Slaithwaite – Milnsbridge
Thursday 23rd June 2016
Today was meant to be a standard day with 12 locks to do as we headed down the Colne Valley towards Huddersfield. At lock 17E near Linthwaite as we were lowering the water in the lock the boat started to tip awkwardly with the right hand side of the boat obviously hung up on “something”. Di yelled out to Fraser who shut off the front lock paddles to stop the drawdown of the water. This stopped the issue and the boat righted itself, but we were unsure of what had caused the hang up.
We made the decision to refill the lock, back the boat out, shut off the top gates and then drain the lock without us in it. This revealed the right hand wall of the lock to be quite bowed with some small ledges on it. What had happened was that the boat had got hung up on these ledges causing it to tilt as we descended down the lock. Fortunately there was no damage to the boat although a few things got tipped over inside as the following picture shows.
Anyhow the whole experienced was a bit nerve racking but we got through it. We pulled up for some lunch shortly afterwards alongside one of the old wool and cotton mills that are very common in the Colne Valley. Upon reading the guide we found out that the mill we were moored near was called the Titanic Mill, named so as it was built in the same year that the SS Titanic. The irony of this lunch time stop was certainly not lost on us.
NB Lucy in front of the Titanic Mill after its tipping incident.
The afternoon was un-eventual enough although we did go through a number of quite leaky locks as you can see below
The water level in this stretch of the canal is quite high due to the recent rain. Some locks were overflowing and there was very little free-board on others.
A lock with water flowing over the top
A very full lock with no free-board
Despite all of the issues today we arrived safe and sound at Milnsbridge. The trip down the Colne is very scenic and this canal is well worth the trip. This canal is probably one of the least used on the system with the Standedge tunnel “bottleneck” (see blog from a few days ago) meaning that only 18 boats a week pass through here (9 in each direction). We think we are very lucky to be one of the few that travel this part of the network.
Typical Colne Valley scene on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.