Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hebden Bridge to Todmorden with one stop

At last the water level is back to normal and by now all the work on the canal should be finished.  We took the boats down through the lock so that we could turn around at the small wharf in the middle of Hebden Bridge.  Tim was going to water up but someone beat him to the point and at the pressure that this water is under would have taken all day to get away.

Back through the lock and Tim went ahead to set up the next lock.  We seem to have been here for ever and it is nice to get moving again.

As we went through the pair of locks with a pound in-between we met up with George. We first met her on the mooring at Brighouse.  The name of her narrowboat is  nb *£&%£$£  she said. Very unconventional but as she didn't want to name her boat seems fair enough to me.

The gentleman walker is someone that is doing the Pennine Way and we were all on the same route for a while.

We stopped the night at the limit of our previous trip up towards Todmorden.  Even with the excess water knocking about the bottom of the boat keeps touching the canal bed.  Its in dire need of a dredge I should think. Each of the locks as we go up has water coming over the gates. We kept well away from the upper gates as I didnt want to give the carpet another wash!!

By the time we had stopped for the night it was belting down with rain and as soon as we could get alongside we did.

This morning was cold and cloudy but not raining so it was back on the trip to Todmorden. 

When we reach Lobb Mill Lock along with the snow that is coming down on occasions the water doing its thing over the gate.  It started snowing in earnest as we entered the lock. The hills around us all have a covering of snow and they are not a lot higher than we are.  Those few feet in height make all the difference to the weather.

From the lock I looked back and watched a group of school children having a go at paddling their way across the canal.  Its very cold but by the volume of noise they are certainly enjoying themselves. Nice to see.

A view from the bows at tonights mooring.  Up there somewhere is Stoodley Pike.  

A BW pusher (might have been Rishton) went past earlier.  On the front was an empty barge.  I hope they are going to fill it with canal bottom.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday Tossers in Hebden Bridge

I make no apologies for putting this pic of Izzy on the blog.  Its just that she is so gorgeous it makes me smile. For some reason the last time I tried to put it on the blog it insisted on going on sideways.

Sunday brought out the tossers in Hebden Bridge.  I was sat minding my own business as one does when the boat rocked violently to one side.  I leap up top and found a local moron had let go the stern rope and pushed the boat out.  Having called in to question his parents the three of them made a dash for it.  If I had been quicker one of them would have gone for a swin. 

After tying up the boat again I spotted the boats the other side of the bridge had also been let loose.  The owner of nb Willow had a rude awakening when I pulled it back into the side.  He had been asleep through it all.  Luckily the pegs that had been pulled out were still attached to the ropes.

This morning as the Stubbings Wharf trip boat went past.  The barge Brindley was coming downstream and the trip boat had to make a rather hurried stop.  As the Brindley passed me there could not have been more than six inches to spare.

From the window I can now watch the Canada geese setting up home a bare twenty feet away on the other bank.

In the next day or so we will start the trek to Todmorden.  The water levels are back to normal and hopefully all the work there has been completed. 

Sometime in the next week or so I will have the pleasure of a visit from Abz to keep me company for a few days.  Must spy out the land to see what we can get up to.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trip to Barton on Humber

I have just spent a wonderful few days visiting my favourite girls.  Abz loves being the big sister and is getting more out of it each day as Izzy becomes more active.  Izzy is a very contented baby and apart from the where is my drink, my nappy is full and I have lost my dummy there is hardly a murmur from her.   

I did spend an awful lot of time making silly noises to get the smiles and gurgling from her.  It was well worth it.

While I was there I checked out the creek that is nearby to see if it was possible to get the boat in to moor up.  At the moment there is rather a lot of mud about and I wouldn't be able to get alongside.

We did do a tour of the local parks as Abz is an expert on these and by the way she rushed about over the assault course was in the running to join the SAS.

Now and again she did sit down to get her breathe back.

Missing them both already.

The journey back to the boat was a disaster.  I knew that the train went through Habrough and that the train I was catching from Grimsby did the same so I asked the guard if it was possible to get off there so that the cat had some peace and quiet for a while.  Dash isn't too keen on travel by train.  Certainly the guard said.  There is a twenty minute wait and its a nice day.

Great I thought.  The problem was that twenty minutes after I got off in Habrough the Doncaster train arrived and departed without stopping for me.  Does the railway get morons specially trained for the job or is it just luck. I now had to wait another two hours for the next one to stop.  I did tell the guard on the Barton train when it returned exactly what I thought of his opposite number. It was not complimentary.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Biking to Todmorden

Took the time today to bike up to Todmoreden to see how the work is progressing on the locks above us.

The first hint of the job in hand was the de-watered section of canal above Lock 15.  A couple of planks are in  by the lock gate to stop all the water coming down so that they don't have to worry about the fish.

At Lock 16 (Lobb Mill) work has been nearly finished on the gates with new bottom gates standing out against the old lock stone like a sore thumb.  

One thing I do wish that BW would do is to involve volunteers whenever they drop the water levels.  Now is the time to get the rubbish out while you can see it on the bottom.  There is not a great deal in this section but the rubbish that is there could easily be removed to save problems later.

Wandered around Todmorden for a while and found that there is a Morrisons and Lidl plus quite a nice market and several charity shops for my reading material.  Picked up some walks from the town for when we manage to get up.

On the way back I spotted Stoodley Pike on the hill. Its a lot nearer to Todmorden and there is a walk up to it with a walk back through the woods.

Just for Caroline.  Some geology. It is only the smallest of anti-synclines but there is a definite dip down on both sides and what looks like a fault running through it.

A bit further on and I came across the stream that I was following yesterday.  Not much of a raging torrent but it has certainly cut its way down through the landscape.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stoodley Pike

Wikipedia - Stoodley Pike is a 121-foot monument that stands on a prominent Pennine hill, also known as Stoodley Pike, on the moors ofTodmordenWest Yorkshire, Northern England. The current structure was designed by local architect James Green in 1854 and the building was completed in 1856 when peace was declared at the end of the Crimean War.
An earlier monument had existed on the site, started in 1814 to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris then completed in 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo (Napoleonic Wars). This structure collapsed in 1854 following an earlier lightning strike and ongoing wear and tear from the elements. The replacement was therefore (rather wisely) built slightly further from the edge of the hill. During repair work in 1889 a lightning conductor was added. The Pike has since been struck by lightning on numerous occasions without any notable structural damage. There is evidence to suggest that some sort of structure existed on the site before even this earlier pike was built.
The inscription above the entrance is worn and covered with lichen but it is legible and reads:

The structure contains a spiral staircase of 39 steps accessed from the north side. In 1889, during repairs, a grill was added to the top step to allow some light in, so only 6 or 7 steps are actually in total darkness. There are no windows. The exit from the staircase onto the balcony, some 40 feet above ground level, is on the west face. There is no way to ascend above balcony level.

The walk to Stoodley Pike starts on the cobbled lane outside the railway station.

Under the railway line and onto the track leading upwards.  The first half hour or so is all up hill.

Every so often the view down into Hedbden Bridge is glimpsed through the trees.

Soon off the lane and into a wood.  Not sure which is the worst walking. Along the lane or sinking into the leaf mould. 

Across a couple of fields and I am now looking down on Heptonstall on the other side of the valley.

A few more yards and Stoodley Pike comes into view.  It is still a long way off and even higher still.

One slightly odd thing is the fact that even with all the stone walling around there is enough stone left over to build walls around the trees.

And would you believe it.  The damn supermarket trolleys get every where.

The footpath is well posted and after a couple of isolated farm houses and onto the footpath. Even the flat bits are still going upwards.

then its through the stile and the last part of the walk up to Stoodley Pike.

With nothing around to compare it to the pike really is massive.  There is a spiral stair up to the viewing platform which is around 40 foot of the ground

Graffiti is nothing new but M H B must have been one of the first to carve his initials here.

The view back along the path

The view from this high up is impressive and way in the distance is Todmorden.

There are paths going in all directions 

Checking out the rocks that are everywhere here I spotted  small splash of colour. This is I think Cladonia diversa (only a couple of cm high) and there are lots of it all around the base of the pike

A bit cooler up here and wind blowing soon cools you down after the uphill walk so I head back the way I came.

Once back through the stile its back on to the path that is being reinstated to allow drainage under it. Bit of a scar on the landscape at the moment but it will soon weather and fit in.

The work is still going on and the digger etc look well out of place. The path goes passed the farm then its left for a different return to Hebden Bridge.

A bit of a walk along farm tracks and the path then heads for the woods. On the left is a small steam which we follow.

Within minutes the stream is out of sight and a long way below us while the path goes along the top of the woods

Must be getting near to the end now as the path has turned into a cobbled lane as I look at the route I walked the other day and Hell Hole Rocks across the valley.

The lane gets even steeper as I near Hebden Bridge.  Its only a matter of minutes from the woodland path.

At the bottom of the hill is Hebble End and the canal.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


From St Georges Square the walk up to Heptonstall starts once the Packhorse Bridge is crossed.

Next to the Hole in the Wall pub is the cobbled lane that is the footpath.  I don't know what the angle of the road is but it is steep.  This pathway is called the Buttresses. Cardiac Arrest more like! One hundred yards in and it gets even steeped. Feet before the top is reached is a small cemetery. Have a look around as its a great excuse for a rest. They don't waste land here with bits on the flat being at a premium so it is well crowded.    A little way down the road and its back onto a footpath.

The path is still going upwards.  You rise up about 500 feet is short time but this time there are stairs as well. Then on to the end of the path and a seat which is well used if I am anything to go by.

Another road and the cobbled streets of Heptonstall are there.  This place is definitely not made for cars.  As you can see the one coming down the road is almost touching the pavement on both sides. I turned left here and headed for the church.

Old houses abound and the new builds will soon mellow and fit in.

All over the area are quaint lanes complete with cobbles and looking like Charles Dickens is just around the corner.

For some reason this old lane has a carved head stuck in the wall. I wonder where that came from. Looks a bit naive to be from the old church. 

The old 15th century church was burnt down in Victorian times and is amidst a sea of grave stones.  In places the stones have been laid flat and it feels quite weird as it is as though the churchyard has been paved over they are that close together.  I did notice many from the 18th century and one or two from the 17th.  I must admit I do find it sad that something could last as long as they have and then get worn away by visitors boots. In the new church is a copy of one of the 'coiners' burials.  The book says that the grave of the infamous coiner David Hartley is around somewhere.

The remains of the old church are quite stunning.  The place seems to be made up of arches and in its day must have been quite something.

Leaving the church behind and following another footpath through the new developments you come to the edge of the world :-) This is known as Hell Hole Rocks.  The footpath is only a couple of muddy feet wide and then there is the drop straight down to the valley below. This is the view up the valley towards Todmorden with the road, rail, river and canal sharing the flat bottom of the valley. The pimple on the hills to the left is Stoodley Pike. This is a walk for during the week and is the longest by far and climbs 1000 feet from the valley bottom.

Walking right around the plateau the view changes to that of Hebden Bridge. From this point you can see the aqueduct that is hardly visible when you walk the canal and the railway station just above the playing field.

The descent is nearly as hard as the climb up.  Most of the time it is through a woodland and past a disused quarry.  Wherever you look there are rocks about waiting for a good clout from my rock hammer.

Its a bit of a surprise when at last you come down from the hills to another set of stairs.  These are known as the Cuckoo Steps.  I think you must be cuckoo to make a habit of climbing them.  Across the road is the Co-op and a minutes walk back to the boat.