Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Saturday 30 July 2011

Huddersfield - Wakefield

Arriving at Apsley Basin on Thursday, we were at the end of the Huddersfield Narrow, and in the centre of Huddersfield.  Probably not a place you would choose to holiday in, but that's the interesting thing about canals they take you to all sorts of places you would otherwise miss.
So here's some bits of Huddersfield we spotted...
A wharf crane on the banks of the canal alongside the University buildings.

Re-enforcements bracing the canal sides where the canal has been dug down deeper to allow boats through under the modern bridges and under buildings built over the line of the canal during its closed years.

Coming out of 2 of the locks into Huddersfield the cut went straight into a tunnel.  This was the building site above one of the tunnels.

The Boy and the Barrel Pub

A gas lamp in the gardens beside St Peter's Church

Statue of Lord Harold Wilson former Prime Minister in front of the Railway Station.

We left Huddersfield on Friday afternoon, now on the Huddersfield Broad Canal.  Remember we got stuck under a bridge on Wednesday?....
.....well this is the trolley we pulled out. Now we need to dispose of it somewhere where it won't find its way back in the canal!

Leaving the mooring in Huddersfield we had this bridge to operate.  The Locomotive lift bridge. Now it is worked electronically, but it doesn't swing or lift in the usual way, tipping up, 
The whole thing lifts straight up so the boats can go underneath. The locks are wide now but short. Tacet just fitted and sometimes had to be moved across diagonally to fit in and wriggle the bow over to get out. Some pounds were very short of water so progress was slow.
We moored at Cooper's Bridge at the end of the Huddersfield Broad and the start of the Calder and Hebble Navigation.
4 miles, 9 locks, 1 bridge

Saturday morning we started to work the locks down to Wakefield.  Here there are yet another type of paddle to fill and empty the locks.
Ian demonstrating how it should be done.
With a Calder and Hebble spike.  Looking a lot like a pick axe handle!
Not too tricky. To let it down, you just release the ratchet and let it drop.
Then there were these gate paddles, nicely geared they were quite good, except for standing on a rather wobbly board over the lock.
The gate paddle was counterbalanced with these weights.
At the junction of the Dewsbury Arm we wanted to turn left out of the lock and under the bridge, but there just was not enough room to turn the boat that sharply, so we had to turn around a little further on and come back under the bridge.
On the way to Dewsbury. It was quite reedy, only a short way up to the basin.
Where it was a colourful scene with quite a few boats and a fair at the waterside. However we just turned around and carried on.
By one of the bridges it looked as though someone had sprinkled a packet of wild flower seeds, resulting in this stunning display of annuals. Poppies, cornflowers, daisies, chamomile, and corn corn cockle, I think I could see. Very pretty.

And back to foraging again, look what I found today.
blackberries and wild plums (bullace).  We had blackberries with sugar and yoghurt at lunchtime and tonight for pudding had
Plums and blackberries in rosemary syrup
 (without the rosemary)
I didn't manage to find any! Still yummy though.

11 miles, 12 locks

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Longest, Highest, Deepest

That's the Standedge Tunnel, the longest at 3.2 miles, highest at 645 feet above sea level and deepest at 638 feet below ground at its deepest point. It is really impressive, it took us 1 hour 20 minutes to get through which we are told is a good time.  We had Terry our BW guide on board who knows the tunnel so well he was able to tell Ian where the narrow bits were, the low bits and the 'lumpy bumpy' bits!
lumpy bumpy bits

narrow bits

tall bits
great to be out in the daylight again.
The tunnel mouth at Marsden with the hill behind that we'd just come through.
After a late lunch on the east side of the tunnel, we wandered down to the village of Marsden, a very pretty stone village with the river Colne running through.
4.5 miles, 9 locks, 1 TUNNEL

So on Tuesday we made a start on working the 42 locks down into Huddersfield. Look at those hills.
Some emptied slowly.
Some had great views behind
The guillotine gate 
half way up
we'll just get through
and into Slaithwaite
Where we arrived in time to get a very tasty ice cream from a local shop, and later on got fish and chips.
3.5 miles, 21 locks

Continued downhill all day, leaving about 10am and arriving in Huddersfield around 4pm. Some pounds were very shallow. We got stuck in one bridge, and pulled out a trolley,
then got moving again. Some of the lock paddles were very stiff and some of the gates extremely hard work. But hey! we did it and it has been great.
5 miles, 21 locks

Sunday 24 July 2011

Scenes of Saddleworth

We have had two good sunny days, making the views absolutely spectacular. Tonight we are at the bottom of lock 24.  We have to wait here to go up the next 8 locks and through the Standedge Tunnel tomorrow. We walked up to the tunnel entrance this afternoon to take a look around. It didn't disappoint.
Here are some of the views we have been enjoying..

Looking out over Uppermill
Lime Kiln Lock no.23 through the Saddleworth viaduct.
Tacet coming through.

In Lime Kiln lock, another type of ground paddle in the foreground.

The locks on the way to the tunnel, the hills in view.

An ice cream stop.

 The straight stretch to the tunnel
 Closed until Monday afternoon
 Looking back down

Looking across the river and canal from Dobcross a pretty village set high on a hill.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Trains and tunnels by the Tame

The view from my window this morning, overlooking the River Tame with the railway viaduct and chimney in the distance.
Then there was a flurry of activity along the towpath, well, 1 man with camera and some dog walkers with news of a steam train approaching. And here it is...
I'm afraid I can't give you any details about the locomotive but it certainly adds something to the picture! (Think it may possibly have been the Cotton Mill Express)

And there it is again over the canal just in front of us.
As we pulled away there came along a 'train' of geese. Goose families often travel in a line formation, but I think this must have been several families!
Looking out at Portland Basin Wharf buildings where you turn left to
Manchester on the Ashton Canal, past the big chimney or right to
Huddersfield, on the Huddersfied Narrow Canal through the Asda tunnel.

The Huddersfield Narrow is the shortest route across the Pennines at just under 20 miles long but with 74 locks and a 3 mile tunnel at the highest point. So it is a steep climb up and back down. At Lock no.2, the men from BW were there waiting to put the stop planks in at the top of the lock to repair a broken paddle gear. They let us through first then we came back to take a look at what they were doing.
First you put the stop planks in above the lock then open the paddles at both ends of the lock to drain the lock and the space between the top of the lock and the stop planks. This lowers the level of the water to enable access to the ground paddle gear.
The planks were quite leaky!
Now you can see a bolt is missing at the top of the paddle.
So on go the waders and in goes the man with a bolt and in a few minutes he'd fixed it!  Well done.
In Stalybridge town centre the re-opening of the canal 10 years ago has meant a lot of regeneration work has gone on in the town. A local resident told me 'Best thing to happen to the town, this canal is.' Which is nice to hear. I love the view looking out from the town centre to the hills.
A metal lock gate sculpture at the lock side.
Beyond Stalybridge the canal passes through wooded area and steep hills, with the River Tame running close by, it is very pretty. There is evidence of old industry close to the canal, mostly coal mining.  At Terrace Lock you can see a sharp bend ahead entering into Scout tunnel.
The tunnel is cut out from rock for about halfway and then it is part lined with brick and stone.
We moored at Roaches Lock where there is a pub which served a very good meal. Another lovely day.
6 miles, 14 locks, 1 tunnel