Lock 15 to Todmorden Services
Sorry Tilly not this morning. Somehow we’d slept in. We wake when we wake and normally that is at a similar time each morning, but today neither of us stirred until an hour later than normal. Maybe it was the six month old halloumi cheese we’d had yesterday on the barbecue. The extra hour in bed meant that the rest of the day was an hour late.
A load of washing did it’s thing whilst we had breakfast, then another load put on as we pushed off, the linen drawer had got quite full and we wanted to make the most of the sun today.
Approaching Lobb Mill Lock we could see where the floods had taken their toll.A large chunk of towpath had been washed away below the lock. A new manhole had been installed and now the towpath needed to be made back up, in some places the gash was three feet deep. A chap sat outside his lock side cottage eating a bowl of cereal.
The cottage had escaped the flooding as they have gates that cut the water out, but with the canal on one side and river the other they must have been a little dry island in amongst a rushing sea. He pointed to how high the water had been against his garden wall, only a couple of inches from the top!
Now in the Pennines properly, mill chimneys punctuate the landscape and houses sit high up on top of the steep valley. Before Old Royd Lock we passed where we’d moored up for the day on Lillian, leaving our locking companion Derek to continue on his own. Warning signs decorate the metal fence and it looks like one boat didn’t heed their message.
Gradually we entered Todmorden. The canal towpath bordered with edible plants. Fruit trees, raspberry canes, gooseberry plants and rosemary were all visible. Many of the flower beds in Tod have been given over to the community. Here are grown herbs, fruit and veg. In return for a bit of weeding you are welcome to help yourself.
Up Shop Lock and we could see the moorings by the service block. We’d been warned of an abandoned boat sitting right in the way, it was still there, but there were signs of activity on board. As we pulled up tucking ourselves right at the end furthest away from the pub a chap asked if we’d be going up the lock. No, we planned on doing some shopping at least before continuing. Thank goodness as when he started his engine up the clouds of smoke took us back to the height of the industrial revolution!
After lunch we walked into town. it being a bank holiday I didn’t expect much to be open, however Mick was more hopeful. No butchers, in fact no shops open at all. Bear Wholefoods shop and cafe has gone after thity years on Rochdale Road, replaced by Yakumama a Latin American cantina. I’m sure it is very nice, but I was looking forward to perusing all the ingredients. Oh well! Morrisons had to do for a stock up shop.
Whilst Mick wandered up the canal to see if there was anywhere else we could moor I got on with some work, trying to catch up with my sketches. I was doing quite well until there was a voice outside ‘Pip are you in there?’ ‘Pip are you asleep?’ I couldn’t really pretend that I wasn’t in as our whirligig was full of washing. It was an old friend from Croydon College who for a time I used to make models with. Alan had been chatting to a mutual friend and had heard that we were in Tod, so he’d come down to say hello.
Fortunately he understood about me trying to get work done and we’ve tentatively arranged to meet up sometime over the next few days. Handily we’ll be on his route home from work for the next week.
At 8pm I finally put together my email to send off to Chippy, only a few days later than I’d wanted.
3 locks, 1.48 miles, 30 ft 7 inches risen, 170 ft 2 inches since Sowerby, 1 sunk boat, 2 inches away, 2 loads washing, 3 bickering white geese, 34 illiterate Canadian geese, 0 bear, 2 versions, 21 sketches, 1 old college friend, 1 bored cat, 0.5 worming pill finally eaten.