Posts Tagged ‘huddersfield broad’

Day 36 – Huddersfield to Slaithwaite

Thursday 30 July, 2009

As we rose from our slumbers the weather forecast seemed to have got it wrong as there was no sign of the threatened rain. We soon passed the Aspley Basin and aimed for an extremely narrow and low bridge hole. Our first narrow canal for several weeks! Safely through the bridge we soon rounded a corner by the University of Huddersfield and spied lock 1E. In addition to being numbered the locks on this canal are suffixed E or W depending on which side they are of the canal summit. On entering the lock it became apparent that we might encounter some difficulty because the water level was well below weir level. However we managed to exit the lock and proceeded onward. Approaching the recently constructed Bates Tunnel, it passes under Bates factory, we came across another boat that was already aground on the cill of of a now disused lock. BW had already been called and we promptly went aground on the approach to Commercial Street bridge. A BW lock-keeper and colleague arrived and arranged for more water to be sent down from the next lock. Both boats were refloated but the boat in front of us had battery problems and we overtook them to proceed through the tunnel and into the lock. It was double depth to replace two earlier locks that had been combined into one. As we left BW were arranging assistance for the other boat.

We passed through another new tunnel under another factory with the weather looking more and more threatening but at this stage restricted to the occasional light shower. We were quickly out into quite rural surroundings with the occasional Mill building for company. As we passed over the Golcar Aqueduct, which carries the canal over the River Colne, the weather took a distinct change for the worse and the clouds opened. we were still experiencing problems with low water levels but the judicious raising of a paddle to send down a little more water soon cured the problem.

Our reading of the information in the Nicholson guide made us think there were moorings above lock 20E but this was not the case and we navigated lock 21E to arrive in the centre of Slaithwaite where we found comfortable moorings with plenty of water. We have reached the halfway mark in our ascent to the summit level! The heavens opened again so we took refuge inside the boat and had our third late lunch in a row.

An Internet search showed there was a suitable Real Ale pub serving Copper Dragon ales. The pub is called the Wharfside, confusingly not adjacent to the canal but within easy reach and at about 6.00pm three of us set off in search of liquid sustenance. Our expectations were met and some very pleasant beer was consumed. The setting up of a stage for a “Jam” session persuaded us to go in search of a quieter venue and led us back to the centre of town where we found the Commercial Hotel with nine real ales on the bar. We were joined in the recently refurbished and pleasant bar by the fourth member of our crew and more ale or cider was consumed before we returned to the boat for dinner.

Menu: usual breakfasts; pork pie and salad; sausage casserole, plum and nectarine crumble with pudding wine.

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Day 35 – Elland to Huddersfield

Tuesday 28 July, 2009

After breakfast we set off into Brighouse and used the same facilities; we also took on water, purchased gas and used the Sainsbury’s. The main purchase was three jars of olives filled with whole cloves of garlic…

At Cooper Bridge Junction we ventured onto another new canal and the last junction before the major turning point which will send us back home. The next junction at Dukinfield will be a turn south and will generally head us back towards Oxford. Shortly beforehand we passed Aqua Roma again!

We were accompanied in the first few locks of the Huddersfield Broad Canal by Brahms. There is dreadful weed problem on this canal. So much so it appears to be carpeted in the green stuff. Brahms soon tied up and we carried on up the nine locks before having another late lunch (around 3.30). We moored just before Aspley Basin and after ablutions walked up the hill to The Grove Inn where we found 13 real ales.

Michael was joined by an old school friend, Robert Goodland, whom he had not seen for between five and nine years. Much conversation ensued, accompanied by beer. En route back to the boat we stopped for rather dreadful fish and chips at the Trinity Fisheries chippy.

The next two days are fairly leisurely: not many miles but a good number of locks. We have to be at lock 24 East (near Slaithwaite) by noon on Thursday ready for passage to the summit of the Huddersfield Narrow (a total of 42 locks) by the end of the day. On Friday we make the 3ΒΌ mile passage through the Standedge Tunnel, the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain. We’ll bore you with more detail on Friday no doubt!

Menu: cooked breakfast or cereal and toast; gammon and beef sandwiches; fish and chips (dreadful).