Thursday 31 August 2017

Shepley Bridge to Calder Grove (Broadcut)...

A side from the dilapidated boats moored on the water point here, Shepley Bridge is a nice little stopping point - FAR enough from Mirfield to deter and unwanted scallies but close enough to walk down the tow-path with a couple of carrier bags to Lidl... we WOULD have gone into the Coop (which is also there) but it didn't open until 11 on Sunday, whereas Lidl was open at 10 -  a shame really as the patriot in me STILL prefers to patronise our 'home stores'...

No matter,

It was a peaceful (if a little chilly) night again so the fire was lit and left to burn out...  it's amazing how much even just 8 of the brick-ets can warm the boat up so quickly... ROLL on winter!

ANYWAY - AFTER we stuck our nose into the water point and then almost got wedged against the aforementioned rotting boat on the water point - a rotting boat with a submerged 2 foot of right-angled box section ready to jam in your prop I hasten to add we topped up the tank (having done another couple of loads of washing before setting off) and then tackled the small lock again - diagonally of course.

I'm not moaning (properly) here but it's quite dangerous in that because there are SUCH big grooves worn in the bottom gate, the level begins to drop as soon as the top gates are shut - which has the potential for the sort of people who take the chance to nip to the loo whilst in a lock  to catch them unaware s....

THAT is how much it dropped in the time it took me to get back on the boat once I'd closed the other gate....

It was a lovely morning to be cruising on and off the river

I still don't like being so close to weirs but as the flow was slow and the birds didn't seem perturbed who am I to complain?

Only 1 proper problem today and that was double lock bottom on the Calder and Hebble - the bottom gates leak like a holey bucket -mainly from behind the pivot (if that's the right name)... we'd been warned in advance by another boat we'd passed coming the other way so rather than get stuck, when in the top lock, we ran some water through for 10 mins or so to fill up the small circular pound between the two - it raised the level by about 18 inches but given the speed it was leaking out, that wouldn't last more than an hour or so before someone else would need to do the same.

This was how we left it but as already intimated... it won't stay like that for long!

The rest of the journey back was quite pleasant until we came upon a "fishing match"....  CRT are always bleating on about us "sharing the space" - AND for the most part, we're both happy to... being live and live types... 

HOWEVER,  Fisher men ARE stupid.  - Sorry, I'll rephrase that... SOME fishermen are stupid ... on exiting a really tight lock, with a nasty side flow AND a boat already waiting on the lock landing we came across today's idiot - who;d set up stall at the back of the lock landing ... along with keep net etc.  As far as the eye could see were his competitors.... which meant we had to "try" and pull in sharpish behind the waiting boat.  On doing so, "Mr Angry" starting having a rant warning that if we snapped his pole we'd have to pay for it.  Ffing moron - it's a lot easier for HIM to move his pole out of our way than it is for us (in a breeze) to avoid crushing his keep-net and pole.    

I very politely but firmly suggested that "you see that wooden rubbing strip your net is over? - well that is for BOATERS to rub their boats up against... you are the fool that has decided to set up stall their and WE take priority - ESPECIALLY as we're the one's paying through the nose to license our boats, insure them and pay for moorings... you fecking idiot" - ... I think   that was verbatim.

AS a result of this distraction, I did take great pleasure in really chopping up the canal using forward and reverse and as many turns of the prop as necessary NOT to hit him!  my best not to hit him and we carried on our way - unscathed.

I mean Fishing - THIS chap (if you look carefully) was so bored he either fell asleep or died.  

Once we'd passed this group, we came across a lone fisherman who in contrast was NOT in a stupid place so we dropped the boat in to neutral and shouted THANKS to him for being a considerate sort... he appreciated the comment and that small act, restored good karma for the rest of the day.

We chugged on for a while and I suddenly became aware I'd caught the sun - so much so, that my hands, neck and forehead were actually hurting...

NOT being fashion conscious at all, I rummaged and found the perfect protection

Once through the figure of three we moored in our regular spot just above broad cut top-lock... where shortly afterwards another couple of boats joined us for the evening - ALSO with tails of the grumpy fisherman with the blue keep net who'd gotten in their way too lol.

Between you and me, I was glad to note I'm NOT the only one to get wound up by the  behaviour of a few.

Home tomorrow as Andy has to get back to work...

Until next time...

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Homeward Bound - Huddersfield to Shepley Bridge...

After a surprisingly peaceful night on our "Hobson's Choice" lovely mooring, as we set off back, the sun was out and it promised to be a pleasant enough day...  You can see the security fencing behind - it turned out that the whole area was floodlit to almost daylight and despite our initial concerns about nefarious activities  AND a few nosey groups staggering down the tow-path, there'd been no trouble - in fact, on pulling pins, we discovered a ginger idiot the Captain had left a mooring pin and club hammer ON the tow path ... which hadn't been used against us !

As we chugged along, we spotted this lovely bit of graffiti art - 

That might explain why the locks are in such a poor state - if CRT chaps are spending so long 'colouring in' 😈

Safe decent of the locks did mean going down diagonally - Andy watching the front until the T stud had gotten under the (cut off) walk-ways whilst I giggled back and forth - sometimes over the cill as the water level fell ... not a the leisurely stress-free decent we'd hoped for.
On the plus side (and their usually is one if you look hard enough) we did see this little fellow leaping around on the lock side - I'm embarrassed to say I don't know what it is... we WANT it to be some kind of Otter but if you know better, please elucidate.

Still, we got in a routine and it went well enough - well until we got to the pound between locks 4 and 5.  Andy was on bike duty again and despite us having walkie-talkies on the boat, he'd not taken one with him and since him falling in, neither was his phone working...  it wasn't until he'd cycled off that I notice the water level was rather low....  and it hadn't been deep to start with!
Looking at the tow-path side, it must have been down about 18 inches.  Inevitably, Ellis ground to a halt and it took me quite a bit of faffing around to re-float and get moving again...  and of course with the crew  laying on a balance beam sun-bathing no where in sight, I admit to getting  a bit of a grump on ....RESISTING the urge to grab a windlass and leap off into the mud to go run some water down from the pound above, I persevered and eventually got to the lock landing - where said crew member (now demoted) was dozing in the sun oblivious to the time it took me.

No harm done but I was in a bit of a sulk.

I phoned CRT to inform them and got the usual message about water levels being low/high not counting as an emergency and in future I should use the "contact us form" on the website ffs... hey ho.
Still, someone had at least made an effective repair on this locking thingy ;-)

By the time we reached the bottom lock, back onto the river, it became apparent where all the leaking water had ended up

It took forever to get the bottom gate open and back on the river at Cooper Bridge.  Once back on the canal (breifly) we met our first traffic in a couple of days

One boat was heading to Sowerby Bridge - the other where we had just been... we warned them about the levels and I think she was going to phone crt to check someone had been to top up the offending pound.  

As we approached SP boat club, I took another snap of their lovely covered and curtained dry dock - We'll phone them this week to enquire if "non-members" are welcome to hire it and might black the boat before winter arrives...

As we left down the lock, a group of charity walkers we'd seen a few times through the morning caught up with us... they'd been to the pub and were quite chatty this time around... this chap said "I feel quite comfortable in the dress but the wig is itchy" ...

Once back in Mirfield, we met up with the "Safe Anchor" trip boats (several of them) as apparently Shepley Bridge Marina was having an open day with free boat trips...

We moored for the night back in Shepley bridge again - this time on the visitor moorings near the "bridge that goes to nowhere"  and given the amount of traffic from the trip boats, decided to have a go at a spring variation

which seemed to work quite well.
Having a wander down to the services block - (boat access being difficult due to some poor mooring of old boats at either side, meaning a 57footer can't get in) to take some rubbish, I noticed they too have a dry dock - although not as galmerous as South Penine boat clubs, it might be usuable,... certainly in preference to being "pulled out" by a tractor on a ramp.

When the trip boats ceased for the day, it was just the occasional dog walker passing by and a peaceful evening as the sun went down.

Until next time...

Sunday 27 August 2017

Huddersfield Broad Canal - Shepley Bridge to Huddersfield.

After a pleasant evening here in Shepley Bridge we got up early (ish) and headed off towards Huddersfield as planned...  The couple we were travelling with yesterday were (or so we thought at the time) heading up to Sowerby Bridge so we didn't feel too bad sneaking past them  quietly passing their boat as they slept.  Once we'd moored up for the night, they passed us having had a change of mind... oops. It was a good job though as we'd NEVER have gotten into the locks WITH them anyway.

A lovely mild and calm morning - not a breath of wind and the first time we've been through Mirfield on a boat.

It's only a brief spell of canal before you're back on the river again... and (as is becoming the norm by the looks of things) RIGHT on a weir...  at least the ones at home are "out of site" - here, you see what COULD happen!

The river is quite wide though and the flow gentle enough...  The signposts are quite overgrown so you do have to keep an eye open.

As we entered the lock at South Pennine Boating Club we were pleased at being able to get in and shut the gates normally...  THAT wasn't to last!  They DO have a lovely covered dry dock with curtain sides though which might be handy when we get around blacking.

Before long we were back on the river again and also back to SHORT locks...  not much wiggle space at all but at least the CRT men who were painting a gate each, DID open them for us so I didn't need to drop Andy off . IT would have been nice if they'd worked it too but they must have had a schedule to stick to ... no matter -  we were not in a rush so didn't bother digging out the hand spike and just used the windlass. 

This lock had it's own "Guard Goat" - although I suspect she wasn't much use given all the geese (goose?) poo around!

After a brief (but pleasant enough) stretch of canal, we had to chuck a VERY tight left turn on the Calder towards Huffersfield - going right was the way Sowerby Bridge
 and a couple of hundred yards ahead, another weir AND the start of the Huddersfield Broad canal.

A quite picturesque beginning to it and plenty of water flowing over the top of the gate led us to assume there would be plenty further ahead too...

We were both in a really good mood as the sun was still shining and the scenery perfectly pleasant - the  LOCKS however were not so user friendly.... we REALLY are going to have to measure the boat as each one was a complete pig to get into AND close the gates behind...  necessitating diagonally wiggling the boat.  NOT helped by the fact quite often both gates don't open fully.  

On the plus side, although locked (after the first couple) at least the locks are an improvement of the ones on the Leeds Liverpool 

It was after the first "locked" lock, that Andy decided he'd cycle ahead and get each lock ready.

This was to be his first ride on the recently donated bike (from Eric - 87 next door)... (he'd not ridden one for 50 years and bought it with a view to cycling to Edna's grave)...  poor fella only got to the end of his drive and promptly fell off - twice! 

Before long, we'd arrive in the town basin - passing through our first lift bridge

It all got a bit congested so we thought we'd turn in the basin and try and get in at the end of the "72 hour visitor moorings" - where a sign said payment required for longer stays...  by the looks of the boats, many hadn't moved in 72 days never mind 72 hours!!!

Of course when we got into the basin,  at the turny point near the services block, the wind had gotten up and after a fluke-illy good proficient 87 point turn- WITHOUT hitting Vixen, we took advantage of the water-point (whilst I took some deep breaths)...  note to self *this water point is ferorcous *... with wet feet, we set off back to try and moor for the night at the end of the line of boats...

After MANY failed attempts at reaching the bank (the ledge was just too wide for us to be able to get on and off ... and ahem, I've YET to make us a gangplank *adds to the list*) we gave in, lifted the bridge and moored a little past the landing... in what looked like the bad-lands.

You'll be pleased to note we made it though the night un-scathed and set off back towards Wakefield the following morning!

Until next time...

Friday 25 August 2017

Man-Overboard... Wakey to Shepley Bridge...

Why is it that when something funny  potentially dangerous but amusing none the less happens,  by the time you've gotten your camera phone out from it's safe place, you've missed the  best bit  most serious bit action?

Yesterday the inevitable happened... and once again it WASN'T the clumsy ginner but the so called 'normal one' that went lolloping down the bank side into the cut...

TO be fair, there were a few contributory factors: 

1) we were sharing locks with a lovely old couple (Think Tim and Pru just not as posh) and because I was leaving the lock first (that wasn't the plan but one of the gates wouldn't open fully so I ended up having to go first) I decided to overshoot the lock landing to allow for THEM to use it.  

2) the bank side where I " lept (leaped?) like a gazelle" off the boat WAS a bit crumbly here and there.

3) the bottom of the canal was too close to the top.

4) Once I'd lept (leaped?) back on (leaving the crew to pull the boat back in to allight) I wasn't paying enough attention to where he was walking.

next thing I caught out of the corner of my eye (as I was putting the handspike in the locker) was a terrified face in slow motion sliding down the bank swearing.

No serious harm done though - well accept to his mobile phone which is going a bit screwy now  - oh and some nettle and bramble (that is black berry to the southerners) rash on still poorly leg!

Clothes were removed on the back deck and are now lurking in the washer to be dealt with today.

THE phone is on a radiator - NOT being able to find any rice (other than the "ready to microwave type") were hoping a few hours r and r in the warmth will do the trick - watch this space.

You'll recall the plan was to head from Wakefield to Huddersfield for the weekend... canal plan said something around 16 hours so we left around noon on Friday.... planning to moor somewhere around Shepley bridge overnight...  THIS bit we did achieve.

IT's blooming hard work though - with us being 57 ft (still haven't measured  the boat yet) SHARING the short locks whilst might seem a good idea, DOES require an awful lot of buggering about to get the gates shut  good luck.   We had a nice cruise up the river in familiar territory - but DID notice the colours changing as autumn approaches

After broad cut we came across the Bingley Arms pub - It's a place I used to call in to most days for a pint when I Was doing my "post  back operative" 5 mile walk a few years ago ... it looks like it's been tidied up a bit but unless their prices have gone down a bit, we won't be stopping for a pint.

Up until now, the Dewsbrur arm has been the limit of our navigation and as we entered the bottom lock, it became apparent it was going to be tight with 2 boats...  you can see how little clearence there is to shut the gates - 

There's a very short circular pound between the locks (presumably because  to turn a corner on the navigation) and we made the mistake firstly of trying to exit together - a mistake later which (when repeated on another lock) was going to cause problems...

The next bit of cutting was quite pleasant before we ended up back on the river again... certainly more canal like than the broad Aire and Calder...

then just around the corner it's wide river again...

On leaving the river through the next flood lock, due to another gate NOT opening fully, (and us repeating the aforementioned mistake of BOTH leaving at the same time) we got proper wedged... which resulted in a hard reverse at the same time as Andy and Hazel pushing on the gate to free us.  Lesson learned there....

There was another small section of cut before going back on to the river  right a side the wier...

On leaving the river again, as Andy was in the shower ( washing off the canal water) I had to leap up the lock ladder like a young thing and both boats hovvered a while whilst we emptied the lock...  u

When he reappeared and both boats went in, it was simply not possible to get the gates closed... SO we swapped roles with Andy backing Ellis out of the lock before climbing up to lock them through alone.

It was quite good timing though as another boat was waiting at the top to come down so we were able to make good use of the water... although there IS plenty in at the moment thanks to the rain of late.  THERE was a long wait for me  whilst it filled though as the lock leaks like buggery as you can see when it was emptied...

IT was rather stiff as well, resulting in Andy snapping one of our windlasses...  which was promptly replaced by the couple descending the lock ...

We moored just opposite the sanitary (nice) station at Shepley Bridge marina and at 5.30 this morning, it looks like it will be nice day

THAT said, I think I'm in for a lot of moaning about "itchy legs" ... " hurting back"... "sore other leg" - I'll be sympathetic as ever 😜

Until next time...