Monday & Tuesday 27 & 28th June 2016
Starting to get a little slack now with the blogs and combining two days into one. We don’t want to bore people by repeating the same things so only want to introduce new items.
The last few days have seen us go from very narrow canals to extremely wide rivers. We have never had a narrow boat on a wide river before and it is a little scary, especially when we do not have life jackets on board. A rather large remiss on our part as we were offered them back at the boat yard. In a few days we will be off these rivers and back to narrow canals.
The rivers we have been on have not been that fast flowing but they will drag NB Lucy across when we need to navigate off them into side cuts. We have opened her up a few times but not for extended periods as lots of vibrations occur and you can almost hear the teacups rattling in the cupboards.
Those big orange things in the distance are to deter you from going over the weir in the river!!!
Our plan was to turn off the Huddersfield Canal and head west onto the Rochdale Canal which would take us back over the Pennines but by locks this time and not by a long tunnel. We knew there were closures on the Rochdale due to severe flood damage that occurred back on Boxing Day 2015. There had been two old stone bridges taken out by the floods plus a large embankment collapse. We were hoping the repairs to the stone bridges would allow the canal to be reopened on the eastern end by the time we got there but unfortunately it has not occurred. If they had been fixed up it would have meant we could still do a portion of the canal and the prettiest portion at that. Alas, that was not to be. We might still have a chance to do the Rochdale canal at the very end of our trip as all the repairs might be done by then. She is a bugger of a canal as there are 92 locks in 53 k’s meaning there is 1.7 locks every kilometer. Not quite as bad as the Huddersfield canal which we have just completed where there is 2.3 locks every kilometer. Below is a little spreadsheet with comparisons for the Huddersfield, Rochdale and the Leeds and Liverpool which we are about to do. Recognition for these stats need to be given to W+M.
So by not turning left onto the Rochdale we went up to the Calder and Hebble navigation. The Calder and Hebble consists of a number of cuts (canals) that join onto rivers and then back off rivers and onto canals. The other interesting addition or should we say lack of addition is the short 57 foot locks. It was weird as some were 57 foot whilst others were a very comfortable 60+ foot long. It is quite discerning in the short locks and we are pleased we have now completed this challenge – we will give ourselves a 9+ out of 10 for our abilities – we lost a .5 as we incurred a few panic moments when Toque appeared on the front of the boat in the bottom of one of the locks. We were putting the girls inside the boat whilst we were going through these short locks as often you get water pouring onto the back of the lock from leaking locks. This a) freaks them out and b) we get wet smelly pooches. We forgot to shut the doors on the front of the boat as we had them open to air out the inside plus help dry some washing. All was OK except a bit of rapid aging was incurred by Di and Fraser.
The other item on the Calder and Hebble were really weird paddle arrangements. We required a strong piece of wood that was bevelled down on one end (called hand spikes) which we had purchased off another boater about a week ago. We met him at the Standedge tunnel and he had some come off the Calder and Hebble and as he would not be requiring the timber any more he sold it to us. The Calder and Hebble is the only canal with these unusual paddle arrangements. So W+M and oneselves have been travelling very closely together so that we can help one another through these locks.
Fraser operating a hand spike to open paddles on the Calder and Hebble Navigation
Having now been on the rivers for a couple of days we really do much prefer the cosiness of the canals. There are more small villages along the canals than the rivers.
We had the immense pleasure of going under the M1 today!! It is very odd to see a semi trailer truck fly over the top of at 60 miles an hour as you sit on a narrowboat below doing 2 miles an hour.
We pass a lot of these guys with really long poles and longer faces. They hate the boaters with a passion but they don’t seem to realise that without the boaters there would be no canals. Their rods are enormously long so that they can reach well into the middle of the canal and of course they have to pull them in to let us pass – hence their miserable, long faces. We really rile them up by smiling and waving and asking if they are having a good day catching anything – this gets right up their noses.
Have started seeing a little bit of different wildlife. Not so many of the Canadian interlopers anymore but these aggressive characters make their presence felt. We have had boaters tell us that they will peck at the side of the boat where they know the kitchen is in the hope of getting some food. No way are we going to feed them bread as this would be doing quite a disservice to their guts.
So we have pulled up in a little place called Stanley Ferry tonight in the pouring rain. We hope to get a pump out tomorrow morning as it has been 16 days since our last one and we are definitely now in the whiffy category.