Rangerless. 10th October

Lock 31E to Lock 8E


What a beautiful mooring, even if we were on a list and in a winding hole. We woke up this morning quite late considering we’d gone to bed early last night. After a cuppa in bed Mick pulled us forward onto the lock landing to take advantage of the morning sunshine hitting our solar panels.

Lovely, who needs electric!

This morning the battery bank was down to 34% so any solar we could gain today would help this evening, thank goodness for Lithium. We do have lots of night lights, but we’re too old for candle lit dinners!

Out comes some more

After breakfast, sausage sarnies to help use up the defrosting freezer, Mick decided to have a go at removing more of the cable from the alternator pulley with the aid of a hacksaw. He allowed himself fifteen minutes and came back with a handful of copper wire. There is still more around the pulley!

Time to get moving, think it was about 10:30, hard to know exactly with no trip computer to refer to. We hoped to make up for yesterday and get a good distance in towards Huddersfield and a good number of locks lower. Richard yesterday said he’d send round a message to other volunteers to see if anyone could help, but sadly we’d not heard from anyone, we’d be on our own.

The sun made the day another stunner. Bright blue skies, views just about everywhere you looked. There were plenty of people out for a walk, some sauntering, others far more serious about it. I was out for a walk to get locks filled ahead and then back to let Oleanna free from the locks above. This of course means walking three times the distance. I kept this up going through the closer locks but stopped when they became a touch too far apart, I was going to walk far enough as it was!

Look at that blue!

The bywashes were flowing yet we still managed to have one low pound. Between 28E and 27E there is a line of moorings, the paddles on the lock above have stops on them so you can’t flood the pound below. Mick wound the off side paddle up as I walked back from below, then I lifted the other. When it came to lowering the paddles again this proved almost impossible on the off side, as there wasn’t enough space for me to be able to lift the mechanism to release it from the pawl. I tried everything including hitting it with my windlass, in the end I somehow managed to get it moved and lower the paddle.

Shhh sneeking past

We’d been warned of a vocal local moored above Lock 26E. I’d already set the lock for us in advance so hoped we wouldn’t get abuse. Anyhow I was hoping to cut him off with what a glorious day it was before he got started. His genny was running and washing hung around the trees. Mick brought Oleanna into the lock, lining her up meant being very close to shouty mans boat. But we did okay and didn’t hear a bean from him, I was slightly disappointed!

Shuttle Lock 24E is a guillotine lock, the top gates are operated as normal but the bottom one has a large metal rising door. Within this is a fairly standard paddle, wound by a windlass. The guillotine gate is also windlass operated, the spindle kept safe from nare do wells by a cover opened with a handcuff key. Six years ago the lock was operated by C&RT as there were safety issues with it. Today try as I might I just couldn’t get the handcuff key to open the cover, it had been over tightened. Mick and I swapped over, in the end the mallet was called for to get it shifted.

Mick worked the lock and I descended into the dark chilly lock with numerous gongoozlers peering down at me. The guillotine raised and below I could see a pipe across the top of the opening at an angle restricting the height somewhat. Our fresh bucket from the toilet only just fitted below it.

The pound below seemed slow going to me and sadly there was nowhere for us to pull in by The Handmade Bakery, a must if you visit Slawit. I got to walk back to lock the guillotine, but had no mask or money to buy Mick a lovely loaf of bread and wish I still could eat their wares, they used to do homemade baked beans on toast!

We still waved

At Darmouth Lock we missed the jolly waves from Pete’s (Mikron Producer) Mum and Dad who used to live there, earlier this year they moved away. So all we got today was the silhouette of someone sat at a computer screen.

Now in a new channel the canal is low and very narrow, thankfully our bucket fitted here too. Below Pickle Lock 22E there was the Hippie Boat, they were busy and we’d only stopped for a quick lunch, szechuan pork on toast another defrosting thing eaten up. Salmon came out for our evening meal, not much worth saving now.

At 21E Waterside Lock there is a local celebrity, Tinker. Tinker has taken a fancy to sitting around the lock, C&RT have put up signs saying he lives nearby so not to worry, he’s not lost. I thought Tilly could spare a couple of her Dreamies. Well blow me down, Tinker is the first cat I’ve ever met who turned his nose up at them! Well I hadn’t come home had I, I was still out!

Blackberries past their best now

The narrow channel beyond reminded me of last time, Frank had joined us to help crew and he’d spotted the bank of Blackberries, he and Mick became mountain goats collecting that nights pudding whilst I stood at the next lock all wrong handed.

I gained two very keen crew a few locks on, they both demanded to help with the gates, then ran down to tell their Dad all about it. The next lock I then had six extra crew, their brothers and sisters and Dad now helping. I hardly had to lift a finger. A close eye was needed to keep everyone safe, Mum and the youngest stood and watched. I asked how it was at home with eight of them. She asked if she could run away with us and pleaded with me to take her with us.

Titanic Mill

The big Titanic Mill built in 1911 has been converted into 130 apartments and sits proudly at the bottom of the valley. What a lovely place it would be to moor with such a great view, but I seem to remember it being shallow, we still had quite a way to go


Narrow locks, both paddles up to fill locks, overhanging stones locks through Linthwaite.

The pumps have stopped pumping from the river to the canal, the levels are too low

Did you know that in 1931, Bank Bottom Mill in Marsden set a record of 2 hours 10 minutes for making a suit of clothes, direct from sheep to wearer? The cloth industry was big round here.

Dappled sunlight

Back into the woods, my step counter clicking away. There is one pound longer than the others on the eastern side, I could have got a lift, but I’d walked all the way from Marsden so I might as well carry on. This did mean I got to walk over Golcar Aqueduct and see the horseshoe falls on the River Colne.

Horseshoe falls at Golcar

The final three locks of the day, I was pooped and found bottom paddles left up and gates open, not a welcome sight. But they were soon sorted and we were on our way down. Last time empty pounds had held us up here, today the levels were good.

Nearly there

Last lock of the day Isis Lock 9E, one of the locks on the network with poetry on it’s beams.

We pulled in onto the bollards below, almost into the side. This would do us for the day. The sun had boosted our batteries to 49%, so phones could be charged again. Laptop still off and showers on hold until things improved again.

9E last of the day

Salmon pasta and wine tonight, Mick is now 3/4 of the way through the book on the Standedge Tunnels, the most of a book he’s read in years! I wanted to do some crochet, but with Tilly sat on my knee a large blanket would have been too warm for us both.


22 locks, 229ft 10″ descended, 4.3 miles (?), 9+ miles walked, 1 more handful of freed wire, 0 rangers, 1 constant stream of walkers, 2nd blog handwritten, 1 more stunning day on the HNC, 1 guillotine, 1 Hippie Boat, 1 Tinker, 3 wasted Dreamies! 2 aching knees, 1 aching back, 1 big sense of achievement, only 8 more locks to go.

One thought on “Rangerless. 10th October

  1. Debby

    You did well today, how lucky with the sun! I seem to remember having to turm that guillotine gate paddle an enormous number of times, it just kept rising! Our youngest used to have a boyfriend from Huddersfeild, his mum lived in one of the roads that end on to the canal, and he said that the locals are beginning to call Slawit ‘Slatter Thwaite’ to help out the poor tourists! Good luck with your mechanicals

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