Post for Wednesday 13th August
|Enough vegetation to cause problems in a lock.|
|Clearing a blocked paddle to allow it to close properly.|
|Guillotine lock gate at Salterhebble|
|Guillotine gates at the bottom, but conventional ones at the top.|
|Grade 2 listed, apparently - also another typical C&H paddle.|
|Incongruous mix of spike and hydraulic operated paddle gear on same gates.|
1) That although CRT sub-contract the grass cutting that was in progress to a firm called Fountains, in this area those cutting the grass are not employed by Fountains. Fountains apparently further subcontract it again to a firm that busses people up from essex each week to cut grass in the North. You couldn't make it up, could you, but a shame that CRT can't save money by their contract being with the firm actually doing the work.
2) That the middle lock here is the shortest on the Calder and Hebble, and the longest boats can only pass it backwards to get past the gates.
3) That the attractive buildings are Grade 2 listed.
|Moving up first locks on Rochdale towards Tuel Lane tunnel.|
|Entering Tuel Lane lock from the tunnel.|
Our other main appointment of the day was the Tuel Lane lock, almost immediately as we passed from the Calder and Hebble to the relatively recently restored Rochdale canal. Tuel lane lock is a modern structure that replaces two former locks that were lost when the canal was derelict, and roads got widened. Now, at 19 feet 8 inches deep Tuel Lane is the deepest lock in the country, and has to be approached through a long curving tunnel that goes underneath everything that got built over the derelict canal. You can only be worked through it by a lock keeper, and they are only now permanently there at weekends, so we had had to give 24 hours notice for a booked mid-week passage. We had been cautious and booked 3:00 pm, but were actually there ready about an hour earlier. Because of the way this lock operates, you actually have to stop below the two conventional locks that precede it, and await instruction.
|This is not a lock to mess with!|
This massive lock is tucked away on a very narrow site, surrounded by roads, and the approach through a tunnel means you see little of it until actually entering. Considering its unusualness, it is very hard to take photos that emphasize the scale of it. As you rise you have to put ropes around "risers" in the walls to hold your position - tensioned steel cables that your ropes slide up. I actually found I had to hang on for dear life at the back, although David did far better at the front.
Once on the Rochdale you are no longer on a canal restricted to shorter boats, and a full length boat of 70 feet can use it, (although obviously only until it reaches the Calder and Hebble, where it would need to turn around again!). We found the initial locks straightforward, but being deep, (most around a 10 feet rise), we had to control the incoming paddles well, or the boat really swings about and bashed the sides, (the locks being twice as wide as the boat).
|Looking back towards the enytry tunnel.|
Brighouse (Calder & Hebble Navigation) to Hebden Bridge (Rochdale Canal)
Miles: 13.2 (Chalice), 0 (Sickle), Locks: 18
Total Miles: 574.7, Locks: 330