Archive for May, 2007


Monday, May 7th, 2007

Last 22 locks on the Huddersfield narrows, hard work and very shallow in places. Picked up some rubbish, large foam cushion and lots of polythene,

rubbish from hudds

as well as a car tyre blocking a lock gate. Passed the University where I had spent time in my past life

e1 huddersfield 

and then moored up by the Apsley pub (which was closed). Windy and rain, but managed to change engine oil anyway.


Sunday, May 6th, 2007

A hard morning’s cruising to get down to Slaithwaite. Low water left the boat on the bottom at the second lock. An extremely low bridge below lock 23E nearly took off my bike and a bag of coal, but managed to reverse and remove these to allow boat under with inches to spare. No photos of me getting stuck but here is Jeff going through…

Low Bridge Slathwet - Geoff 

Did washing and some shopping, started to rain and not looking good for next week. May head down the 22 locks to Huddersfield Monday. Karen wants to go Leeds and Liverpool canal route.

Marsden down..

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Another 8am start to go down the first 10 locks below the tunnel, again assisted by a team from BW. We decided to moor near the bootom although it was shallow, so the back end stuck out almost across the canal, but we knew no boats would be along.

Nice views on the way down though…

Marsden locks

Both shattered so a lazy afternoon and a chance to catch up with the blog and a few other things.

Rochdale problems

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

A few days ago we found out that the Rochdale Canal is closed again, vandalised by a farmer with a JCB (twice) who is frustrated at having his access across the canal removed since it was renovated, it is due to be replaced soon. The repairs can’t take place until some nature conservation trust has agreed. So it looks as if we won’t be able to go back that route to the Rally on the 9-10 June. The options are 1. back through the tunnel, probably the quickest but we’ver just done that; 2. round the Leeds and Liverpool via Wigan and down the T&M – 120+ hours, i.e. 18 days at 8 hrs per day, this is the longest route but we coudl do it; 3. go east and up the River Trent, looks like it could save us about 6 days, being only 98 miles but we have to contend with the tidal Trent which may also cause delays if there is rain later in the month and it goes into flood. We have a few days to decide, but option 3 is looking like a strong possibility.

Standedge Tunnel

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Started off Friday at 8am to go up the 9 locks to the move of the tunnel. Boat had already been stripped of cratch in preparation for the tunnel. We had a minor delay at one lock where clumps of fern where stopping the gate from openning. I had to fish them out with a boat hook, from the bow of Geoff’s boat, howver we eventually got it closed and were able to proceed. BW turned up 20 minutes later to also discover the bottom paddle was broken which may have contributed to the problem.

REmoving rubbish in lock upto Standedge

Mooring before the tunnel entrance (not very big for a tunnel over 3 miles long), we removed what was left on the roof and stored it in the boat. After the boat being measured, we found ours would be last in the line of 4, as it had the lowest cabin height. Several large rubber mats were put over the boat to protect it through the tunnel and we were then ready to go. Karen was to take the dogs over teh top in a taxi so she couldn’t enjoy the trip in the tug through the tunnel.

Standedge prep

At 12:50 we were asked to board the tug and passage through the tunnel proceeded with a BW person on the stern of each boat to fend it off as we went through. The convoy was to be shadowed by a further BW man in van that would rive through a parallel unused railway tunnel, where he checked up with the convoy at several points during the trip. Once inside the main part of the tunnel you begin to realise why the boats are towed through and protected so well. The tunnel has been blasted through and this has left a rough bare rock surface for many sections, being very narrow and low in places. How the boats don’t get scratched is a credit to the BW team, who were exceptional. We had a commentary from a BW guide Fred throughout the journey and happily answered any questions. The experience is hard to describe, but left you admiring the days when boats were legged through in the cold damp conditions.

Standedge tunnel 

Emerging at the Marsden end, the mats were pulled off and amazingly there was no damage to any of the boats. Like to BW men who went through on the stern of each boat they were wet and covered in black grey mud. We then moored just outside the tunnel washed down boat and put back the cratch and stuff on the roof.

Karen’s 50th

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Karen’s birthday 2 May and she was 50. She decided not to make too much of it and has arranged to meet family when we are in Yorkshire in July. Howver mooring up lunchtime she was wearing her “I am 50” badges, the two boats we’d just come up the locks with suggested dinner in the evening, so we had the beginings of a party. Later in the afternoon a boat that had just come through the tunnel moored up behind us, they soon also got invited (could be the balloon with 50 today on it). As expected boaters will take any opportunity as a chance to get to together and have a dribnk even meeting someone they have never met before on the towpath who is ahving a birthday. After some chatting we also start to discover that we have close connections already, the canal is a small world.

Bday dinner

So dinner at the Wagon was enjoyed, by our party of 8 as we celebrated Karen’s birthday and the rest of the pub watched Man U lose 3 – 0.