Friday, 28 August 2015

The price we paid for stopping for lunch

After collecting some train tickets from Stalybridge Station we set off down the last four locks of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. In some ways I was glad to leave the HNC behind - the stiff paddle gear, the low pounds, the shallow water even in "full" pounds, the dodgy bit of Standedge Tunnel - but in other respects I was sorry. The views of hills close at hand, the old mills, the friendly people, the excitement of Standedge Tunnel. We had rushed it; it would have been good to have spent more time savouring the walks and villages. We shall return!

At the bottom lock we just had to pose for the camera.

Some of the locks on this canal have ingeniously cranked balance beams in order to accommodate bridges. Lock 2W (or is it W2?) has bottom gates which, from a glance of the balance beams, look like they are open when in fact they are closed.

The bottom gates of Lock 1W are even stranger: one balance beam is conventional but the other has a double crank.

The highlight of today's cruise was Marple Aqueduct. New steps have been put in to make it easy to look at it from below, but I just set the camera to wide angle and waited for a train to pass by on the viaduct. None came.

Of course, as soon as I had given up waiting, one came along.

What was the price we paid for stopping for lunch? We were overtaken by another boat, Leo, who proceeded up the Marple Locks in front of us. I had to turn every one when we followed half an hour later. We caught them up even though most of the locks were in their favour. (To be fair, though, we overtook them when they stopped after operating the lift bridge; we had managed to nip through after them.)

Leo even got the prime mooring on the junction. The 48 hour moorings on the Macclesfield Canal just the other side of the junction were full so we banged a couple of pins into the steepish bank and put the gangplank out. We had a good meal in the Ring o' Bells pub.

What's this? No locks to do tomorrow? I think it might be the only lock-free cruising day we will have done since setting off in March.

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