Thursday, 2 May 2013

Another eventful day!

George said “If the Huddersfield Narrow was a bloke, I’d have hit him by now”

Facing the ‘wrong’ way on the Peak Forest Canal above the lift bridge - ready to go just after 10 yesterday morning

We reversed towards the junction and the railway bridge

A chap was feeding the geese as we reversed and we asked him to entice the birds into the edge - we certainly didn’t want them in our propellor

Erected in 1845

Asda Tunnel and if you look in the bridge ‘ole there’s a boat coming towards us.  We really, really didn’t want to reverse but had no choice as the canal narrows here with the trees on both sides ….

… and the result of that reverse is seen here - down the hatch and out with the yards of plastic once again!  We’d been on the move for just 20 minutes!

Lock 1W (west) the first of the day, only 10 more to go!

It has hydraulic gates - no balance beams here!

Looking through the narrow with its 3 bridges - I wondered if this was once covered?

Lock 2W Plantation lock and look what was growing in the water!

An Emerates A380 flying into Manchester.  If this is number 002 George would have worked on its build in Toulouse.
George was walking ahead to set the locks and ringing me on my mobile to let me know the situation - he didn’t tell me though about this - Tame Aqueduct!  He knew that it would freak me out! The aqueduct has no parapet on this side - looking back at it, it was just a couple of what looked like railway sleepers keeping the canal water in.  I was shaking like a leaf but managed to turn just before I was over to take this picture of the River Tame.

5 minutes after this the canal entered the outskirts of Stalybridge town, the water was flat calm when suddenly the bow lifted, then listed to the right as whatever was lurking under there travelled along the bottom of Rock n Roll. She then listed to the left and finally ‘dropped off’.  This journey has not been good for my blood pressure!

Approaching lock 5W and those peaks.
And looking back at where all the real fun began!
The lock gates 6W were open and I slowly made my way through this narrow section when I came to an abrupt stop - no way forward and no way back!  George suggested gunning it in reverse to get off whatever it was - that worked.  Then gun it forwards again fast, fast.  I stopped! We tried this several times to no avail.  George rang C&RT but they must have been at lunch - he left an urgent message with the operator. Another plan - George would open the sluices of the lock leaving the gate open hoping that the force of water would lift RnR sufficiently to go over the obstacle while I gunned it once again towards the lock - it worked!  However, I got in sight of those gates and one had closed I slammed on the brakes, sounded the horn to alert George who was frantically winding down the sluices! Oh what a gay day!

For all the ‘excitement’ of getting in to and out of these locks they rise so gently hardly moving the boat about inside at all.

Rock n Roll’s steering didn’t feel right as I left the lock and I hoped that no damage had been done.
We stopped at Tesco and breathed again.  I did some shopping and we had lunch leaving there at about 2:15 with George again walking ahead to get the next lock ready.  The wash behind me wasn’t good and the steering was non-existent, there was obviously something round the prop again.  I alerted George and limped over to the Tesco side of the canal and we tied up.

It took a good 20 minutes to get down the hatch and remove this pile of plastic from the prop ...

… and oh, look, here comes a Tesco carrier bag to put it all in!
Into lock 7W - there’s a dredger in the basin beyond and the water that poured through the upper gates was ‘mucky’ to say the least!
George opened the gates and I slowly made my way out - then - yes - you’ve guessed - I came to a grinding halt.  The bow had lifted, then tilted down to my right and nothing George could do shifted it.

For the next 10 minutes he pulled on the bow rope and pushed on the boat whilst I attempted to reverse both slowly and fast!  I did eventually manage to get to the back of the lock whilst George was valiantly trying to get a hold of this tree trunk and haul it out.

Off we go again … passing under this pylon which straddles the canal ...

… and into lock 8W and the sanitary station where we topped up the water tank and got rid of the rubbish.  It was here that a boat came from the north and we warned them of the ‘joys’ to come; they in their turn told us that it’s much better ‘up’ that way - it certainly couldn’t be any worse!

I wonder what this conveyer used to carry?

Lock 9W has a very smart date stone built into the wall - 1881.

Terrace Lock 11W, the last for the day as we moored up at Scout Tunnel.

A short walk before we settle in - this is the River Tame flowing fast under the footbridge ...

… and rather more sedately on the other side ...

A heron disguised as twigs is concentrating on catching his dinner!

Countryside abounds ...

… as we walk over Scout Tunnel ...

… to its northern portal and the locks for today’s cruising ...

… and back to our mooring for the night.  After an exhausting day we slept very well last night and are ready to start a new day.  What will it bring?  Watch this space!


  1. That last photo is an absolute stunner Carol!
    Your tribulations are bringing back memories of the Huddersfield...We helped BW (C&RT) having called them out, to remove seven Tesco trolleys from Stalybridge lock...CAXTON was sitting on top of them in the lock and was suspended. A lovely experience but things will get better..

    1. Thanks Lesley, we are looking forward to it getting better. Going to the pub tonight, Roaches Lock (at lock 15W). And no one had better upset me!! George

  2. Are you going through Standedge?

    I was listening to a news report about the "suspended coffee" where people pay for a coffee for a deserving person to claim later. Maybe the pub at the far end of the Standedge can have a "suspended pint" scheme - I think you'd have earned it by the time you get there! :-)

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream

    1. Good idea Sue - if this heatwave keeps up we’re going to need it - I hope it does!

  3. Sounds like quite a challenge, but from what I have seen from walking in that area with relatives, views should be worth it.

    1. Thanks Andy - it’s certainly been a challenge, we’ve seen some on the views and they’re quite breathtaking. Coming up a lock and seeing the hills is fantastic!

  4. Jill, Matilda RoseThursday, 02 May, 2013

    It clearly hasn't improved since we were there with Caxton - you are bringing back many memories. An 'interesting' canal!

    1. We’ve called it worse names than that Jill in the last few days!