Fall Ing Lock to Hartley Bank Bridge 32
The camera Mick bought me for my 50th is having to be retired. It has been having great difficulty in functioning for a while now, it is only capable of focusing at a specific point and that is very unhelpful whilst cruising along. By the time I’ve found where it will focus, what I want to capture is long gone even at 3mph! So for the last week or so I’ve just been using my phone, which makes me slightly nervous near water, especially as it’s not covered on our insurance.
So today we walked to Currys to see if they had the same camera. They had the identical one with a silver top. Great except the one that is all black is £30 cheaper and that money can be used to buy protection for it, so the next time I kill my camera, in about 22 months time I’ll be able to get it mended or replaced. I will kill it, it’s guaranteed, most days it takes 100 photos, I work a camera hard. I will however be buying myself a bumbag for it to go in, Bridget used to have one and I think it’s worth investing in one, hoping my new camera might last another couple of months before I kill it.
We deliberated for a while, I need a camera very soon for work to take model photos. instead of paying the extra £30 I have opted to get an all black one delivered to another store where we can pick it up in a few days time.
A top up shop from Sainsburys on our way back to keep us going until we get to Brighouse where we can moor outside for a bigger stock up. We chose to walk via The Hepworth, they are having a garden laid out in front of the building which I’m sure will be very nice once completed.
The footbridge crosses the river just above a weir. Here a group of boats moor tied together. In the recent floods two Land and Water work boats got swept over the weir and capsized below it, they took quite a bit to get out. Today they are gone but a small narrowboat rests on the bottom below the weir, a sad sight and it looks like someone has had a fire on board too. Yet the plastic junk man suspended above the moored boats still sticks his tongue out at those who walk by.
After lunch we pushed off, the sun was out making Wakefield look like a class holiday destination as we pulled back out onto the river. We passed Double Two, a shirt factory where I used to paint scenery for the John Godber Theatre Company. Don’t ask, it didn’t really make sense to either Graham (the carpenter) or I at the time, we just went along with it.
Soon we reached Thornes Lock. As I walked up to open it up I realised that we’d be needing our Hebble Spike. Mick had a good routle through the lockers at the back and pulled it out. Many of the Calder Hebble Locks require a spike to operate them. ‘Give me a lever and a fulcrum…’ the spike is the lever and quite a long one at that, the method of operation is quite clunky, but it soon came back to me.
As Mick brought Oleanna into the lock a narrowboat appeared from behind, we waved them to join us. From memory there should be enough room for us to share for a while yet. The locks get shorter and shorter as you go uphill. Our old boat Lillian managed them coming down hill, but being over long you have to do them diagonally, infact we had to do the top two backwards which afforded us a few more inches with her bow over the cill. Oleanna was built with these locks in mind, she is a foot shorter than Lillian, we may still have to lift fenders on the shortest locks.
NB Blue Moon was crewed by a couple and their son. It was their first solo cruise without their parents, very chatty they were too. Nice to be sharing locks again. I worked the Hebbel spike and both boats rose in the lock. They went ahead to get Broad Cut Low Lock ready.
As we got close, there were strange maneuvers going on. NB Blue Moon was being moored up on the pontoon below the lock, when we got within ear shot they shouted that the lock was broken. So we pulled in behind them on the pontoon. Two boats were sat in the lock heading uphill. The lock was having similar problems to those we’d had at Bank Dole, it simply wouldn’t fill. Here however there is a short pound above it which will gradually drain away whilst you hope the levels will equalise. They had called C&RT and a chap was on his way.
Chatting to pass the time the chap from NB Blue Moon, said he’d recently been to look at a boat on the Peak Forest, he’d handed over a deposit to be able to take it for a test run. The engine ran badly and he pulled out from buying the boat, the vendor refused to hand back the deposit. He’d looked the chap up on line and seen that he’d been done for fraud. Mick and I smiled, ‘There’s a lot of it about!’.
Once the chap from C&RT had turned up, he lifted paddles, forced them down, flushed water through and the bubbling below lessened. The lock started to fill, one boats pram cover still up just missing the wide walkway on the bottom gates. With three of us on a gate beam we eventually managed to get it to open. Two boats up, now it was our turn.
This seemed to take longer and in the mean time NB Rebellion arrived behind us. Mrs Rebellion came up all ready to work the lock only to find us waiting for it to fill. This did mean we could find out which way they would be heading and would we keep playing leapfrog for the next few weeks. They will be heading a different way to us soon.
Eventually the levels equalled and we could carry on. NB Blue Moon stopped by The Navigation for the day and we were left to carry on by ourselves. We wanted to get a touch further today. No obvious moorings, but the depth was good, out came the mooring pins and we settled for the rest of the day whilst the cows paddled and Tilly explored.
3 locks, 2 flood locks, 4.28 miles, 1 reluctant to fill, 1 empty wee tank, £30 for a silver top! 1 spike, 1 C&RT chap, 1 pram cover up, 1 (ours) pram cover down, 1 foldable canoe, 2.5 hours of muddy paw freedom.