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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Art and river cruising.

The Hull City of Culture thing must be really working as we decided before leaving Brighouse this morning to walk up to the Art gallery to see a painting by Atkinson Grimshaw, and to see what else was there. It is about 15 mins to the combined Library and Gallery

The Rydings was originally built as home for William Smith, who was the first Mayor of Brighouse. He was a keen art lover and gave his collection to the town, then the house and had a gallery built on the side. This plaque in the foyer has very comprehensive information. I don't think that they do this sort of thing these days. The collection was largely Victorian and the Grihshaw was outstanding as the detail of the 'Fernt Dell' was very different to his usual stuff.

The Rydings looks like a home with the gallery on the far right. In front of the house is the War Memorial in the grounds.

We soon got underway and got to the corner and stopped again to take on water. We were soon down the first lock and into the Basin. I was surprised to see that there were spaces in the long term moorings at the top. Brighouse was a nice town, with a good feel and would make a great base.

The second lock drops you down into the Calder for the first time, and the first time on a river this year. Usually you can use the current in the river to assist in picking up from the landings, but the flow was so little that the slight wind was stronger!

Next came the quite picturesque Anchor Flood Lock. I'm not sure how far the flood waters reached up the buildings here, if at all.

Just round the corner from the flood lock we met a Shire Cruisers hire boat heading back to base and in the distance we passed under the M62 in a lovely wooded valley.

Next come the Kirklees Locks before penning out onto the river once again. It is amazing to see how quickly that nature recovers from the floods as the fields and woods show no sign of inundation, other than bits of plastic up the trees in places. I think there are more bluebells generally this year. Maybe it is the climate getting more suitable for them, or maybe it is the damp and rich soils that have been washed down by the floods and spread the bulbs more widely too.

Shortly afterwards we approached waters that we had traveled more recently. To the right is the way to the Huddersfield Broad Canal, and to the left the Coopers Bridge flood lock towards Wakefield.

I thought I had better include a picture of the paddle gear that the Calder and Hebble 'hand spike' is used for. The real thing fits snuggly in the rectangular slots to the left and then you just pull it towards you. The pawl drops into the gear in the usual way and the wooden paddle arm is drawn up. As you can see anything that will fit in the gap and through to the corresponding slot below will work. The of then it is just the length of the chosen lever to ensure that you can actually move it. I still haven't managed to perfect the art of lowering the paddle afterwards. Sometime they are stiff and it is then okay. Sometimes they are not so you have to be careful that when lowering them without the pawl great care is needed not to allow the weight of the paddle to slam the lever down.

After Cooper Bridge Lock, and out on the River Calder again you come across these bridges. It looks like the rail bridge has suffered from the dedication of the Forth Rail Bridge painters as this one was next when they finaly finish the one up north!


This is one of the things that I like about the northern rivers and canals. This picture could be of the Thames but just out of shot are factories and we have just passed an old jetty with the remains of an old crane capstan on. It all seems much more 'real', plus there aren't a load of cruisers expecting you to work the lock for them either!!

We were soon approaching Mirfield. On the left can be seen the central piers that supported a pedestrian bridge before it was washed away. The weir over which the Calder flows to Leggard bridge Mill is well defended, and has no worries on a day like today. Previously we have certainly felt the pull as we approached the flood lock protecting Mirfield. We moored up for the day just through the lock. There are moorings nearer the centre but it is by the car park for Lidl or on the other side with a very high bank. This will do us for the rest of the day.

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