’s interesting to know that an Archbishop of York has resided within the palace since 1241 with the only exception of 10 years between 1650 and 1660.

As we carried on our cruise we headed toward and under the A64 York by-pass bridge.  I love the fact that we move slowly and sedately beneath bridges when cars pass busily above.

I took over the tiller to give Jon a break and as we meandered along the curves of the river toward the centre of York, we passed many beautiful riverside private homes and realised we were more or less there.  We were cruising through York without realising it.  As you glide along the water amongst beautiful flora and fauna which surrounds the river, you forget that there’s life and in fact a city over the other side of the trees.


We’d reached York and as we congratulated our beloved boat, we began to realise we needed to concentrate as, it seemed quite suddenly, the river became overcrowded.  We didn’t take any photographs from this point until we moored because things went from relaxed to suddenly chaotic!  I passed the tiller back to Jon!

As we were trying to find a place to moor, there were boats everywhere, from large tour boats to expensive cruisers, (or gin palaces, as we call them) to small hire boats and also man-made crazy contraptions! (you’ll see more of these in my next post).  It seemed the boating rules went out of the window here as there were boats on all sides of us going at various speeds.  We spotted an area where we thought would be good to moor on the left.  Jon asked me to go to the bow, (front) of the boat to check there wasn’t any obstruction near the bank or under the water for the boat to scrape on.  As I pointed over to a spot, Jon was carefully trying to weave our 55′  boat between the crazy water traffic all around us, then I suddenly realised after reading a sign, that it was a no-go area because it was private mooring.  I looked back at Jon and began to point to the other side of the river, where I’d seen other moored boats whilst shaking my head trying to make him understand why we had to abort that mooring.  He’d understood me and when the river seemed clear, he began slowly to turn the boat again toward the right and the centre of the river, to aim for the right hand bank, which meant the boat was now floating across the natural flow of the river whilst at the same time, three large cruisers had appeared from nowhere and were approaching fast on our path.

Now you may have realised by now that you cannot manoeuvre a long canal boat quickly, especially when you’re also fighting a tidal river, which had gone from being calm and tranquil water to suddenly being stirred up from the wash of all the boats.  Turning was intensely stressful here, I was so scared we weren’t going to be able to get out of the paths of other boats racing toward us, but Jon kept his cool and was brilliant.  I, on the other hand, had my hands over my eyes!

Don’t ask how, but we ended up doing two 360 degree turns in the middle of the river! It was a horrible experience, one which we never want to repeat, although we did have a laugh about it later!

I was glad of two things at that point; 1)  Glad to be at the other end of the boat away from the tense air in the wheelhouse, (I’m sure Jon was also glad of this!) and 2) Glad I’d very quickly handed the tiller over to Jon as we approached York! (He was probably glad of this too!).

Jon eventually brought the boat safely alongside the opposite bank, now facing the way we’d come, slowly cruising as I looked for a good spot from the bow.  As we approached a possible mooring with the bow nosing into the side, I ushered him along with our now familiar hand signals to yet another ‘good spot‘, which was behind another canal boat, so what could be wrong with this one?

As we neared the mooring, the guy from the other boat helped us with our ropes and positioning, we both had a friendly chat with him and found they were moving on in a few moments.  Jon, I knew was glad to be mooring up as he was tired and as he busily started securing the ropes fully, I began looking around at what was to be our new temporary home, when all of a sudden in the bushes directly to the side of our back door, I noticed a dirty, dark green tent from where, out popped a very tall, disheveled young man who began, very loudly, to recite with arms and eyes reaching to the sky, what I believed could only be verses from the Bible.  The dogs started barking and Jon, still in a crouched position stopped tying the ropes and looked at me.  He saw my expression, raised his eyebrows and without saying anything to me, started untying the ropes and looked toward the dogs,  “Rosie, Millie on the boat!”.

We slowly moved on, with me looking back toward the homeless man feeling so sad for him, but Jon was convinced he’d staged that performance on purpose because he didn’t want us there.  As we moved on and I looked back, the man slowly went to sit outside his tent watching the view of the river, peacefully.

We eventually found a better section of banking, with a great view of York city and the start of the river Foss behind us and the Millennium Bridge ahead of us.  Our piece of banking lead nicely onto a well used foot and cycle path, which would be great for the dogs.   I also felt safe there as I’d be on my own during the days with Jon working.  It didn’t take long for the river to become fairly empty again, we must have hit rush hour!


We were settled, we’d made it and as we hadn’t expected that last part of the trip to be so ‘dramatic’, we were tired and felt we deserved a beer!


We were yet to cycle back to Naburn to pick up our cars, but we were looking forward to that little bike ride along the river bank.

We loved living in York and ended up staying for 4 days.  Our stay was made even more special because we were in our own home on the River Ouse.

We still had to do the journey back again, which we were choosing not to think about at this moment in time.

I will be writing about our stay in York shortly 😉



I’d love to hear about your encounters of the River Ouse.

A side note:  We have taken quite a lot of Go-Pro video footage of the cruise, which I have struggled to include as part of the blog.  I am in the process of transferring videos onto a ‘Loving the Fifty Something’ YouTube account.  I am quite excited about this, although please bear with me as they all need editing and it is something else I have to learn.  We have such a lot of our adventures stored as Go-Pro videos, not only the boating ones, but also snowboarding and mountain biking in various great places.  I’ll be shouting out when it goes live 🙂


Don’t forget you can see more photo’s on Loving The Fifty Somethings’ Instagram Here