Monday, 30 June 2014

Goodbye Huddersfield...hello wide locks

Approaching Locomotive Bridge as we depart
under we go.......and then our day came to a grinding halt!

Not really an auspicious start to the day......we were off soon after 8 to reverse back to the sani station. Whilst Geoff did all the necessaries..I slipped up to Sainsburys for a stock up.   We them shimmied over to the diesel pump to fill up.  I say shimmied because I made a bit of a meal of was only a few yards across and slightly backwards but for some reason it took me ages.   We were there just as they opened but due to a lost key situation (them not us) we had a long wait for the diesel by which time the sun was getting rather hot......mustn't complain.   But with the thought of 9 locks to do in the blazing sun I was itching to get going.  However it didn't last, as soon as I had changed into my shorts the cloud came over....

Geoff and Barney then walked down to open up locomotive bridge and we though we were on our way....but no.....something round the prop again.....much cursing from Geoff....I think he thinks I pick these objects up on purpose.  This  time it was a plastic bag and a woolly hat.

All sorted eventually and then another stop just down the canal for Geoff to go up to Pets at Home for a bag of dog food.

Now we were into wide locks but even if there had been another boat to share with I don't think we would have fitted in the locks as they are very short.  They say 57'6" is the max and that is our length.  How you would get two of the same length in and manage to open the gates is beyond me.    In the event we did not meet a single boat all day.   From reading other peoples blogs I think they are all on the Trent & Mersey or the Oxford!

This is now the Huddersfield Broad Canal and once out of the first lock you could be fooled into thinking you deep in the country.   However lurking just behind the trees and bushes lining the canal is industry, suburbia and some magnificent playing fields and stadiums.

Half way down we had to stop for a short coffee break

It had now reached the time of day when we consider mooring up, BUT there are no suitable places until the end of the canal at the junction.

Goodbye Huddersfield Broad, just a short way down to the junction and we had a very sharp right had turn onto the Calder & Hebble navigation.  Once through the first lock (a flood lock and open) we found 72 hour moorings.   This was us for the day.

Geoff's evening picture

Total distance:3.81 miles 
Elapsed time:4h17m1s (Not including sani station and fuel filling and waiting!)
Average speed:0.89 mph (3.23 lock/mph)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sunday in Huddersfield...a day of contrasts

Yesterday we succumbed to the 'All you can eat' breakfast in the ASPLEY INN just along from the boat and today we tried their Sunday Roast........both very acceptable.

We always try to find two things for our stopping place on a Sunday.....a church and a pub.....
Today was a day of contrast as far as the church was concerned.   Geoff went to the local church of St Peter inn the town for Holy Communion at 8am.

John from the Marina here in the basin had visited us on the boat to invite us to his church on Sunday and since we are always open to new ventures we accepted.

This turned  out to be the Huddersfield Christian Fellowship which was a whole new experience.   Instead of the 10 people Geoff had at St Peters, there were 500-600 people in a huge auditorium in their purpose built building called Cathedral House.

Note the anorak and umbrella....the weather has not improved!
For almost the first hour it was very upbeat music and singing......nothing traditional......and everyone was very welcoming.   It was great to see people from all walks of life and of all ages from babies to pensioners.....

On our walk back we passed the pick up point for the crew at lock 3...(we came through here last Monday)you can see it disappears right under the road, another fantastic feat of the restoration of this canal.  The building behind is Kirklees 6th Form College.
Later it was back to what seems to be the routine at the moment.......Geoff has football on the main TV and I am banished to the back cabin to watch whatever I want.....and it certainly isn't football.   No tennis today, but football seems to take precedence over everything!!....does it finish soon???

Tomorrow is moving on day.  We will have been here nearly a week which is longer than we have ever stayed.......and my feet are itchy to move on now.   Back to wide locks unfortunately.  We were last on the Huddersfield Broad 7 years ago and don't remember very much, but they are short locks, supposedly only up to 57ft 6 in......which is what we are.   All I ask is that there is sufficient depth of water, unlike the Huddersfield in places.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Hesitating in Huddersfield

We managed to find the last mooring place available when we arrived on Monday.   We had caught up with Bisous as they had gone away for a few days,
We can either have the bows in or the stern but not both!!
The plan was to stop here for a couple of days to recover from the long run down.......but we seem to be lingering a little longer than anticipated. We have decided on a stopping place to leave Petroc early August when we go south for nephew Marc's wedding so we are now not in a rush.   Since it is unlikely we shall be Huddersfield way again in the foreseeable future we thought we would take advantage.   The moorings belong to Aspley Marina and are free for 72 hours......quite a few of the boats moored look as though they have been here longer.   However there is just a small charge of £5 a day after that.

Various domestic chores have been attended to including a vet visit for Barney( ear infection) and the dentist for me ( part of tooth broken off)
We managed to have a catch up with Nick and Patricia on Bisous before they left on Thursday.

Patricia working hard to raise the bridge.....
.....whilst Nick casually meanders through as he takes his photographs.
Geoff (and Barney)walked all the way to Coopers Bridge with them helping them through the 9 locks.......he was gone for about 5 hours and looked shattered on his return.

he was recovered sufficiently on Friday to explore the town 
Pausing to see Harold Wilson
The original idea for Friday was to take the bus over the moors to Hebden Bridge but the weather turned unfavourable and stayed the same on Saturday so I was robbed of my little jaunt.

However Geoff braved the rain on Saturday to climb Castle Hill which he reported was a very steep climb.  Barney of course took it all in his stride.
A very prominent landmark over Huddersfield
Sadly (for Geoff) the pub is no longer there.
He had to be content with the fantastic view from the top, which would have been better if the weather had obliged.

Monday, 23 June 2014

The descent to Huddersfield continues.

From what we had been told there were no decent mooring place between Slaithwaite and Huddersfield so with 21 locks to negotiate and unknown problems ahead we decided on a very early start.   The weather was also, dare I say it, forecast to be hot.  

So at 0645 we moved off our very pleasant weekend mooring.

Lock 21 very new looking
Emerging into yet another narrow part of canal
Looking back at 21E
Some of the locks had more leaks than others
Some nice graffiti
These leaks were much more lethal as I had to pass through them.   I hastily pulled the cover over the back and shut the doors.  The water came pouring into the cockpit and later Geoff found a large amount in the engine bay which did not please him......
Titanic Mill which is now apartments and a Spa
Opposite Titanic Mill quite a nice 'Des Res' whose view was wonderful
This would have been a great mooring place IF the sides had been deep enough

Instead we continued our downward problems so far although I was being very careful to keep to the centre of the channel.  Geoff had had to flush me out of one lock but we were getting used to these problems now!
However this is what greeted us below Lock 8E
Since we thought it would take a lot of water to fill we called CRT who promised a call back......!!
After a while with no response Geoff walked back to Lock 11 and started to let water down and eventually all was well for us.  However I called CRT to tell them that now the pound by 11E was right down!!  
Getting closer to Huddersfield now and the urban sprawl is beginning
The narrow new section coming up to lock 3E
Coming up to Lock 3E alongside Kirklees University
and down we go.   The towpath end here but they have put convenient steps just beyond the lock to pick up crew.

Some narrow bits to negotiate
Just like being in a big drain!
and so to Lock 1E...the end of the Huddersfield Narrow for us.......we have done it....
Final approach into the basin at Huddersfield
and the last bridge....
Not as low as some..
and into Aspley Basin where we had just uttered a sigh of relief as by now it was very hot and I was suffering from the heat........................................when all of a sudden the engine made very nasty noises.......just what we wanted.
Luckily we managed to drift back onto the water point so that Geoff could get into the weed hatch....
This fender and string was wrapped round the prop
Somebody was looking after us as there was just one space left on the visitor moorings which was a good job as I could not have gone any further.....

Total distance:4.80 miles 
Elapsed time:7h15m54s (Without our hold up we would only have taken about 5 1/2 hours)
Average speed:0.66 mph (3.55 lock/mph
So we have successfully traversed the Huddersfield narrow, something we would not have considered doing a few years ago.   Would we do it again?????   Well probably not but we are glad we have done it.
The countryside is wonderful but the whole canal is difficult because of depths and lack of decent mooring places.   This is a great shame as the amount of effort and money that went into restoring the canal is nothing short of a miracle.  BUT if it is not maintained better boats will not come and it will fall into disuse again.   This would be a crying shame as it is the most wonderful part of the country to visit.

To see the effort that went into the restoration see the link to the Huddersfield Canal Society and take the two links on their first page.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Weekend in Slaithwaite

Since the buses seem to be very good in this part of the world I decided to have my urban day in Huddersfield.  There are two different bus routes to choose from from Slaithwaite....spoilt for choice.....
I needed a new TV USB stick for my computer and a few other things.

I was pleasantly surprised by the bus station in Huddersfield.  It was vast with buses seemingly going to all points of the globe, spotlessly clean toilets and helpful customer services.   What a contrast to the last bus station I was in which was Plymouth.......grotty being the operative word.

Objectives were all achieved and an additional one made as I finally upgraded my phone when I found an extremely pleasant and patient man in the EE shop.

In addition Geoffrey had been busy in my absence and painted the gunnels down one side of Petroc.  he has never done it before, it has always been my job.  However he has made such a good job of it that I have suggested that he does the other side when we are moored somewhere convenient!

That is two maintenance jobs on Petroc recently, I am in danger of being impressed......

Part of the narrow canal through the village.  The restoration of this canal is a tremendous feat as parts of it were completely filled in.
The turning place and watering hole
Is there such a thing???
This was the pub we tried for Sunday lunch.  They only cook on Sundays apparently and just a roast.  We had a choice of  lamb, beef pork or chicken.  It was home cooked and excellent for £6.95
Hand Made bakery  where we bought some delicious bread.
Another section of where the canal has been reclaimed.

St James Church
A huge Georgian church with all the wood, including the ceiling, matching and highly polished
Early morning looking at the moorings.
On Friday night we were the only boat moored, but by Saturday there were 6 of us.   Four of these were going up and had bookings for Sunday to get through Lock 24E which CRT were operating before it was closing for 2 weeks on Monday for repairs.

We had been warned about this BUT although I am signed up for stoppage notices I had never seen one about this.