With Added Waterfall. 25th March

Midland Junction Bridge to Mirfield Visitor Moorings

Glum damp boating day

With six more river sections to cross we needed to move today despite it raining, actually because it was raining we needed to move to try to beat any rising water levels.

Dampness

Waterproofs on, life jackets, time to get damp.

First up Millbank Lock, ground paddles spike operated. Ground paddles are where you have to be careful with your spike, if you drop it into the hole beneath the paddle it will sink.

Hebble Ground Paddle

We’ve never visited the Dewsbury Cut, we’d considered pootleing down there this time, but that would add an extra hour to the damp soggy day. Maybe on the way back if we return over the Huddersfield Narrow.

Thornhill Double Locks next. This is where we managed to knock Lillian’s tiller out of the cup back in 2014, the intermediate pound gets quite low on filling the bottom of the two locks. Today the bottom lock was very full, constantly being topped up from a stream that was coming down the path from the lock cottage and waterfalling into the lock chamber. Mick did his best to keep Oleanna away from it, just in case it lined up with a window, thankfully they were all closed anyway.

Thornhill Double Locks with added waterfall

The second lock was emptied as Oleanna finished rising in the bottom lock, making sure we’d have enough water to cross the intermediate pound.

Long Cut Flood Gate was open, we checked the river level as we went through, green! Along the river section to Greenwood Lock, here the ground paddles didn’t work, so the gate paddles were lifted with care.

Out through a flood gate

Out through Greenwood Flood Gate where the river was also in the green, this was boding well, apart from the constant rain. At Shepley Lock I headed up to set it. A lady asked if I had a spare windlass, well we have plenty on the boat and I knew Mick would be hovering and not tied up at the lock landing, they tend to be short and bollards not helpfully spaced. She asked if you could use the lock without a Hebble Spike.

Shepley Lock

The bottom gates are windlass operated, the top had one windlass gate paddle, but the other paddles are all spike operated. You most probably could fill the lock from just the gate paddle, but you’d have to take great care not to fill the bow of your boat. The other factor might be the bottom gates and how much they leak. The lock may fill to a level where the amount of water leaving the lock through gaps in the gates is the same as coming in through the one paddle. She headed off to get dry and I opted not to try bringing Oleanna up with the one paddle, I also wanted to get dry.

We pulled in towards the end of the moorings. Mooring spikes hammered into the very soft earth, hopefully there’d be no passing boaters to pull them out, this was unlikely, however the trip boat from across the way had just been for a jaunt. Mick put cross pins in, our standard mooring, but this should hopefully help.

WIPE YOUR PAWS!

Tilly was allowed out. Well what a bloomin tease! A great long green mesh all the way in front of the totally climbable trees! Not a single gap underneath it. What’s the point i having trees if you can’t get to them! How rude!!! She went back and forth trying to find a gap. Coming back for a Dreamie break every now and again. I didn’t manage to get towels on the new dinette cushions in time and her paws were VERY muddy.

In the amber at Ledgard

In the afternoon it stopped raining, we walked down to have a look at the next flood lock. Ledgard is the only flood lock still closed according to the stoppage notice. The lady at the lock earlier had said that she’d been told that when work was done on the weir the level was set too high, so therefore the next river section is often too high to navigate. So far the river level boards had been green today, the one here showed just about an inch into the amber. As far as we could tell the lock wasn’t locked and we’d be able to operate it ourselves so long as we left the correct paddles up to help feed Shipley Lock. I made note of the heights on the EA gauges, one at the weir and the next one upstream. 0.33 and 0.36 respectively. This would give us an idea in the morning as to whether we’d be staying put or carrying on.

A visit to the smart canalside Lidl for a few bits, especially eggs and yeast for Hot Paw Buns. They had whole ducks, one of those might be nice for easter, but we decided we’d pick one up when passing by boat rather than carry it back along the muddy towpath.

5 locks, 3.5 miles, 2 flood gates, 1 soggy day, 2 green, 1 amber, 2 easter eggs purchased, 2 levels noted, 1 droaning mooring, 3 river sections ticked off, 4 more to go.

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