Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Friday, 27 July 2012

Into the Hills

Have skipped a few days blogging, but that doesn't mean we haven't been moving.
We left Leeds after lunch on Tuesday making our way along the Aire and Calder to Castleford Junction and then a right turn to Stanley Ferry.
In places it was clear how high the river levels were last week, with bits of plastic and other debris hanging from the trees that are at the water's edge, and the banks covered with a sandy silt left behind.
15 miles,  9 locks
6 hours

On Wednesday we stopped off in Wakefield for a wander around the town and then setting off again along the Calder & Hebble to Mirfield.
Just as we were coming to the visitor moorings there were some interesting boat manoeuvres going on.

A newly completed shell being delivered to a workshop for fitting out. It was being winched into the building with two fork-lift trucks guiding and lifting it over railway sleepers. We were a bit concerned about the blue boat moored so close, with the back of the new one swinging round just a few inches away from its cabin top. We thought we would have moved it along, but it appears it belonged to one of the fork-lift drivers, so I suppose he was confident in what he was doing.
8 miles, 12 locks,
6 hours

Thursday saw us moving again, with an early start to Cooper Bridge and then onto the Huddersfield Broad Canal.  Although it was warm, we didn't see the sun all day, and the hills were lost in the mist. 
 We got to Huddersfield at lunch time. Here we were able to make use of the Sainsbury's store across the canal and then a look around the town.
6 miles, 11 locks, 1 bridge
5 hours

Friday morning we were up early again and set off for the challenge of the narrow locks taking us up through the hills from Huddersfield to Slaithwaite (pronounced Slowit, or Sloughit, or Slawit, but not Slaithwaite anyway!) The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is not very long, only 20 miles, but it has 41 locks up to the East end of Standedge Tunnel and then 32 locks down from the West end to Ashton-under-Lyne. So the locks are never far apart meaning with a crew of 2 you are either steering the boat or walking and working locks. We have shared it out today, with both of us having a turn on the tiller.
Although these locks are narrow and usually that means quick to work, on this canal some gates are old and creaky, some are old and leaky, some of the pounds (bits between locks) are low and leaky, or low and silty meaning progress is slow and creepy. 
But it gives you more time to look around and see the lovely views and today the sun was shining too.
The hills are clear to see today.
Through one of the old locks spaces.  When the canal was restored some of the original cut had been filled in or built over, so some routes have been altered or new locks put in to overcome (or should that be undercome) the obstacles.
Stays holding the canal banks from collapsing into the cut.
Tunnelling under the roads and buildings.
A brand new lock, last year this bit was underground with builders working above, now the college building is complete and a new lock chamber built. All very brilliant and bright in the sunlight.
A lovely old mill building opposite.

Leaving the new lock chamber the cut is only wide enough for one boat as it passes through the line of the old lock.

C&RT workmen mending the paddles at lock 6E beside Brittania Mill.
Brittania Mill built in 1861 and still in use weaving materials today.
New gates with adjustments made.
Loving the views, big.....
                                                                                     and small.

Can you spot the step set into the wall?

 After keeping the camera in my pocket the last few days, today I've made up for it with loads of pics of our journey.  Hope you've enjoyed them too. Thanks for taking the time to read  about what we have been doing and where we've got to on our journey.

5 miles, 21 locks, 1 tunnel
7 hours

1 comment:

  1. The pics are lovely! That cut really did look narrow. It's good to see the juxtaposition of new and old, plus to see how the canal is being restored and preserved.