Thursday, 20 June 2013

Well, what do I think of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal?

Catch-up time - been too busy for blogging!
We’d seen no water fowl at all in the 6 days we’d spent at Grove Road Bridge until we decided it’s time to move on - Sunday 16th June when we saw just these two.

Once again I decided that I would do the locks, I’d thoroughly enjoyed it on the cruise down last weekend.  I don’t usually do locks as I don’t like heights and am terrified of falling in (I don’t swim either) so I really hate walking across lock walkways; but here on the Huddersfield Narrow there are ‘proper’ bridges with handrails on both sides so I felt much safer.  I wish I’d realised this weeks ago, I would have enjoyed it so much more because I’d have been a lot less stressed!
I’ve opened the paddles on the top gates of Bywith Lock (8W), filled the lock, opened the gate and here comes Rock n Roll with George at the helm ...

… and putting my back into raising the paddles of the same lock to let the water out.
 We’ll stop for shopping and lunch after this one!
A family of Canada Geese gave me a bit of a hard time approaching ...
 … Tame Lock (3W) and I don’t go too near the edge when looking for the water to level out!
Last lock of today - last lock of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal - hooray!!! George takes a picture of ...
 … me taking a picture of him!  This lock has hydraulic gate paddles (x 2) and also hydraulics to open the bottom gates - they each take at least a 100 turns to operate and by the time I’d done it all in reverse George was nowhere in sight!
There’s no towpath from here and through the Asda tunnel which goes under the car park so I make my way up narrow lanes, round factory buildings into Asda’s walking along the shop frontage around the car park and out onto the main road.  Hoping I was still going in the right direction I crossed the road, went down another narrow lane and yes - the canal and George were there!  We pulled over just before Dunkinfield Basin on the offside after advice from a permanent moorer there.
 When we were here on the way to the Huddersfield canal we didn’t have time to take a proper look around so whilst George was sorting out the stern greaser etc., I took Molly for a quick walk.  I hadn’t realise that there was a museum here in the basin so stepped inside for a look around but only managed this one picture as I was informed that dogs were not allowed inside and as they were closing shortly that was it!
 A bit more wild life here though.  Do you know that in the five weeks we’ve been on here we’ve seen no swans at all.

So, what do I think of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal?

Round trip = 40 miles, 148 locks and 2 x a 3-mile tunnel!

I’m glad we’ve done it because we can say we have, but I, and I know I’m speaking for George too, am glad that we’re off it!  I certainly wouldn’t put any other boaters off doing it, so long as they were aware of the problems that may be encountered they can make their own decision.

The photo above is at Dunkinfield Basin - it’s the first thing you see when you arrive either from the Peak Forrest or the Ashton Canal and we were certainly pleased to see the back of it when we left!

The real problems are the lack of water and the rubbish in the canal that fouls your prop and occasionally ’stops you in your tracks'.

The lack of water water creates empty or low pounds so more water is let down to compensate which in turn makes matters worse 'further up'.  

The lack of water also makes mooring difficult to say the least so there are very few places to enjoy the beautiful scenery from although if the rocks and coping stones were removed from the ‘possible’ mooring sites that would help considerably.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal has exhausted us both - it turned out to be a journey to be done; certainly not a relaxing cruise.  After each day’s travelling we welcomed the opportunity to be still for a few days, to relax and recuperate and have a look around, and I for one did not look forward to moving again.

On a positive note - the views, the walks and people are great and we’ve done it!

1 comment:

  1. We felt exactly as you did when we had finished it.
    We didn't get to go through the tunnel though, we were too tall, so turned around and went back. We always knew we would so it wasn't a shock.