Day 55: Diagon Alley

August 30th, 2010

No, I haven’t been giving a lift to a certain famous young wizard, but have instead been experiencing the delights of the Yorkshire waterways. This started with the Huddersfield Broad Canal, a rather unsung waterway that links the aforementioned town with the river Calder at Cooper Bridge. It features nine short fat locks – 57′ x 14′. Those that have been paying attention will remember that Innocenti is 59′ long, so some careful navigating was required. You go in at a slight angle, with the bows tucked in behind one of the bottom gates and the stern in the centre of the lock, since the cill is concave and you get more length there. Once the lock equalises you open the other bottom gate and use your bow thruster (thanks Richard!) to pull the bows across into the open gate. With a 60′ boat it is apparently sometimes necessary to wind the boat before the lock flight and go down backwards!
At Cooper Bridge there is a rather tricky junction – you turn left out of the Hudds Broad and go upstream before making what turns out to be a 170-degree turn to enter the navigation cut… the sharpness of the turn isn’t immediately apparent until it’s too late, and we hit the bank. Oh well, nothing was damaged.

The Calder and Hebble Navigation is also designed for the same “Yorkshire Craft” as the Hudds Broad, except for bonus points a lot of the paddlegear is operated by a “handspike” – a piece of stout wood – which you insert into the ratchet wheel to raise the paddle. It’s very slow, and on a lot of the locks conventional paddlegear has been fitted as well. My handspike has now joined my national collection of obscure lock-operating equipment, but will doubtless be deployed next time I have to repel boarders, as it’s a seriously heavy blunt instrument.

We moored in Mirfield, on a pleasant little navigation cut.

Day 55: 5 miles and 11 locks.
Thesis 15579 words and 85 pages (thanks to some pagination and adding acknowledgements and contents table…)

One Response to “Day 55: Diagon Alley”

  1. Richard Ash Says:

    To be fair, a Calder and Hebble handspike will open even a phenomenally stiff paddle by virtue of the leverage provided. On the other hand, it does so 2 teeth at a time, and closes at the same monumentally slow rate. Getting more than one paddle fully open before the lock fills is a challenge!

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