Volcanic Bread. 9th April

King’s Road Lock to Fall Ing Lock, Calder and Hebble Navigation

I really should have held my nerve last night. I was convinced that my sour dough starter wouldn’t do the job on it’s own and I’d started the whole process too late in the day anyway, but my recipe said that I could add 3gms of dried yeast to the mix to give a lighter loaf. This also reduced the rising/proving time by an hour and a half. All mixed up it went into my 2lb loaf tin which I’d luckily lined with grease proof paper and it was then put up on my proving shelf across the way from the stove. Timer set for an hour and a half.


For our dinner I was making a chickeny pasta dish that I’d wanted to put a cheese sauce over and bake for a while, this would warm the oven up ready for the bread to go in, or so I thought! As I was about to make the cheese sauce I happened to glance across to the bread tin. The contents were rising quite happily and were visible above the grease proof liner. With full fat gluten bread this would be a very good sign, a nice bit of rise, but with skimmed gluten free it is not so good a there is no elasticity in the dough to keep the shape.

Erupted sour dough

The rise was such that a slow volcanic eruption was occurring on the top shelf. Globs of dough were expanding up and over the sides of the paper and blobbing down onto the shelf. Cheese sauce was cancelled, oven put on quickly, as soon as I thought it would be hot enough I carefully carried the tin to the oven, globs dropping as I went. These were really rather tasty! The tray in the bottom of the oven had boiling water added and I carefully popped the tin in and closed the door, the monster was at last contained. After an hour it looked like it should be ready. It took some prising off the shelf that it had welded itself through, it had made a grab for the tray on the oven bottom.

Yummy toast with crunchy handles

This morning it was time to sample it. The recipe said that if it was a touch under cooked then it would be good toasted, it did look a touch moist inside. Once toasted with a golden glow… well that is the best toast I’ve had in an age! Once this loaf has gone I’ll try a batch without the yeast to see if that controls it’s rise better, I’m on the hunt for a deeper bread tin too.

They were meanies and didn’t let me out. This outside was still being judged on it’s merit for a Mrs Tilly award. Although the lack of trees was a touch disappointing. 

Bit of a droop there

We pushed off soon arriving at Birkwood Lock. The old gates in the centre of the lock have certainly seen much better days, they are never used anymore and would most probably just disintegrate if you tried to move them. It’s also a good job the usable gates are operated hydraulically as the beams don’t look like they’d take much strain. This was to be our last fully automated lock for quite sometime, possibly until the Thames in the summer.

Crossing the old aqueduct

Our diesel tank gauge was reading about a third full, the lowest it’s been in two years. Places to fill up as you cross the Pennines get few and far between so there was no option for us but to fill at Stanley Ferry. Crossing the aqueduct we spotted the diesel pump, winded and then came back on ourselves to moor. A phone call was made and someone eventually turned up filling our tank with 100 litres, at 95p a litre we didn’t bother with the last inch, we’ll have enough to get to somewhere cheaper now.

Columns and pediments seen from the new aqueduct

3 bags of coal on the roof and we could keep warm again. We used the aqueducts as a roundabout, spotting NB Rebellion (the purple boat we see everywhere!) as we turned. We’ve only come across the old aqueduct before, crossing the new one alongside you get a good view of the columns and pediments on the old one.


Across our path was the newly refurbished and reinstated Ramsdens Swing Bridge, an easy operation to get it moving, no key required. It was lunchtime now so we pulled in more or less where we’d moored in 2014, just after the water point at the end of the permanent moorings. This time however our second mate got to explore, Houdini wasn’t as so lucky five years ago. We guiltily had a barbecue whilst she watched from inside the cabin, she’d only been a boat cat for a matter of days and we didn’t want to loose our precious cargo, even if she was a grumpy old sod at times!

Broadreach Flood Lock ahead

Tilly came home, so we decided to carry on to Wakefield and get away from the incessant bark emanating from a boat across the way. That woofer was getting on my …. too, glad they took the hint! The log straight brings you to Broadreach Flood Lock and then back out onto the River Aire.

It’s a long walk round to close both gates

Much sooner than we thought we were at the foot of Fall Ing Lock ready to make our way up onto the start of the Calder and Hebble Navigation. Coming this way the lock seemed to have shrunk in stature, but it soon reminded me how long it was as I had to walk round to close both gates before it could be emptied. Windlasses back in hands we worked our way up then pulled in just after the new (to us) petrol station. That would do for the day and mean we could get a bit of shopping in the morning before pushing off.


2 locks, 1 flood lock, 3.91 miles, 1 wind, 1 roundabout, 100 litres, 75kgs coal, 1 lunch break, 3 slices of tasty toast, 32 spurts of air.


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