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.

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