Monday, October 15, 2012

Going a bit too far....

It was a fine morning after a chilly night, and Meg and I decided to have a walk up out of the valley to the south of Slaithwaite. Not too far, both of us would be on the towpath for most of today's trip.

Looking back at Slaithwaite from the slopes of Black Moor

I wish I'd scheduled the trip to spend a whole day here, it looks an interesting place, and those hills beckon.... As it was we could have done, but more of that later.

Only planning on a dozen locks today we were in no rush to get off, finally untying at around 10:00. Just around the corner (they're never far away on this canal) was our first lock, and Mag's introduction to Slaithwaite High Street.

Leaving Lock 22E, Pickle lock

There is an instruction to leave this chamber empty, I guess it leaks into the basement of the Globe Worsted Co's mill.

Fine building, damp cellar

 The canal runs right alongside the High Street, with bank, greengrocer, butcher and sundry other merchants looking across the road to the navigation.

Of course, a moving boat invited curiosity, and we fielded a couple of dozen questions as we moved along the narrow channel. What this canal needs is more boats, then we’d be less of an event! The inquiries had to stop as we ducked under two very low road bridges.

Keep your head down….

BTW, they’re Mags’ gloves, not mine!
Lock 23E takes the canal up and out of the new channel and runs alongside converted mill buildings. A note for the canal guide; stay off the boat at 23E, it’s very difficult to disembark below24E!
Lock 24E is one I hadn’t told Mags about. She’s got this thing about guillotine gated locks.

Into Lock 24E

She should worry, she only had to avoid the drips. I had 120 turns of a windlass to wind the darned thing up, then the same to lower it again!
The navigation leaves the town behind and climbs steadily through a series of locks to Sparth Reservoir. The valley is wide along here, giving tantalising glimpses of hills ahead, and views back down the Colne Valley.

Where we came from….

….and where we’re going.

We’d planned to stop around Sparth Reservoir, but it was so busy we decided to push on for another couple of locks. Anglers on the reservoir and the canal jostled for space with dog walkers and pushchairs. It was a pleasant Saturday lunchtime, after all. And the towpath was decidedly gooey in places.

Gongoozlers by the hatful

Unusual view of a lock for me. Mags had gone down to make a cup of tea.

Nice stonework….

Of course, as soon as we chose to carry on it started to rain. And continued for the next 90 minutes as we climbed lock after lock through a leafy cutting, with not a suitable pulling in spot in sight.


Onward and upward.

Before we knew it we’d arrived at the outskirts of Marsden, our intended stop being 9 locks and 2 hours before!

Into Warehouse Hill Lock, No 39E

Just thee more to the visitor moorings near the railway station at Marsden.

Final one, appropriately Railway Lock, No 42E

The moorings are not exactly the most scenic we’ve used, but they’ll do till tomorrow.

Marsden Visitor Moorings
There were loads of folk milling about, and several Police Constables in attendance. It turns out we’ve arrived in the middle of the annual Jazz Festival! Rather than cook I set off to find that indispensible establishment in any Yorkshire town centre, namely the chippie.

The town was heaving with people, spilling out of the pubs onto the pavement, walking down the middle of the road in complete disregard of the passing traffic and unfortunately queuing out of the door at the chippie. They were rattling orders off like nobody’s business though, so I was soon making my way back with tonight’s tea. Ready for it too.

In two days we’ve ascended 436 feet through 42 locks in 7½ miles. We’re now officially the highest narrowboat in the country, at 645 feet above sea level. Not bad, huh.

So with today being twice as long as was planned, we’ve a colouring-in day tomorrow. We will move up to the tunnel mouth in the afternoon, and I can make a start on shifting some of the stuff off the roof. Now then, a look at the map for a walk in the morning…

Locks 21, miles 2½


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