Days 49-51: climbing the Pennines

August 22nd, 2010

Wednesday was spent going to Ashton-under-Lyne from Manchester. It took all day, it always does. At least it didn’t rain much.

Day 49: Castlefield to Portland Basin, 7 miles and 27 locks (phew!).

Thursday was more interesting, going up the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Apart from a false start (the boat ingested a large anorack into the propeller, necessitating a ten-minute weedhatch session), the locks were mostly easy to operate and the canal remarkably free of boats. The first few locks in Ashton are a bit grim, and the bit through Stalybridge is trying quite hard to de-regenerate itself (with weeds growing through the new block paving), but once beyond Stalybridge the canal becomes rural and tranquil, climbing the Tame Valley amid huge banks of sweet-smelling Himalayan Balsam. A word to the wise – you can’t moor just anywhere on the Huddersfield, it’s shallow and has a stupid underwater ledge, like the Shroppie. In particular, you can’t moor anywhere near the railway station at Greenfield. You can moor between lock 21W and Clogger Knoll Bridge (48 hour moorings), and on the towpath just beyond Clogger Knoll Bridge. The final moorings (room for about 4 boats) are just below Lock 24W, which is the highest you can go without a tunnel booking.

Day 49: Portland Basin to Uppermill, 6 miles and 21 locks.

Today I’ve moved the short distance from Uppermill to lock 24W in Dobcross, ready for the tunnel passage tomorrow. Note that the top paddlegear on lock 23W is improbably stiff and the paddles don’t open more than half way. You need a long throw windlass or superhuman strength or both.

Day 50: Uppermill to Wool Road, 1 mile and 2 locks.

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