Cadburys Goodness. 18th February

Bridge 68 to Hopwood to BUMingham

Last Friday Mick had tweeted C&RT regarding the Figure of Three Locks on the Calder and Hebble. The stoppage notice for that stretch of canal after Storm Ciara was that the towpath was closed. Was the damage really as bad as it looked in the photos and video we’d been seeing on Facebook? This morning they tweeted back the following.

Hi Mick thanks for getting in touch. Sadly Figure of Three Locks won’t be open for your visit in summer. It was badly damaged during the recent storms and flooding. We estimate it will be 12-18 months before it reopens. Please get in touch if you have any more queries and we look forward to welcoming you in Yorkshire this summer. Naomi

Figure of Three at the moment

Later in the day a stoppage notice was sent out too. At least 12 months before the lock will reopen. We’ll have to put plan B or C into operation.

Waiting for it to stop raining took a while this morning. But we were ready for it when it stopped. Outside covers rolled up and folded down, ropes untied. ‘Hang on! There’s a boat!!!!!’ ‘What? A boat?????’ We waited for them to come past before we pushed off. That’s not happened for months.

About to wind at Hopwood

As we made our way towards Hopwood very dark storm clouds were gathering, we wondered if we’d make it into Wast Hill Tunnel in time before it started to rain again. No was the answer. A strong gust of wind coincided with us winding meaning the engine had to work hard to get the stern round, then the heavens opened. Oh well!

Wast Hill Tunnel ahead

We could tell it was half term, plenty of hire boats were about. The boat ahead of us could still be seen in the tunnel and by the time we’d got three quarters of the way through ourselves another boat was following. Was it drier in the tunnel than out in the rain was debatable!

Back out into daylight

Popping back out into day light all signs of the crime scene had gone, apart from one length of plastic Police tape attached to branches.

Despite there being a boat moored on the bollards at the water point there was enough room for us so we pulled in and topped up the tank another load of washing was just finishing. We then pulled along a touch further for some lunch before carrying on retracing our steps back into Birmingham.

Straight on please

The aroma passing Cadburys today was more caramel than chocolate, or was it salted caramel, or fudge? We decided that it must be fudge and both started to sing the song from the advert. Link. ‘It’s full of Cadbury’s goodness’! No way would you be able to suggest fudge is good for you in adverts today.

What a jingle though, we both remembered it, well Mick forgot the bit about ‘it’s very small and neat’. It was written by Mike d’Abo based on the folk song The Lincolnshire Poacher. Mike d’Abo was more famous for being the lead singer of Manfred Mann and ‘The Mighty Quinn’.


I also found out that Fingers of Fudge are no longer produced in England, production moved from Keysham to Poland in 2010. So what was it we could smell today?

Talk turned to our cruising plans.

Plan A. Go over the Pennines via the Huddersfield Narrow through Standedge Tunnel for me to work at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Then cruise the Huddersfield Broad, Calder Hebble, Aire and Calder then the tidal Ouse to get to York. This is now out of the window.

Cat or a devil?

Plan B. Cruise over the Huddersfield Narrow so that I can go to work with ease, but then have to retrace our cruise and not head to York to meet friends and family with one days work at York Theatre Royal. Maybe.

Plan C. Cross the Pennines via the Leeds Liverpool Canal then Aire Calder and Ouse to York. This would mean having to commute to work on and off, then find somewhere handy to do this from for production week, or paying to stay in Huddersfield when needed, my expenses come out of my fee or the production budget. But then we’d be able to carry on to York, so long as the Ouse behaves itself! This is looking the most favourable plan.

Back in the city

Back in BUMingham we turned back towards Sheepcote Street Bridge. Loads more boats moored here today, but still three familiar ones from yesterday. We pulled in.

If looks could kill! Tilly was so not impressed.


0 locks, 8.99 miles, 1 wind, 1 straight, 1 left, 2 tunnels, 2 mysterons, 1 damp soggy cruise, 1 load washing, 1 full water tank, 1 very disappointed cat.