Saturday, 11 May 2013

Could it get any worse? …. yes it could!

We’ve had very little internet/tv signal these past few days so there’s a lot to catch up on … it’s now 10 past 9 Thursday 7th May and ...
… we’re just leaving Uppermill - 11 locks over 1 ½ miles
Dungebooth Lock (22W) is round that bend under the railway viaduct ...
… a bit tricky!
… and George is having problems with that sluice gear
Safely inside the lock and a lovely effect from the sun shining through the viaduct arch
Looking back
Wool Road Transhipment Warehouse is now a sanitary station ...
… where we managed to avoid the obstacles, moor up and use the facilities.
NB Irene Grace had moored here overnight and will probably follow us up the locks later.
There was no-one on board NB Pilgrim - they’d turned back from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal due to a broken lock gate
Tanks full and emptied we’re on our way once again under Wool Road Bridge …
… into lock 24 - the bottom lock gates are now huge singles ...
… and in some you can see the ground paddles which empty the lock nice and gently.
Renovation work is going ahead apace on this old warehouse building above the lock ...
… and looking back work has recently been completed on the lock house
View from Navigation Lock 25W
Waiting for water in Mile Lock 26W
This photo was taken on Sunday of the empty pound (water) between locks 26 and 27 ...
… and it was no better today - George rang C&RT at midday to let them know there was a problem here - we were told that someone would be with us within the hour.  We waited and waited - eventually NB Irene Grace caught up with us.
George had decided that he’d ‘just get on with it’ as we’d neither seen nor heard anything from CRT. He opened one sluice gate of all 5 locks above us to allow enough water down to fill the pound and then the lock and then the pound again for Irene Grace’s lock.  He then had to ensure that all the pounds above lock 27 had sufficient water for us to navigate them.
In the meantime I sat in the sunshine reading and looking around - at first sight in the distance I thought that this contraption was a water treatment place with the wheel going round but it is an exercise machine for horses - must be terribly boring for them - round and round and round!
An hour and a half later I’ve actually managed to get very carefully across that pound and into Embankment Lock 28W - and there’s still no sign of CRT!
Looking back as I’m nearly ready to leave lock 28 there’s a large group of ladies enjoying the sunny weather with a towpath walk
Into Cast Iron Lock 29W waiting for George to close the sluices and top gates of 28, open the sluices on the bottom for the next boat and then walk up to shut me in here.
It took 25 minutes for enough water to come into the lock to raise me up far enough to look through the top of the lock gate and see NB Irene Grace doing the same in the lock below.

To conserve what little water there was at each lock, once I was out of a lock George would close the gates behind me and then wait until Irene Grace was in the lock below before opening the bottom sluices so that the water went into the lock and not down the by-wash.
Above the lock is a very nice park area with children’s play area, crocus in the meadow ...
… and a ‘snakes and ladders’ sort of game with the dice on the turnstiles.
Gongoozlers at Summit Lock 31W the last of the day and look at that view ...
… good views from up there too I would imagine!
Finally moored up on the Diggle moorings at 3pm.

12 lock miles would normally take us about 3-4 hours - today it took 6!

We’d been moored for an hour or so when 2 C&RT guys came to us full of apologies - they’d been told that we were having problems with water at lock 27E (east) when we were actually at 27W (west)!

We got chatting to the couple on nb Irene Grace about the problems we’d encountered on our way here.  They told of the abrupt halt that they came to when attempting to enter the lock at Stalybridge just before Tesco.  They described exactly what happened to us in exactly the same place at least a week before.  It’s too much of a coincidence!   Although we reported the obstacle to C&RT at the time, it’s obvious that it had not been removed!

So, here we are - the reason for dragging our ar*es up the Huddersfield Canal ...
The Standedge Tunnel - 198m above sea level, 5208m (3.25 miles) long and 196m below the ground!

Well, that’s for tomorrow … tonight ...
… we’re off to the dog friendly pub for a meal ...
… we both had beautifully tender steaks - we shall definitely call again on the way back.

Tomorrow Rock ’n’ Roll will be measured to ensure that she will fit into the tunnel - if she doesn’t measure up we’ll be turned back - and although I’m nervous about the trip I really, really, really don’t want to turn around and do that journey (in reverse) so soon … so … fingers crossed!


  1. Good luck for the tunnel trip tomorrow - will be waiting with bated breath for the blog.
    Pip & Rog xx