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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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 shoutedΒ  “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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Photoblog:

Ready to explore Todmorden :-)

Ready to explore Todmorden πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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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