Monday, July 09, 2018

Out in the sticks for a few days.

We pulled pins and left Barnoldswick yesterday, aiming to arrive at the top of Greenberfield Locks for around ten o’clock. This is one of those flights that are currently being padlocked overnight in an effort to save water. Arriving at 10 and filling the water tank at the top, we thought that there would be a good chance of another boat arriving to share the three locks with. But it didn’t quite work out that way…

Just up from where we’d moored there used to be a half-mile long branch to the Rainhall Rock limestone quarry. Passing through two short tunnels and a deep cutting, it terminated in a small basin.

The branch ran just the other side of the hedge line…DSCF4536

…along here.
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The canal companies made use of whatever materials they came across during the initial surveys. Quarried stone from cuttings went into bridge and lock construction, clay supplied brickworks purpose built close to the canal, and limestone was shipped to limekilns that sprung up along the navigation to produce slaked lime, an essential ingredient in the lime mortar used to hold everything together.
This quarry closed in the middle of the last century, and little remains of it and the short branch. Between the 1960s and 1980 they were used as a tip for landfill by the local council. That explains the tarmac track in the foreground.

Two major employers in Barnoldswick now. Silent Night Beds sits on the site of an old cotton mill, and Rolls Royce Aerospace have a large factory near Bridge  154a
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I’ve always thought that building a terrace on a slope must come with unique challenges.DSCF4540

Not least that the floor and ceiling joists have to be offset for each house. Unless they follow the slope… Nah, that’d be silly!

Under Bridge 156 to the top of the locks
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And there’s a boat there! I love it when a plan comes together… or not.
When asked if he was going down he told me no, he broken down. Ah well, plenty of time while we fill with water for someone else to arrive. And they did… two boats and we were still filling. So I gave them hand down the top lock, then took my camera for a short walk to see if anyone else was coming up.

NBs Whistle Down The Wind (steam powered) and conventional No Rush
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When the canal was first opened this was a triple staircase, but they were fairly quickly replaced by the three individual chambers we have now. Staircases are good for a rapid change in elevation over a short distance, but are inefficient and wasteful of water. Not a commodity in abundance up here…

The original line left just above the current top lock, and immediately started to drop down the 29 feet. It passed under a bridge that is almost completely buried under landscaping.
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Looking back the bridge is clearer to see.
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The canal, having dropped through the locks, followed the weedy course alongside the field, and rejoined the new line below Lock 42.
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No boats coming up, unfortunately, so I returned to the boat and we had a brew while waiting for a bit.

The water from Winterburn Reservoir comes under the building housing the metering system.DSCF4544

We left it until about 11:15, but with no-one else arriving we bit the bullet, filled the top lock, and set off down.

Down Greenberfield Locks
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Out of the bottom, and we’re now in Yorkshire.DSCF4553

Between here and Bank Newton and the next set of locks of this the eastern side of the summit, the canal has to traverse an area full of low hills and shallow valleys. This forces it into a succession of switchbacks as it holds onto the 450 foot contour.

Bendy bits.
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DSCF4559Approaching East Marton the canal towpath becomes part of the Pennine Way, the long distance footpath that runs from Edale in Derbyshire up the backbone of England to finish just over the border into Scotland.

It was almost 41 years ago that a friend and I passed along here, carrying 35 lb rucksacks with a mission to complete the 268 mile trip in 12 days. We did it in 10½…

The unusual Double Arch Bridge at East MartonDSCF4561

We wound back and forth for the next 1½ miles through the lumps and bumps of the landscape, twice as far as the proverbial crow would have to fly, and moored up in one of our favourite spots.

Wooden rollers mounted on the tight corners to guide the towrope for horse-boats.DSCF4565

Lovely spot on “The Wigglies”
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Today I’ve been busy. The right side gunwale has been prepped and primed…DSCF4570

…And Meg has had a haircut!

Before…
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…and after!

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She’s looking somewhat underwhelmed by the whole procedure, but at least she’s cooler. And guess what, the weather is cooling down now too!
She was suffering in the hot weather though. I’d ordered dog clippers online delivered to Val and John’s in Wales. They brought them across when they visited the other day. I took a good carrier-bag full of fur off her. Not bad for a first attempt, I reckon.

We’ll be up here for a few days now.

Locks 3, miles 5½

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