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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Stuck at Sowerby Bridge.

Helen went for a walk this morning to do a little shopping that I wasn't really interested in. I set about a few jobs that needed doing whilst I waited. I had forgotten to book a passage through Tuel Lane Lock at Sowerby Bridge yesterday as we had visitors. I called this morning and was told that we could go through at 1400. That was good as there was plenty of time to get down there.

When Helen returned I had managed to free 'Holderness' from the lump that was holding her with a port list, plus all the cleaning and other jobs that I needed to complete. Nobody had passed so we set off down the cut/ The next lock was at Mayroyd and this coolurful scene welcomes those coming north.

Mytholmroyd is the next place down the cut. It was the birth place of poet Ted Hughes. Sylvia Path is buried at Heponstall, above Hebden Bridge. What is it about this part of the world and poets? This cast iron sculpture by Kenny Hunter celebrates Ted Hughes who saw a hawk eating a small bird near here, plus the local hamlet called Hawkesclough. I'm not sure what them name of the lock celebrates, and it would be ungentlemanly of me to mention Helen at this point. The lock is Broadbottom Lock!

There are several areas along the course of the canal in the area where it appears that the tow path was undercut during the winter floods and are been reinstated. Not a bad place to work though.

This bridge, No.9, seems to have been camouflaged very well as it is hard to distinguish it from the hillside. 

I love these Pennine buildings that just seem to grow in the landscape. they seem to have come from the land and just 'are' in the right place. They certainly add to the scenery.

This photo at Luddenden Foot is just a Yorkshire scene as the stone and brick seems to be part of the territory.

This represents a rope fender and was sculpted by Joss Smith. It is one of a serious of sculptures that celebrate the fact that the Rochdale Canal, re-opened, brings 3.5 million visitors to the area each year and adds £4 to the economy, 160 jobs and helps 313 tourism and leisure businesses!

The sun has brought out the leaves of the beech and oak trees and once again the hills are cloaked in a lovely green.

These beech tree roots reminded me of the Lara Croft 'Tomb Raider' films and the location at Ankor Wat in Cambodia.

We arrived at Sowerby Bridge at 1300 and had our lunch. At 1400 I went to have a word with the blokes that were replacing boards on the lock which needed the pound at the bottom of the lock draining. We were going nowhere today but would slot in with a booking at 0830 tomorrow. We therefore went for a walk in the sun. We went for a look at the wharf area. There were warehouses here before the Rochdales was built as the Calder was made navigable to here. This sculpture is by Roger Burnett and shows the last lock keeper in the commercial age. The young lad was modeled on his great grand son. As usual Helen wasn't really pulling her weight.

No.4 Warehouse is now the home of Shire Cruises. We hired with this company a couple of times, including one trip over the Rochdale!

This was the drained section of canal between Lock No.3/4, Tuel Lane, and No.2. They had just dropped the paddles to start filling again.They told me that they were running water down to ensure that it would be full by 0830 when there was another boat arriving to pen down too.

There isn't much water in the Calder at the moment after a couple of dry weeks. It should be quite placid when we are on it later in the week.

The amount of work that went into this pediment above the door of an old bank was amazing. All by hand. I suppose that they could do it today, but a computer would be instructing a cutter and now human would be involved in the actual work. The Bank started when the Alliance Bank of London and Liverpool opened a branch in Manchester in 1864. However it closed in 1871. The manager thought he could make a go of it and started the Lancashire and Yorkshire that went from strength to strength, including helping finance the building of the Manchester Ship Canal that opened in 1894. They were taken over by Martins Bank 1928, and they in turn became part of Barclay's in 1969. 


  1. I would hope the canal adds more than £4 to the economy! Really enjoying these posts, as we've never been this far north.

    1. Hi Adam, Nice to hear from you (not just on the radio). I missed the million out didn't I. I knew somebody would spot it! We love it up here as there is hardly any boats, but that may have something to do with the hard work you need to put in to get here. Last time we came this way it was drizzle and cold and it was just a journey. This year in lovely weather it has been a joy to pass through the countryside that has made the hard work worth while. It is well worth the effort we think. Caldrr and Hebble, Aire and Calder next. Cheers to you both. Tony and Helen.