East side of Standedge Tunnel to Lock 31E

Tuesday 21st June 2016

This morning we walked back to the entrance/exit of the Standedge Tunnel to the canal museum that is there. It is amazing how much volunteer work has gone into getting the Huddersfield back into working order after being shut down since the late 1940’s.

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Our exit point yesterday in actual sunlight!!

A lot of the lock gates had been removed and stepped weirs made so that water could still flow. Even some of the locks had been filled in with concrete or rubbish. All this had to be dug out; the locks and their mechanisms rebuilt or built from scratch and the tunnel had to be concreted in places due to some rock falls. We are rather surprised that this effort was undertaken as this canal is rather remote and not too many hire boats would be able to come this way unless they were on a two weeks hire – a lot of hire boats are normally 7 to 10 days. Not only that but as mentioned previously passage through the tunnel is only Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a maximum of 6 boats per day. Also the tunnel only operates March to September so add that all up and there is not a lot of traffic on the Huddersfield fullstop.

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Legging it through the tunnel in the old days.

We then decided to catch the number 184 Monster bus (double decker) over the Pennine ridge back to Diggle.

Bus

We were interested in seeing the landscape. When passing over the top of the ridge we saw a couple of the air shafts from the tunnels and their spoil piles. We also saw part of the Pennine track which follows the ridge and is very well known.

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The bus hurtles along these very narrow roads and of course we had to sit up top in the front. Who needs to visit a fair ground when you can ride one of these things. There certainly is not a lot in Diggle so we just waited to catch the bus back to Marsden to return to the boat.

M+W had already headed off down the locks. We had a quick bite to eat before we left about 2.00pm. We did 11 locks in very quick succession – in other words one lock almost on top of the other.

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Count 11 locks from right to left. Not a great distance but a lot of work.

Whilst going down one of the locks a gentleman came out from his canal side cottage asking us to empty the locks in a certain fashion due to the fact with the canal level being very high his house was flooding everytime someone came down the locks. He even had sandbags in front of his front door. It was certainly no hardship for us to do this.

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The house that had to be sandbagged because of flooding caused by the locks. You can see how high the level of the water is in this photo.

We pulled in about 5.00pm behind W+M between locks 32E and 31E in the middle of the countryside. We then dropped in for a café latte, chocolate biscuits and a natter with the guys. This little afternoon gathering is becoming extremely commonplace now and most enjoyable. These guys are very knowledgeable after the history and mechanics of the canal system in England and have also done some of the canals in northern France.  The canals in northern France are totally different to the English ones as they do not have narrowboats on them.  The boats there are like sailing on the QEII.

One thing we did forget to mention is that we actually had a day of no rain – yeeehh!!

Tonight after dinner we had the fun job of washing the dogs. As we will be at a laundromat tomorrow this is a good time to do this.

Dog

One most unimpressed Toque.

 

 


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