Sunday, 5 May 2013

It couldn’t get any worse - could it?

 Late afternoon on Thursday when school was out we had a visit from 3 young lads who seemed determined to take the ropes off the capstan of the boat in front of us (George had tie-wrapped ours earlier, just in case).  George went out to tell them to leave it alone and got the usual expected cheek back.  He rang the local police to report the incident and we waited for the kids to come back.  Fortunately they didn’t but we couldn't settle and had a broken night’s sleep.

 We slept a bit late and when we woke up the boat was really badly tilted, we decided to move on to Uppermill instead of staying here for the weekend.  It’s only 1.75 miles and 6 locks - a total of 7.75 lock miles.

Passing the Roachers Lock pub where dogs are not welcome ...

… and into the first lock of the day … the towpath beyond is closed

Looking back from Division Lock 17W where the reason for the towpath closure is evident - I hope that house is safe.

Looking ahead towards the peaks

I’d been advised by a boater at Mossley to stay in the middle but all went pear shaped here at Division Bridge. (11:49)

 I’d struggled in shallow water to get this far and then the wind blew across the valley and caught the stern and I was grounded - couldn’t go forwards or backwards!

 George walked up to lock 18 to let water down so that I could get through bridge 85 … it took just over an hour to scrape along the bottom and becoming completely grounded a few yards before the lock until I had enough water under me to enter Keith Jackson Lock (18W)

Where things got no better at all … there was not enough water left in the pound above to fill the lock!

George rang CRT and informed them of the situation - that he had already emptied this pound and still needed more water.

CRT realised that George 'knew what he was doing’ and told him to go ahead as the pound (a stretch of water between locks) above the next lock (19) was a mile long and there was plenty of water there.

13:32 an hour and a half later and I’m ready to go!

Views from Royal George Lock 19W - so far it’s taken us 3 hours to cruise 1 mile and 4 locks!

Needle-like spires of very different varieties - or are they??

A beautiful Magnolia in full bloom cascades over the edge of the canal

George has joined me at the helm whilst we made slow but steady progress towards Saddleworth.

Passing this rather strange looking cube-like house with french windows on an upper floor with no balcony!

I decided to get off at Frenchies Bridge 80 and walk on to set Hall Lock 20W and let George bring RnR in. 

This is new - a small basin accessed by a lift bridge and there’s a notice there that advertises a new marina too.

… outside Tesco.  I assume that the bridge is operated by a BW key - looks like a good place to stop and shop, but not today.

14:43 and Rock n Roll has done another mile!

Through the portcullis-like entrance of High Street Bridge taking me into ...

… Wade Lock 21W - we have reached our destination!

After continuing hundred yards or so and filling our water tank we attempted to moor along the left-hand side to no avail at all, we just could not get close to the side!

Another boat was moored here and they told us they were moving and we could take this space overlooking Uppermill car park.  The time now?  4pm!  We usually cruise at approx 3-miles per hour so 8 lock miles should have taken us just over 2 ½ hours but instead took just over 5!

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this blog and apart from a noisy commotion outside the pub over the road in the very early hours of Friday morning our mooring has been great.

Next leg of the journey - Tuesday early, then Wednesday through Standedge Tunnel.


  1. We remember this bit very well. Lyra is 30" at the stern so we had real trouble dragging ourselves up there. We too stopped above Wade Lock and found it a wonderful place.
    Good luck getting through the tunnel, we didn't make it, to tall with top boxes.

  2. Hi, thanks for your comment - George will be so disappointed if we can’t go through! I am just not looking forward to dragging ourselves all the way back!

  3. Oh the joys of the Huddersfield Narrow. For all its shortcomings it is always a challenge and provides lots to write about. I know its slow and hard work but it is still my favourite canal.

    1. Thanks Andy! I don’t think we’d ever call it our favourite canal but there are certain aspects, particularly the scenery up here that it are amazing. Although we’ve not actually enjoyed the climb so far we ‘had’ to do it!