Gongoozeled. 20th April

Hebden Bridge Wharf to Shawplains Lock 15

Frank had requested a cooked breakfast this morning, Stephen Maskill Butchers had provided the chunky cut smoked back bacon, the freezer on board provided the chipolata sausages left over from Christmas and the Co-op provided everything else. Frank ate his breakfast before I could take it’s photo, so you are saved photos of more food.

A Hebden Scene

With the last Scarborough Athletic match of the season to catch Frank was soon heading off for the station. It’s been a lovely few days with Frank. He has now worked through all the locks on the Rochdale apart from the Rochdale Nine, who knows he may just turn up when we get over that side!

Time to carry on rising up and over the Pennines. First the water tank needed filling, we were almost out. We pushed over to the tap, not the strongest of pressure and with the washing machine going too it took well over an hour to fill. This gave me time to hunt out a bumbag, I’d thought of going to one of the nice independent shops to see what they had, but changed my mind and headed to the nearest charity shop. Here I had two to choose from at £2.50 a bargain. My new camera now has a new cruising home, no longer in trouser pockets, maybe it’ll last me three years this time.

Up the lock

Black Pit Lock had a good crowd of gongoozlers keen to watch us. I felt sorry for the juggler as I think we upstaged him somewhat, but he chose to perform next to the lock. The crowd seem puzzled as I went back to empty the lock, just doing as instructed.

As we made our way towards Stubbing Locks a boat came past saying that the levels up ahead were very low, so much so that they’d turned round. Oh well, we had no choice but to carry on and see for ourselves, we wouldn’t be turning round, we’d be carrying on.

That’s a touch low

They’d been right, the water between the two locks was very low, drawing off another locks worth of course made it worse but there was enough water to get Oleanna over both cills. The next pound looked better to start with but got worse as we continued. Slow progress, the occasional lumpy bit and then a trip boat meaning we grounded for a while.

Not Large Marge, just the Barge

Just before Rawden Mill Lock is a winding hole, the boats on the permanent moorings all sat on the bottom at very jaunty angles. The level was too low to be able to get off Oleanna at the stern so I tried at the front. It was a touch too high and a touch too far away to have enough confidence to jump off from the closest Mick could get her. Luckily a young couple were passing, I asked if I could have a steadying hand to get off. Phew that worked, we were able to get out of the pound before anybody emptied any more water out of it.

Clinging on for dear life

The mooring above Callis Lock looked reasonable, just a shame about the wiff from the sewage works! We carried on, not really wanting to reach Todmorden today. There were plenty more boats sat on the bottom, one chap at an alarming list said he was waiting for a mooring higher up. His dog seemed more alarmed than he was, would he ever get off the bottom?


Another couple of locks before we found enough depth to get close enough to the side to moor. The canal, road and railway all follow the valley, so no peaceful moorings, but the scenery is rather good. All Pennine crossings have their difficulties and numerous locks, but what that brings with it is wonderful countryside that you simply wouldn’t get without the effort.

Not a bad view
All Mine

7 locks, 2.85 miles, 59ft 10inches climbed today, 79ft 9inches day before yesterday, 2 Saturday papers, 1 pair of reading glasses, 8 sausages, 6 rashers, 3 eggs etc, 2 hot cross buns, 1 hour plus filling, 3 knives, 1 ball, 37 gongoozlers, 1 helping hand, 2 big lumps, 3rd mooring lucky, 7 out of 10 OS eggs, 2 hours, 1 wall, 1 field, 1 post claimed, 1 very dusty path, 1 grey cat!