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Tour 2004

Index

18 - Stattocks to Boston. Rochdale Canal, Calder and Hebble Navigation, Aire and Calder Navigation, New Junction Canal, Stainforth and Keadby Canal, Tidal River Trent, Fossdyke Navigation and River Witham.

Wednesday 2nd June 2004

Bright morning, but sun not really though the mist at the 04:58 start! No problems through Blue Pits Locks and Castleton. Once though the Gorrels Way Tunnel and nearing Rochdale the canal became rather more cruddy, resulting in total engine stall just before the Rochdale Arm. Bloody duvet mangled round the prop. 
Now we were stating to loose time for our booked 08:30 arrival at the bottom of the Littleborough Flight. After 40 minutes cutting through the weed hatch and pulling the remains out the back with boat hook we were free. During the weed hatch moments at least 12!!! newts and a good few leaches were rescued / put in engine bilge (the leaches NOT the newts!) I know enough about newts to confirm they were NOT Great Crested ones..! 
So into the sad Moss pair of locks, only one paddle working each end. Fortunately the canal crud somewhat diminished beyond Moss Locks and we had a "brisk" passage up to Littleborough Bottom Lock No 48. Martin Clark had come out to rescue us for the day and was at Littleborough Bottom before 08:30, no sign of BW, but locks not locked up, so Martin whiled away the 25 minute late Earnest by setting some locks. 
Into Littleborough bottom at 08:50 and a good run up to the summit. Neil and Martin Locked, while Linda had a bit of a rest and steered. The only real problem was the short pound between the Punchbowl Locks, empty as usual. Passed sprightly (crew and boat!) little NB Ferric The Red, which we have seen out all over the place. They informed us that Ray the (Ex-lock/summit keeper, now has to do many other jobs) was about. 
Neil found Ray, we were both rather pissed off to find that our booking, a week ago and reminder the day before had NOT filtered though to Ray! So we could have found the Littleborough Flight locked up!  The way it "works" to do the Rochdale is that you have to book the Manchester 18 (locks 83 to 65) and Littleborough Flight and over the summit, (Locks 48 to 34) with BW Warrington (01925 847700) but probably best to check the Summit booking with Ray on 07733 124596! 
The Summit was just about weiring, due to BW getting a extra amount of water from United Utilities (they own the Rochdale Reservoirs), for the Bank Holiday "rush"...........no rush of course, seeing as they were NOT taking bookings for the Bank Holiday due to overtime constraints. 
So with renewed vigour and in brilliant sun we carried on down the Yorkshire side, making a surprise early visit with Su and Mike Poole, breasting up against NB Cutworks, in Baltimore Marina, Todmorden, between 15:00 and 15:30. We were welcomed to stay the night there, but with Martin Clark still available, we decided to push on and meet Su and Mike in a Hebden Bridge pub. 
Martin had left his car in Tod, so after furtively watching the busses, jumped ship just above Stubbins, to get the bus and collect his car. This was quicker than our passage, so when we arrived at Hebden Bridge, he had the final lock (Black Pit No 9) of the day ready for us. 
Rather a Rochdale record for us, 45 locks. After mooring up opposite the new Tai Restaurant, beside the basin / dry dock we cleaned up, then repaired to the White Swan (opposite the pack-horse bridge), tempted by the Black Sheep, but mainly the three course meal for a fiver. 
Although the service was somewhat slow the meal was very good, individually cooked by the old dear / waitress. Mike and Su managed to get a babysitter from 20:00 to 23:00 so both were able to come out to meet us. Afterwards the rather knackered Martin Clark retreated back home, and we went back to Earnest for a quick coffee.

Thursday 3rd June 2004

Linda's "late start" ended up at 08:05 and we had a free run down to Tuel Lane (10:30) in the constant drizzle. Howard not on duty, but young relief locky soon whisked us down the deep lock. We exited onto the Calder and Hebble at 11:25, rain now stopped. Uneventful passage down the Calder and Hebble, giving up for the night at 17:30 at Shepley Bridge on the marina leased 48 Hour Visitor Moorings just passed Bridge No 20. Ship Inn that night. 

Friday 4th June 2004

Last night the Ship Inn now turned out to be a "Hungry Horse" establishment, owned by Green King. Green King IPA on form, but food rather lack lustre. Late start at 10:50, Linda carried on locking, due to being worried about the short Calder and Hebble locks. Passed Navigation Inn at Broadcut at 13:50, a place we have stopped at many times. From here on the 57ft 6ins locks are a bit longer, around 62ft, so Neil relieved Linda at locking. Still no one about until Fall Ing lock (15:15), where a Grandad with his 3 grand daughters were just leaving. 
We caught up with another boat at Kings Lock and we all continued down to Castleford. Bloody windy on the last bit of the Calder and Hebble, Neil nearly lost Earnest while lock waiting, but managed to get centre rope securely on ring, then got back on boat to power it back straight on the lock waiting area. Earnest did a bit of a listing lurch and in the process took off the side cratch cover stud AND fastener on the cover. No other damage done and this was quickly repaired with bits from ships stores. 
Neil then got around to making up a new rubber boingy thing to secure the far end of one of the cratch cover sides. Arrived at Castleford at 17:45. We got on water point for overdue top up (first since we have been out!) this is just tucked in beyond Castleford Flood lock. After fill up including showers, lasting over an hour, we could not be bothered to move down to the more cruddy moorings beyond the bridge (no more left by lock) so we stayed there the night and shoved off early. We wandered into town and ended up at the newly opened Kury Cottage Indian Restaurant. Attentive owner / waiter and good quality food.

Saturday 5th June 2004

07:35 departure from Castleford, before anyone wanted the water point! Indulged in some Aire and Calder speed trials involving GPS speedo versus engine revs...........results top secret! Went Junction at 11:30, all we saw moving on the Aire and Calder were a few incoming cruisers. Still rather depressing very overcast weather. Did not do any record attempt on the New Junction Canal, but dropped crew member off for each lift / swing bridge. 
Syke House Lock was its usual problem. The bridge must be swung first and KEPT swung until locking complete. Even so the interlock on the bridge needed a bit of "help" to gain lock control. Also the over sensitive level indicators meant that the gates open in a series of jerks, as level was pushed up and down as in a wave machine! BW really need better instructions on how to work the swing bridge and two gate consoles. Bramwith Junction at 13:15, still no traffic. 
Stopped at Stanilands for exactly 100L of fuel at 35p/L. Stop was extended (14:45 to 15:10) as we chatted with the friendly couple aboard one time Harefield resident, NB Rooster. Someone came along and took advantage of our Thorne locking, but stopped soon after. Interminable amount of fishing matches along rest of Stainforth and Keadby, so held up a bit. 
The BRAND NEW Vazon Railway slide bridge opened immediately for us and we got the last decent Keadby mooring, next to the railway bridge, due to "Keadby Keel" weekend. Because of event, the Auld South Yorkshire (large portions) pub was not doing food, so went to The Barge. Good roast dinners and confused staff undercharged us a round of drinks on our tab! Martin Clark and Ed Mortimer arrived soon after we got back and managed to park Linda's Polo by the bridge keepers cabin!

Sunday 6th June 2004

Wake up call was at 06:00, Linda readied herself for departures, then left at 06:45, as we sidled up to Keadby Lock for our supposed half hour after the start of flood Springs passage up to Torksey (07:15). We plonked our selves beside the waiting NB Dutch Barge "The Wakeman" (Roger Fuller, Gardiner 3LW, very smart), owned by the Richardson's of the now legendary Ripon Motor Boat Club. Long talk about the area and their excellent "Guide to NE Waterways" which is just about to be reprinted. 
Two lockfulls pushed ahead of us and we eventually popped out of Keadby into a frothy Trent at 08:05. Linda was still there watching us leave and saw the Aegir bore go up at start of flood. Not long after Keadby Road / Rail Bridge "The Wakeman" overtook us and we shadowed them to Torksey, overtaking three narrowboats from Keadby and one from West Stockwith. Good run up, taking 3.45 Hours. After waiting for cruiser coming up from Keadby we locked out of Torksey Lock at 11:30. 
Passed through Lincoln at 13:50 and Bardney Lock (15:45). Arrived at Boston 19:55. The plan was to pop out into the Wash and do the River Glen, something we failed to do in 2001, owing to the inability of the Fulney "lock" keeper to use the tidal Fulney Lock (fully reversible sets of gates) on the River Welland as a lock. We would have just made the rising level at Boston Grand Sluice, but were booked out of the falling level. The Grand sluice can only be used as a lock for boats up to 45ft long, it is necessary for any narrowboat over 45ft to go through on the level. 
Sue at West Stockwith, being just about the senior Trent tidal locky left! was booked for the falling tide level at around 12:00. When we arrived at Boston we had all of the none condemned Visitor Moorings to ourselves, a good few had been patched up by BW, as we going out at the Grand Sluice meant we also could moor on the lock waiting area. That evening we did a spot of shopping and met up with John Chapman at the "Captain Cod" chippy / Chinese restaurant in Boston Town square. After Neil and Martin came back from shopping, we broke the news that we had now found the Wetherspoon's!!! John Chapman had broken his own boating down the River Nene (NB Frogmoore II is going back to its "home" port of Bill Fen Marina at Ramsey on the Middle Level.) and Pat, his wife had kindly driven John over. Only a day later the sleepy market square in Boston was hit by "England Lost" riots.....two police cars were overturned and torched!!!


Top of Slattocks Locks. Rochdale Canal. Rochdale Canal.


The new Blue Pits Lowest Lock No 53 leading to the Maden Fold Motorway Culvert. Old course of the canal to the left. Rochdale Canal.


The new Blue Pits Lowest Lock No 53. Rochdale Canal.


Maden Fold Motorway Culvert. Rochdale Canal.


The new Blue Pits Lowest Lock No 53. Rochdale Canal.


Maden Fold Motorway Culvert. Rochdale Canal.


The temporary bridge over the yet to be finished farm access crossing. Rochdale Canal.


The remains of Blue Pits Lowest Lock No 52 - now straight through. Blue Pits Middle Lock  No 51 in the distance. Rochdale Canal.


The temporary bridge over the yet to be finished farm access crossing. Old course of canal to the right. Rochdale Canal.


Blue Pits Middle Lock No 52. Castleton. Rochdale Canal.


Blue Pits Middle Lock No 52. Castleton. Rochdale Canal.


Manchester Road Bridge. Castleton. Rochdale Canal.


Blue Pits Highest Lock No 51. Castleton. Rochdale Canal.


Gorrells Way Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Edinburgh Way Tunnel under the A 627 (M). Rochdale Canal.


Edinburgh Way Tunnel under the A 627 (M). Rochdale Canal.


Hartley Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Dicken Green Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Moss Locks No 49 and 50. Rochdale. Rochdale Canal.


Littleborough Lower Lock No 48. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


The new minimalist Littleborough Sanitary Station. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


Bent House Lock No 46. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


Sladen Lock No 44. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


Sladen Lock No 44. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


2nd Below Punchbowl Lock No 42. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


2nd Below West Summit lock No 39. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


The still leaky Punchbowl Lock No 40. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


2nd Below West Summit lock No 39. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


1st Below West Summit Lock No 38. Littleborough Flight. Rochdale Canal.


West Summit Lock No 37. Rochdale Canal.


West Summit Lock No 37. Rochdale Canal.


Longlees Lock No 36, the East Summit lock. Rochdale Canal.


Longlees Lock No 36. Rochdale Canal.


Looking down from Longlees Lock No 36. Rochdale Canal.


Longlees Lock No 36. Rochdale Canal.


Bottomley Lock No 33. Rochdale Canal.


Bottomley Lock No 33. We do not know how this new bungalow got to be built here! Rochdale Canal.


Gauxholme Lowest Lock No 22. Rochdale Canal.


Todmorden or Library Lock No 19. Rochdale Canal.


The new disputed, yet to open Todmorden Sanitary Station. Rochdale Canal.


Old Royd Lock No 17. Rochdale Canal.


The once burnt out, now restored as apartments mill by Woodhouse Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Lob Mill Lock No 16. Rochdale Canal.


The site of the slippage near Burntacres Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Finally this warehouse at Sowerby Bridge has been restored. Rochdale Canal.


New motorway bridge over the River Aire section of the Aire and Calder Navigation.


New motorway bridge over the River Aire section of the Aire and Calder Navigation.


Thorne, Stainforth and Keadby Canal.


The new Vazon Railway slide bridge at Keadby. Stainforth and Keadby Canal.


The new Vazon Railway slide bridge at Keadby. Stainforth and Keadby Canal.


The new Vazon Railway slide bridge at Keadby. Stainforth and Keadby Canal.


The new Vazon Railway slide bridge at Keadby. Stainforth and Keadby Canal.


Keadby Wharf on the Tidal River Trent.


The Barge Inn and Keadby Swing Bridge. Stainforth and Keadby Canal.


Keadby Lock. Stainforth and Keadby Canal.


"The Wakeman" overtaking us on the tidal Trent.


Boston, River Witham.


The tidal River Witham from Boston Grand Sluice.

DCP_0345.jpg (83416 bytes)
Boston from the air. Tidal River Witham Outfall to the left. Just to the south of the Dock is Maud Foster Drain. Beyond the Docks the South Forty Foot (Black Sluice) Drain heads of to the top RH corner. The tidal River Witham curves round parallel to the Maud Foster Drain.

The Tour Continues...


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