Tuesday 29 January 2008

Service to be restored soon (I hope)

Yes, I've been quiet for a couple of weeks. Sorry. Our phone line was severed, and BT arrived this morning to fix it, 13 days after the original incident. Here's what happened: The land next door has been sold for housing development, demolition contractors started to clear trees, they "accidentally" knocked over the telephone pole which carries our line. So we've been without a phone, and, more importantly, without the internet. I'm hoping that when I get home this evening it will all be up and running again.

The photograph shows the hole where the pole used to be, and, behind it, lying down, the pole itself.

Tuesday 15 January 2008

... and by boat

Nine week cruise - day 15 - Saturday 16th July 2005

Both David and I were up at 0715 to prepare for being towed through Standedge Tunnel. Everything off the roof, gas switched off, battery master switch off (if I recall correctly). Then BW put loads of rubber mats on the four boats that would be in our convoy, and joined the boats together with floating wedges. At 0900 we were off, towed by an electric tug. All crews were in the passenger module, a very un-narrowboat-like brightly lit plastic tub, more like a carriage of a tube train. There was a BW man at the helm of each narrowboat in the convoy, for steering and (mainly) to fend off from the walls of the tunnel.

The trip through was fascinating, and one of the highlights of the cruise. We were in the oldest of the four parallel tunnels. A BW van drove slowly through a neighbouring bore tracking our progress (for "safety" reasons). Every so often communication would be established via a connecting cross-tunnel. We saw the chisel marks made when the tunnel was constructed in the early nineteenth century, and ancient distance markers. The electric tug didn't seem too reliable: we stopped at least once for the steering mechanism to be fixed!

All to soon - 1130 - we emerged into daylight at Marsden. BW insisted on locking us down the next few locks, so it was good that we'd explored Marsden the previous day. Many pounds were very shallow. We stopped for ice cream at a floating tea room, and moored at Slaithwaite/Linthwaite at 2030. Had chilli con carne for tea.

Milage/lockage to follow!

Monday 14 January 2008

Standedge Tunnel by train...

Nine week cruise - day 14 - Friday 15th July 2005

0710 Got up. Moved boat across canal to the water point and filled up. At 0820 we started up through lock 24W, and by 1000 we'd got to the Diggle portal of Standedge Tunnel where we moored ready for the next day's passage. That meant we had another whole day in which to explore our surroundings.

After lunch we walked across the moor above the tunnel, along the "Standedge Trail", to Marsden. On the way we came across an interesting stone marker post - anyone know what it refers to?

Caught the train from Marsden through the tunnel to Greenfield, from where David walked back to the boat. Jan and I stayed and had a Chinese meal and waited for a non-existent 2210 bus. Eventually got a taxi back to the boat.


2 miles 4 furlongs
9 locks
1.6 hours


204 m 7 f; 122 l; 103.6 h

Thursday 10 January 2008

Saddleworth Moor

Nine week cruise day 13
Thursday 14th July 2005

Stayed moored at the Wool Road Transhipment Warehouse all day (this was me tending a meaty barbecue yesterday evening). David went to a library to sort out some train tickets on the internet, and went to a bike shop to sort out some gears. I went with Jan for a walk on the edge of Saddleworth Moor. We had a cup of tea at the Church Inn.

Meanwhile David had cycled onto the moor and got lost. He eventually contacted me and I managed to work out where he was - the firing range was a bit of a clue - and met up with him. I was desperate for a curry, so Jan and I went to an Indian restaurant in Uppermill (it wasn't very good) and David went for the cheaper (and better) option of steak and chips (with a couple of pints @ £1.10 / pint) at the Church Inn.

Monday 7 January 2008

Photography credit

To be fair to my brother David, I hereby acknowledge that most of the photographs of our nine week cruise in 2005 were taken by him and not me. This, of course, is one of the few exceptions.

(Mow Cop, 10th July 2005)

A swiz at Swizzels

Bugsworth to Stalybridge

Nine week cruise - day 11 - Tuesday 12th July 2005

Another hot and sunny day. We left Bugsworth Basin at 1005 and turned left to go to the end of the canal at Whaley Bridge where we watered up. This is one of the places I used to go through on my way to Salford University back in the 1970s - and think, "Wouldn't it be amazing to explore the canal here one day?" And here I was! OK, so it's taken 30 years, but I made it. Left Whaley Bridge at 1120 after looking at the remains of the tramway.

We stopped at New Mills to look at the Swizzels Matlow sweet factory. David tried to blag his way in for a look round, and made it as far as the staff (sweet) shop, but there we were turned away.

Next were the wonderful Marple locks, where, at one point, you head straight for the road at car level, before diving underneath. Spectacular!

Such a lot of good stuff today - the Marple Aqueduct provided more spectacle ...

... and we legged through Woodley Tunnel for fun.

At Dukinfield Junction at 1955 we turned right, heading for the Huddersfield Narrow Canal - more excitement to come! We finally moored at 2215 in Stalybridge outside an old factory just above lock 7W. Isn't Tesco handy?

11.0 hours
17 miles 7 furlongs
22 locks

95.5 h; 198 m 1 f; 97 l


Pretty, isn't it? Well, no. I'd just come in from washing a car and took the phone out of my pocket. It slipped from my hand and, in trying to catch it, I propelled it into the door of the dishwasher. I'd only had the phone a couple of months. Grrr. Now I'm waiting for a mobile phone repair place to get back to me with a quotation for repairing it. I suspect a new phone will be cheaper.

Now I must get on with the log of our nine week cruise from 2005. One reason for the delay is that I have to calculate milage and lockage for each leg. Yes, I know I should have done it at the time. At least I accurately recorded engine hours and mooring places.