Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Them thar hills - Saddleworth

Waking up this morning the first impression of the day was, it's cold! So there was no incentive to get out of bed as early as we had planned.  The thermometer read 13' when we did eventually get up. 
Leaving Diggle it was dry but with heavy cloud all around.
We shared the 11 locks down, driving the boat or working locks, to keep warm.
There were still great views of the hills all around, even if a bit grey.
Coming down into Uppermill underneath the mighty Saddleworth viaduct.
Around this area are many quarries, from the one-time important stone industries associated with life on the Pennine moorlands. In the Saddleworth area the stone was cut for making bakestones.  These were squareish shaped stones which were heated on the coal fired range and then oatcakes, part of the staple diet in the area were baked on the hot stone. 
Also in Uppermill were several mills as this was an important centre for the cotton and wool spinning and weaving industry. Nowadays it is a pretty and busy moorland town, with coffee shops, cafes, bookshops and plenty of good walking routes.
 We set off on a walk round the village and up to the hills, but the rain got the better of us and we returned to Tacet. Have been tempted to light the fire tonight, but kept reminding ourselves that it will be August tomorrow, so it is still summer!
2.5 miles,11 locks

Monday, 30 July 2012

Marsden - Diggle - Marsden- Diggle

We arrived at the entrance to Standedge Tunnel on Saturday afternoon.

We had no signals, for tv, phone or internet, so very peaceful and quiet. But a bit like when there's a power cut you keep going to do something, then find you can't!  Anyway now I can get you up to date with where we are.
First some pics of the journey from Slaithwaite to Marsden.

Yesterday, Sunday, we enjoyed a day out to Bradford meeting our daughter; visiting the Media museum and being cooked for, a super roast pork dinner in her student flat. We had a lovely time with her and her flatmates and Nora the hamster.
We were impressed that the return train tickets from Marsden to Bradford, via Leeds were just £5 each.

Today, three boats were booked to go through the tunnel at 8.30am. One was ahead of us and set off after all the checks etc and with a C&RT escort at about 8.45.  We would be next at 9.30.  They like to leave a 45 minute gap between boats.  Sadly nb Yorky who we have been meeting up with since Huddersfield was not allowed through as it appeared she was too wide to fit through when measured with their rod.  However Malcolm and Sue have taken her through at least 5 times previously!  We felt so sorry for them, as they had made the effort to come up all those locks, they are trying to get out to Llangollen, so they will now go over the Rochdale.

We were joined by Terry as our escort, same as last year.  We were pleased to see a friendly and familiar face. 
He is so knowledgeable about the tunnel and is able to point out the low bits, narrow bits and wobbly bits as we get to them, helping Ian with navigating Tacet through.  Again we got through with just a few little bumps and no harm done. I didn't want to repeat myself, so haven't given much detail about the tunnel but you can read last year's blog here.
Mostly cut out of rock, the drilling lines are still visible
Along the way adits join to an early train tunnel, now disused.

the C&RT escorts check the boats passing through

driving their van along the old train tunnel

Terry jumped off at the last adit to take these photos for us.

We had wanted to walk over the top to Diggle, but had not had time from Marsden and so were going to walk back once we had moored up at Diggle today.  It was raining however and not wanting to get soaked early on, we got a bus back to Marsden (cost £3.10 single for 13 minute journey!).........

 ........... and then donned waterproofs and walked back again. 
However with the climb we were getting hot, and then the clouds began to clear and so we stripped off,( just the waterproofs) and enjoyed the views over the towns behind us and in front as we went over the hill.
In some places the footpath was narrow, or rocky, or very wet, or all three!
Jumble had a great time, he would have liked to make friends with the sheep.  Now he is fast asleep, dreaming of chasing sheep instead of rabbits, (his legs keep twitching!)

This evening it is warm and sunny here, with lots of local people enjoying the towpath, and we're tired out.

Slaithwaite - Marsden
3 miles, 21 locks, 6 hours
Marsden - Diggle
3 miles, 1 tunnel, 1 hour 40 mins.

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

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A New Look

Over the last week or so we have been spotting the logo for the new look Canal & River Trust who have taken over from British Waterways.  In places where the general public are to be found and not just boaters, stickers have been placed over the old BW signs.
 The sticky labellers had been out in Skipton, Saltaire and Leeds, but in between the old signs remain.  I wonder how long it will be before this one high up on the Stanley Ferry workshop building gets changed?

Passing into a new decade, I thougt it was time for a new look myself too.
 In the Leeds Market we found a hairdressers, with none of the usual fuss and bother, no appointments, no inane chatter, just walk in, sit down, say "I would like something different, what do you feel like doing?" And this was the result.....

                                                                                                                   ....and for just £6!