Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Huddersfield and back

We took Rock n Roll down the 22 locks from Slaithwaite (pronounced by the locals as Slawit) on Tuesday last week leaving our mooring about 10am and arriving in Huddersfield at 16:15.  It wasn’t a bad journey, we were at least taking a lock-full of water down with us!

 Staying together at lock 19

 Spring at lock 18
 Verdant at lock 14
 I’m quite fascinated at the buildings - I love them!  They’re so ‘upright’ and appear to be in straight lines only one row deep lining the busy road up at the top of the hill.  I’ve only ever seen this type of housing up here in the north.

 Work continues at Britannia Mill built in 1861 but I don’t think it’s spinning or weaving

 Stiff lock gear at 6E
 The graceful archways of this stretch of the railway viaduct have been replaced by metal towering over the canal and river
 Approaching Huddersfield centre and Bates and Sellers Tunnels at lock 3

 Through  Bates Tunnel and lock 2 now entering Sellers Tunnel ...
 … looks like a dead end!
 It’s not a pretty tunnel at all!
 Out into what I call the tunnel of pipes ...
 … which hold the sides rigid ...
 … a very sharp left here ...
 … and another one!
About half an inch to spare either side of RnR ...
 … and the last lock of the day!

We’ve spent a very pleasant and useful few days in Huddersfield, eye-test and new specs for me, haircuts for both of us, bits and pieces purchased to maintain Rock n Roll in good condition .. and relaxing!
Until Wednesday late morning that is!  We were having a cuppa before going into town when there was a knock at the window - it was Sue Day from the horse boating society!  She was short of volunteers to take Maria back up to Linthwaite that afternoon (about 3miles and 10 locks).  Well, what could we do?  George offered to go the distance but I didn’t really want to but offered to help through the first 4 locks which included the 2 tunnels. By the time we’d got the boat ready and harnessed the horse it must have been about half three.
I helped Sue to lead Bilbo the horse through the busy streets and over the even busier roads which replace the towpath between locks 2 and 4 - I did not enjoy that one iota! Bilbo was jittery in big heavy traffic and I was nervous to say the least!
A pity though that we have no photos as George got to steering Maria through the last few locks, helping Sue to secure the boat, looking after Bilbo while she returned to Huddersfield for the horse box and got back himself at 9pm - what a hero, tired out and hungry but a hero indeed!

Aspley Marina where we took on much needed diesel for both engine and fire ...
… and back under the main road to the university campus where we were moored and the views were very pleasant ...

The campus was much quieter than we expected, people were out and about minding their own business as early as 5am but making no noise.  They made themselves heard from about 11:30 onwards but nothing to cause a nuisance, it was nice to see them going about their business - and they’re so young!

Uni life had broken up for the holidays by the time we turned and set off on Monday back towards Slaithwaite.  We’d travelled down the locks needing fuel and so travelled up them ‘heavy’ on the back which did create a few problems.  I became stranded in a very narrow length and had to ring George to let some water down from the lock above and ended up using the boat pole to move RnR off again.

This youngster had a ride up one of the locks with me...
… also probably the doing of ‘youngsters’.
A pallet had been dropped into an empty lock 12 and then tyres dropped on top to make things even more difficult.  The lock was already set for me and George eventually managed to get it from behind the gates just as I was approaching.  I managed to avoid it and entered the lock but the gates wouldn’t close properly.  We tried filling the lock and the weight of the water did in fact close the gates together, but only at the top, it was leaking so badly below that George couldn’t open the top gate, so he emptied the lock again and then asked a local couple out walking to help him.  It seemed as if there was ‘something springy’ as the gates bounced open again - probably another tyre in the silt.  Between the two of them the gates eventually closed properly and we could continue on our way.
Apart from dragging the bottom of RnR over rocks and rubbish at times the journey wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

We’re now back on the visitor moorings at Slaithwaite.  After having a couple of beautifully warm sunny days the rain has returned with a vengeance!  We shall stay here now until Friday and have booked our return through Standedge Tunnel for Wednesday next week.

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