Sunday, February 28, 2010

Luddenden Foot to Myholmroyd

I had message concerning yesterdays blog from Brian and Diana who are on nb Harnser who saw one of these little cars hocked to the back of a large motor home in France. It was a bit tight backing out, so the driver unhitched it and pushed it like a wheelbarrow. I like it :-)

It was fair sort of day but no rain as yet so bright and early - well actually it was about 1230 when - we cast off but you can't rush these things can you :-

I mentioned before that the bottom of the canal was a bit too close to the top and it was just the other side of the bridge that Tim ran aground. He was in the middle the canal as one does tend to shy away from the banks as this is where shopping trolleys end up. Most likely it just needs more boats to stir things up and keep the silt from settling.  Gave him a tow astern and he was soon free.          

As we travel along the hills that we will have to travel around, over or through are always  sight.

The valley is bottom is never far away as are trees on the other side.

You meet some delightful peoples you go along.  They might not all be of the hitch hiker standard but it is not often one is in a strange village and get called back 30 minutes later to be told that the pub that was recommended was closed down in a drugs bust two weeks previous. :-) But thanks for closing the gates behind us.

The gateway to Mytholmroyd  We were going to visit the White Lion but..... The Dusty Miller is a decent place for a pint and landlord and bar staff happy to chat and tell about the other local pubs.

I found a sign to the Clog Mill.  More on that tomorrow.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Luddenden Foot

As usual I went off for a walk this morning and instantly saw just the car to fit on the bows.  You can see by the wheely bin next to it how big it is.Probably need a tug style boat to make it easier I guess.

A short way down the cut is an overflow that turns the tow path into a ford. 

The fields alongside it, one on either side of the bridge, usually have stock in them.  This one has three rather large Highland Cattle and while they are quite friendly I wouldn't like to be on the wrong side of the horns.

The field on the other side has notices all along it. 'Please Note that any dogs caught worrying stock will be shot'. At least it says Please.  There are plenty of dogs walking along here with few on a lead.  You spend most of your walk with head down looking for the crap left behind.

There is a discussion on at  at the moment concerning the the surfacing of the Rochdale Canal towpath All I can say is that those against it don't do a lot of walking along it. It is a swamp and mostly mud.

Walking up the road towards Luddenden I passed another statue to, I presume, Bramwell Bronte.  He looks a bit of a poser to say the least  The scroll he is holding says 'I came to think - as roses blow'

The railway runs just behind the site of the statue. This looks as though it is the site of the Luddenden Foot station where Bramwell was once Booking Clerk.  All that is left are the two dents in the rock where the platforms would have been and the remains of what might have been a footbridge.

Most of the way up and a view looking back on the mooring and Luddenden Foot. The boats are moored the other side of the playing field.

There is little in Luddenden Foot.  A post office and shop, outdoor and camping shop and one pub.  A quiet mooring.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sowerby Bridge to Luddenden Foot

Lots of freezing rain to start the day off.  The lock keeper came around an hour early.  This is fair enough for if you want to go through the two locks to get to the tunnel he had better get the gates unlocked first :-)

The tunnel itself has lights half way down and at this point you discover the reason why you can't see the way out.  There is a left hand turn to take you into the lock. Not a hard turn with the tunnel widening at this point.  Plenty of room in all three locks. Hooray.

The lock itself is no wider than any of the other locks we have been through but by heck is it deep.  Nineteen foot four inches in fact which is why it is the deepest lock in the country.  Almost as soon as you get outside the canal seems to be narrower.

The three locks today have raised us up forty feet.  Since Castleford a quick check says that we are now 250 foot higher up.

The canal is dug into the side of the hill and has a bank on both sides. Very steep in some places.  The bridges along this section do not have the extra wideth tagged on to cope with the car and the ever widening of the road.

Rock formation is very different here to that just a mile away.  It has a very blocky nature but without getting the hammer out its hard to say what it is.

After a while we see nb Pyxsis.  As I pass I notice that a new use has been found for all those damn tyres that get discarded everywhere.  He/she has made a series of steps up to the road above.

In places I feel the boat touching bottom and there is silt thrown up.  There wouldn't be that problem with the River Calder as it is running very fast and somewhat higher with the rain we have recently had.

Bramwell Bronte lived around here at one time.  A wooden carving has been put up to him on the side of the canal.  Sadly that well know moron Carl M was given a pot of yellow paint to play with.  He should have been hit round the head with it instead. Might have knocked a bit of sense into his thick skull.

Finally reached Luddenden Foot after a cold trip.  Didn't travel far but it was rather uncomfortable.  Such is life.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sowerby Bridge Again

The view from the bows looking up to the first of the locks to the tunnel and Tuel deep lock.

We moved into the basin yesterday to look for water which is not easy to get at here.

I do pick some odd neighbours.  This looks like a lifeboat off one of the oil rigs.  It would give people bit of a shock to see this one coming towards you as you meander your way up the cut.

To get through the lock one needs to book 48 hours in advance to get the lockkeeper out to open up.  (72 hours at a weekend apart from the summer months when the lock is manned through the day)

I called in Shire Cruisers to get a new Nicholson guide as mine was out of date and the phone number in there was different to the one on the noticeboard at the first lock.  The number in the new book is also out of date with the reorganisation of the BW Regions.  The new number is 01782 785 703. Shire Cruisers were as helpful as usual and are happy to order anything you need.  The chandlery is rather small and is geared to the holiday market.  They do hold the maps, postcards and books on the various rings. They have a nice new HQ in the centre of the basin and sell diesel so took the opportunity of filling up while we are here.

Wandered off into town and found Lidl just the otherside of the deep lock and Tesco the other side of the River Calder.

The Engineer pub has in the last day or two reopened with a new landlord.  Very friendly but only Thwaites ale.  The William IV has been turned into a Gastro-pub but its worth calling in just to use the loo. A pub that doesnt look to have changed since the 19th century is the Turks Head which is down a cawsey and easily missed.

Off up the cut tomorrow with the lockkeeper coming to open up at 1000am.  We won't be going far as there is a days trip to Hebden Bridge and a week to do it in.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sowerby Bridge

At the bend just past my mooring for now is the bend that takes us on to the Rochdale Canal.  Mile stone zero :-)

Moored outside the Sea Scouts building is an old Dutch barge.  According to Jim Sheads website it is called Jaconise and is 51 foot by 11.5.  Doing a Google turns up just four entries and one of those is Jims so I have no further data on it.

At the rear of the basin and now on the Rochdale canal are the two locks and the entrance to the tunnel. Tuel Lane Lock is on the other side of the tunnel and built to replace locks 3 and 4 and has a fall of 19 feet 8½ inches and at that depth is the deepest lock in the UK it says on wikipedia

At the entrance to the basin is a delightful statue of a couple opening the lock gates. Called something like Jack o' the Lock it makes a nice seat in fine weather but not today.

The basin is covered with Shire Cruises narrowboats.  This is where I had my first taste of narrowboating back in the 70s.  I noticed a Cornish amongst all those moored up and it was a boat with this name I should have hired but swapped to another that I can't remember the name of off hand. The buildings around the basin are all nicely converted and the place really looks cared for.I 

At the end of the main street through Sowerby Bridge is the River Calder.  It looks as this is well used too with a slalom canoe course laid out.  Too damned cold today for it to be used. Still no swans.  The three birds on the left are geese.

Walking up the hill a view back down the valley.  There are glimpses of the canal in several places as it snakes its way down to Salterhebble. The building left of centre is the Navigation and Abigail Jenna is moored just to the right.

The tower that stands out the most in Sowerby was built in 1875 for a dyeworks but was never used.  At 253 foot high the Wainhouse Tower is now used as a viewing tower and (according to the book) is open on Bank holidays.

The main road down through Sowerby Bridge and, what has been christened Cardiac Hill, the  route up from the canal is on the left.

Another decent pub is the Shepherds Rest.  There were 9 real ales and the pub is that good there is one named after it.  Ossett brewery seems to be the main one here. Very chatty bar people and the locals are the same.  Had a long chat with someone in the Calder & Hebble Canal Society.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Elland to Sowerby Bridge

Capt Ahab said to keep an eye open for the old mill at Woodside Mills lock and here it is.  As Capt said it does look rather Roman in style. Bright sunny weather to start the trip to Sowerby.

The canal becomes rather narrow and winding through the trees makes a restful trip.  Its lovely along here in the summer and  there are no other boats around today.

There are some nice bridges and this is one of the impressive ones we went under.

I found a milepost as we cruised.  This one says that we are 19 miles from Fall Ing Lock.  There have been several listing the distance from Fall Ing as we came along.

We soon came to the entrance to Salterhebble locks.  The guillotine lock which is the first of three can just be seen over the top of the bridge.  Over the top of Tims boat can be seen the separate tunnel for the towpath and access to the controls.

The centre lock is bit of a problem for by the time I am out of the lock there is little room for turning to line up for the last one.  There is only a couple of inches to spare once I am in the lock.

Leaving the top lock.  There was even less room to spare here.  I had just one inch to get past that lock gate with the bows in the centre of the lock. Once out it is a 90 degree turn at the T junction.

Almost as soon as we left Salterhebble locks we ran into ice.  It was not very thick but it was enough to throw the bows off line. Most of the paint on the water line has gone by now.

There was ice all the way to Sowerby Bridge.  I had trouble getting alongside and had to break the ice and move it astern to tie up.

Next to this mooring is The Navigation Inn.  Good food I was told but they don't let dogs in.  There is another pub just up the road with eight real ales on cask.  More to follow :-)

The marina at Sowerby Bridge from the bridge at the mooring. We will be staying here a while to look around and hope that the ice will vanish.

Still at Elland

Due to yesterdays snow we stayed on another day.  

Chatting to the locals turned up a bit of puzzling info.  The building I had been told was at one time a bank was also used - in living memory - as the fire station and the vehicle would come out of the building through the centre between the pillars.  Very high class firemen they have up here.

Another claim to fame for Elland was a link with Harold Wilson.

Wikipedia - Elland was famous for its durable flagstones which, thanks to the nearby canal, could be transported very economically all over the county. Elland is also the home of the "Gannex" raincoat and is famous for its traditional sweet factory, Dobsons which is still producing traditional boiled sweets today

Looking through the Nicholson guide while planning the next move I found a note from the time I was here seven years ago. 'met a woman with dog who said she'd rather have a dog than a husband!! Takes all sorts!' which of course is OK if you like dogs. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010


The mooring is five star.  The pub makes no difference to the peace and quiet whatsoever.  The towpath is all cobbles and while there are new buildings you can almost imagine that it hasn't changed for years. 

The Barge and Barrell is well worth a visit with the bar staff being very friendly and happy to chat and the locals are all, or seemed to be, likewise.  With twelve real ales at the bar it is a busy pub but not for the lager drinking brigade  even though they do have three lagers on tap and I have never heard of any of them.  The landlord/lady have their own narrowboat which is moored on the other side of the basin from us and the Towpath Talk is ready to be picked up at the bar.

Opposite my mooring there is a converted warehouse and drydock.  They have done a very sympathetic job on it.

The Barge and Barrel is a brilliant pub.  Lots of real ale and food and very friendly people.  The boat is moored just at the back wall so its 20 yards to stagger back.

Walked into town and found the library and a carrier bag full for a pound.  The Calder and the canal are forever together and at each place only yards apart. 

The town of Elland is full of outstanding buildings.  This one with the pillars used to be a bank in the days when banks were respected places of commerce :-)

Where ever you look there are signs of the industrial past of the town.  Umpteen mills and warehouses.  Some still in use but many converted to other things.  That still leaves a load that are just boarded up.

At almost the top of the hill is the parish church of St Mary.  It looks brighter in the pic with the sun on it but there is still the covering of grime that once came from the smoke thrown out by the mills. 

Elland itself is really just one street and is not built for vehicles.  Narrow and winding it hasn't changed its character for years even with the newer building that are there.  The feeling of the place is still of a time gone by and you wait for the horse and cart to come along.

In the other direction the road goes down to the Co-op and a roundabout for the new road. The hills in the background still have snow on them.  Since Thorne we have done nothing but go up in the locks and this will carry on till we are past Summit.

On the way back to the boat I past this building that I was later told was a Monrovian church.  I did look to see what it was used for but couldn't find a label on it.