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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Like a glove.

It was another overcast day today and we needed gloves to start off. Helen and Amy wandered off to Locomotive or Quay Street bridge to get it ready as it is a lift bridge. Just as I was letting go the bloke from Aspley Marina came past and asked if we were from Holderness as he was from Hull. It turned out that he had been an engineer at sea so with a bit of a chat about this and that I had Helen wondering where I had got to.

Approaching Locomotive Bridge, Huddersfield.

It is a bit of a heath Robinson affair to lift the bridge, however it was quick and smooth and better than winding a handle for hours and a little bit of eccentricity is a good thing.

Helen and Amy at the control position. The chain collector 'pot' is dated 1865.

Once clear of the bridge the canal runs through the suburbs but manages to remain rural in aspect. It passes what seems like the practice ground for Huddersfield Town FC and a couple of other sports fields. This canal is a broad canal where the locks are 14'2" wide but only 57'6" long. It is the first time we have been through this size lock so were taking it easy as we didn't want to lose our rudder on the cill, or worse. 

Helen and Amy preparing the first of our nine locks today and you can see how tubby they look compared with the narrow locks.

Our length is just shy of 60' with fenders down so we had to ensure that we had the bow right up in a corner and the stern at the longest bit of the lock, the middle. We opened the paddles slowly until we could see the cill to ensure that we remained clear.

This was how much room was left when we went askew into the lock. We were lucky that there was no great waterfalls over the gates as the boat could have taken a soaking. The next problem was getting clear of the lock as only one of the gates could be opened. I had to back up so the stern was on the cill and then we could push the boat over to the open side and then the other gate could be opened and we could leave. It all worked well right down the canal but just took a little longer than normal.

Autumn colours are just starting.

Lock 1 on the Huddersfield Broad Canal with lock cottage. The lock opens up on to the River Calder but it all seemed very benign today. We have had warnings of low levels and limitations on lock use on the Calder and Hebble so we should be okay for a day or two unless it really rains heavily. Apparently there is a volunteer lock keeper here but he had gone home as there was so little traffic. On our entire trip from Ashton we had one boat going our way that went through the tunnel on the same day and then we have seen two hire boats going the same way and another today.

We are on the Calder here. This is Cooper Bridge (A62) the weir can be seen through the main arch and the Huddersfield Broad Canal is between the weir and the bridge. The rain just started as we penned down into the river so we were now heading for the next available mooring.

The entrance to the canal was difficult to see until almost upon it so it took a bit of work to get in to the turn. As the canal uses lengths of the river too this is a flood lock gate that is only closed when the river levels are high. It is safest to moor only on the canal sections as you then wont be caught out by rises in river levels. We passed through the flood gate and then moored up a bit further up on the left.

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