Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Sunday morning saw us taking delivery of our hire car, delivered to Petroc at no extra charge.  It tuned out to be a brand new Toyota Yaris and was lovely to drive.   We opted for the scenic route to friends Bill & Hilary at Warland, just south of Todmorden.   We arrived in plenty of time for the pub lunch that was booked only to find Bill still in his work clothes as he had had a plumbing problem!
However all was sorted and we enjoyed an excellent lunch where 3 of us had "Rag Pie"  This is a rolled suet pudding filled with mince and was delicious.  The weather was not kind so we only had a short walk with Barney in the afternoon but it was strenuous enough for me as it involved climbing even further up the hills behind their converted barn.  We were last here with Petroc in 2007 when we climbed the Rochdale canal to join them for their 50th wedding anniversay celebrations.

Monday morning we drove down to Diggle to the south portal of the Standedge tunnel to meet up with John & Fiona on Epiphany.  The reason for this trip is Geoff's desire to try the tunnel and my positive desire NOT to try the tunnel.  An invitation from John & Fi to join them could not be missed!

Impressive gates at the entrance
John had to be yellow jacketed and helmeted!
Bye Bye Geoff, will we meet again!
Last view of John crouching down
My lovely view across the top
I drove to Marsden where the Standedge Visitor Centre is, parked in the car park and set off for the 10-15 min walk along the towpath, fully expecting to visit the exhibition centre and then sit in the cafe and wait for Epiphany's arrival.........however.........everything is shut on a Monday!!!
Luckily the BW control office is there and they took pity on me, let me use their toilets and even made me a cup of coffee.  They then showed me how they monitored the boats in the tunnel.  There are 4 adits where there is access to the central inspection tunnel (the 3rd tunnel is a railway tunnel).  However I gather that if there is a problem and one has to get into the other tunnel, it involves climbing a vertical ladder!!  The team at Marsden can tell almost exactly where each boat is.   Only 3 boats can come each way and that is on Monday/Wed/Fri.
Epiphany light was in view when one of the BWstaff came out with his hose.   At first I thought this was excellent service as he would be washing the boat when it came out!!!!   However in reality it was to try and move the duck family away from the path of the emerging boat so that they did not get crushed.........

1 hour 37 min later and here they are
The next pictures of the tunnel trip were all taken by Fi

Thanks to Thomas Telford
Epiphany waiting to go in, train going into the other tunnel
Only 30% of the tunnel is lined
Just the rough hewn rock here
and here
Some brick lining here
BW's control room

And so we departed and left Epiphany moored in the basin for the night.  
I had taken my computer with me and during our wait at Diggle John had worked hard to try and solve the problem of my computer crashing whenever I ran the navvygator program.   He has downloaded a different driver for me and we shall see what happens when we set off again........I am quietly optimistic.....
The plan was to move on today Tuesday but after we decided to take the bus into Doncaster as it was market day and after that we lost the urge to move anywhere.  So tomorrow is an early start to make a few miles north towards York.
In conclusion re this epic trip.....Geoff has been muttering away about trying it for ages, so this was, I thought, a golden opportunity for him to get it out of his system....and has it????   Not at all, now he wants to take Petroc because he wants to drive through himself!!!!     Having now seen the whole operation I would not be so bothered about Petroc and Geoff going through but he will be unaccompanied by me......he will have to phone a friend!   Barney and I will happily catch a bus from one end to the other.
For more pictures and a much better account of the Standedge just visit http://www.nbepiphany.co.uk/

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