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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 12

Posted by indigodream on 2 July, 2015

Sunday 14th June

Sowerby Bridge to Ledgard

And we're off - excited about exploring another new waterway...

And we’re off – excited about exploring another new waterway…

We woke up strangely early, disturbed by the sound of the rain drumming on the roof – curses! We persuaded ourselves that there was no rush, but we did need to be up and dressed by 9am as that’s the time we’d told our new dalmatian friends to turn up. We pottered around and I moved the car to the space allocated by Shire Cruisers – the hounds came with me, though having been driven around the wharf, they weren’t too impressed at having to walk back to the boat!

As we walked back, a little car stopped in the middle of the road – the driver leapt out to cuddle the greyhounds. She’d lost her old greyhound girl a while back and now had a complicated home life which meant she couldn’t have another. She takes every opportunity to cuddle other people’s hounds. It can’t be helped, greyhounds are addictive! The hounds accepted the fuss with aplomb – they are so very used to being adored :-)

By 9.45am we accepted that our new friends were not going to turn up – I can hardly blame them – we were total strangers, it was an early start for a Sunday and it was raining! It’s a shame though, they would have been very welcome.

Some locals that we spoke to last night were really surprised that the canal was navigable to the East of Sowerby Bridge. We assured them that there was a whole network available to the East, but only to some boats….

The impressive Copley Viaduct - we're not out of the hills yet :-)

The impressive Copley Mill Viaduct – we’re not out of the hills yet :-)

At 60′, Indigo Dream is at the very limit of the size of narrowboat that can traverse the Calder and Hebble, as many of the locks are only 57′ 6″, though they are doubles, so Indigo Dream could get through very carefully at a diagonal. There is a good write up of what to do here.

The two top locks at Salterhebble are the shortest of the lot, and research suggested that the way to get a 60 footer through was to go down backwards on the diagonal. This was the first of the heavy “handspike” operated locks. Earlier in the week my spellchecker had been a bit prophetic, changing “Salterhebble” to “unalterable”, so I was a bit underwhelmed at the prospect of being jammed at the bottom of a deep hole, but it made much more sense for Richard to do the grunt work.

We moored at Salterhebble top and went to investigate the lock layout and mechanisms. I was sufficiently worried about the boat to offload the hounds and tether them at the lockside (with their sheepies, of course) – if the boat were to get jammed then I didn’t want the job of hoicking them out of a deep lock. At this point, if we’d had any regular readers on board they’d have been running for the hills – people who’ve been on tideway adventures with us have commented “I knew I’d be safe because the dogs were on board and you’d never risk them”!

You can't help looking mean with a handspike :-)

You can’t help looking mean with a handspike :-)

When we felt sufficiently acquainted with the layout, I brought Indigo Dream in. Richard had commented “I’m not sure how you’re going to reverse her in” but I had a surreal moment of peace when I knew exactly what I was doing, could see the line and Indigo Dream obliged me by handling beautifully (she’s a pig to reverse normally). We spent some time getting properly positioned on the diagonal, even so it was a tight fit! Richard took the front rope – he was in charge of making sure that the bow didn’t catch on the cill on the way down. As we were getting ready, the heavens opened, I couldn’t leave the dogs to get soaked on shore so on board they came – now I HAD to make the descent work!

I needn’t have worried – we descended very slowly and with great vigilance, but she didn’t get caught on the cill – first challenge negotiated. The next challenge is getting out – with the stern firmly wedged against one bottom gate, the only way out is to open the opposite gate and tug her across, having calculated (to the millimetre) that we’d have just enough length get round and out. The benefit of reversing down the lock is firstly that you can poke your front into the middle of the cill and also that it’s your front deck that get a wash if the top gates are leaky! Indigo Dream came round nicely and I reversed her into the lock jaws while Richard set the next lock.

Sometimes things just go right!

Sometimes things just go right!

This time I needed to reverse a dog leg turn. As I turned, my wash closed one of the two top gates that Richard had obligingly opened for me. But I was in that surreal place again where I could see the turn and Indigo Dream supplied it – a clean lock entry through one gate in reverse round a dog-leg turn. I was euphoric – maybe I could do the whole canal in reverse! Again, we descended the second of the Salterhebble locks with great vigilance and it was all fine.

There’s a pleasant basin below the second lock with some permanent moorings – there’s plenty of room to turn here and I was a little disappointed to be going down the last Salterhebble lock facing front! The third lock is no longer than that first, so we still needed to be careful to avoid the cill, but it does have a flat guillotine bottom gate which made it a bit easier to use the space available and to get out.

With the three Salterhebble locks safely negotiated, we knew that we’d get through the rest of the navigation, though we needed great concentration at each one. In a “normal” lock I’d have 10 – 12 FEET to spare and never get much close to the cill than 6 feet. In these locks, I was positioning Indigo Dream diagonally, once water had dropped a bit Richard could pull my front under the gate walkway which gave a few precious inches. The stern then virtually sliding down the cill often with barely an inch to spare! Once the lock was empty Richard could throw the front rope over to the other side, open that gate and pull my front across whilst I wiggled the boat around at the back to find that bit of extra space so that the front would get round the closed gate. It all sounds complicated but we dropped down on one paddle and it all just worked smoothly.

But canal builders are as inconsistent as the weather – while the skies regaled us with every sort of sullen cloud and degrees of rain, with the odd burst of sunshine, the locks surprised us with their variability – some were as tight as could be, some gave me six inches to spare and a couple were full length 70′ plus!

So why take the trouble to cruise the Calder and Hebble? Partly because it’s there, partly because it’s a great transit to the waterways of the north-east, but mainly because it’s beautiful, particularly in the lush river sections. Although we didn’t see a single boater on the move, itself an attractive feature of the navigation, the towpaths were busy with walkers and cyclists, despite the weather. It’s possible that this is the busiest towpath I’ve seen since leaving London. Now, a busy towpath isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it shows that the waterway is appreciated and has a clear purpose which may keep it alive for years to come :-)

Because we’d anticipated taking our time in the locks, we’d planned a short day’s cruising. But we got into the groove and carried on to Ledgard, with its views the Pennines behind, giving us a poignant reminder of the epic Rochdale Canal which took us over the top.

There are useful visitor moorings next to Lidl in Ledgard – there is a pub, the Navigation Inn, opposite, but we didn’t fancy it. Instead we continued our exploration of the North’s Chinese takeaways – this time Kowloon. It was excellent with the usual Yorkshire portions – we watched totally brainless Marvel franchise film on DVD to finish a very satisfying day’s cruising.

Photoblog:

Serious retaining props on that wall - although the mountains seem to be behind us, Sowerby Bridge is still perched on steep slopes...

Serious retaining props on that wall as buttresses are re-built- although the mountains seem to be behind us, Sowerby Bridge is still perched on steep slopes…

There's a massive bit of infrastructure going in to the narrow gap between the canal and the river - Richard thinks it might be a new road...

There’s a massive bit of infrastructure going in to the narrow gap between the canal and the river – Richard thinks it might be a new road…

Abandoned! Don't worry - they were ack on board the minute it started raining!

Abandoned! Don’t worry – they were back on board the minute it started raining!

Salterhebble top - there's plenty of room to turn and reverse into the lock...

Salterhebble top – there’s plenty of room to turn and reverse into the lock…

The relationship between Salterhebble top and middle locks...

The relationship between Salterhebble top and middle locks…

Plenty of room :-)

Plenty of room :-)

This photo only looks odd if I tell you tht I'm reversing towards that lock!

This photo only looks odd if I tell you that I’m reversing towards that lock!

Oh yes!

Oh yes!

This is why it's worth going in backwards...

This is why it’s worth going in backwards…

and look, loads of room at the back!

and look, loads of room at the back!

Arhie and Henry just checking that I've got the boat in the right place....

Archie and Henry just checking that I’ve got the boat in the right place….

The automtic controls are nice and steady, so the boat descended slowly and gave us time to monitor the boat's position in relation to the cill...

The automatic controls are nice and steady, so the boat descended slowly and gave us time to monitor the boat’s position in relation to the cill…

Guilotine gates are always impressive...

Guillotine gates are always impressive…


but looks like they pinched the controls of a train

but looks like they pinched the controls off a train

This fine fellow passed us today - we didn't catch his racing name but he's very beautiful :-)

This fine fellow passed us today – we didn’t catch his racing name but he’s very beautiful :-)

Some of these old industrial buildings have fearsome cracks in their masonry with some massive reinforcement to keep them standing....

Some of these old industrial buildings have fearsome cracks in their masonry with some massive reinforcement to keep them standing….

Valley Mill - it looks so Victorian but I can't find much about its history - it's now been converted into up-market appartments...

Valley Mill – it looks so Victorian but I can’t find much about its history – it’s now been converted into up-market apartments…

Although we're out of the mountains, there are still views peeking round every corner...

Although we’re out of the mountains, there are still views peeking round every corner…

Brookfoot Lock Cottage - It's a Grade 2 listed structure - CRT want some development/funding ideas :-)

Brookfoot Lock Cottage – It’s a Grade 2 listed structure – CRT want some development/funding ideas :-)

Strangely decorative pipe bridge.

Strangely decorative pipe bridge.

Almost at river level :-)

Almost at river level :-)

A new industrial landscape...

A new industrial landscape…

On the river...

On the river…

Which means looking out for weirs...

Which means looking out for weirs…

The M62...

The M62…

Time for cuddles - precious time with ancient Ollie...

Time for cuddles – precious time with ancient Ollie…

Turn right for Huddersfield - but we turned left for Wakefield...

Turn right for Huddersfield – but we turned left for Wakefield…

This right turn is sharper than it looks - watch out for it, Richar was at the helm and did a heroic turn whch took a bit of effort even though there was minimal flow in the river...

This right turn is sharper than it looks – watch out for it, Richard was at the helm and did a heroic turn which took a bit of effort even though there was minimal loads of flow in the river, fierce it was, totally fierce…

Henry Beanz- worn out by the effort of having to concentrate at the locks!

Henry Beanz- worn out by the effort of having to concentrate at the locks!

The weirs didn't trouble us, but most are quite close to the locks along this navigation...

The weirs didn’t trouble us, but most are quite close to the locks along this navigation…

View back from our mooring at Ledgard - it felt as if we were nestling at the bottom of the hills, but we've still got a long way to descend...

View back from our mooring at Ledgard – it felt as if we were nestling at the bottom of the hills, but we’ve still got a long way to descend…

 

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 11

Posted by indigodream on 1 July, 2015

Saturday 20th June

Sowerby Bridge

The wharf at Sowerby Bridge is very atmospherice by night....

The wharf at Sowerby Bridge is very atmospheric by night….

We had a change in personnel for this cruise – for very convoluted reasons, Herbie Hound would not be travelling with us, but we still had little Ollie, Archie and Henry.

We had a very good drive up to the boat today, after a welcome couple of weeks at home, giving Ty some home time and me the opportunity to make some jam for Greyhoundhomer to sell at their main show today. We’ve often fitted in a visit to their show on the way to the boat, but not this year. We’re now getting acquainted with the M1, which is showing its age with tired services, lacking the splendid dog-walking areas that more enlightened motorway services provide.

When we arrived, we had a long chat with the friendly folk at Shire Cruisers – we’d arranged for them to give our engine a service, do some work on the Tecma toilet and give the boat a valet. They’d done all the work in the time we were away and she was good to go.  They’d also moored her right on the wharf so that we could load the dogs on easily. We also arranged a few days parking with them. I have to say that Shire Cruisers has been helpfulness personified. We paid up for the work (though we still need to pay them for the new solenoid valve as Aquafax could not tell them how much they cost), put the world to rights and picked their brains about the navigation ahead of us. Nigel has a delightfully dry sense of humour – when we asked him about the passage through Salterhebble he advised us to wait and watch someone else going through first. We were surprised, were we likely to meet another boat? “You shouldn’t have to wait more than a couple of days” he replied with a straight face!

Indigo Dream looking fine - the crowd you can see across the water is Cobblestones, the bar/restaurant/nightclub which is THE place to be on a Saturday night.

Indigo Dream looking fine – the crowd you can see across the water is Cobblestones, the bar/restaurant/nightclub which is THE place to be on a Saturday night.

The boat was at the far end of the wharf, but there were parking spaces nearby for us to offload the hounds and a few other possessions. We toyed with the idea of cruising this evening, but neither of us wanted to try the passage through Salterhebble with tired brains, and the wharf at Sowerby Bridge is interesting enough to warrant a visit. With that decision made, I set off for Tesco and Dunelm Mills nearby, while Richard took our big fenders off the bow and stern, first time they’ve been off since we put the boat in the water, at first he thought he would need to cut them off but copious amounts of WD40 and some awkward balancing and stretching off our enclosed back deck eventually worked with only one bolt lost into the water ( 3 spare shackles bought from Shire Cruisers for 75p each). He also needed to investigate water in our cabin bilges – aaaaaargh! We sincerely hoped it was a bit of leakage from when Shire had taken the toilet’s solenoid valve apart for inspection and NOT the resumption of the mystery leak that has plagued us since last year.

With the boat stocked up, we decided to explore the eateries around the wharf – we took the hounds with us for a bimble. We started at Temujin, a Mongolian barbecue – we had hoped that they served food outside, but they don’t own the seating outside their door, though we could have bought a takeaway and eaten it outside, or on the boat.

We then tried the Moorings pub round the corner – that’s pleasant, served food and was dog friendly. We went in, but as we were getting the dogs settled a woman asked us to move – she was cradling her grandchild as if she was in a cave of dragons and said that the child was afraid of dogs. The exclusion zone that she specified would have essentially had us sitting in the canal so we left. I was cross, the hounds were quiet and minding their own business (as they do) and it would have been an opportunity for her to alleviate her grandchild’s fears rather than reinforcing them, probably for life, silly woman!

I was tired and vexed as we left the Moorings, but Richard persuaded me to try the Cobblestones restaurant and bar round the corner. Result! They made us very welcome indeed – dogs are allowed inside downstairs (I think there’s a nightclub upstairs). However, it was a nice evening, so we decided to sit on the terrace. The staff brought the dogs a bowl of water and some treats, I started to relax. The menu was interesting and delicious, and hard to describe! We went for a “tapas” style meal of little (make that large!) dishes or meat and vegetables. But the table next to ours went for the “hanging kebabs” which looked superb! The terrace was an excellent place for a bit of people watching, as “Cobblestones” is obviously THE place to be on a Saturday night. I was in my usual scruffy boater garb, but the women of the town were dressed in their best, having employed a plasterer to apply make-up. It’s a shame that they hadn’t kept the plasterer’s scaffolding though – 6 inch heels were de-rigour, but the restaurant is “cobblestones” by name and nature – just as well there was a big gap between the tottering heels and the canal!

The hounds had the best welcome from our fellow diners/drinkers and were immaculately behaved when a pair of dalmations (and their owners) came to sit at the adjacent table. That was the start of a very merry evening as we got chatting to Mark, David and their dalmatians – young Bertie and ancient girl – a rescue dalmatian, alas I don’t have a note of her name. The girl hound was a bit envious of the greyhounds’ sheepies, so when I went to the car to get Ollie a blanket, I got her a sheepie and a blanket too. She was very contented and David was delighted that I was caring for his cherished old girl. We invited them for a cruise the next day – we were sincere, but only time would tell if they would come.

Although you could hear the chatter from the night club across the water, our fatigue, and a few beers, made Indigo Dream a little haven of peace and we all had a quiet night’s sleep…

 

 

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 10

Posted by indigodream on 30 June, 2015

Wednesday 27th May

Mytholmroyd to Sowerby Bridge

That's a serious cill!

That’s a serious cill!

We had a rare deadline today – passage through Tuel Lane lock has to be booked in advance on mid-week days so we had get there by 11am.

As it was an easy trip from Mytholmroyd, we didn’t need to start out until 9am. We’d had a quiet night on the moorings and we set out in good spirits. Although the canal feels less isolated here, there were still plenty of delights, incluing the call of a cuckoo in the valley below lock 5. We haven’t heard a cuckoo in our part of Surrey for some years, so it was joyful thing (despite their unethical breeding practices!).

Looking back, I found a cryptic note in my little black book – “Paddle Horn pub recommended by Dr Bradley’s linctus”. Hmmm, research needed! Aha, that would be the Puzzle Hall Inn and it’s narrowboat Dr Bradley’s Linctus, whom we last met on the River Soar, but now here as this is his home!

We were soon at Tuel Lane deep lock – wow, it really IS deep! It also felt pretty short – especially at the back where I suddenly found myself looking up at the monumental cill way above my head. This is NOT one to get stuck on!

Just beyond the deep lock, there’s a tunnel – watch out, it has quite a curve, which I wasn’t expecting! I was busy at the helm as I emerged quite untidily from the tunnel, but Richard, at the bow, spotted our old share boat, nb Dragonfly, about to go up Tuel Lane. We went down the next lock (lock 2) and he hared back up to fulfil a dream – photographing our log books from our cruising days on Dragonfly. By some miracle, the owners have kept over 10 years’ worth of log books on board!

A rare appearance by all four hounds :-)

A rare appearance by all four hounds :-)

In the meantime I moored above lock 1 to wait for him. LOCK ONE – having started from Castlefield Basin, lock 92 – phew. The deep lock replaced locks 3 & 4 so there are only 91 locks on the Rochdale in 31 miles, see not as heavily locked now that there is one less lock.

I wandered out with the hounds, Lock 1 was full and I opened the gate ready for Indigo Dream, but I hesitated to go in without a crew. It got a bit awkward, as I walked back to the boat, I was overtaken by some lads in their late teens, running along the towpath and horsing around with a rugby ball. I had a feeling, and yep, the next minute, one of them has stepped onto Indigo Dream’s back deck. I made an assumption and drew in a fully supported diaphramatic singing breath and yelled “GET OFF MY BOAT” – the lad on deck looked shocked and started blubbering “but I was…..” I stopped him with another “GET OFF MY BOAT RIGHT NOW” – he got off my boat!

Then, oh dear, the lads explained in tones of great hurt, that they’d got on my boat to knock on the door – they were from a boat below the lock waiting to come up and wanted to know when I was coming down. As he was explaining, another boater who’d heard me yelling came to see if I needed any help with the vandals. I was very red-faced explaining my error…

I rang Richard to get him back and I took Indigo Dream into the lock. I’d enlisted the help of another boat crew wanting to come up but Richard caught up before we’d got very far. He was full of excitement at seeing Dragonfly, chatting to the owners and getting the logs – I was muttering, feeling embarrassed at yelling at innocents and holding up the lock!

The river Calder at Sowerby Bridge....

The river Calder at Sowerby Bridge….

We’d booked a few weeks mooring with the nice people at Shire Cruisers for the bargain rate of £25 a week. Initially we moored on their service point – this gave us good access to the office to make arrangements for the mooring and to offload hounds/luggage. While Richard was getting the boat sorted, I headed off to the train station. It was a slightly longer trek than I expected and as I was trying to work out how to get to the station I heard the train move along the tracks on the viaduct above me – curses! There was a good half-hour wait for the next one, but this was no bad thing as I got acquainted with the friendly folk at the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms – a distinctly superior station tea-room. The time passed quickly and I was soon reclaiming the car from the excellent free parking provided by Todmorden council!

When I got back, we packed up quickly and moved the boat to its visitor mooring, brested up to two other boats. This meant we had to load the dogs before we moved, but it was a cool day and they seemed very happy to settle into the luxury nest that is my car boot! We set off for the long drive home, via a convoluted route dreamed up the satnav – a scenic route, but we needed a motorway not scenery, we’d had plenty of that along the canal :-)

Photoblog:

There are still views - even after the long descent from the summit...

There are still views – even after the long descent from the summit…

Nice :-)

Nice :-)

Welcome to Sowerby Bridge....

Welcome to Sowerby Bridge….

At the top to Tul Lane lock - looks quite innocuous from here....

At the top to Tuel Lane lock – looks quite innocuous from here….

But it's rather a big hole down here...

But it’s rather a big hole down here…

nb Dragonfly - our first taste of ownership - but it wasn't long before we wanted more than 3 weeks of boating per year!

nb Dragonfly – our first taste of ownership – but it wasn’t long before we wanted more than 3 weeks of boating per year!

Approaching lock 1 and the end of the Rochdale canal...

Approaching lock 1 and the end of the Rochdale canal…

One tired puppy!

One tired puppy!

There's never any trouble getting the hounds into the car at the end of a trip - it's their big chance to catch up on their sleep :-)

There’s never any trouble getting the hounds into the car at the end of a trip – it’s their big chance to catch up on their sleep :-)

 

 

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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 9

Posted by indigodream on 28 June, 2015

Rewind to Tuesday 26th May

Todmorden to Mytholmroyd

Chilling out with coffee and cake...

Chilling out with coffee and cake…

I’ve got pages of notes for this day – we have so enjoyed crossing the Pennines and it’s not over yet!

We weren’t in a rush today as we couldn’t travel that far – we hadn’t booked passage through Tuel Lane deep lock – that was tomorrow’s adventure.

This meant we could take our time and have a bimble around Todmorden with the hounds. It’s an interesting town which is working very hard to be a welcoming community – it’s clean and personable, with ample information boards and beds of fresh herbs for passersby to pick – part of the incredible edible initiative. The hounds had a royal welcome as passersby stopped to give them a fuss. One old lady, nearly overcome with grief, came to give them a cuddle – she tearfully showed me a photo of her old greyhound girl, whom she’d lost not so long ago.

We popped into the Tia Greyhound rescue shop, where we bought some DVDs, some new raincoats for the hounds and Herbie helped himself to a teddy bear (I did pay for it, honest). Tia Greyhound rescue is very well-known in the area – every walker between here and Wakefield have told us about them!

On the way back to boat we just had to stop at Kava, a hound-friendly cafe which serves great coffee and very good cakes. We settled into some comfy armchairs, the hounds stretched out on their sheepies (we don’t go anywhere without them), and we could have stayed there all day!

But we did need to move a bit closer to Tuel Lane today so we wandered back to the boat. We eventually set off late morning, but not before we’d given Grandma (“don’t call me Grannie”) and her three grandsons (aged 8 – 10-ish) a tour of the boat – they were fascinated! We like engaging with kids when they’re young – who knows, it might discourage them from using the canal as a trolley park when they’re older :-)

How about some lockwheeling then hounds? Are you mad? We've just walked round town - it's exhausting!

How about some lockwheeling then hounds?
Are you mad? We’ve just walked round town – it’s exhausting!

When we did get round to untying the boat, we realised that we were fast aground – the pound was virtually down to the mud. There was nothing wrong at the lock, we think it was just leaky gates. Richard had to let water through from the pound above, which, luckily, was inundated!

While I was sorting the boat out, Herbie unearthed his new teddy bear from its hiding place and took care of it, in the Mafia sense of the word! I hastened to remove the stud-button eyes, and he tore the stuffing out of the sockets – the sight was so disturbing (verging on Stephen King) that I quickly got a needle and thread to close the sockets – it now looks much better and might survive a while longer :-)

The canal was busy compared with our previous few day’s cruising, though mainly with hire boats coming up from Sowerby Bridge. We had the locks to ourselves going down and were soon into our lock-wheeling rhythm. The hounds had long since given up on lock-wheeling – when Richard offered them a walk they just hopped back on board – lazy devils!

If you come this way, then look out for the craggy rock face above Bridge 26 – it’s amazing! I now believe in trolls, as described by Terry Prattchett, who become rocks by day and animate at night; every time I looked I fancied I could see a new face in the formations. In one of his early books, Terry Prattchett describes a troll called “Old Grandad” – huge, mean ancient and dormant – Old Grandad is here!

We’d had a lovely morning, but we had vexation below Lock 16 – we came out of the lock and there were two hire boats below on the lock mooring. I carried on down the canal (on the correct side), when the day boat came off the lock moorings and headed straight for us on a collision course. I took avoidance action, though I didn’t have much room on the offside, – I shouted at them and the crew yelled at “Grandad” on the helm who eventually got the message. They said they wanted to turn around and asked whether I though there was enough room – I said yes, provided they let me past first. As I crept past, Grandad drove the day boat forward and T-boned Indigo Dream (fortunately slowly enough not to cause any damage) and pushed me onto the shallows. I was beyond of cross – there’s incompetence (allowable) and being bloody ignorant (which is not). I yelled at them to back off then reversed back out of the way (thanks to Grandad my bow was too far aground to go forward). They took their sweet time on the turn, but they eventually got round and cheerfully shouted  “We can share locks with you” as they lurched down the canal, grrrrrr…..

Terry Prattchett's trolls live here - better not go out after dark!

Terry Prattchett’s trolls live here – better not go out after dark!

We did share one lock with them, not an experience to be repeated, then we, ahem, “stopped for lunch” in the pound below – we hoped that this would give time to get ahead and we’d never see them again. Ha! That technique works on busier waterways, where they would have found another unfortunate to share with, but not here. a couple of glorious solo locks down and there they were, stopped for tea! Richard had cycled ahead and opened the next lock for me (one gate for me) – I came out of the lock and they shouted “we’ll share with you”. Richard told them to let me pass and enter the lock first but oh no, grandad just pulled out right in front of me – just as well I know the function of the reverse gear (and have some manners!). They said they’d share the next lock (the last before the hire base in Hebden Bridge) – we got into the lock ahead of them and waited – there was a queue of boats to come up “we’re waiting for the day boat” we explained, but where were they? Richard cycled back to see where they were – they’d decided to moor up for an hour because there was no hurry to give the day boat back – they’d never thought to let us know.

By now I was suffering a serious sense of humour failure and failed to be entranced by Hebden Bridge – it seemed too busy and too twee after Todmorden so although we could have moored there (there was plenty of space), we decided to move on. We’d had a lot of recommendations for Hebden Bridge, so do stop there if you’re passing, we just weren’t in the mood!

We moored for the night in Mytholmroyd, which lacks the more obvious charm of its neighbours, but had quiet (but rather shallow) moorings and a very handy pub, the Dusty Miller. The Dusty Miller is was very hound-friendly and did excellent food. Obviously we had to order “Lamb Henry”, though Henry hound was very disappointed that we didn’t order a separate portion for him. He needn’t have worried, the portions were Yorkshire sized so there was enough to go round :-)

There’s a very handy Sainsbury’s local near to the pub – what more could a boater need? But Mytholmroyd also has an interesting industrial history, having housed a notorious gang of counterfeiters in the 1700s before becoming the birthplace of Ted Hughes, the poet laureate, in the 20th century.

Good food and a glass of cider somewhat restored my good humour, I was sure that a good night’s sleep would recover it completely :-)

Photoblog:

Ready to explore Todmorden :-)

Ready to explore Todmorden :-)

View from Todmorden...

View from Todmorden…

Grand facade...

Grand facade…

Tia Greyhounds - obviously doing a great job of raising awareness and rehoming hounds - nice shop too :-)

Tia Greyhounds – obviously doing a great job of raising awareness and rehoming hounds – nice shop too :-)

Herbie is so well-travelled, he just takes dining out in his stride these days

Herbie is so well-travelled, he just takes dining out in his stride these days

Herbie "looking after" his new teddy...

Herbie “looking after” his new teddy…

Wonderful views...

Wonderful views…

I'll never get fed up of these views - what a landscape..

I’ll never get fed up of these views – what a landscape..

Yet more views.

Yet more views.

Happy hounds - the best view of all :-)

Happy hounds – the best view of all :-)

It seems that the houses, like the trees, grow towards the light when their roots are in the deep valleys...

It seems that the houses, like the trees, grow towards the light when their roots are in the deep valleys…

Poignant....

Poignant….

These trees intirgued us - did they fall or were they pushed (to inprove the view of the houses being built on the top of the slope) - the remaining trees looked unstable enough that we wouldn't want to moor there for longer than a lunch break!

These trees intrigued us – did they fall or were they pushed (to inprove the view of the houses being built on the top of the slope) – the remaining trees looked unstable enough that we wouldn’t want to moor there for longer than a lunch break!

I loved the mason's marks here - someone tell Dan Brown about them, there''s surely a novel here :-)

I loved the mason’s marks here – someone tell Dan Brown about them, there”s surely a novel here :-)

Fish survey - with that boom extended across the canal they were a pain in the proverbial too - time to tuck in to the side and let them get on with it!

Fish survey – with that boom extended across the canal they were a pain in the proverbial too – time to tuck in to the side and let them get on with it!

Such an evocative landscape...

Such an evocative landscape…

Attractive feature...

Attractive feature…

A rare stretch of residential moorings and plenty of water...

A rare stretch of residential moorings and plenty of water…

A postcard round every corner....

A postcard round every corner….

Fascinating signboard...

Fascinating signboard…

These A-frames below the bottom gates are common around here...

These A-frames below the bottom gates are common around here…

That's me hand-feeding Ollie while Herbie enjoys sofa-service with a difference...

That’s me hand-feeding Ollie while Herbie enjoys sofa-service with a difference…

Relaxing at the pub after a busy day...

Relaxing at the pub after a busy day…

 

 

 

 

 

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The Odyssey 2015 – Day 8

Posted by indigodream on 26 June, 2015

Monday 25th May

Littleborough to Todmorden

Tandem manouevres - short pounds are the norm here so we may as well :-)

Tandem manouevres – short pounds are the norm here so we may as well :-)

It was a fine morning and we had planned to start out at 9am. This gave us plenty of time to give the hounds a walk – but they weren’t that interested! The long journey to the boat and a couple of days’ locking had worn them out.

We found that our locking partner had been up since 6am and had walked up the flight cracking open paddles so that the locks would be set our way. We felt a bit uncomfortable – it’s one thing to get a lock ready when you’re around to supervise, but quite another to leave them unattended and draining – hmmm…..

Still, it made for smooth locking at first, though later on, a combination of leaky gates and either CRT or other boaters reversing the flow meant that we didn’t gain much, especially at the “single” locks. Watch out for them – they look like doubles but have been narrowed by subsidence – just by a few inches but enough to catch an unwary pair.

I really enjoyed this stretch of canal – the steady rise towards the summit is thrilling. There are new views at every lock and the far mountaintops, with wind turbines swaying like dreadlocks on their otherwise bald heads.

The view back from the summit (West side)....

The view back from the summit (West side)….

It’s a landscape that demands superlatives – love it loathe it, it could never be just “nice”. I imagined that the Pennines allowed this canal to be built, grudgingly yielding to the men and women who were hard enough to take them on. But the Pennines were never beaten, and the summit that we’d worked so hard to reach did not offer the soaring views that would have a sense of victory. The canal’s summit is a notch between peaks, but beautful enough to feel like a worthy reward.

The summit pound is only half a mile long, so you don’t get to enjoy the sense of achievement for long! It’s a shallow stretch, so mooring is nigh on impossible. However, go down one lock and there are useful 48 hour moorings – we stopped for lunch and enjoyed chatting to passing walkers and boaters.

Having hardly seen a soul for days, it was a shock to suddeny see the waterway so busy – where had all the boats come from? We hadn’t realised that many hirers (and other boaters) start out from the Sowerby Bridge end, work their way up to the summit, then turn back.

Along the summit - but mountains still looom above the cana has been allowed here but it hasn't won!

Along the summit – but mountains still looom above the cana has been allowed here but it hasn’t won!

Although we were now starting the long descent, the canal didn’t disappoint – the landscape has an austere beauty, enhanced by its distinctive black stone-built buldings and industrial remnants. I did some research into why the stone structures are so sooty – have a look at today’s trivia” at the end of the post – it’s fascinating! The black buildings are stark and harsh, especially the old chimneys and towers that stand proud in defiance of the mountains.

A few locks down, we lost our locking companion – he’d reached his target (and the chippie) for the day. But we wanted to carry on and had a fine few hours locking down to Todmorden. We’d never been particularly short of water at any point, but, quite abruptly above Todmorden, the canal was awash, with pounds full to the brim and overflowing at the locks – curious.

There was plenty to see coming in to Todmorden – the impressive castellated railway bridge and, of course, the “great wall”, looming solid above us. It all looks very spectacular and is a really nice town – well worth a stop. There are moorings on the cut under the great wall, but we didn’t fancy them so we moved down through the final locks of the day, which has an interesting electrically operated guillotine gate. As Richard closed the lock behind me I was surprised to find myself in a broad basin with ample visitor moorings and a service point. We dropped off some rubbish then moored towpath side.

Hound-friendly thai restaurant - Todmorden is welcoming place :-)

Hound-friendly thai restaurant – Todmorden is welcoming place :-)

It was early enough for Richard to take the train back for the car. I mooched around the boat and was alarmed when Archie suddenly started barking – a full-on hackles up alarm – I dashed to the back deck expecting to see a husky (or similar dog on Archie’s mysterious hit list) but there was just a man, walking away from the deck and looking through the cabin window. I apologised for Archie’s bad manners but the man made strangely placatory gestures and I realised that Archie had spotted a wrong-un. We met the chap the next day – terrorising his dog and “admiring” Richard’s bike as he cycled past – hmmmm..

When Richard came back we started the search for dinner – a lot of places are shut on a Monday night! In the end we wandered around, minus the hounds, and plumped on a tiny thai restaurant and bar not far from the boat. The downstairs bar, where they do a super-cheap buffet is dog -friendly – that’s worth knowing. However, we chose to eat in the upstairs restaurant and enjoyed a fine thai meal, though the service, while friendly, was a little slow.

It had been a good day – I reckoned we’d done 227 locks (or was it 27?) but maybe only four or five linear miles and NO prop clearances – very satisfying!

Today’s Trivia:

On the black stones….

The Pennines' traditional industries have left black skeletons on the landscape...

The Pennines’ traditional industries have left black skeletons on the landscape…

The few stone-built structures along this stretch are interesting – they are mainly built of a soft, pale sandstone, reminiscent of Lechlade (at the far end of the Thames) – but here the stone is stained a sooty black, giving structures a forbidding air. I had assumed it was literally soot, from years of heavy industry, but whatever industry there was is long gone – would the soot not have washed off by now? Time for some research! This report gives you chapter and verse on Yorkshire Sandstones and I was surprised that they said “……the new sandstones are, hopefully, unlikely ever to become encrusted with the industrial soiling and pollution blackening that once characterised even the remotest of the sandstone buildings of west Yorkshire and which obscured any minor colour or textural variations”.

Another learned report said that black “crusts build up in sheltered areas that are exposed to moisture in the form of fog, mist, or dew. This moisture is known as ‘occult deposition’, and contains pollutants in much higher concentrations than normal rainfall. This aids the production of gypsum,which crystallizes on the surface, binding any particles that have blown, or washed onto the stone. Diesel engines are one of the most damaging particle sources, but fossil fuel combustion also produces tiny particles (known as flyash) which can adhere to buildings. Street or airborne dust may also become trapped on the stone surface and ultimately bound in as part of the crust”. It seems as if the black stains will never wash off unless it’s grit-blasted!

On pronunciation…

When visiting the far-reaches of England, I often think “We’re not in Kansas any more Toto” because it’s nigh on impossible to work out how to pronounce place names. I had thought that you couldn’t beat the river Nene (Neene or Nen!), where my diction was corrected more often than on trips to foreign lands. However, Yorkshire is well-ahead on points. The jury’s still out on whether you pronounce the “D” in Todmorden, though there seems to be a consensus that the accent is on “mor”. Some cruising days later I was assured that Sowerby Bridge is pronounced “Saw-by bridge” not “Sore-by bridge” and never “Sour-by bridge. If you’re from “dahn saff” just bring a translator!

Photoblog:

This plaque commemorates the achievement of the Rochdale canal, which crosses the

This plaque commemorates the achievement of the Rochdale canal, which crosses the “backbone of England” . Before the canal, cargo crossed the Pennines by pack pony, yet one canal barge could carry the equivalent load of 450 pack ponies….

The views just get better and better...

The views just get better and better…

Descriptive lock names :-)

Descriptive lock names :-)

More views from the summit...

More views from the summit…

Approaching the eastern end of the summit - it's only half a mile long but such a rich reward for all that locking :-)

Approaching the eastern end of the summit – it’s only half a mile long but such a rich reward for all that locking :-)

Looking back from Longlees Lock - I had a pang of regret, but there was plenty of stunning scenery to come..

Looking back from Longlees Lock – I had a pang of regret, but there was plenty of stunning scenery to come..

Love it or loathe it? Love it of course!

Love it or loathe it? Love it of course!

Road to nowhere??

Road to nowhere??

Interesting mechanism for opening the lock gate...

Interesting mechanism for opening the lock gate…

Views to throw, as they say in Wales :-)

Views to throw, as they say in Wales :-)

This part of the Rochdale pays for Manchester many times over :-)

This part of the Rochdale pays for Manchester many times over :-)

The descenet is even more scenic than the climb to the summit...

The descent is even more scenic than the climb to the summit…

Travis Mill lock - with its attendant mill buildings - remnants of a long gone industry...

Travis Mill lock – with its attendant mill buildings – remnants of a long gone industry…

Craggy landscape ahead...

Craggy landscape ahead…

Some of the bywashes are quite lively:-)

Some of the bywashes are quite lively:-)

What a structure - castellated railway bridge crossing the canal at Todmorden...

What a structure – castellated railway bridge crossing the canal at Todmorden…

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The Odyssey 2015 – Day 7

Posted by indigodream on 19 June, 2015

Sunday 24th May

Castleton to Littleborough

Out overnight mooring - the stup on the left is the route of the original canal - it had to be diverted because of the M62, which is very close by...

Our overnight mooring – the stub on the left is the route of the original canal – it had to be diverted because of the M62, which is very close by…

Water was on our mind today – we hadn’t filled up yesterday and although our brilliant new water gauge told us we had just under a quarter of a tank, we weren’t sure whether we’d find a tap today. We decided not to shower and save the water for the loo (most important!). We had just enough drinking water for coffee, but it was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to avoid shopping this morning.

I headed off to find Dunelm Mills, our new favourite shop, for a cover for the sofa cushions – cream cushions,  black towpath mud and sixteen large houndie paws don’t really mix! I also topped up on non-slip rugs, poor Ollie is getting rather frail and isn’t as steady on the laminate floor as he used to be. I resisted the urge to buy some more sheepskins, Dunelm Mills had a very nice selection, dyed in beautiful colours. I then popped into Tesco for food and water – including hot chickens.

Our mooring couldn’t have been more convenient – the big shops were all within three miles of the boat and when I got back I was able to park lockside. Being either lazy or intelligent (or both), we soon got the boat into the lock, where she was perfectly positioned for loading the shopping direct from the car via the side-hatch!

Ready for the day - this is about as active as they got - Herbie was soon back on his sofa :-)

Ready for the day – this is about as active as they got – Herbie was soon back on his sofa :-)

While I was off shopping, Richard became acquainted with some local dog-walkers, including a dainty lurcher who enjoyed a run with our hounds. When I got back, I found that Ollie was suspiciously damp – he’d managed to fall into the canal – it was his first dunking, but it had been in the offing for a while – he is becoming a bit vague and has a worrying tendency to walk right on the edge of the towpath. There was no harm done, but I’ll have to be extra-careful walking him around locks with their deep deep waters.

Richard had also met a boater from nb N-gauge who was walking back for the car he’d left in Slattocks. He was moored several locks above us but would wait for us to catch up so that we could lock the rest of the way together. It makes sense – it saves water and effort, especially as the skipper of N-gauge was single-handing.

Once we got going, we soon realised that we’d moored in a good spot last night – the canal does run parallel to the high street but there doesn’t seem to be any access to the town. The canalside is being developed with modern high-density housing – it’s not the most attractive, but if it helps to lift local deprivation then I can’t complain.

Interesting bridge - wide beams can pass by arrangement - the towpath under the bridge can be unhitched and parked off to one side...

Interesting bridge – wide beams can pass by arrangement – the towpath under the bridge can be unhitched and parked off to one side…

The nearer we got to Rochdale, the more deprivation we encountered – however, using the “prop-clothing” scale, it wasn’t as bad as some places we’ve encountered – we only had to clear one scarf from the prop today!

We did three locks in quick succession then there was a mile and a half lock-free pound – we luxuriated. There aren’t many long pounds in the Pennines – every one a coffee-worthy interlude :-)

When we got into Rochadale itself, we saw a group of young lads, maybe 10 years old, “a boat” they shouted excitedly and ran towards the lock. Our hearts sank, who knew what mischief they had in mind? Then we were ashamed – they were genuinely interested in how the lock worked and helped Richard with opening the gates and turning the paddles (under strict supervision). Another couple with two young boys and a huge muzzled mastiff stopped for a bit of gongoozling – it was heartening to see local interest in the canal and the boat.

We were quite cheered by our passage through Lock 50, but the canal became very dispiriting after that. “Trolley Alley” in Wolverhampton has got nothing on this stretch. I’m not sure whether this canal has the record for “locks per mile”, but the “trolleys per mile” award surely belongs to Rochdale! The trolleys seemed to be from a range of supermarkets and we were a bit mystified as there were no stores nearby. The canal wasn’t shy of sofas and other grime either – the water was shallow and Indigo Dream’s bottom was well-scrubbed on nameless detritus under the surface.

Aye, we're oop t'north now :-)

Aye, we’re oop t’north now :-)

Although CRT had advised Richard that you could moor safely just about anywhere once you got out of Manchester, Rochdale didn’t appeal – though it was a friendly enough place in daylight.

We caught up with nb N-gauge just below Littleborough and went through a couple of locks before stopping for water above Durn Lock. There was a volunteer lockie on duty here – he alerted us to the fact that several of the Pennine locks had been narrowed by subsidence and we’d need to ascend one boat at a time. They are marked, but not always clearly – keep your eyes open for the signs!

Littleborough was obviously a “safe haven” – there were several boats moored there – more than we’d seen since leaving the Bridgewater canal! Although it seemed like a convivial spot, we decided not to moor there – we were well stocked with food and we fancied somewhere a little quieter. The railway line is very close to the canal here, though it peels away a little below Pike House Lock.

The landscape calls out to us - THIS pays for the gloom of Manchester...

The landscape calls out to us – THIS pays for the gloom of Manchester…

Our locking companion stuck with us – the plan was for us to cross the summit together tomorrow. I had a lot of time to muse on locking partners as we crossed the Pennines – I’ll say more on that next time. However, we were lucky today in that we got on well with nb N-gauge’s skipper, though he had his moments  e.g. “I had a choice of two boats to share with, but the other one was just too shiny and I though he wouldn’t like being bumped around in the locks”……

I had to hope that his interesting life story (and it was interesting) would compensate for this lack of tact, as we’d be spending a lot of time together tomorrow…..

Although there was plenty of water in the canal, it was difficult to moor up – there is fair amount of rock and silt towpath side. It took a lot of jiggling around but we eventually got the stern close enough to be safe for Ollie to get on and off. It was a lovely spot – we could still hear the trains, but it wasn’t too intrusive, and Richard found a superb field adjacent to the lock where the younger hounds could enjoy some zoomies. Once upon a time, we’d have worried about letting Herbie off-lead, but he’s become such a boat dog that now when we let him off, he just runs back to the boat at top speed and leaps onto his sofa!

With supplies on board, we were soon fed and watered, having enjoyed a very satisfying day’s cruising. We went to be bed full of anticipation for the summit tomorrow….

Photoblog:

More information boards - a welcome addition to the canalscape..

More information boards – a welcome addition to the canalscape..

Mill country....

Mill country….

Anonymous red brick canalside development - boring but very necessary...

Anonymous red brick canalside development – boring but very necessary…

Ooh, interesting (I don't get to see these things from the helm) - I must get writing!

Ooh, interesting (I don’t get to see these things from the helm) – I must get writing!

The siren call of the Pennnes...

The siren call of the Pennines…

Big debate on board as to whether this was asympathetic new build or the conversion of an old mill - impressive either way :-)

Big debate on board as to whether this was a sympathetic new build or the conversion of an old mill – impressive either way :-)

I could fancy being lady of that manor :-)

I could fancy being lady of that manor :-)

Views leaving Littleborough...

Views leaving Littleborough…

The servies at Littleborough are above the lock on the offside - easy to miss as they look like a residential mooring spot...

The services at Littleborough are above the lock on the offside – easy to miss as they look like a residential mooring spot…

The trees become fewer as the canal climbs and their growth is shaped by the harshness of their surroundings..

The trees become fewer as the canal climbs and their growth is shaped by the harshness of their surroundings..

Dinnertime! This mooring was quiet enough for us to feed the hounds outside :-)

Dinnertime! This mooring was quiet enough for us to feed the hounds outside :-)

View back from our overnight mooring - can't ask for more :-)

View back from our overnight mooring – can’t ask for more :-)

 

 

 

 

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The Odyssey 2015 – Day 6

Posted by indigodream on 15 June, 2015

Saturday 23rd May

Chadderton to Castleton

There are some great, and non-vandalised, information boards along the canal - we have to be grateful that the Rochdale was restored...

There are some great, and non-vandalised, information boards along the canal – we have to be grateful that the Rochdale was restored…

The amount of cruising that we get done on a Saturday now depends on the time that we manage to leave home and the quality of the drive we have from Surrey. It’s never going to be less than a 4 hour trip, and we’re getting more acquainted with the M6, and its erratic roadworks, than I ever thought possible. However, this weekend’s cruising promised something special, so we were in good spirits even though the M25 was a car park, the M40 was busy busy . .

We stopped for lunch on the way, the Norton Canes services on the M6 toll being our new favourite – it has a decent fast food offering and a very good dog walking/picnic area :-)

As we’d hoped, the boat had been absolutely fine at the Rose of Lancaster moorings. She was now alone on the moorings, the other two boats having moved on, presumably a few days ago. It was almost 4pm but a fine afternoon and we were soon cruising.

The canal was increasingly pleasant the further we got from Manchester! Actually we thought it was stunning, little did we know how much better it gets as you climb up. People we met were friendly and interested, the kids got roped in by Richard into pushing lock beams, the dogs, when awake, enjoyed exploring the tow path.  Today we only cleared the prop once, recovering a slightly shredded hi-vis vest! In urban areas, we recover a LOT of clothing from around the prop, leading to a few wry thoughts:

  • why are there not more naked people walking along the towpath?
  • could we make money marketing a new “shabby chic” – prop-shredded clothes for that authentic canalwear look?
  • could we make clothes from a fabric that is actually shredded to nothing in a prop rather than catching round it – and market it people who live within a mile of an urban canal?

You heard it here first…… :-D

We're gaining height with every lock - though there are a few more ahead of us...

We’re gaining height with every lock – though there are a few more ahead of us…

Our water tank was a bit low, so our target for the day was a water point at Slattocks. This is not marked on Nicholsons but does appears on the CRT guide, above Slattocks Top Lock 54. To be precise the CRT map says “Slattock Lk Hse L8″, not sure what that means but we did see a tap on the house wall off side with a hose attached to it, Sadly, when we got there late afternoon, we found that tap is inside someone’s garden so without being able to talk to someone we did not feel we could use it so basically NO waterpoint. This was a real shame, as everyone we met on the towpath had recommended the Ship pub in Slattocks, just a lock or two below. By the time we’d realised there was no water point, we’d lost the will to go back to the pub.

We mused on mooring above Slattocks Top Lock but it didn’t appeal. The canal is right on the road here and not ideal for the hounds (though they are very well behaved); where the canal starts to peel away from the road, it’s adjacent to a filling station – very handy for supplies but we thought it was likely to be noisy.

We pressed on – the canal was very quiet apart from a bit of unexpected traffic – a lone canoeist. I’m not sure which of us was the more surprised! We took photos of him, and later on, he found us on Twitter and posted photos of Indigo Dream from a canoeist’s perspective. She looms enormously – now I can understand why he stopped and hung on to the offside posts until we passed. On other waterways, canoeists weave in and out of out path with disdain, one canoeist on the Grand Union even hitched a lift by hanging on to our side fender and enjoying a tow – so the old proverb about familiarity may be true after all!

I guess this railway bridge is original -  that's attractive ironwork...

I guess this railway bridge is original – that’s attractive ironwork…

It was a lovely evening, and the reflections deepened as the sun turned west. We ended up mooring just below lock 53, on the outskirts of Castleton. It was a strangely quiet spot to moor, despite the noise from the nearby motorway. There were few passersby and the fishermen on the offside seemed friendly, if a little astonished, to see a boat moored there!

Richard cycled back to get the car – we’d barely cruised 2 linear miles, but we had crammed in 10 locks! He found a useful parking spot on the offside lockside, having crossed the canal via Trub Bridge.

It was handy to have the car – we hadn’t shopped for supplies, so we went off in search of the essentials (including supper). Just in case you were worried, we had plenty of dog food on board – we’d never leave them wanting :-)

We were hoping to eat at the nearby Junction Arms, but that was closed, with an air of dereliction about it; so we drove into town, which would be around a mile away from the boat. We settled on another Chinese takeaway from the China Chef, which yielded yet another enormous and delicious supper. There were several little convenience stores on the main street, so I could get milk for our morning lattes and a few bits and pieces for administering Ollie’s tablets. He’s ancient and unwell – he has 10 individual tablets at night, and he’s on them for life. I simply won’t go ramming them down his throat if he can enjoy taking them in nice foods.

We got back to the boat and were greeted with enormous enthusiasm – we’re never too sure whether the hounds are greeting us or the food!

Although supper revived us, it wasn’t long before we were all in our respective beds. This is a bit of a performance as we now have three hounds sleeping in the front cabin – Ollie in his place at the foot of the bed, Archie on the floor by my side and Henry in his customary spot outside the bathroom (don’t ask!). Luckily, Herbie is very happy to sleep in the back cabin, where he has acres of space and the best memory foam bed. Both Ollie and Archie are desperate to sleep on the bed with us, but as that would result on my sleeping on the floor so we’re resisting that for now. :-)

Photoblog:

Note: We took hundreds of photographs this weekend, then left the big camera on board – we won’t retrieve that until the end of June! Photographs of the Canoe from an Indigodream viewport will be posted then! These are from our little camera – just a taster of the photoblogs to come :-)

Henry and Archie having a little lockside rest - Herbie and Ollie couldn't be bothered!

Henry and Archie having a little lockside rest – Herbie and Ollie couldn’t be bothered!

The trains feel as if they're running along our roof!

The trains feel as if they’re running along our roof!

The view improves with every lock...

The view improves with every lock…

That parapet needs a bit of work...

That parapet needs a bit of work…

Archie Beanz having a quiet and peaceful meeting with a husky - this is unusally good for him because he normaly goes ballistic with husky types - who knows why??!!

Archie Beanz having a quiet and peaceful meeting with a husky – this is unusually good for him because he normally goes ballistic with husky types – who knows why??!!

The canal and the railway are the best of friends - I guess there are only so many routes through the mountains :-)

The canal and the railway are the best of friends – I guess there are only so many routes through the mountains :-)

Indigo Dream looking mighty fine :-)

Indigo Dream looking mighty fine :-)

I am always closely supervised at locks :-)

I am always closely supervised at locks :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Odyssey 2015 – Day 5

Posted by indigodream on 13 June, 2015

Monday 18th May

Piccadilly Village (Manchester) to Chadderton (Rose of Lancaster pub)

Imposing warehouse buildings line the canal in Manchester - I can only imagine the bustle of business that must have thrived here....

Imposing warehouse buildings line the canal in Manchester – I can only imagine the bustle of business that must have thrived here….

The nice thing about cruising a linear canal from one end to the other is that you know exactly where you are – on the Rochdale you just navigate by lock number. Yesterday we started at Duke’s Lock, number 92, yet it’s only around 30 linear miles to our first major destination, lock 1, at Sowerby Bridge – it’s locks all the way :-)

Today we tackled the “Manchester 18″ (plus a couple of extras), starting at Lock 83. Our target for the day were the first “safe” moorings between the Angel Marina and the top of the 18 – the “Rose of Lancaster” pub in Chadderton (about half a mile above lock 64).

We had hoped that the weather might be a little better than forecast, but it was persisting down, with the promise of more persisting until late afternoon. However, we couldn’t delay our start so we cast off soon after 8:30am. Our lovely guests, Sue and Ken, were planning to spend the morning locking up with us, but we had a look at their clothing and sent them home! It was a full waterproofs day – from boots to hats and everything in between.

They did come round to the next lock, where we were able to drop them off much closer to the car park so they could de-camp without getting too wet. I was sad to say goodbye, but they live in North Wales and it’s likely that we’ll see quite a bit of them as we traverse the North over the next few months :-)

About three lock worth's of rubbish (fisehd out before it found the prop) - Herbie got off his bed for the spacehopper - he sincerely wanted to shred it :-)

About three lock worth’s of rubbish (fished out before it found the prop) – Herbie got off his bed for the spacehopper – he sincerely wanted to shred it :-)

With our guests gone, we started our locking in earnest. Richard got the bike out for lock-wheeling and I tended the helm. Although we’d had dire warning about this stretch of canal (especially through the back end of Failsworth), we hardly saw a soul all day – it was just so wet I suspect that any potential mischief-makers had taken to the malls instead! Sadly the few people we saw were hard-eyed and disinterested, apparently weighed down by the obvious deprivation that surrounds the canal.

The miracle of the Rochdale Canal is that exists at all – it has been restored from almost total dereliction into a functioning navigation. The infrastructure is sound, the locks are all beefy deep doubles and are in reasonable repair. We didn’t see another boat all day, so we were a single boat in these sizeable locks. We took it slowly, bringing the boat up on one paddle while Richard lock-wheeled. We didn’t rope up – the locks were too deep to rope up conveniently and they weren’t that turbulent. We got into a good rhythm, and although we’d never match our BCN Challenge locking speed, we made steady progress.

Note: the locksides are generally paved with large uneven cobbestones – they are extremely slippery when wet – take care!

Rainy day - and that horrible concrete ledge which makes mooring impossible (even if you were inclined to stay in such a dismal place)..

Rainy day – and that horrible concrete ledge which makes mooring impossible (even if you were inclined to stay in such a dismal place)..

But this is not an inspiring stretch of waterway – I can live with the dereliction of housing and lost industry that surrounds the canal; but the dereliction of mind that leads to locals using the canal as a midden got me down. We cleared the prop five times between locks 83 and 65; I fished out some larger bits of rubbish before they got wrapped round the prop. As the back deck filled up with rubbish, I quipped that “CRT had better give me a skip so I can get rid of this crap” and, fair play, there was one at Failsworth Top Lock! There were locks where I couldn’t let the hounds out because the towpaths were strewn with broken glass. There were suspicious looking deals taking place under some bridges. There wasn’t a single moored boat on the stretch, and, in many places, it’s impossible to moor because of ugly concrete ledges that stick out several feet from the edge of the canal. As grateful as I am for the canal’s existence, it doesn’t encourage one to “stand and stare” – it feels likes a means to an end! I’m writing this retrospectively so luckily I can say that the “end” is really well worth it!

But I’m ahead of myself….

I have very few notes from the day (too wet for a notebook on deck!) but I have a few recollections to record….

Richard and I play a game at locks, trying to guess their depth. I have the better view, sitting at the bottom of some very big holes, but, as an engineer, he has much better spatial awareness. Anthony’s Lock (No. 77) challenged us – it is very deep indeed

“15 foot” I reckoned,

“Nah, 12 foot” countered Richard

We checked the Nicholson’s – 9′ 7″ – no way!

Cue the tape measure (we take this game very seriously!) – 14′ 9″ – yes! Apparently the lock has been affected by subsidence and is considerably deeper than the original. That’s worth thinking about for a second: All the locks were intended to be identical with a 10′ rise so that means that there has been close to 5′ settlement . . . .

Anthony's Lock - all 14' 9" of it! It wasn't that turbulent, though it did take an age to fill - it's a lot of water...

Anthony’s Lock – all 14′ 9″ of it! It wasn’t that turbulent, though it did take an age to fill – it’s a lot of water…

There are some fierce bywashes that flushed water through at pace, pushing the boat to the opposite side of the canal – not a huge problem, but Richard had to play fair and open the gate opposite the bywash to give me some chance of coming in smoothly :-) We came up on one gate, the locks here are proper doubles  – this saved a lot of to-ing and fro-ing.

The other game I enjoy on urban canals is “guess the industry” – when we came down the Ashton I spent some time researching the fishy amine smell emanating from a canalside factory. This time my nose was enticed by the far sweeter, but equally potent, smell of esters or was it ketones, in the vicinity of Lock 74 (Drunken Bridge Lock). There is a massive canalside foundry (Mathers Foundry) here, though I wouldn’t associate a foundry with esters  – hmm, more research needed :-)

There are some interesting lock mechanisms hereabouts...

There are some interesting lock mechanisms hereabouts…

Funnily enough, where there is living industry, the canal perks up a bit, but once we got back lock 71 (Shears Lock) we were back into “civilisation” and the locks gradually filled with rubbish again.

The stretch through Newton Heath/Failsworth is difficult – although there was plenty of water in the canal, the channel between the wide (signposted) shoals on the offside and rough concrete ledge on the towpath side made the canal feel narrow and shallow.  It was hard going in these sections as there was barely enough water to allow the boat to move. Simple physics I’m told – in order to move, Indigo Dream has to displace 17 tons of water front to back….

However depressing the main Failsworth section is, we got a nice surprise when we got to lock 66 (Tannersfield Highest Lock), the rain dried up (at last!), the canalside walkers became more engaged with the canal (in a good way!) and the view opened out to reveal a modern retail park. Now, that’s not everyones cup of tea, but just to see some regeneration was so very welcome after the dismal rise we’d just experienced.

Beyond Failsworth, the canal feels less miserable, though it’s still suburban and no-one has paid much attention to the beauty of the infrastruture. The tunnel under the M60 couldn’t be more functionally unattractive – the low headroom reminds you that this canal exists as a grudging favour to modern transport. It could so easily have been blocked here…

A little further along though, the canal has its way – there is an unusual vertical lift bridge at Grimshaw Lane. It’s electrically operated using a BW key (the control box is on the left a little below the bridge – coming from Manchester..). I found it a little bit fiddly – I wasn’t sure whether to just press the buttons once or press and hold. Oh dear, I hate holding up the traffic but we’d still be there if I hadn’t!

We got to the Rose of Lancaster mid-afternoon – someone on the end of the phone at CRT had suggested that we might find it hard to get a space. Well, we needn’t have worried – there were only two other boats there – one obviously on their way to Manchester and the other, we found out later, had come up from Manchester just a few locks ahead of us, with assistance from CRT. If only we’d known about each other. Local dog-walkers seemed to regard THREE moored boats as an armada, so it seems that we were never going to struggle for a space :-)

We toyed with the idea of driving home, but it had been a long day so Richard took the train back to Manchester for the car and I did the usual packing up ready for the morning. When he came back, we went off to the pub for supper – it is not dog-friendly and the weather was too unpredictable (we’d had some savage showers) to sit outside. The food and service were indifferent, but it sure beat doing the cooking myself!

The following morning we had a bit of fun getting the dogs to the car – the pub’s handyman was busy repairing the pub’s concrete steps and had put in a new step at the bottom of the flight between the towpath and the pub – there is no other access. The logistics of moving car and boat was as nothing to getting four hounds up the stairs without leaving a signature in the wet cement, but we managed it :-)

 

Photoblog:

Herbie's take on boating....

Herbie’s take on boating….

Boating Herbie style...

Boating Herbie style…

Herbie's dedication to his sofa is legend!

Herbie’s dedication to his sofa is legend!

Boating Herbie style....

Boating Herbie style….

Tired puppies - well, Herbie must have changed bed three times - it's exhausting!

Tired puppies – well, Herbie must have changed bed three times – it’s exhausting!

Polish graffiti!

Polish graffiti!

Nature always finds a way - old industrial wastelands don't stay that way forever...

Nature always finds a way – old industrial wastelands don’t stay that way forever…

Although the locks are full-size doubles, I would not want to bring a wide-beam down here - in fact, I was very glad that there weren't any passing narrowboats!

Although the locks are full-size doubles, I would not want to bring a wide-beam down here – in fact, I was very glad that there weren’t any passing narrowboats!

Post-industrial landscape at Failswrht - there's a lot of restoration here though - mainlly housing and retail...

Post-industrial landscape at Failsworth – there’s a lot of restoration here though – mainlly housing and retail…

Murals...

Murals…

The M60 tunnel - it's a miracle that this cana exists - they didn't spare it much headroom!

The M60 tunnel – it’s a miracle that this canal exists – they didn’t spare it much headroom!

Grimshaw Lane lift bridge - unusual to see a vertical lift bridge. It's electrically operated and a bit fiddly (do you just press or press and hold) - I don't think the car drivers were too impressed with my button pressing technique!

Grimshaw Lane lift bridge – unusual to see a vertical lift bridge. (There is loads of headroom, this is just Richard squeezing through as quickly as he could)

The liftbridge is  electrically operated and a bit fiddly (do you just press or press and hold) - I don't think the car drivers were too impressed with my button pressing technique!

The liftbridge is electrically operated and a bit fiddly (do you just press or press and hold) – I don’t think the car drivers were too impressed with my button pressing technique!

There were three of these fences panels in the lock - I managed to get one out before it got wedged in anyone's prop. The other two sank out of sigh as the lock filled and I couldn't get them - sigh! We put the recovered panel back in the towpath fence where it belonged - I expect it will be back in the lock come nightfall :-(

There were three of these fences panels in the lock – I managed to get one out before it got wedged in anyone’s prop. The other two sank out of sigh as the lock filled and I couldn’t get them – sigh! We put the recovered panel back in the towpath fence where it belonged – I expect it will be back in the lock come nightfall :-(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Odyssey 2015 – Day 4

Posted by indigodream on 8 June, 2015

Sunday May 17th

Lymm to Piccadilly Village (Manchester)

The Old Traffod football ground coach park - it's obviously match day :-)

The Old Trafford football ground coach park – it’s obviously match day :-)

It was my birthday today so I enjoyed a relaxing morning with coffee and gifts – including a bottle of Prosecco – but that was for later, despite some encouragement to have it for breakfast :-)

I was still very tired after yesterday’s driving, but it was a good day for cruising so we set off late morning. With so many crew members on board, I didn’t need to helm so I just chilled out on the lock-free pound, before making lunch just as we passed Old Trafford football ground. There was a match on – it was great to cruise past when the place was buzzing. I was a bit worried that we might have trouble later in the day, but the genial fans walking down to towpath to the ground didn’t seem to come back into Piccadilly in the evening.

The trip boats were in evidence, carrying fans to Old Trafford – what a great way to arrive at a match. They delayed us a little through the narrows, but we weren’t in a big hurry so I just held Indigo Dream to one side and let them pass.

Hallowed ground for some...

Hallowed ground for some…

We soon got to the bottom of the Rochdale 9. Having experienced Manchester a few month ago, I felt a bit gloomy approaching the 9. The locks and canal infrastructure are fine, it’s the atmosphere and lack of meaningful relationship between the canal and the city that gets me down. However, the bottom lock is a jolly place, surrounded by bars and gongoozlers and a greyhound! As I waited for the crew to prepare the lock, I was hailed by a woman on the bridge above who was walking a lovely black greyhound. We exchanged greyhound histories and I found out that we’re both members of the “Greyhound Gap” page on Facebook – we got in touch later :-)

When I got into the lock I saw a very curious phenomenon – a load of photographers earnestly comparing the size of their lenses – they were mainly middle-aged men,

Has that woman got clothes on? What is that man doing?

Has that woman got clothes on? What is that man doing?

apparently on a canal photo-shoot.

Richard had already discovered this (of course) but even he had been bemused as he came across the bridge as, at first sight, he appeared to see a man holding open a Mac in front of a girl not wearing a lot of clothes and then, round the corner, a man flapping a white card over another model. Now, there are many that say anything can be enhanced by the addition of an attractive woman (and Richard says it was not a Mac but one of those reflector thingies – honest!), but I wasn’t entranced by the photographers asking their be-corseted models to lie moodily on their backs on the lock infrastructure – all the better to show off the canal I’m sure.

Richard overheard some people talking on the bridge and saying that this must be CRT’s latest publicity shoot, he looked round for Joe Coggins, (we know he can do locks) but no sign of him! Richard later found out that it was a proper photography course – the Steampunk Photographic event and yes there were male models later – ah well…

Richard says that Googling brings up some of the photographers’ web sites and it has to be said that in-between comparing the sizes of their lenses, the course has taught them well as some of the photographs they took were absolutely stunning.

The last time we came up the 9, we barely saw a boat and there were certainly none moored in the flight. But today, there were three boats moored on the offside above the bottom lock – they looked quite at home there. We know at least one has a mooring in Islington Marina but apparently comes down to Castlefields for some peace & quiet!

With extra crew on board, we had a really smooth passage up the canal, though it was all go today – further up the nine we encountered a Sky TV cameraman and a local lawyer commenting on the latest news about Thomas Cook and the carbon monoxide deaths in Corfu.

Filming for the news...

Filming for the news…

But it’s no good, I really loathe this bit of canal, though Richard thinks it’s not so bad – and, in all fairness, we did NOT have any trouble (mechanical or human), nor did we have to clear the prop.

Nonethless, we were all repulsed by the human excrement on the lock landing approaching Piccadilly Lock. The last two locks are dark – physically and spiritually, as dead-eyed male prostitutes, sharp-eyed drug dealers and their glassy-eye customers started to congregate on the shadowed towpath. It was depressingly sordid and I was reminded just how piously middle-aged and privileged I am. It was only 5.30pm and I wouldn’t have wanted to be there any later.

The special-brew drinkers above the lock were cheerful enough, but we were glad to turn onto the Ashton Canal and the peaceful moorings at Piccadilly Village. We plumped for the towpath side, as we had last year, and had a quiet night.

Ken and Richard had a pints here - despite its unassuming exterior, they were made welcome and the pub had a good beer :-)

Ken and Richard had a pint here in this pub just round the corner from the towpath side moorings at Piccadilly – despite its unassuming exterior, they were made welcome and the pub had good beer :-) Verdict: Proper Boozer, worth going to!

My lovely boating companions had planned to take me out for a special birthday dinner, but I was totally knackered, so we had a chinese takeaway instead. We got clever, and the New Chop Chop delivered it to the boat! As we were sorting out our order, another boat pulled in to moor behind us – they’d had an exhausting passage down the Ashton flight (it had taken them 11 hours!), so we ordered a chinese for them too! However, we didn’t invite them on board to eat – it takes a certain amount of expertise to eat a takeaway unmolested when there are five hungry hounds on board :-)

I should add a note of caution for any southern boats who follow us “oop north” – the portions from chinese takeaways are roughly double the size of the ones that you get in Surrey – wow! We had an enormous amount of food on board, but, thanks to the hounds, it would never go to waste…

It was still early when we’d finished eating – I was really too knackered for the pub, so Ken and Richard went off to do a car shuffle – a tram back to Lymm for Ken’s car, then they drove back to get my car from Stockton Heath before bringing both vehicles back to the secure car parks near the canal in Piccadilly. Sue and I settled down to watch some gentle Sunday night TV with the Prosecco – nice!

We started to get a bit concerned when it turned 10pm and the men weren’t back – then Richard arrived but we found out that Ken was missing – oops! A phone call found that he was very nearby, but it’s very hard to spot urban canals from the surrounding streets. Richard directed him in and we were soon back together.

We had a certain amount bedtime kerfuffle as Poppy and Archie insisted on sleeping with Ken and Sue. Our new sofa-bed is 4″ rather than the old 3′ 6″ but nonetheless…..

Photoblog:

All guests have to share the sofa with Herbie!

All guests have to share the sofa with Herbie!

Tired puppies - and this was before we started the day's cruising :-)

Tired puppies – and this was before we started the day’s cruising :-)

Loking down to the Manchester Ship Canal - we hope to get on to there later this year...

Looking down to the Manchester Ship Canal – we hope to get on to there later this year…

 

Busy trip boats - surely the only way to travel to the match :-)

Busy trip boats – surely the only way to travel to the match :-)

Castlefield Junction loks quite attractive - this is probably the best place to experience the canal and the city...

Castlefield Junction looks quite attractive – this is probably the best place to experience the canal and the city…

First there was the man with the Mac and now look this man is trying to hit the poor girl

First there was the man with the Mac and now look this man is trying to hit the poor girl

Steampunk photography - we had to sweep her off the beam shortly afterwards (but not into the canal!!)...

Steampunk photography – we had to sweep her off the beam shortly afterwards (but not into the canal!!)…

Really necessary???

Really???

Not a real body!

Not a real body!

Grand facade...

Grand facade…

Backside...

with a horrible backside…

Through the heart of the gay village...

Through the heart of the gay village…

It must be a desperate life under here....

It must be a desperate life under here….

Into the gloom - this is where Manchester's many furtive and illicit trades are carried on...

Into the gloom – this is where Manchester’s many furtive and illicit trades are carried on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Odyssey 2015 – Day 3

Posted by indigodream on 31 May, 2015

Oxford Services - whilst Richard and dogs were trying not to get done for indecent exposure in the bushes all these minis appeared in spectacular fashion

Oxford Services – whilst Richard and dogs were trying not to get done for indecent exposure in the bushes all these Minis appeared in spectacular fashion

Saturday 16th May

Anderton to Lymm

Hi, Richard here – I’m not often allowed on the blog or on the helm, but I did both today :-)

We have given up on trying to get round the M25 on a Friday night – it’s far too congested and we were far too tired after a busy busy week for the 201 mile drive. We elected for another early start on a Saturday with me taking Herbie and Ollie up to the boat in my car. In the meantime, Sue did an East of England tour, dropping off jam and home-baked dog treats for a Greyhoundhomer fundraiser and doing a dog swap – Henry and Archie would stay on, but Ty and Sid (who’s got a very bad back) would go to Suffolk for some TLC. She eventually caught up with the boat late-afternoon.

The boat had been fine at Anderton, and it was good to see that the last few snagging works had been done, plus a neat bit of carpentry to put a shelf back up over our folding table. It has been frustrating to have so many snags, but hey, things can go wrong and we absolutely cannot fault the attitude of the boatyard at putting them right.

We have two outstanding issues, the first is that our Tecma toilet sometimes has water in it when the bowl should be dry, we suspect that the solenoid valve needs some TLC and de-gunking. The second is that the remote control for our Webasto is not working properly, we will troubleshoot this ourselves or find a Webasto expert.

I filled with water first at Anderton – there is good pressure at the water point and the newly re-arranged filler seems to be working well with no leaks. The new water tank gauge is great – it tells you how long you have to go and seems to have been calibrated spot on, or so we hope!

Setting off up the top end of the Trent & Mersey was a pleasure. It has some stunning sights – the canal is very scenic in places and you get great glimpses down to the Weaver e.g. at Acton. Obviously you go past the Anderton lift with its busy busy winding hole. The first tunnel is Barnton, this is the one that you can just see through if you get the angle right – it was a great place to check that all our horns are working – they do – fantastic in a confined space! The rear LED lights are good, they just give you enough light around the deck floor. They’re not as good as our stern light – but only because that stern light is on a magnet so it can be stuck on the inside and lights the tunnel soffit really well.

Saltersford Tunnel is crooked so it’s one-way with a timed entry – northbound you need to enter the tunnel between the hour and twenty past. Phew, I passed the sign at fifteen past the hour, quickly catching up with a boat which may well have gone through on the hour . .  hope that they were not too startled by the horns going!

r_Anderton-rochdale61-16May15-008

Lovely bit of canal

Dutton stop lock took longer then it should single-handed, mainly because I had positioned myself to go out the gate on the towpath side and then noticed that the bottom gates are asymmetric and the towpath-side gate looks a bit too narrow to get out through a single gate.

Preston Brook tunnel again is a timed tunnel (from the hour to ten past the hour going north), as I got there dead on the hour so just gingerly checked for late-comers, played with the horns again and went through at the usual sedate pace.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day’s cruising – a perfect antidote to a tough week with the odd puzzle to keep the mind going. The best puzzle was the artwork on the side of nb Bide Your Time, it showed a trussed arch bridge and the name Joe Wright. So which bridge, who was Joe Wright? Photo below, answers on a post card please.

r_Anderton-rochdale61-16May15-005

Ah a tunnel

I had a pit stop for the hounds and a quick top-up at Midland Chandlers before going for it again. I still had still miles to go!

The Bridgewater is ok, a bit to straight and wide with not enough locks for me, but it is an efficient way of getting from A to B, especially when you’re single-handed.  I met up with Sue at Stockton Heath, just by the London Bridge pub where we stopped last year. We did a quick offload of dogs – the canine boat crew was now up to full strength (Ollie and Herbie were joined by Henry and Archie), well the crew was almost complete, we still had a special guest to come….

Sue then sped off to Tescos whilst I gently and extremely sedately carried on to the Lymm to meet up with old friends Ken and Sue with their rescue dog Poppy. Poppy came cruising with us last year, when she was still a bit nervous about everything. Wow, what a transformation, Ken and Sue have done wonders to build her confidence and she seemed to enjoy her trip much more this year.

Ken and Sue got to Lymm a few minutes before me, so they had scouted out the best parking spot for cars and boats.This made for a smooth mooring and off-loading the cars. However, getting beds prepared for guests and dog walking all took time, so by the time we got to the Golden Fleece pub it was quite late. The pub was very busy but fortunately they were still doing food. We had been told that the pub was dog friendly, but when we got there we found that is wasn’t. This meant we had to sit outside – it was pretty chilly until the table under the heat lamp became available. The beer was good, but the food was just ok – to be honest, by the time we had the kerfuffle with whether dogs were allowed inside or not and having to move table three times, we weren’t impressed.

When we go back, Sue and Ken soon found that the dogs had other ideas about the guest bed being for (human) guests . . . .

r_Anderton-rochdale61-16May15-014

One of many tantalising views down to the River Weaver

r_Anderton-rochdale61-16May15-016

Ah another tunnel

 

r_Anderton-rochdale61-16May15-028

Clearly a story here. Is that the Silver Jubilee Bridge in Runcorn? If so was Joe Wright involved in the design or construction or maintenance? Or did he live near the bridge ie is the bridge there for a similar reason to us having Nutfield Priory on our art work? The ICE Library is down this evening so can’t look it the original designers, Motts?, arghhh. The boat name was “Bide your time” of Hook Norton.

r_Anderton-rochdale61-16May15-205

Oh look, another tunnel!

 

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