August 5

The middle Pennine crossing.

We made our way up the Aire and Calder navigation. Engine issues are history; replacement thermostat was what was needed. Although the weather continues mostly cool and cloudy with intermittent showers, there are moments of sunshine that is very welcome. We stopped at Brighouse for provisions and the night as we entered the Calder and Hebble navigation. Here, the locks are a particular challenge: some are short, and the paddles (how water gets in and out) are operated by a small wheel that requires a ‘handspike’ or prybar. I had one, but thought I wasn’t returning to this canal, and gave it to a friend who was headed this way. Ooops! So we improvised and are using an aluminum scaffolding pole. Noisier, and non-traditional, but does provide added leverage.

We continued upwards with many more locks as the navigation climbs into the Pennines. the locks between Brighouse and Salterhebble (ESPECIALLY Salterhebble top 2 locks) are absolutely as short as I could have- we lifted the fenders and jammed the boat in past the mounting shackle that made a little gouge in the lock gate as we pushed the boat into the lock. Lots of challenges also with strong winds and sharp corners. Then, onto the Rochdale canal at Sowerby Bridge. Here the first 3 locks are controlled by a lock keeper as the third lock is a modern replacement for 2 others, and is one of the deepest locks on the system.Through a curved tunnel underneath the main road and then straight into a VERY deep concrete hole. We floated upwards and all was well.

Arriving in Hebden Bridge, we tried to get a mooring in the town to explore (it was Kerry’s birthday), but there was no space until the next village, and even that was not close to the bank as the water is very shallow. Plank out, and long mooring lines, and all is well. We had a great celebration in the local pub at Stubbing with new friends we have shared the locks with since Sowerby Bridge.

The canal here is spectacular, clinging to the side of the valley with lots of overhanging trees and great views.

About Ed Mortimer

I'm a retired school teacher, now living on my Dutch cruiser in France. I'm touring as much of the canals and river systems as I can. This blog describes what I do and where I've been. I did spend 5 years on first a narrowboat, and then this boat, in Britain.
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