Charging Down.11th October

Lock 9E to Aspley Basin, Huddersfield

Last nights mooring, not so rural

Mick wanted another go in the engine bay this morning to see if he could free what remained of the cable around the pulley on the alternator. I in the mean time sat down to hand write the post you read yesterday so as not to forget things. I’ve discovered that hand writing is actually a touch quicker than tapping the words out on a keyboard, I tend not to re-read everything several times. If only the words would now leap onto the computer for me, I’m going to try dictating them into Word when we have power restored and see how that goes.

Hand written

Mick beavered away at the back. First the remaining cable was prised out from the pulley, Hooray!!! Then he fitted the new belt to the alternator. On Saturday morning he’d been a touch cautious about this, RCR could have done it if the cable hadn’t been a problem. But having spent quite a bit of time up close with the beating heart of Oleanna over the last couple of days he felt that he was more than capable. By 11 am the engine was started, things checked over in the engine bay. Inverter was turned on along with the fridge, everything sprang back into life. We had POWER again!


With plenty of time to make it down to Lock 1E for 3pm it had been a morning well spent. Once the batteries had had a little boost the dish washer was turned on, now very full. The covers were rolled back and I set off to walk most of the rest of the way down into Huddersfield.

The character of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal now changes, far less leafy, more old mills, roads and the railway. Industry the reason for the canal existing in the first place. Businesses were proud of themselves when mills and factories were built, carving their names in stone, building their names into the brickwork, established dates forever.

At 8E there was at last a walkway over the top gates. I soon worked out that this was because there was no other way to get to the offside, despite there being a bridge just below the lock there was no means of getting to the gate that side. Time to walk round the lock the other way time and time again. The beams overhang the bridge below, the beams having been shaped round it. This does mean that the final push closed of the gates can be done from the road, saving one trip all the way round the lock, no walkway to jump from one gate to the other here on the Narrow.

A boat! I was so surprised I didn’t manage to get it in focus!

Between 6E and 5E the level was down, was this to be the start of our water worries? I walked on ahead, safer that way so as not to have to launch oneself off the boat if you can’t get into the side. Up ahead I could see a boat coming towards us, they must have come up 1E at 9am. They loitered for Mick to come through a bridge and there was time to chat. The level between 1 and 2 had been very low, they’d only just made it. I warned them about Lock 1W and how much of a b**rd it was.

NB Bridge Street was one of the boats we saw a lot of in Nantwich last year during lockdown 1. We also saw them somewhere near Fradley earlier this year. I said they’d recognise the boat when they passed. They did and asked Mick how Tilly was.

Just a touch low

The bywash certainly wasn’t flowing at lock 5E, the lock needed just a touch more water to level out, a C&RT key was required for the locks on the paddles, that of course was onboard.

Towering over Oleanna

Down under the very tall viaduct which helps connect Huddersfield to Sheffield, the trains too high up to get in a picture as they cross.

Gong along the old tunnel

Down 4E and then the long narrow channel past new University buildings. The position of Lock 3E has been moved twice. Factories had been built upstream of the lock and Lock 2E after the canal had been abandoned, they were built on the line of the canal and thus blocked it. The solution was to relocate the lock upstream of the factories and have a tunnel built under the factory. Eleven years later Sellers Engineering relocated to a new site, enabling Lock 3E to move a second time, nearer to the original Lock 3E. The section that had been the tunnel was now brought to the surface and is the narrow channel leading to the new lock. Link

Dropping down 3E you have to get back on your boat as there is no land access to Lock 2E. This is where we met NB Jubilee six years ago. They were just arriving at the empty Lock 2E and it was in their favour. We pulled in on the lock landing awaiting our turn. As the lock filled and NB Jubilee rose the rapid level drop above the lock caused Lillian to go on such an alarming list we dropped the paddles very quickly!

Today we had no problem as no-one was coming up the lock. We dropped down, Mick picking me up again and headed on down to Lock 1E through another tunnel and the old Lock 2E. I remembered Frank and myself having to go to the front of Lillian to help raise the stern on this pound, it also made it easier to get off the bow as the stern would not get into the side.

A touch low towards Lock 1E

Today the pound looked a touch low so I replicated what I’d done six years earlier, hopping off the bow to tie Oleanna up. Lunch was had at a jaunty angle whilst we waited for 3pm and the chaps from C&RT to come and open the lock for us.

As close to the side as we could manage

Discussions on various forums have been that the University alongside the canal here was able to use water from the canal to cool things, the warm water then being put into the river, thus explaining why the pound above Lock 1E is quite often so low. Mick spotted someone wearing blue outside so popped out to see if it was C&RT. It wasn’t, but was a chap who knew about the water at the University. No water is taken from the canal, there wouldn’t be enough for their needs in that pound as the level is always so low!

At just gone 3pm a van arrived with two C&RT employees. One chap told Mick how to move Oleanna into the centre of the canal, he knew everything, apart from how our boat reacted. Mick however did get Oleanna lined up with her bow close to the top gates so that the lock could be filled. Then he nudged backwards so we could open the gates and bring her into her last lock of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Another tick off the list of waterways for Oleanna.

We’d started at Bridge 111 and Lock 1W, we were now coming off the Narrow at Lock 1E and Bridge 18! The bridge numbers continue onto the Huddersfield Broad Canal to where it meets the Calder and Hebble. Under Wakefield Road Bridge, slowly, we popped out at Aspley Basin.

A familiar place

First thing was to top up on water, dispose of rubbish at the C&RT services. Then we pushed over to the diesel point at the marina to wait for the chap who would be with us after 4pm. When he arrived we were given the option to stay on the diesel point and be able to plug in or move up to where there would be no hook up, but it would be free for 72 hours, there after it would be £8 a night. We wanted to be plugged in so as to make use of the washing machine and at £10 a night including power we could run the machine as much as wanted and gorge ourselves with light, charging everything within sight.

The lights of Huddersfield

To celebrate our arrival and power being restored, we headed over to the okay Aspley Table Table for some reasonably priced food. If I hadn’t just spent the last three days walking all the way down from Marsden, then we’d have headed into town to the Chilli Lounge for a curry, but my legs really didn’t want to do any more steps.

8 locks, 83ft 6″ descended, 2.54 miles, 1 last tuft of wire, 1 belt, 1 alternator working again, 1 boat with POWER! 1 jaunty lunch break, £10 incl, 3 loads washing, 2 loads dishwasher, 1 gammon, 1 chicken breast, 0.5 rack of pork ribs, 2 glasses of wine, 1 narrow canal completed and I got to work every lock this time, well apart from the guillotine bit! 0 shore leave!

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