Monday, 24 August 2015

Why can't all paddle gear be like this?

After realising yesterday that I might have been slightly too ambitious to get up all 42 locks from Huddersfield to Marsden in one day we set off earlier than normal (0800) and cracked on with it.

We paused briefly at the canalside Lidl at Mirfield for essentials (bread, milk and maple pecans) and soon we were turning sharp left and then right to enter the Huddersfield Broad Canal.

Phew! Back to good old canals, where the weirs are very tame and you don't have to worry about floods. At the first lock - and many of the Broad Canal's locks - the paddle gear is interesting. There's no pawl to fiddle with; when you wind the paddle up there's a tinkling sort of ratchet sound and the spindle and connected parts stay put when you stop turning. To lower the paddle you simply overcome a slight resistance and wind the gear down again. At first glance it looks like a Fenner system, common on the Leeds and Liverpool and the Rochdale canals, but some of the inscription on the cast iron casing reads "INTOGEAR" and "INTOVALVE". It was nice to use (but there was at least one broken one). Of course, this can't be installed everywhere. One of the joys of the inland waterways is the variety of paddle gear - this morning I was enjoying using a handspike at Cooper Bridge Lock on the Calder and Hebble.

It was a real shame we had no time to stop in Huddersfield. I wanted to do as much of the eastern side of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal as possible today to be certain of making our booked passage through Standedge Tunnel on Wednesday. The Locomotive Lift Bridge was fun, but then we passed through Aspley Basin and onto the HNC.

After the first lock we were a bit surprised to encounter a boat coming towards us out of the tunnel. They said there was another boat behind them but that they would keep the lock set for us, which they did. The following boat turned out to be Lillyanne; we were moored very near them at Crick earlier this year.

It was good to meet you, Pip and Mick, albeit all too briefly. As we were ascending in Lock 2E the water running out of the pound above, where Lillyanne was waiting, caused Lillyanne to tilt over alarmingly. I shut the paddles and helped Mick push the boat out towards the middle of the channel. When it was properly afloat again I finished filling the lock and we passed in the pound.

This wasn't the lowest pound by any means. That honour goes to that above Lock 10E. I had to run a little water down from the pound above, fortunately a longish one, before we could gingerly make our way down the middle. I say "we" - it was actually Jan as I was wielding the windlass. As she came into the lock the boat reared up as it went over the bottom gates' cill.

There was one incident later where we went aground. I must have strayed too near the edge. A bit of a push with the cabin shaft did the trick and there were no further problems, although Jan reported scraping along the bottom at one point.

Now we are in Slaithwaite and replete from a good curry at the Monsoon Indian Restaurant.

edited to correct spelling and add a link


Pip and Mick said...

Good to meet up with you too yesterday. Even if it was briefly. Thank you for helping to push Lillyanne back out, a few things hit the floor but nothing broken. The pound you had difficulty with had been empty yesterday morning before we came down. The C&RT chap who came out removed a branch that had stopped the gate from being closed properly and then there was something on the lower cill which was helping to empty it quickly. We scraped the bottom most of the way in the last pound and just had enough water to get over the cill. Glad you reached Slaithwaite before it was too late and hope you get chance to enjoy the scenery of the last 21 locks today.
Enjoy the tunnel
Pip and Mick

Halfie said...

Ooh - hadn't realised it had tipped that much. We had good weather for the climb up to the summit pound but the scenery was more in tantalising glimpses owing to the trees all around. Now just a few feet from the tunnel entrance and wondering whether the pigeon boxes will have to come off!