It is just over three weeks since we arrived back home and it seems like three months already. Although we have been back to the boat for a quick day visit, and it felt then that we hadn't been away, and we are hoping to go over for next weekend, looking back through the photographs we have taken has just reminded me what a lovely first season's cruising we had. All through the recap of our journey I have limited it to only one picture for each of the canals, rivers or arms etc that we have been on. There has been a surfeit of pictures to choose from on some, and less on others. Actually most of the pictures we have taken are things that you can see from the canal or when you are ashore. I must remember to take more photographs of what makes the canals so wonderful. Not so easy to catch the essence of a canal. I suppose the roving bridges of the Macclesfield Canal would be an easy way, but what of the Dewsbury Arm of the Calder and Hebble Canal?
After a week at home after collecting our daughter from her world travels we returned to the boat at Droylsden and set off up the Ashton Canal to cross the Pennines. This is just near where we moored at the head of the Fairfiled Locks. Down hill to Manchester.
Very hard to pick a photograph for the Huddersfield Narrow canal as there was so much to see and such pretty and different views. However the highlight has to be the Standedge Tunnel and the photo is the Tunnel Gates at the Diggle End from inside the tunnel at the start of the 1hr 40 minute trip. A fantastic experience and one I would recommend every boater, whose boat will fit, to undertake.
Down off the Pennines' now and just at the start of the Huddersfield Broad Canal just outside Huddersfield and Apsley basin. This is Locomotive Bridge. It is somewhat eccentric for a functional lifting bridge but it works and smoothly too. Not just your average bridge at all. We managed to fit in the smallest locks without removing fenders, or paintwork, but some of them we wouldn't have been able to share with another boat.
We popped out of the Huddersfield Broad canal and onto the River Calder. We missed the turn into the Canal Cut bu managed to swing round and through the stop lock. There was some unusual lock gear and we managed to use our old pick axe handle as a handspike. The photo is of the very pretty pair of locks, Thornhill Double Locks. I expect it would have been a bit of a bottle neck in the working boat days.
Just after Thronhill Double Locks was the very tight turn into the Dewsbury Arm. It took a bit of fiddling but we got in okay. The arm is very shallow but the Saville Town Basin looks very inviting and next tiem we pass this way I reckon we will stop for a night or two.
At Wakefield the Calder and Hebble morphs into the Aire and Calder canal at Fall Ing Lock. The lock looks huge, and the River Calder looks bigger than ever as you pen out on to it. The harsh old mine workings on its bank have been softened by age and the autumn colours and still cool air made it a very memorable trip. The photo is on the River Calder near Whitewood Wharf.
At Castleford the Calder joins the Aire and the river is doubled in size too. It felt like a real adventure as we motored on a placid River Aire. The Ferry Bridge Power Stations brought nus up to date and the juxtaposition of the modern A1 bridge and the lowly but much more elegant 18 century bridge made it more appealing rather than detracting. It must have been sacrilege when the Motorway Bridge was first built though. The phot above is taken from the Aire and Calder Canal looking over the flood look and you can see the A1 Bridge with Ferrybridge C Power station above it.
The Aire and Calder Canal remains deep and wide with only isolated locks. We made out way towards Goole but turned off south on to the last canal of the 'canal age to be built, the New Junction canal. This canal is almost dead straight but with aqueducts at each end and several moving bridges in between.
The photo is of the aqueduct over the River Don at the southern end of the canal The big guillotine gates are shut off the canal in case the River Don floods. As can be seen the bridge carrying the canal is not much higher than the canal and the canal level is lower than the flood banks of the river, hence the need to close it off. As it was chucking it down at the time we didn't linger, but next time we will.
Our last canal for this six month trip was the Stainforth and Keadby canal. This joined the coalfields and manufacturies of South Yorkshire with the River Trent and hence the world. The New Junction Canal was dug to create a new junction to Goole for a access to deeper and larger vessels to trade with. This was our last day with the true colours of autumn really showing between Bramwith and Stainforth.
I'm not sure when we live full time on the boat that we would like to stay in a marina the whole time. It does seem very hemmed in after the open road, but of course all mod cons are there. I think we would just keep a good eye on the weather and move around as stoppages and relative safe havens permit. All that is for the future. For the next few months I have a few jobs to do on the boat and hopefully we will get a away for short cruises and nights aboard. I used to get paid for night on board but now I would pay them!