Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Downhill from Diggle

We didn’t move yesterday, it was just too windy for comfort. Meg and I took a walk back up over the tunnels to the first airshaft in the afternoon.

Not very clear, but this is a huge mound of excavated material with the airshaft on topSAM_3946 Above the tunnels
It’s been levelled out on the top.SAM_3948 Spoil Heap around shaft

Looking south down the Tame Valley from the heapSAM_3947 Down Tame Valley
Meg loved it up here, it’s rabbit heaven!

The footpath drops down past the white house below, which hasn’t always had mains water….

HandpumpSAM_3950 Pump

Meg tried to make friends with a foreign gentleman on the way down…

“Wanna Play?”SAM_3952 Hello
But the alpaca was having none. They’re quite aloof, aren’t they.

The three railway tunnels are side-by-side as they enter the hill, the latest twin-track bore swinging over the canal tunnel a little way in.

Diggle Railway TunnelsSAM_3956 Railway Tunnels
The earliest of the disused tunnels is behind the brick building, the other is barely visible on the far right. You can just see a bit of the yellow height warning sign. This is the one used for maintenance, and can be driven through.

For the canal tunnel alone, assuming a nominal cross-section of around 10 feet by 10 feet, there was a massive 64,000 cubic yards of material to be removed. Some was raised and deposited around the airshafts, but an awful lot was dumped outside the entrances.
SAM_3940 You’ll have to click then zoom to read it.

Less windy this morning, so we decided to start on the downhill run towards Staleybridge. With no schedule now we can take our time a bit more on this side.

First lock of the day, 32WSAM_3960 Summit Lock 32W

These first 9 locks are unusual in that both top and bottom ends have single gates. Also the paddle gear for both ground paddles is on the same side. So the lock can be worked without crossing over. What a good idea.

Mini aqueduct carries a stream over the tail of Lock 31WSAM_3961 Mini Aqueduct

Until Dobcross there is a fair separation between the canal and the river, giving great views up and down the wide valley

Old mills on the edge of DiggleSAM_3964

Looking up the valley….SAM_3967
….and looking downSAM_3968
A last look at the hills before the valley becomes more confinedSAM_3970
We came under that lot!

We stopped for water and loo emptying at Wool Road just below Lock 24W.

Wool Road Transhipment WarehouseSAM_3972 Transhipment Warehouse
Until the tunnel was finished, goods were transferred here to packhorse and cart for the arduous trip over Standedge to Marsden and the canal down to Huddersfield. There were even a couple of boats on the moorings here today.

The Trans-Pennine railway is always a presence alongside, and it crosses over on the spectacular Saddleworth Viaduct between Lime Kiln and Dungebooth (fine name!) Locks.

Saddleworth Railway ViaductSAM_3974 Viaduct

Uppermill was our destination for today, and we pulled in on the offside visitor moorings above the car park. This side it’s a bit noisier from the road, but the moorings on the towpath are busier with pedestrians. Handier for the shops this side too.

Uppermill Visitor MooringsSAM_3977 Uppermill Moorings

To the east above the town on Alderman’s Hill there’s a memorial to those from Saddleworth who died in the two World Wars. I think we’ll have a walk up there in the morning. It promises some good views.

Memorial Obelisk on Alderman’s HillSAM_3975 Obelisk above Uppermill

Locks 11, miles 1½

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