The Rochdale Canal is one of 3 Pennine crossings, it has wide locks built for barges and Humber keels. It has always had a problem with getting sufficient water to the summit pound which is not very long and there are rather a lot of locks leading down both ways from it. The canal continues to be a challenge, not just for the water supply difficulties but the energy required to work it. It may only be 32 miles long, but it has 92 locks so we are going to be busy!
We left Sowerby Bridge on Friday, up the first 2 locks of the canal, leaving the lovely basin behind. The ducks were still snoozing on the bank.
This was the pound above lock 2 the day before, but apparently it was supposed to be that way. It is kept drained overnight to avoid flooding the pub on the bank. It was fine for us as we came up, the lock-keeper at the next lock was ready for us.
Lock 3 is approached under a tunnel, carrying the crossroads in Sowerby Bridge over it. When the canal was being restored this bit had been filled in, and the roads put in place. Lock 3 would have been where the tunnel is now, so the clever engineers built the very deep Tuel Lane lock taking the place of Lock 3&4.
It is VERY deep, 19’ 81/2’’.
It takes about 10 minutes to fill, and it seems a long way to the top.
The lockie was busy with a queue of hire boats returning to base for change-over day at the basin.
Once at the top we were very soon out in the countryside with the stunning views leading your gaze up the Calder Valley.
Just a few miles and 4 locks (we’re being broken in gently to start with) and we arrived at Hebden Bridge. We were meeting up with our daughter here so it was good to stay here and enjoy this lovely Yorkshire village.
So after church today we were ready to move on again, just 4 miles and 8 locks, bringing us to Todmorden.
Don’t think we would ever tire of these wonderful views, especially in the glorious sunshine like we had today.
Friday – Sunday
9.5 miles, 17 locks