Thursday, 6 June 2019

A short day to set ourselves up for the longer ones

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Our overnight mooring with a view.
Yesterday we had made it across the Rochdale summit, after which all locks into Manchester are downhill.  We had considered trying to progress further down to Littleborough, but when I surveyed the state of the flight of 10 locks in total, I found some very low pounds, (a pound is the length of canal between two locks), and some short ones that were completely empty. 


Looking towards first lock on descent from the short summit.
We didn't have the experience of this canal to know how much water we would need to bring down into these pounds in order to get Flamingo's working boat depth through each of them, but the answer was at least "quite a lot".  Hence we didn't know how long it might take, so we decided to not try - once you start you really need to keep going, and we didn't want to run out of daylight, (or enthusiasm - which was by then a real risk!).


Impressive but derelict building besides Lock 42.
I had cycled down to meet other boaters who had spent more than a week at Littleborough waiting for Lock 49 to be fixed - unsurprisingly most wanted to get away in the morning (i.e. today) if possible, so I had let them know we were likely to stop where they were, and to try for a clean run through on Friday.

Absurdly short balance beam, with no alternate way to open gate.
We didn't need to make a particularly prompt departure from the summit to do such a short trip, so didn't actually start until around 10:00.  This may have been a good move, as there was some evidence that CRT might have partially replenished some of the lowest pounds from the night before.  However water levels were still very down from the outset.


Levels better here.
When water is short, travelling downhill through locks is much to be preferred to going uphill.  This is because you carry at least one lock of water down with you, but also if you do need to run additional water down you are not pinching it from where you need to go next.  In fact by going exceedingly cautiously,and picking a careful path through where we remembered the deepest water was going up, we were very pleased to run no additional water down at all.  The single lock that we emptied into each pound helped, and the two driest pounds were so very small that that one lock full produced enough depth for us to get to the next one - but only providing we went straight down the middle - no hope of getting near the sides, so I had to largely stay on the boat throughout.

Many locks on Northern Waterways sport these added reinforcements.
Towards the bottom of this sharp but steep descent things improved, with longer pounds kicking in. 


One of the few pounds worth winding the speed control up for.
At Littleborough all but four of the dozen or so boats that had been holed up here last night were now gone - hopefully all will now have passed the problematic lock 49 without issue.  We put Cath ashore at the final lock of our descent go go and shop, then David and I took Flamingo to fill with water and empty toilets on the far side of the canal.  While we were there the owner of a boat permanently moored there returned with his two dogs, one of which proceeded to immediately bite my leg!  I was sufficiently stunned by this to not have a right go at the owner as I should doubtless have done.  I am far too British, and am now sporting a sizeable blood blister.  The dog could have done this to anybody - I got the impression it was not unusual.  I was wrong not to make more of an issue out of it, and I'm annoyed now with myself that I didn't.
Final lock on a short day - we still did ten of them though
Cath arrived back along the tow-path just about at the point the water was full, so David and I "punted" the boat back over.  Even in sleepy Littleborough, it transpires, Cath can manage to find a bookshop not only selling books about Wales, but also actually written in Welsh.  The on-board book collection has grown again - no wonder Flamingo is constantly rubbing on the bottom of the canal!

Tomorrow we will again need to work a lot harder.

Summit to Littleborough
Miles 1.4, Locks: 10
Total Miles 204.2, Total Locks: 225

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

A day of dog related shenanigans

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Cath)

First lock of the day has a guillotine gate at the bottom end.
We wanted to get away fairly early, in case we might be able to get somewhere down the other side of the summit - perhaps as far as Littleborough.

My phone alarm went off at 7:00 am, but I was a bit sluggish and found it hard to get moving. We went and thumped on the back hatch to let David know that we wanted to get moving, but we couldn't hear any answer to our shouts. We need David to get up, not just because he is essential on a heavily locked section like the one that we would be tackling today, but also because the boat tiller is kept in the back cabin, and that's also where the controls are - we can't move the boat without standing in David's bedroom.

The Great Wall of Todmorden looks even larger today, somehow.
It was grey, chilly and overcast, but we were spared the pouring rain that we had yesterday afternoon. We got away from the mooring at 8:30, then up through the guillotine lock - which I really don't like. It's probably fine, but it's a different technique to most locks, so that I spend all my time double-checking everything. 

Impressive railway viaduct crosses the locks at Gauxholme
In that first pound Flamingo got stuck for the first time. Approaching a bridge the boat grounded, and was just not moving, there was just too much debris on the bottom of the canal, and the pound was down a little bit. We all tried pushing and pulling, heaving on ropes, while trying to pole off the 'scour' - nothing happened, so I went up to the next lock, which was full, to empty the water into the pound. I didn't have a great deal of hope, but there was a chance that the water rushing down would 'flush' the boat up a little, and we could escape the scour. In fact, it was possible to get Flamingo moving slowly, and we pulled her through the bridge hole while David stood on the boat with the 'boat shaft' trying to keep the boat away from the off-side, which was particularly shallow. In this situation it is actually often counter-productive to use the engine, even gently. Once there is power to the propeller the back of the boat 'digs in' to the water, pulling down onto whatever it is we are trying to float off.

Not the best wet dog and wet jeans photo ever taken, but you get the idea.
Then, in the flight which climbs up out of Todmorden we had just got to the top of a lock, the gate was open, and the boat was in neutral. Flamingo was most of the way towards one side of the lock, ready to go out of one gate (in broad locks narrow boats should only need one gate opened). A young woman walked past with an attractive dog, so Odin went over to say 'hello'. Max was on the non-towpath side of the lock with me, but he saw this attractive dog and decided that he was going to say 'hello' too. This isn't usually a problem, but instead of running over the narrow bridge at the 'foot' of the lock, he decided to cross Flamingo by jumping onto the 'gap' then trying to jump from there to the other side of the lock - a distance of over 7 feet. He could probably have done this if he had got a run-up at it, or if it hadn't been slightly upwards too (the pound above the lock was slightly down, so the deck of Flamingo was lower than the side of the lock).

Lunch break at Walsden
Max doesn't know that he can swim, and the rise from the water to the level of the gap on Flamingo is more than 2 foot. Poor Max was frantically paddling, and trying to get back on the boat. I just couldn't reach, and whilst Alan could, he wasn't easily able to drag him out. In the end David managed to haul him out, while Alan hung onto David's belt to stop him from falling headlong into the canal too.

The higher you go, the better it gets.
Max celebrated being rescued by shaking and soaking us all with canal water, sufficiently badly in Alan's case decided to change his jeans to the pair from yesterday's rainfall that had still not dried out, as they were drier than the ones Max had left him with.

Then onwards, we stopped for an hour at Walsden to cook burgers for lunch - then onwards again.

It really is like no other canal we have ever travelled on.
As we neared the summit a young woman in a pink top ran past me. I walked under the next bridge and saw a large, grey-ish dog running in the other direction and disappearing around a bend. I just assumed that it was with a walker somewhere ahead of me. Then the young woman ran back past me again, ‘I’ve lost my dog,’ she said. ‘If it’s a large grey dog I saw it running that way,’ I answered, and she ran off to look for it.

Getting closer to the summit.
At the next lock I saw a different woman approaching from behind, with the grey dog. However, as I walked towards her the dog ran off again. I threw a lead to David who set off on the folding bike to try to catch the dog. While he was away the second woman explained that she had found the dog on the main road.

Typical bridge across tail of lock on approach to the summit.
David returned with the dog, which we tied securely to a post by the lock, and David set off again towards the summit in search of the young runner. Unfortunately, the dog didn’t have any contact information on its collar.

Alan and I worked through a couple more locks, dealing with problems when Flamingo got stuck in the run-in to the lock, and taking the dog with us each time we moved on to the next lock.

It is very hard to take photos that 
emphasise just how spectacular it is.
David eventually returned, having been some considerable distance down the other side of the summit, and having spoken to quite a few people. He’d been into the pub, and someone had posted a message on a local FB group. The pub had agreed to look after the dog if we didn’t find the owner.

Today's lost dog was attractive, and remarkably calm without its owner.
At just this point the runner came into view – she must have been completely frantic. She was very grateful that we had keep the dog with us, and was horrified that the dog had been found on the main road.

I just wish that she’d put her phone number on the dog’s collar.

It seems a remarkable coincidence that each time when travelling near the Rochdale summit we have spent time reuniting a lost dog with its owner, but that is exactly what we have now done in both directions.

Top lock at the Eastern end of the summit.
Many of the paddles on this section are extremely stiff. By the time we got to the Summit pub I was completely exhausted, although it was only 4:00 pm. We moored and Alan went off to investigate the state of the pounds on the southern side of the summit, several of which are currently empty. He went to as far Littleborough, where he found the other historic boaters who'd been waiting for lock 49 to be repaired (we've heard today that it is now fixed). They were using their time constructively by sprucing up one of the locks in Littleborough.

Todmorden to Rochdale West Summit
Miles 3.9, Locks: 18
Total Miles 202.8, Total Locks: 215

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Easier coming back than going the other way.

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Hebden Bridge services - hard work getting even this close to the edge.
Until we had any understanding of the scale of the problems at the closed Lock 49 in Rochdale we had decided to stay put at Hebden Bridge. It is a very nice place, and there are certainly far worse places to be forced to stay longer than you had expected. However a nagging doubt remained that we had engine problems on both of he last two days we actually moved anywhere, and although the engine has run fine since just to charge batteries, we weren't confident what might happen under the greater load needed to power the boat.

I'm still being told there is no space for one of these on the boat.
As of last evening there was no firm news from CRT about expected fix date for the lock, but at least it seemed it should now be measurable in days, rather than weeks. We therefore decided that today we would move away from Hebden Bridge, if only to see what the engine did or didn't do. Todmorden is not as an appealing place to spend multiple days as Hebden Bridge is, but we had overnighted there on the way in, and if things went OK, could do so again this evening.

The ascent out of Hebden Bridge
We made a final stop for services - even there it is far to shallow - whilst Cath did a quick shop at the very expensive Co-Op that has been our main source of provisions for well over a week now. The water tap proved to be so slow that we abandoned attempts to top up our tank.

Levels were generally better than when we went the other way.
Once away we made slow but steady progress, on our own this time, with nobody to share the lock work. As steerer I made a concious decision to do everything slowly and cautiously - the canal is too shallow for much else, anyway, and I didn't want to over-tax the engine until I had a better idea that it would stay behaving normally. Additionally we have lightened the back of the boat to reduce its draught somewhat, but this makes it slower to stop, and I wanted to master that before I encountered a situation where I wanted to stop in a hurry, but couldn't.

But the pole was still required occasionally.
To some extent we were helped by knowing some of the places either we or Saltaire had grounded heavily in the other direction where you would not have expected to, so these were treated with particular caution. In some cases there simply is not the depth to accommodate Flamingo without going aground whatever you do, but  we were able to cajole her over the bumps.

Having just finally made it through the very worst point.
By far the worst obstruction is by Bridge 22 where the canal suffers "garden now filling up the canal" syndrome.  A sign warns you to proceed slowly and keep to the right - where, of course, you still run firmly aground. This time I wasn't going to thrash the engine, so instead much tugging on of ropes was done - at first to very little effect. Eventually, when even David was seriously suggesting calling CRT, we used a combination of gentle engine power, with nobody on the boat, whilst Cath and David did the rope tugging, and I attempted to keep the boat just the required distance from the tow-path. Generally this had to be more than 1 foot, but less than 2 feet - that's how ridiculously marginal it is. The level was "on weir" - had it been down at all, I think we might still be there. CRT need to solve problems like this with a dredger - not by putting up signs, but otherwise ignoring a nearly blocked canal.

Cath and the dogs walked the whole way.
After that there were no significant problems, although I was aware just how hard Cath was having to struggle with the least well "maintained", (and I use that word sarcastically!), of the paddle gear.  By now however the rain was coming down hard, and by the time we reached "Tod", we were soaked and cold, and glad we had not set any greater target for our first day of moving again.


Typical scenery, although now raining heavily.
Best of all though, the engine ran faultlessly throughout the day, albeit never put under great stress.  We don't really know what the problem was, so we can't be confident it has now gone away, but at least  day with no issues does give us some much needed confidence. Onwards and upwards, (literally!)

Hebden Bridge to Todmorden
Miles 4.5, Locks: 10
Total Miles 198.9, Total Locks: 197

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Some of what we did when not involved with the boat - Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

The HNBC event was broadly over a long weekend, but by the Monday things were slowing down, and people were starting to slip away.

In the morning Cath and I had slogged up "The Buttress" to Heptonstall for an interesting tour of that historic village by an HNBC member that helped with the event organisation.  David and I also wanted to visit the Keighey & Worth Valley Railway, but were not sure we could fit it in, (if only we had known how much time we would subsequently be forced to spend in Hebden Bridge...)

David phoned me in Heptonstall to say if I got back in time there was a "Bronte Bus" that ran to there directly.  By then I wasn't sure it was possible, but abandoned Cath to make my way back to the boat as fast as possible.  Let's just say that descending "The Buttress" in a hurry is more hazardous than going up.  Most of it is very large cobbles, covered in "green stuff" that is slippery when wet.  I nearly went down on my backside three times - thank goodness there is a continuous handrail for much of its length! 

I did manage to get back to the boat just in time to grab necessary things, and head with David for the bus - fortunately it leaves from the railway station, only minutes from where we were moored.


It was actually a bit of a significant day for me.  I have only in fairly recent months got around to applying for my "Senior Citizen bus pass, and have not actually made use of it before now - this was my first legitimate "free" ride on a public bus since I had that entitlement on Brighton Corporation buses when I worked briefly for them as a driver in the 1970s.


How much easier is bus travel now than it was back in the last century?  Not only do buses generally display the name of the next stop, this one also read it out to us.  My phone was quite low on charge as we boarded, but David produced a lead, and I was able to plug it in to charge - the steam heated carriages on the KWVR would not provide that facility!


We arrived at Oxenhope shortly after a train had left - we knew that would be the case, but they are regular, and it allowed us time to grab a meal and drinks.


The line is less than 5 miles long, and has about a station every mile - quite unusual.  A round trip only takes about an hour, but our rover tickets, (there was £3 off mine for being a "Senior"!), allowed us to travel much of the line twice, some of it three times, and to sample both locomotives that were in team that day.  It was a "Standards" day, as it turned out with two "Standard" tender locomotives, one of power class 4, and the other smaller at power class 2.  These tend to have similar "build dates" to me and Cath, but appear better maintained than I am, (though not of course as well maintained as Cath!) 

It is perhaps not as full an entertainment package for the enthusiast as some of the other preserved lines, now anywhere between 2 and 4 times longer, but is still a well presented and well run railway.  The only shadow over the day was the miserable platform assistant who berated me for having a window down because they had the steam heating on - I would have shut it willingly when asked, but his attitude was not what you would hope for on something that relies on the goodwill of its customers.

Everything ran on time, including our equally good bus that took us back to Hebden Bridge.  However many of the towns and villages passed have a 20 mph speed limit, and I'm not sure the bus driver was looking very much at his speedometer - it felt quite exhilarating at times!  I'm glad I wasn't driving - and so probably would most of the other passengers have been!

Saturday, 1 June 2019


(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Something like 27 historic boats attended the gathering at Hebden Bridge

This list was compiled by Pete Harrison...
Saltaire (S), Flamingo, Vela (S), Aldgate, White Heather, Madeley (F), Hazel, Forget Me Not, Purton, Tug No 2, Bream (F), Tasmania (F), Plover, Warbler, Beatty, Belfast, Rat (F), Stanton, Bath, Swan, Daphne, Squire (F), Thor (F), Thea (F), Marquis, Maria, Joel

(F) = original fore end of 'historic' boat.
(S) = original stern end of 'historic' boat

The logistics of getting so many deep draughted boats to Hebden Bridge can't be under-estimated - not that long ago boat movements on the restored Rochdale Canal were on parts of it limited to no more than 4 boats per day - water supply on this very heavily locked route remains a constant challenge.

Most of the boats attending has to come over the Rochdale summit from Manchester, and most have to go back that way. Not much further on the Rochdale Canal ends at Sowerby Bridge, and the route continues as the Calder and Hebble. The Calder & Hebble can handle 60 foot boats as an absolute maximum, so any narrow boat of 70 feet or more, (which the majority were) cannot get here or leave by that route.

To ease the burden from Manchester to Hebden Bridge, the organising Historic Narrow Boat Club, (HNBC), allocated boats to one of three convoys in each direction. Each of these were spaced 2 or 3 days apart to give some hope of water levels recovering before the next convoy. We came in on the third convoy from Manchester, and were scheduled to leave on the second from Hebden bridge, which should have been on Wednesday. We missed that opportunity because of all the troubles detailed in two previous posts, and thought we might instead go out on Friday when fewer boats were allocated.


Whilst we were having our own "interesting" moments, reports started to come in from the lead boats in the first convoy back to Manchester that there were major difficulties with a lock near Rochdale, (Lock number 49). Shortly after came reports that CRT had closed the lock to Navigation, due to a "blown cill". It seems about only three of the boats scheduled to go that way had made it though the closure.

Mixed messages then started to appear about the scale of the problem, or which boats were where. What remained unclear was to what degree CRT had been able to investigate the actual issue, and hence whether there was any prospect of an imminent fix. 

It appears that the short pound below the lock cannot be drained for whatever reason, and hence for CRT to expose the cill they need to erect a "coffer dam" around the bottom end of the lock, and then pump out the water. They seem to have been some time actually getting the dam on site, and now we are hearing that although they hoped to get it erected and the water pumped out yesterday, that they have so far failed to do so - we don't know why, and they have issued no further update. They were initially saying if it is no worse than feared it might be fixed by Tuesday or Wednesday - one can only now assume that has probably slipped by a couple more days.

11 boats held at Littleborough
(Photo: Nick Grundy)

Meanwhile something like 11 of the boats that left Hebden Bridge for Manchester on either Monday or Wednesday are now moored up at Littleborough, marking time. There are at least facilties for water and toilet emptying there. The actual lock is an area near Rochdale where we are told you would not want to spend a night, so none are moving further at the moment.

Meanwhile we remain with Flamingo at Hebden bridge. We have already witnessed four of the shorter boats attending the gathering, and who were heading for Manchester coming back past us in the other direction - they are short enough to go down the Calder & Hebble, which most of the others can't, although this involves the tidal Trent to get back south - a very different style of boating!

We had a family conference about our options. With three of us here and two large dogs, and no transport of our own, it would be both a major exercise and a very expensive one to try and get us away from here now, and to come back later. We have decided to stay put until CRT final provide some kind of time to fix. Should that mean a significant delay, we have stayed in Hebden Bridge, as it seems perhaps the best place to leave the boat if we are forced into that situation, (which, of course, we may yet be).

As the title says... "Bugger!"

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Twice through England's deepest canal lock within a hour and a half.

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Going down - some 45 minutes after scheduled time.
So we ended up last night, somewhere we never planned to be, pointing the wrong way, towards a lock that needs a booked passage in both directions, that we didn't have. Oh, and our engine was misbehaving after the hammering it had taken earlier in the day.

Gates open - tunnel beyond - it curves sharply.
So my first task towards sorting out the mess was trying to book passages though Tuel Lane lock. The first call-taker was very much of a "computer says no", persuasion, and told me 24 hours notice was always required. Fortunately though the lady at Leeds office was far more understanding. If we could get to Tuel Lane by 09:30 another boat was booked, and we could go through with them. If we could be ready to come back up at 11:00, there was a similar opportunity there. I said we would try though a 09:30 arrival was frankly highly optimistic.

Two rather more conventional locks follow - the last on the Rochdale.
Far too optimistic, in fact. The engine started OK, and we got under-way, but after not very long again started a heavy misfire. I didn't now think we would get there, but again nursed it along. Again if I tried any speed it threatened to die, but taking it gently we managed to make progress, albeit slow.  Fortunately, before we finally got to Tuel Lane it started to run considerably better.


Lock 2 going back up, and heading to tunnel
We need not have rushed. The lock was in no way ready for the 09:30 passage, and in reality we had to wait until well after 10:00. I was a bit surprised to find the CRT operative was the same one who had told us off for using the winding hole we had yesterday, but had to smile when he now told me it was a maximum of 48 feet, as yesterday he had said 57 feet.

Entering the tunnel - not to be attempted if the deep lock is emptying.
Tuel Lane is impressive if you are in it - very impressive in fact being the deepest lock on the UK canal system, but hemmed in by roads, car parks and much fencing, and with no public or even boater access allowed on the lock side it is hard to take photos that reflect its massiveness. 

Inside the modern tunnel - heading to the deep lock.
Once you are through it, you then enter an equally modern curving tunnel, before having to pass through two conventional locks - the last on the Rochdale Canal, before it becomes the Calder and Hebble, and which cannot pass full length narrow boats.



Leaving the tunnel and entering Tuel Lane lock.
That meant to get back for our 11:00 booking we had to go down two locks, turn, and back up through those same locks. We couldn't achieve this by the nominated time, because of the delay first time through the lock, but the single-hander on the other up-going boat was happy to wait, and hopefully the CRT man was as well.

The view from above...
Cath was off the boat, so managed some photo opportunities denied to you if you all have to stay on board.

Our non-stop turn had denied us the chance of taking a much needed fill of water - we hadn't been able to empty our full toilet cassettes, and we didn't know what was causing the engine to misfire, but at least we were now pointed at Manchester. We tied up above the lock to allow Cath to buy much needed supplies, and to regroup and consider our next moves.

... and the view in the bottom
One of the next things to happen I can laugh about now, but I probably wasn't even smiling at the time.  In the guide the indicated position of the sanitary station, (toilet cassette emptying point) was on the Calder and Hebble, beyond where we had turned.  I loaded up one of the full ones on our still just surviving folding trolley, and headed for that location. This involves trundling it through a shopping area, as you can't follow the course of the canal where it passes through the tunnel - you get some inquiring looks doing this! Much of the route was heavy cobbles, and I expected the trolley to fail at any moment. However when I got to the indicated location, there was no sign there had ever been a sanitary station there, and there certainly was not now. I trundled my "poo suitcase" a few more bridges, in case the location was shown slightly wrong - there was no sanitary station, so I headed back over those wretched cobbles.

These are big gates.
At this point I decided to go and visit Shire Cruisers, the local boat hire firm, to see if they might help with our engine issues. I was nearly at their office when I passed in an old warehouse, nowhere near the indicated location on our map, a sanitary station - finally I could empty the damned thing.

Shire Cruisers were not sure they could help, but though it possible - they agreed to send a man up to the boat when they could spare him.

James arrived at the boat. We suspected fuel issues, and he thought the same, concentrating on the fuel lift pump, which he thought was probably not performing as it should. He would go and see if by any chance they had one.


Different pairs of bottom gates are used 
depending on longest boat passing through.
Meanwhile I was in contact with Dave who had done an excellent job of rebuilding the engine a couple of years back, and who is always happy to offer advice. He thought possibly dirty fuel or blocked fuel filter, and suggested we check a pre-filter gauze that is in the top of the pump. I did this, and although by no means fully blocked, it was disappointingly dirty. David and I cleaned it, and re-assembled. At least the engine still started - something that worries me once I start to take the fuel delivery systems of a diesel apart.

A single lock replaces two former ones - hence the great depth.
We waited quite a while to hear from Shire Cruisers, but nobody called, so I rang them. "Sorry", they said, "they didn't have a suitable pump", and apologised that they were very busy and had not got back to us. There was no charge despite their man having visited the boat - well done Shire Cruisers.

Our choice now was to stay put at a quite unsuitable location, or to try to get back to Hebden Bridge. We decided to do the latter, but before we set off I went and emptied the other toilet cassette, in case we got stranded somewhere before Hebden Bridge. Unfortunately, however, we could not replenish our very depleted fresh water tank - something we had hoped to do at Sowerby Bridge, had we not had to race back immediately to Tuel Lane lock to take advantage of the only possible opportunity to go back the other way through it.

If you are not actually under duress, it is very attractive on this stretch.
Eventually we set off, hoping to get to Hebden Bridge.  Unfortunately the engine started misbehaving again, though once more I was able to keep it running, and get along more slowly, (and rough sounding!). However eventually the misfire subsided, things seemed pretty normal, and we were able to up through the 4 locks back to Hebden Bridge with no further issues. Of course we also passed those two other "non winding holes" from yesterday, and we stopped at the second one we passed to pick up most of the remaining ballast we had left there yesterday.  We could only get our bow close enough to load this on, so had it stacked there, further lifting the back end out of the water - I had to be fairly careful stopping in the locks, as we really were pumping a lot of air when running in reverse, and coming to a halt seemed to take forever!

Exhausted by these unexpected two days we declared ourselves to tired to think about eating on board, and instead went again to "Il Mulino" an Italian restaurant, the quality of who's food is surpassed only by the good humour and excellent service from the staff.  Highly recommended - particularly if you have just had two unexpectedly hard days.

Luddendon Foot to Sowerby Bridge and back to Hebden Bridge
Miles 7.8, Locks: 10
Total Miles 198.5, Total Locks: 187