Category Archives: Calder Hebble

2019 Round Up.

Checking our vital statistics for a years worth of cruising takes a while. We have a trip computer which records almost all our journeys, sometimes it counts locks twice, sometimes it doesn’t quite catch where we reached before we wind. Before we used this method of recording our journeys I would use canal plan to work out our distances. This method can also miss out parts of our journey but it does give me more statistics. You know how I like numbers! How many bridges, how many narrow locks and what distances we travelled on different types of waterways. So inputting a years worth of cruising takes some time.

Anyhow, here is our round up of the year.

The New Year was seen in at Crick. From here we decided to head to Sheffield to have the last snagging jobs done on Oleanna, we were fortunate that the route north was open with no winter stoppages in our way until we reached Yorkshire. Once in the top chamber at Foxton it was going to be downhill all the way to Keadby.

Going down at Foxton

Sadly our blog started to loose it’s photos, which is a great shame. It was a problem shared by many bloggers who were all doing their best to get things working again. Have to say we ended up jumping ship from blogger to wordpress, but posts still lacked their photos when moved. We hope gradually to rectify this by replacing the missing photos, I miss them when looking back. But this will be a long job.

Waiting at Cromwell

During January we cruised down stream on the River Trent, the weather was getting colder the further north we got. Our route was clear but at Keadby the lock off the river was being dredged, so our journey was held up a touch. Then with February came cold nights and the canal at Keadby froze over. So we waited at Cromwell for things to improve.

First go at Gluten free puff pastry for cruising sausage rolls

Daylight hours and tides meant we split our tidal journey at Torksey. The early morning start from Torksey was very cold, so I was very glad I’d knitted us both balaclavas, we remained cosy cheeked for our journey.

Cosy heads

Our journey up towards Sheffield meant we coincided with the bicentenary of the opening of the canal and a very unseasonably warm weekend. The chaps at Finesse replaced a leaking window, gave us a new one (our choice), sorted out our gas locker lid amongst other bits and bobs. It had been a good decision going to Sheffield, it saved them time coming out to us and it saved us money on the extras we’d asked for.

New galley window going in
200 years old

Next we headed for Goole, the lure of cheap diesel and a night away to see our friends Bridget and Storm on the otherside of the Humber was a bonus. We then hunkered down to sit out storms and rising river levels. Our original plan had been to go to York, but flooding put paid to that, so instead we went by train.

Bridget and Storm with their lovely house

Towards the end of March we decided to give a trip up the Ouse another go, the rivers were at better levels and we still haven’t taken Oleanna there. But first Bank Dole lock wouldn’t fill due to silt, then when we reached Selby the Lock onto the Ouse had a fault which would take too much time to mend for us to wait. This was a relief for Tilly as this was where she’d discovered the difference between grass and duck weed and ended up learning to swim a couple of years ago.

Mark came to meet us from York

At the beginning of April we headed to Leeds. From here we had a day trip to Derby Crown Court for the sentencing of our original boat builder (Stillwater) who had finally pleaded guilty for fraud. I also spent a more pleasurable day in London, having a meeting for Puss in Boots.

Derby Crown Court

With panto in mind we planned our cruising for the remainder of the year. The remainder of April we made our way up the Calder and Hebble and onto the Rochdale Canal.

Being a foot shorter it wasn’t as tight as it had been on Lillian

Our friend Frank joined us to do the stretch from Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge, which included the deepest lock n the network, Tuel Lane. He’d not done this stretch back in 2014 when he and I walked from Manchester locking Lillian over the Pennines to get to the Tour de France.

Tuel Lane the deepest on the network
Frank

Once over the top we picked up a boat to share the locks down into Manchester. Clare and Graeme were over from New Zealand for a few months and proved to be very good company.

Mr Blue Sky and Oleanna

On the 1st of May, with the help of a Canal and River Trust volunteer our passage down into Manchester went well. The following day both boats headed down the Rochdale nine with an extra pair of hands from an old college friend of mine, Doug.

Nearly there!

During May we cruised down the Bridgewater and onto the Trent and Mersey Canal gradually heading southwards. A short detour up the Middlewich Branch to look at where the breach had been before we carried on southwards.

Climbing the Cheshire Locks

A pause in the Cheshire Locks meant we got to meet up with Tom and Jan who were over for a visit. For Micks birthday we moored at Barlaston and had a nosy at the wonderful hall on the hill, our plan still stands if any of our family are interested! https://oleanna.co.uk/2019/05/23/the-plan-20th-may/

Tom and Jan

We saw the end of May out mooring at Tixall Wide before rejoining the Trent and Mersey and heading onto Fradley Junction where we joined the Coventry Canal. With Atherstone Locks out of the way I spent time below working whilst we cruised familiar waters on the flat, it might have rained too!

Tixall Wide

A day trip to London from Rugby for us both, me to a seminar for Separate Doors 3 and Mick to catch up with his friend Siobhan who was over from Australia. Continuing down the North Oxford Canal to Braunston where we joined the Grand Union Canal to head to London.

Busy Braunston Locks

A visit to the Royal Ordnance Depot at Weedon meant I bought some lovely yarn to make a cardie for myself (it’s nearly finished!) and caught up with our friend Heather Bleasdale, who just so happened to be moored there as well.

Yummy yarn

Our route then up and down the Grand Union meant we managed to get to see both Mikron shows this year as well as teaming up with the cast and NB Tyseley to climb the locks up to the summit.

Sharing the locks with Tyseley

Tilly was left in charge for a couple of days whilst we headed to Scarborough to check on our house as we had a change of tenants. This meant we got to stay with Jaye and Duncan and catch up on the news from home.

I’d be in trouble if this photo wasn’t on the blog again!

We now pressed on down to London where we booked a mooring in Paddington Basin for a week in early July. This gave us the opportunity to catch with with friends and family before we headed back out west and down the Hanwell flight. I made the front cover of Canal Boat for July.

Mid July we locked out onto the Thames cruising the Tidal section to Teddington. From here we transited to the River Wey, brand new waters for us.

Up onto the Wey

With my final design for panto delivered to Chipping Norton from Guildford we could enjoy our cruising a bit more, despite the soaring temperatures which had us hiding under trees for a couple of days.

Finished!

On the 26th July we ticked off our third point on the compass, reaching Godalming the furthest south you can get on the connected network. On our way back to the Thames we met up with Adam from NB Briar Rose, both he and Tilly got wet that day.

Furthest South

The original plan had been to cruise the Basingstoke Canal whilst we were there, but sadly the levels were too low and the canal closed before we got there, so we spent a while longer on the Wey.

Hampton Court Palace

Onto the Thames where we managed to get a space outside Hampton Court for a couple of days and I discovered the joys of standing in line for some fresh veg. Gradually we made our way up the Thames. Waking early and getting going worked for us as mostly we managed to get moored where we wanted around lunchtime. Three years ago we did from Teddington to Oxford in a week but with a months licence we took our time.

Waterway Routes
No Problem XL

The further upstream we got the quieter the river got, less hustle and bustle. We met up with Paul and Christine (NB Waterway Routes), missed Carol and George (WB Still Rockin), finally got to have a proper conversation with Sue and Vic (WB No Problem XL) as we headed upstream.

Kelmscott Manor

As the rivers bends got tighter, the banks were harder to get up. A mooring by Kelmscott Manor required a rope from the post to help us get on and off the boat, but it was worth it to visit the house.

At the end of the navigable Thames

On the 26th August we winded at the furthest point we could reach on the Thames on Oleanna and started to head back eastwards. Tilly gave one of our moorings a double stamp of approval and stayed out well after dark!

Isis lock, Oxford

An incident with engine coolant nearly stopped us from reaching Oxford to see War Horse. But a nice man from RCR got us going again so we had a narrow lock fix and headed to the show catching up with Matt and Bill for a drink afterwards.

Lovely chaps

Then at the beginning of September we turned off the Thames onto the Kennet and Avon. For the last five years we’ve been meaning to head this way, but for one reason or another it hadn’t happened.

Gangplank land, the K&A

With tales of lack of mooring we kept to rising early hoping we’d get moorings. This mostly worked and wild moorings were very rarely needed, we did still have to use the gang plank every now and again. We only encountered one pound on our westward journey where even the longest plank wouldn’t have helped which meant we had to carry on up a flight with the clock ticking before locks were locked around us.

Over the summit

At Devizes we met an Instagram friend Frankie who’d been working on the flight over the summer. Despite following another boat down the flight we made good time with the help of the volunteers.

The photo of the year, Devizes

Onwards to Bath and Bristol. Here we moored with HMS GB in the background and met up with two of my old school friends for lunch. A big shame we couldn’t stay longer as there was more we wanted to do and see whilst there, we’ll just have to save up for next time as the mooring fees are quite pricey!

In good company
Old school friends

The section between Bath and Bradford upon Avon was our favourite, with the aqueducts and views along with the second deepest lock on the network.

Cornwall

Mick and Tilly got to enjoy it for a week longer than me whilst I headed off to Cornwall to eat gluten free pasties and start painting my panto set for a week.

Pasty

Once I was back we had two weeks to reach Oxford, but the weather had different ideas. What felt like the monsoon season started. There was rain on most days, luckily not the day we did Devizes. We managed to team up with two couples from Bristol on a hire boat, by the time they reached the top of the flight they could work uphill locks with their eyes closed, we left them to master downhill on their return journey.

Tilly enjoying the big trees

Our second low pound struck as we tried to leave Cobblers Lock, Oleanna was sat firmly on the ground and unable to leave the lock until a good flushing of water set her free. The rain actually did me a favour as whilst we sat in Newbury hoping for the Thames to drop I managed to get my model for A Regular Little Houdini finished.

A Regular Little Houdini

At the end of October I headed off to panto land leaving Mick and Tilly a short distance outside Reading, hoping they would be able to get up the Thames in the following week. Our friend Paul came and helped Mick out onto the Thames reaching Goring on their first day. Here Mick and Tilly got to met Carol and George (WB Still Rockin’) who’d been clinging onto the moorings there before heading downstream.

Photo courtesy of Carol WB Still Rockin

Paul returned later in the week and despite the engine overheating and having to deploy the anchor they succeeded in getting to Abingdon where Oleanna had her second visit from RCR. Mick battled on against quite a downstream flow and reached Sandford Lock before tying up. Here the levels rose and fell, the engineer came for a second visit and found lots of crud in our cooling system.

A calm paws on the Thames at Sandford

With the engine in better fettle, Mick nudged his way up towards Oxford and finally made a dash up Osney Lock and onto the canal despite that section still being on red boards. It turns out he’d chosen his moment well as the river has stayed on red boards since then.

Pantotastic

Once I left all the singing dancing and glitter behind and returned to narrowboat life we had to sit out high levels on the Oxford canal and on the River Cherwell. We loitered in Oxford, but as soon as it looked like things were improving we were on our way.

Lakes not meadows

We paused in Banbury for Christmas haircuts and shopping before pulling in for a few days at Cropredy Marina, from where we headed to London for a Sibling get together at my brothers.

Family

Onwards to the top of the Oxford Canal the day the locks reopened and down the other side continuing onwards to Radford Smelly for Christmas.

Christmas

In Warwick we met up with my family and then picked up crew Mike and Chris to help us up the Hatton and Lapworth flights.

Our final visitors of 2019

The last few locks were done on New Years Eve bring us up to the Birmingham level for the new year.

Narnia Lock our last for the year

Quite a busy year. So our vital statistics for 2019

According to Canalplan

Total distance is 1199 miles, ½ furlong and 886 locks . There are 119 moveable bridges of which 22 are usually left open; 139 small aqueducts or underbridges and 20 tunnels – a total of 8 miles 2 ¼ furlongs underground and 8 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 207 miles, 4 furlongs of narrow canals; 399 miles, 5¾ furlongs of broad canals; 102 miles, 5 ¼ furlongs of commercial waterways; 226 miles, 6 ¼ furlongs of small rivers; 212 miles, 5 furlongs of large rivers; 49 miles, 6 ¼ furlongs of tidal rivers; 150 narrow locks; 626 broad locks; 109 large locks; 1 lock on major waterways.

838.2 engine hours

That is 255 miles and 272 locks more than last year! But 246.4 hours less engine running, just goes to show it’s worth having solar panels.

1336.93 litres diesel, 9 (although we’ve got 2 empty now) gas bottles (used for central heating as well as cooking), 6 overnight guests, 6 packs Dreamies, 1 cover cat, 32 friends, 17 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 1 double stamp, 5 pairs socks, 3 pairs gloves, 1 baby blanket, 2 shows designed, 1 cover illustration, 5 lots gluten free puff pastry, 9 supermarket deliveries, 39 boxes of wine delivered, 12 bottles of wine delivered.

Thank you for sharing our year with us.

She Lied. 14th April

Kirklees Top Lock to Crowther Bridge 16

M62

The M62 wasn’t far away from our mooring and we were soon passing under it as people zoomed by over head. We left a wave for Bridget and Storm who would be crossing later in the day and carried on to Brighouse.

At the lock landing firemen were doing something with pipes and pumps. Was there a nearby fire that they were pumping water to? No aroma. Were they pumping out a flooded building? No arcs of water. They were actually trying out a brand new pump that had been a touch obstinate to get going, the river being a handy place to try it out.

Tight into the corner
Stern just clearing the cill

Brighouse Bottom Lock had just been set for a boat coming down. Their boat a 60fter, I left them to it. We’ve been there with an over long boat, all fenders (Bow and Stern) lifted, sitting at a diagonal gradually lowering the water and tucking in under the lower gates walkway to avoid catching the cill at the back. The crew were well into the swing of the locks, a bow rope passed up to the top to help pull the bow out from behind the closed gate. Lillian was six inches shorter than the boat today, but she had a rounder/squarer stern. This boat was quite pointed which afforded them a few more inches, they’d been able to do all the locks from Sowerby Bridge forwards, we’d had to do the top two backwards and then only had an inch to spare.

Our turn next to go up. We took it steadily, avoiding the recess, but this put the drain hole for the well deck right in line with the water coming into the lock, the paddle only a couple of turns raised. The well deck got quite damp, as I noticed this I tried to drop the paddle to ease the flow, but the paddle didn’t want to close. Good job we always travel with the front doors closed, if the water had managed to get inside then she’d have started to sink!

Pumps working

Soon the flow calmed down and we carried on to the top, just as the firemen got their pump working sending huge plumes of water across the river.

Brighouse Top Lock was much easier. A boat was having a shampoo and set on the water point, we’d considered topping up the tank but carried on to moor at Sainsburys. Shopping list in hand we ventured forth, of course managing to leave any vouchers on board. Mick headed back for them which gave me time to peruse the cooking isle. Somehow a large 2lb bread tin made it into the trolley, this was soon followed by some new socks for Mick (well he will keep leaving them places!).

Supplies!

Last but by no means least was the wine isle. 3 of each. The wine cellar restocked. Just a shame that the trolley wouldn’t accompany us back to the boat, but we managed, just.

After lunch we pushed off, avoiding low flying cardboard tubes that the youngsters of Brighouse wanted us to wear. Plenty of people were out on the towpath, right busy it was.

Ganny Lock

I hopped off at Ganny Lock, from below it looked familiar, but it wasn’t on a river section so it couldn’t be that lock. From above though it was that lock. Which lock? Five years ago coming down hill, taking care at each lock, looking after our home we arrived at the lock at a similar time to a boat coming uphill. The lock was in our favour so we started to go down, one paddle slightly lifted until the bow could go under the walkway and the stern be kept off the cill. The lady from the other boat went to lift the other paddle, I asked her not to, quite politely, and explained why. ‘But my husband is struggling down there with the current on the river!’ She was quite rude. If she helped and things went wrong then he’d be struggling on the river for a lot longer! Today I realised that she’d lied, he was on a canal.

Brookfoot Lock

The only problem we had today was a plank of wood getting in the way. Onwards and upwards, another couple of locks to where we’d chosen to moor for the day. Surrounded by trees, good digging and friendly cover to pounce the rest of the afternoon away in. Except they stood there talking, looking past the trees, talking some more. COME ON!!! It’s great Mrs Tilly stamp of approval is on it’s way. They looked at me, talked some more. She came in and no matter how hard I tried to get her to stroke my head she wouldn’t open the door! Something about the fantastic trees only just hanging onto the banks of the river below, if I fell in then I’d only be able to get out on the other bank. How stupid! I’d never fall in!! She didn’t listen to reason and I stayed inside.

I so love walls like this

An Instagram acquaintance of mine who lives in Canada is looking for a narrowboat to rent from mid October for six weeks and/or for three months March to June somewhere in England or Wales. The usual channels of hiring a boat for so many weeks doesn’t work. So they are looking for a private hire, they are experienced boaters who have references as they have done this several times before. A boat they had booked has just fallen through as it has sold, so I said I’d give her a mention. Last year they moved far too fast for us to meet up, hopefully if they can find a boat then our paths may cross this year. Here is a link to Lucy’s advert if anyone is interested.

Happened across this picture of geese whilst doing some research. The one I saw yesterday was one of these.

5 locks, 1 flood lock, 3.16 miles, 4 firemen, 1 long hose, 1 pump, 60ft, 6 boxes of cardbordeux, 2lb tin, 7 pairs socks, 2 carpet tubes, 2 fundraisers, 3 sets of gates not staying put, 1 river far too close for comfort, 1 narked cat, 950 and falling.

Stationary Traffic. 13th April

Bull Bridge to Kirklees Top Lock

It turns out that people who follow us by email might have been getting posts twice. The first one from WordPress when a post goes live and a second later in the day, when for some reason Blogger (where the old blog was) had got hold of the new post and didn’t want anybody to miss it. Mick has done some tinkering, so hopefully peoples inboxes are no longer being filled up with our posts. Thank you to Duncan for complaining pointing this out to us.

Lidl yesterday served some of our needs but certain reserves on board are running very low, mainly wine! So today we needed to press on to reach Brighouse where we can moor up behind Sainsburys, they also have a wider range of gluten free things, so it won’t just be wine!

Battyeford Lock where every paddle worked

Mick first popped out to get a newspaper, with breakfast done we pushed off headed back out onto the river then back onto the cut at Battyeford Lock. Here the club looks like they have built themselves a nice new dry dock, it may have been here last time we passed but more noticeable today.

Battyeford Hauling Bridge
with it’s curve to the towpath

Along the next section we passed NB Blue Moon now heading back to base, it looked like they’d teamed up with another boat. Back out onto the river again turning under Battyeford Hauling Bridge. This is a roving/snake bridge that spans the wide river and would have meant a horse could stay connected to a boat as it crossed over to the other side, the bridge not getting in the way of the towing line. I don’t recall having seen a metal roving bridge before and certainly not one so wide, still not a patch on those on the Macc.

How many feet have walked over this bridge

There were movements up at Cooper Bridge Lock, when I hopped off the lock was being set for a small cruiser to come down. Their boat had an alarming list, maybe someone very large was sat on the starboard side. Mum and Dad did what they did bickering whilst their teenage daughter carried on regardless far more clued up than her parents.

A comment was made by Mum, Dad disappeared below to return a short while later saying that someone had left a tap on, there was quite a bit of condensation on the windows. The water was now in the bilges, he wasn’t happy. Now he’d have to find the bilge pump! I think I’d rather know where that piece of equipment was. It looked like the water was what was causing the list, at least the boat wasn’t gaining water so unless it toppled over they should be alright.

Hope you don’t topple over

We helped them down, then Mick got Oleanna out of their way.Off they went at their jaunty angle heading downstream still bickering away. What a lovely Easter break!

Caution recesses

We worked our way up. Coming down these short locks you have to be careful of the cill and the wide walkway on the bottom gates, nudging your way forward as soon as it is clear. Going up so far had been okay, Mick nestling Oleannas bow up against the top gates, but today the gates were slightly different. Two large recesses about six inches deep, one on each side of the centre. There was enough space for Oleanna to drift from the centre line and her bow fender was sitting nicely in the recess. I signalled to Mick to nudge back as the lock was filling. No back! We were now bickering. I could see the potential problem but he couldn’t.

Luckily Oleanna was nudged back and her fender cleared the recess. I could then explain why I’d been so adamant. At the next lock Mick could see the recesses. It seems we’ll have to take as much time going up as we took coming down these locks, we just won’t have to faff so much getting past the gates.

Cooper Bridge Lock was a favourite with a blog reader Heather ( Pedalboats), she hasn’t posted anything for over a year, sadly I think something must have happened to her. I had been really looking forward to meeting her, almost expected her to be sat on one of the lock beams with her dogs waiting for us.

Cooper Bridge

Then up to the junction with the Huddersfield Broad Canal. Last night we’d toyed with having a short detour down to Huddersfield as tonight is the opening night of Mikron’s new show, opening at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. But the only seats left were right on the sides and it wouldn’t be the same watching one of their shows in an actual theatre, they should be watched outside by the canal with a pint in hand. Looking at their tour dates we’ll catch up with them somewhere this summer, further south.

How many times did I sit in that traffic

So we turned right, keeping to the Calder and Hebble. We’ve only been this way once before and not in this direction. Having said that Kirklees Low Lock is very familiar to me. Turning off the M62 to head into Huddersfield I would sit in the waiting traffic on the A644 and wonder how long it would be before I would be travelling the canals and actually moving faster than the traffic jam I was sat in. I never saw a boat at the lock, so I waved back today.

Not another woofer!

Up Kirklees Top Lock and we pulled in for some lunch. This soon became our overnight mooring, we had just enough wine to last us one last evening. The M62 is audible from here, but is just far enough away to be able to forget about it. Tilly did her best to make the most of it, but too many woofers spoilt her fun. I even had to give two greyhounds a serious ticking off, although one of them was a blackhound!

4 locks, 3 flood locks, 3.08 miles, 1 newspaper, 35 degree list, 1 running tap, 2 recesses, 29 photos, 7000 to 2000, 4 glasses left, 17 years, 2 many cables, 2 busy.