Category Archives: Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Breakfast At Brighouse. 27th March

Kirklees Top Lock to Sainsburys, Brighouse

Thankfully it wasn’t raining when we woke, over our cuppa in bed we decided to make our final move off the river before breakfast, after all we’d only an hour left to reach our goal and to end up missing it for a day or so because of a bowl of cereal, well. As we rolled the covers up ready for cruising a cruiser appeared up the lock behind us. No point in rushing to share a lock as that would be too risky in these short locks, we quite often have to go diagonally to fit, tucking in behind one of the bottom gates.

Underpant Bridge and Trees!!!!

It’s a shame we couldn’t have moored a little further on as the woods had Tilly’s name stamped all over them, but we would have been closer to the M62, the noise level considerably more than where we’d been last night.

Open, but no idea of level

Anchor Pit Flood Gate was open waiting for us, we looked around to see if we could see the level board, tucked away in the corner of a gate recess, I only had time to spot it’s location but not the level it showed, hopefully it was amber. Since we’ve been keeping an eye on levels the EA website has shown the level at Brighouse to be 0, a constant 0. This is no help what-so-ever! Thankfully Gaugemap does show heights, minus heights. The level seemed to have gone up by a couple of inches since yesterday, so thank goodness the flood gate was still open.

An unuseable landing

The cruisier had pulled up on the lock landing, here it is actually quite long, except the end of it is fenced off as there’s not much left that would take anyone’s weight. There was nowhere I could hop off to help him up the lock. He waved us on. Mick and I both tried shouting that we were over long and that he should go first, he stopped chatted to someone, waved again. We weren’t about to jump the queue so waited patiently for him to return to his boat and get out of the way!

Up at the lock were two chaps who were gauging whether to come down onto the river. The gauge here was touching red. They were moving an ex Shire Cruise hire boat to Castleford for some work to be done with the aim of purchasing it. This meant it was still insured by the hire company and they were waiting to see if they were happy for them to proceed onto a river in the red! This meant there were plenty of hands to help.

A very jolly lock beam

We worked the cruiser up. He’d bought the boat in Goole and was moving it to Northampton. Because Vazon Sliding Bridge is out of action at the moment he was having to cross the Pennines to head south. First he’d thought of doing the Huddersfield Narrow, but they don’t allow cruisers through the tunnel. Now he was faced with all the Rochdale Locks. He’d then planned on going up the Ashton and up the Peak Forest onto the Macc, he had no idea that the Marple flight was closed. We later told him he’d need to book Tuel Lane Lock if he wanted to be through before the weekend, then the summit pound, then the Bridgewater. What he’d thought would be a relatively easy trip was turning out to be far longer, he’d already asked work for an extra ten days off. This all sounds familiar. When we first crossed from Manchester on the Rochdale on Lillian ten years ago, we teamed up with a single hander, who’s Nicholsons guide was so old that he ‘d taken a wrong turning leaving Manchester. His guide didn’t show the Rochdale being open, after twenty odd locks with us he asked when he’d reach the Bridgewater Canal!

Next it was our turn up the bottom lock and off the river, our last stretch of river for a while that could hold us up. I’d checked the blog from when we were here last, I knew that lifting the gate paddle anything but slowly would fill our well deck with water, so I took it cautiously, lifting the Hebble paddle second just to finish off.

Crossing the pound

The chaps on the hire boat had kindly emptied the top lock for us and helped close gates. Once up Mick reversed Oleanna onto the water point. Time for a celebratory shower as the tank filled up.

The hire boat headed for the lock, the company must have given them the go ahead. By the time they reach Castleford the chap at the helm will have got the hang of pointing the boat in the right direction, just as well as it’ll be his home!

We can all breath a sign of relief now

We moved onto the moorings, told Tilly this was Bumhouse and she’d not like it, even worse than Bumingham! She settled down as we settled down for breakfast, which was very nearly lunch.

A prescription was ready and waiting for Mick in Sewerby Bridge, so he caught the 9 minute train to pick it up. Sadly the Chemist was closed for lunch on his arrival so his return was delayed somewhat. A look in Screwfix for a new kitchen sink plug, nothing suitable without replacing the whole thing, we’ll cope for a while longer.

Could Boyes solve our problem?

Next was a restock at Sainsburys. the wine cellar needed topping up and we’d not stopped off in Mirfield for a duck. Sadly no ducks on the shelves here, but there was a Lidl not far away. Thankfully they had what we wanted and some bananas which seem to only be available in Lidl at the moment. A quick visit to Boyes to see if they could help with a plug, a rubber universal one was on sale for £1.10, so we’d not be wasting much money if it didn’t do the job.

Lots of fancy banks around town

By the time we’d stowed everything we decided we’d stay put for the night, an extra rope from the stern would stop us from swinging about on long ropes, it’s always been windy here. To celebrate being off the rivers we treated ourselves to fish and chips Blakeley’s do a gf batter and as we wanted haddock rather than cod even Mick’s fish was cooked to order, very nice it was too.

2 locks, 1.5 miles, 1 ex hire boat, 1 cruiser, 1 full water tank, 1 clean Pip, 1 bored cat, 4 boxes wine, 0 plug, 1 months drugs, 2 trains, 1 duck, 6 big bananas, 0 hot cross buns left, slow internet, fish and chips twice!

Let’s Leave Underpants Bridge For Tomorrow. 26th March

Mirfield to above Kirklees Top Lock

Tilly has expanded her interest in the secret passage behind the sofa. She has discovered that she can just squeeeeeeze herself through the smallest gap between sofa, pouffe and bookshelf to get there. Once in there she can been heard discovering all the secret delights the passage hides from those of us who cannot squeeze in there. Then after about ten minutes the meows change tone and her claws come out attempting to escape. This is impossible! No it’s not, I just haven’t found the correct route out! So the sofa needs to be pulled out to aid escape. A touch boring for us humans to have to do this at least once a day, but my main concern is that she goes in there to explore whilst we’re busy moving the outside and gets STUCK! I have never got stuck, only temporarily delayed!

A heavy box to block the entrance

The alcohol free lager has a use at last!

We pootled up towards Ledgard Flood Lock, from the EA website the river levels this morning looked to have gone down. Passers by asked if the lock was open, well it would almost certainly have it’s gates closed, but it should be workable and most probably be in the amber. ‘Levels!’ said one chap.

Ledgard Flood Lock

Sure enough the level had gone down, there was twice as much amber showing this morning as there had been yesterday. Hebble paddles had been left up at both ends of the lock to help feed Shepley Lock when used, these needed to be left as found. Mick dropped me off, we made a plan, I plotted my route round the lock to take the shortest amount of time when closing up after us and hopefully covering the possibility that a gate may swing open, all so that I could get to Oleanna as quickly and as safely as possible. If we were new boaters we wouldn’t have even considered this.

Through the last closed flood lock, we hope!

All went well, the pull towards the weir wasn’t that great for Mick and Oleanna to cope with, the only problem was a chap who stopped to chat with Mick as he did his best to hold onto Oleanna at the short landing. There are times when you may just have to be rude in life and this so nearly was one of those moments.

Battyford Lock

Onwards to Battyford Lock, a big bruiser of a lock always waiting with it’s top gates ajar! Here the level was that bit higher only just in the amber. Battyford Flood Gate was open, next stretch of river to cross to Cooper Bridge Lock. This is one of my favourites, Hebble Spike required, worn stone step by the top gate and the lock cottage. Today the cottage looked less cosy, it’s normally surrounded by trees, these have either gone or had a serious hair cut. The other reason for liking the lock is the two geese who live here. A chap was in the field with them, petting them and chatting away, a very rare temperament for geese to have.

Cooper Bridge Lock

Cooper Bridge Flood Gate was also open, here we carried straight on up stream, leaving the Huddersfield canals behind us, heading for the Rochdale. Another river section crossed off the list.

Picturesque canal side house

Kirklees Bottom Lock is over looked by drivers heading between Huddersfield and the M62, I’ve sat in traffic on that road many a time, longingly looking at the lock beams. The two Kirklees Locks require a spike to go uphill, then there’s a stretch of moorings with rings. A handy lunch break location. We both looked at each other, if we carried on we’d be off the rivers in Brighouse, but that is where we’d end up mooring for the night and Tilly has been cooped up inside for a couple of days, exploring the passage! Should we risk stopping for the day?

Looking back to Wakefield on the left and Huddersfield on the right

The door was opened and after a quick sniff and clawing claim of the tree she shot straight up into the branches, we’d be staying put today and hope the forecast overnight wouldn’t be too wet.

Tilly’s tree

Mick had another look at the voltage sensitive relay. He got it to delay switching off by 999 seconds, however it didn’t turn itself back on when he restarted the engine. Still work in progress and I really don’t mind turning the Nebolink on and off anyway!

Lamb biryani this evening, just a shame I had a moment and thought I was using brown basmati rice, which turned out to be just brown rice which didn’t want to cook through in the oven! After an extra half hour on the hob, it was still a touch munchy. Oh well, there’s still plenty more lamb, I may give the recipe another go in a few days time, but with the correct rice this time!

4 locks, 3.6 miles,1 straight on, 4 inches of amber, 4 hours shore leave, 1 brilliant tree, 12 handy bottles, 3 river stretches ticked off, 1 left to go, M62 bridge left for tomorrow.

Happy 8th Baseplate Day! 14th February

Well today marks the 8th anniversary of Oleanna’s baseplate being laid in Tim Tylers workshop in Newcastle under Lyme. It was another year and a bit before we finally moved on board to cruise her down to Crick to meet with Lillian and fully move onboard.

Mick stood at the stern 58ft 6 inches away, 8 years ago

If you want to look back and see Oleanna’s build this is a post from our first visit. Her story starts much earlier so here’s a link to the first Oleanna blog post, 1948 blog posts ago!

Currently we are gradually getting ourselves ready to move back on board, the date still a little bit up in the air.

Sunday in the Park with Mick

Mick went down to check on Oleanna on Monday. A chat with the bully boy batteries went well, the newly oiled floor had cured so the back steps could go back in. I’ve been busy covering new and old dinette cushions and today we should receive new cartridges for our life jackets, which are currently still inflated in a closed room well away from cat claws.

The world of canals and rivers is keeping us on our toes as regards to stoppages at the moment. There is a silt build up on the River Trent which needs dredging between Beeston and Cranfleet locks. The coal boat had serious difficulty passing that way a week ago and was having to wait for levels to rise again before attempting to return to base. Since then the Trent has gone back into flood.

Can we start packing yet?

The Don Doors on the New Junction are having issues with their gearbox so are closed to the canal currently. Even if we got past them Vazon Sliding Bridge is closed to boat traffic until mid March whilst strengthening works are carried out to the north canal wall.

However we’d planned on crossing the Pennines. The Rochdale, Lock 67 is suffering from subsidence which will be worked on next week. Lock 65 is also showing similar signs and will be looked at next week to see what should be done.

Round 1

The Leeds Liverpool has a navigation restriction near Burnley, Embankment 39, so it is still navigable. Works at Wigan have been slowed by the weather so the closure there has been extended by a week so that concrete has more time to go off, the concrete has as yet to be laid. Problems near Foulridge Tunnel seem to have been sorted.

Round 2

Then the Huddersfield Narrow and Broad. There are bridge works and a lock closure on the Broad along with repairs to a wash wall which should be finished mid March. On the Narrow locks on the east side are closed until the end of February, then there is a closure in Stalybridge which should open mid March.

Round 3

So at the moment the Leeds Liverpool is looking the most promising, followed by the Huddersfield canals. Further south there has been a substantial landslip on the North Oxford near Brinklow. We’d planned on heading southwards this way, but we strongly suspect it will take a while for this to be sorted so will have to head southwards through Birmingham. Or do we wait for the Trent to be sorted and out of flood then high tail it south along the Leicester Section?

Who knows! We’ll wait and see what is open when we set off.

Thank you Beth

In Sockathon News I now have sponsors for 29 pairs of socks and have raised £655 for Dementia UK. Pair 7 will soon be finished. I now have a very large box of yarn donations sent in from all over, details of which are on the Yarn Donations page. There are still a few more people who have pledged yarn donations so they will be added as yarn arrives. I think I may be knitting for a few years to use it all up! If you fancy a pair here’s a link to my JustGiving page

  • Thank you Debby for becoming pair 30!
My friend Morag looking across the harbour

0 locks, 0 miles, 8 years old! 4 routes from the north closed, 1 bathroom delayed, 1 best mate visit, 2 lodgers, 1 fair weather cat, 2 opticians appointments, 2 doctors appointments, 1 vets appointment, 1 gathering, 1 leg of lamb, 2 boaters nearly ready.

It’s Him Again! 27th September

Staniland Marina

With Agnes’s arrival moving it gave Mick a dry window of opportunity to head off to do some shopping before the rain was due to arrive. The shopping list was just being put together when I noticed a bright blue boat had just come up Thorne Lock, NB That’s It on their last leg to get back to Strawberry Island in Doncaster.

They hovered for a while to give us an update on Les. She’d been kept in at the hospital, in a cast up to her hip. Apparently she’d misjudged her footing when stepping off the boat, not just a break but also a crush injury from the boat! As Jo said, stepping off a boat is something we all do every day and don’t really think about it. We’ll all be thinking about it from now on.

Time to say our farewells to Jo and Brian. It was nice to meet them earlier in the year, to share some locks, then to share the last leg of the Tidal Trent. I suspect our bows will cross again in the future.

A while later Clive came past walking Peg their dog. More news of Les, her ankle will need pinning, possibly more, so she’ll be kept in for a while. They are hoping they can stay with their son on land for some of Les’s recuperation. Plans were made for tomorrow to cruise up to Bramwith with Clive.

A 1:1 drawing had been requested by the set builders for some wiggly bits on panto. Two pieces of A4 paper were stuck together and wiggles drawn out. They’ll make a template from this, then use a router to cut them out.

Apparently these were bought as a joke, tasty joke

No sign of Agnes with her wind and rain in the early afternoon, she’d postponed her arrival now till late afternoon. Some extra memory for my laptop (thank you for the prompt from Dave Scouts) was wanting to be ordered to assist with my touching up of panto bits. But we needed an address to send it to. Fran in Sheffield was happy for us to use her address and hopefully it’ll mean we get to see her soon.

Just how many toys does one cat need in a bedroom?!

Yesterday I heard that my host in Chippy this year would now no longer have room for me, due to family circumstances her house would now be filled with Grandchildren. However she’d seen Suzanne my previous host and suggested I got in touch with her. Unfortunately Suzanne hasn’t managed to sell her house, fortunately for me it means I can stay with her again. Phew!

Late afternoon, Tilly was snoozing in the escape pod, I was pottering on the computer and Mick was being a domestic goddess with the hoover when I heard a boat go into reverse alongside Oleanna. I peeked out the window. Ah! It’s that man again!!

It’s that man again!

Paul the narrowboat mover, third or is it the fourth time this year? We’d heard that he might be doing a move along the Trent, but it depended on whether the boat would be ready to be picked up in time to catch us up, also on when Wigan reopens for another move. He reversed into the space behind us. Rapidly moored up, ran to chat with the boat he’d been travelling with then came for a chat.

They’d set off from Torksey this morning and had been expecting Agnes to slow them down, but she was only just starting to have an effect. This meant we could have quite a chat with him rather than just a quick Hello. His next destination is Huddersfield in a few days time.

I wouldn’t trust this bit

Tilly did a bit of tree inspecting whilst we chatted. Paul having pulled up under an oak tree. I’m not too sure about this branch, but the rest should be fine tonight! At around 5pm it started to rain time to stop gassing and head inside.

As the evening progressed the wind picked up, the plastic curtain on the dry dock flapping and clapping away . A sheet of rain could be heard approaching and making it’s way along Oleanna’s roof. Agnes has arrived!

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 Photoshop, 60cm of wiggles, 1 pack of OHP sheets, 0 fringing purchased, 1 long blog written, 9 hours, 1 update, 1 Paul again, 1 dust free boat.

Lock Spotting. 9th January


1.63m up by 8cm from yesterday

The alarm went off early and Mick was up and on his way to the bus stop at 7am. The bus this morning was packed, standing room only, presumably overnight workers from East Midlands Airport. Picking up a van from Enterprise he then called in at Wickes. Here he bought several bags of coal as our stocks are starting to run low.

The parking at the mooring isn’t the easiest. Fulltime moorers have access through a gate, but Mick pulled in as close to the hedge as he could so as not to be in the way. As he off loaded the coal onto the roof he was handed items to head to Huddersfield, all the giant sized props, materials I wouldn’t be needing on the boat etc.

Skips heading to somewhere else by road

As we passed by the Clock Warehouse we could see that the skip boats were being craned out onto lorries in the pub car park. The narrowboat that had been by the pub had moved over to the water point, by the end of the day they had moved back across once the skips had been taken away.


The journey northwards was pretty horrid with almost constant rain and spray on the roads. A quick pull in to get something for lunch and we were soon pulling up close to the Piazza in Huddersfield where Dark Horse rehearse.

4E of the Huddersfield Narrow is just round the corner

I stayed to do costume fittings whilst Mick drove to Sewerby Bridge. Close to Tuel Lane Lock is a company called JC Joel. They provide and make drapes and fabrics for the entertainment industry. Mick was here to pick up a roll of dance floor which is suitable for painting with the right additives in the paint. The existing flooring for #unit21 was cheap vinyl (I had a limited budget) and had already torn before it was laid last year, it certainly wouldn’t survive a tour to five venues.

Lunchtime conversation

Back in Huddersfield I tried overalls on two of the actors. Down Syndrome people tend to have short limbs so there was a lot of pinning up and a few nips and tucks on shoulders to do, the overalls are meant for builders not 4ft actors after all.

After lunch Amy (Director) and I went through the props I’d brought with me and those that had been delivered. The giant mug had it’s handle added and was immediately tried out by Amy for weight. Then Alice was called over to check she could easily lift it on her own to take a swig of tea. All worked well. The remaining covering will get added on another visit in a couple of weeks time.

The Piazza was a shopping centre and has been ear marked for sometime to be redeveloped. The shops have gradually been moving out and the empty units have been used temporarily by art groups like Dark Horse. One large unit runs an art workspace for children, their windows always have something fun to look at. Another window showed off a giant cardboard sculpture of Bob Marley, brilliant.

Temporary Contemporary shop was the Chemists, Dark Horse behind the orange doors on the right

I took a little time to work out which shop had been used for the chemists in Happy Valley. Now a gallery with anaglypta on its walls. As the scene moved away from the shop you can see animal heads in the window of the children’s workspace, I think the scene was filmed around February last year as I have photos of the animal heads.

Last years display

Mick returned with the van and flooring. Two of the actors came out to look after the van whilst Mick and I struggled to move the large roll. A lovely chap offered to assist, then Amy came out to help too. We managed to get it into the unit, I’ll be needing some assistance to move it about when I cut it to length in a few weeks time.

The lower deck of the M1 going over the Sheffield and Tinsley Locks

A pause in Sheffield to visit Hobbycraft for a few bits then we headed for the Co-op in Castle Donnington to see what they had to offer before returning to the boat. Costume returns were organised, parcelled up and labelled for the morning.

Quite a busy day in Yorkshire.

0 locks, 6 locks spotted, 0 miles, 1 van, 191 miles, 2 overalls to shrink, 1 spare pair to make bigger, 3 braces tabs, 1 big swig of tea, 3 £1 books, £600 worth of floor, 2 near hernias, 1 new sandwich flavour, 1 location, 3 pairs trainers, 1 pair cycling shorts, 1 cat pleased to see us home, 12 sad git sausages, 2 sad git punnets of blueberries, 1 sad git gluten free loaf, 1 emptier boat.

Armed With A Hacksaw. 5th January


1.79 m

A list was made of items I still needed to purchase for #unit21, including a 3m length of plastic pipe! I nearly ordered it along with elbow joints online from Screwfix, but decided to see if there might be a DIY stall in Derby Market. Derby Market Hall is currently undergoing refurbishment, but I was aware of The Eagle Market, the front doors of Derby Playhouse open into the Market. The website suggested a couple of fabric stalls, time to catch the bus.

Mick had made the decision to fit the new alternator this morning and was already down in the engine bay. I required a hack saw so collected one on the way past. The Skylink bus picked me up and whizzed me into town. I made note of a Tool Station next to the big Royal Mail building where there was a handy bus stop, a much better location than Screwfix.

The Eagle Market has seen better days, I’d say only about a third of the units were occupied. I found a couple of fabric stalls and most of what I wanted and ended up having quite a chat with the lady who lives on a boat in Shardlow Marina. Sadly no-one had any navy velcro, that will have to be ordered on line.

We’ve missed Wind in the Willows

No DIY stalls. I had a wander around Derbion the big shopping mall, nothing of use in there, just a sandwich for lunch. Much of Derby Centre stands empty, the bright lights of the shopping centre, being out of the rain has pulled customers and retailers inside. Such a shame. But I believe Derby Council are hoping to rejuvenate the area, refurbishing the market hall being part of the plan to try to pull retailers back into the streets and make it a destination. Well that’s the standard blurb used for such places nowadays!

After a visit to Wilko I walked back to Tool Station taking note of a low wall just by the bus station. Pipe, elbows and cement purchased I headed for the low wall. Here I pulled out the hacksaw and cut the 3m length of pipe in half, no problem getting on the bus now.

Shardlow is getting quite full

At the water point in Shadlow there were three widebeams. WB Lazy Days had moved across from the pub moorings where now sat two C&RT skip boats. Then there were the two widebeams that had been moored above Derwent Mouth Lock, one having a wash, the other on the lock landing. Later on in the evening we could see tunnels lights and hear spikes being hammered in, we presume the widebeams had moved to above the lock, freeing up below.

Back at Oleanna Mick had been working hard to fit the new alternator. Three bolts and three wires, simple! Except things on the old one had settled in nicely, a touch of corrosion on the negative terminal made getting the nut undone a touch troublesome. Time and patience was required. One bolt was in an awkward position and when it came to fitting the new alternator things didn’t seem to marry up as they should do. It turned out there was a bush on one of the holes that needed adjustment. A tap with a hammer sorted this.

Power restored

All bolted in and connected the engine was fired up, things checked over. Everything working as it should. Hooray!

Time to pack Christmas away, well the lights outside could wait for light tomorrow. The tree was stripped and then given a good soaking in the sink. It will get a day or two inside before being popped in the cratch.

The neon bunny was just about finished off this evening. All limbs sewn on and body stuffed, just a fluffy tail needed. Although I may want to give him longer ears as he’ll be a magicians rabbit. Tilly wasn’t enamoured with it, I may have to hide it away so it doesn’t get beaten up!

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 buses, 24volt 120amp alternator fitted, 2m poly cotton, 1m stiff interfacing, 3m cut to 2 x 1.5ish, 3 widebeams, 1 bunny, 1 miffed cat.

Sideways Snow. 31st March

Thorne Lock to Thorne Services Visitor Moorings

A phone call to Sean to see if he’d be visiting Thorne today or tomorrow came up with the answer we’d been expecting. The weather was not suitable for him to fit boat covers so he wouldn’t be making a trip to Thorne this week. Only one thing for it, the Senior Citizen Railcard would be put to use and Mick would go and collect it from Cottingham, which is north of Hull. We checked the times and prices of tickets, then checked a split ticket website and managed to get £5 off if Mick got one return to Brough and another to Cottingham.


In a lull between snow storms we headed out, Mick to the station and myself to Sainsburys for some milk as we’d run out. I thought today might not be so interesting, other than the sideways snow, so took a photo of The Little Shop. It’s one of those shops I really want to go in, but sweeties from a big jar are not something we need. Maybe next time I’ll have to arrange to have a young person with me, the need then will be greater.

Back at Oleanna I had some lunch and set about weaving ends in on my socks. Then the world got busy!

Across the way a narrowboat was being brought down the slipway back into the water. No bung in the exhaust just the engine running to keep any water from going into the engine. Once floating the boat was winded alongside us, then it vanished! Where had it gone? I’d sat down to do some more weaving for just a couple of minutes and it had vanished. It must have gone into the dock opposite.

Then another narrowboat arrived. The tractor came down the slipway to meet it, but the prevailing wind really wasn’t helping things, the bow missed the opening and as they went into reverse the boat was blown down past us, necessitating a more powerful return.

Ooo, new gates!

Two boats in the mean time had just come up Thorne Lock, they stemmed the wind waiting to get past. Once they were clear the rumble of a big boat came close, in front of it a big skip boat filled with generators and big hoses. C&RT getting ready for the work at the lock. Earlier on I’d seen a chap setting out mesh on the grass on the offside, maybe this is where the generators will be positioned next week.

Cabin top dropped to get under low bridges.

Then another skip boat came past, Robin Hood pushing the new lock gates. These will have been made at Stanley Ferry and most probably have come all the way by water. The top of Robin Hood’s cab had been dropped to get under the railway bridge in Thorne.

Lots of big blue boats

The two boats and their skips breasted up on the lock landing, hopefully there will be a volunteer on duty for the weekend to help single handers through.

Is that our cover?

Mick soon arrived back with a very natty package including handle, we had our cratch cover back.!

Goodbye Staniland, we did try waving to Jonathan.

In what we thought was a lull in the weather, we untied. Mick kept Oleanna on the mooring until I’d got the bridge open, stopping a reversing bin wagon in the process (not sure how many you get for one of those!), then he zoomed her into the lock avoiding being pushed this way and that by the wind.

Going Down Thorne Lock

A chap came over to chat and watch. Next week he’s picking up his first narrowboat from Lymm, cruising up the Bridewater, up the Rochdale 9, Ashton canal, over the Pennines via the Huddersfield Narrow and along the Aire and Calder to Thorne to moor. Thankfully he’s getting help with his first ever locks on the Rochdale 9, but then single handing from there. He hadn’t been aware of Thorne Lock closing on Monday for over a month. I wished him luck and told him to take his time and enjoy himself.

One space left

We pootled to the services, but would there be space for us? One side of a pontoon was available so we could get water, phew! Here is a 24 hour visitor mooring behind gates with the services, until tomorrow unless other wise signed all visitor moorings have been 14 days. We slotted in and started to fill the water tank. This would take a couple of hours as the pressure could compete with all the slow taps on the network. We also did a load of washing and got the dishwasher earning it’s keep.

The cratch cover went back on, the zips all sewn back in by machine, much better than my hand sewing. SPL had also darned a couple of little tares, one that had been there since it was made, the other possibly from a tussle with NB Billy a couple of years ago or when we’d got too close to a lock gate. Not bad for £25 plus a train fare to Cottingham.

By now we were both very cold. What was the likelihood of someone passing wanting water? It was getting dark after all. We decided that we’d stay put for the night and if no-one else had moved off in the morning we’d pull out and leave a space available.

The last batch of socks

My aim of knitting ten pairs of socks during March was achieved, admittedly the tenth pair being a diddy pair. All adult socks were packed up and addressed ready to be sent off. I’m going to let my fingers and needles have a bit of a rest for a few days, hopefully I won’t get twitchy fingers and start on something else.

1 lock, 0.37 miles, 4 trains, 1 cratch cover, 1 boat through the impending stoppage, 1 swing bridge, 1 reversing bin wagon held up, 2 tugs, 4 gates, 2 boats swapped, 1 hour of sideways snow, 20 frozen digits, 1 full water tank, 10 pairs, 1 March Challenge completed.

An Inch Short. 16th March

Bramwith Junction

What a grey day! Even Tilly wasn’t impressed, preferring to spend much of the day asleep inside. With rain forecast for 1pm we had a choice of moving off this morning or staying put. The next proper mooring can be quite popular, this time of year especially so as there is parking, water and bins. An hours cruise to find out and if full it would be another hour back again, bringing us into the window of rain opportunity!


We decided to stay put, we like this mooring even on a grey day. A walk around the junction was on the cards and there was enough time before we’d get wet.

As we walked down to Bramwith Lock we could hear an engine, then see a flag between the trees, coming along the New Junction. It was Pax a kind of cross between a Dutch barge and a trawler that had been in Goole. They turned towards the lock where some friends had already opened the gates for them.

A narrowboat arrived below the lock, pulling into the lock landing, as we walked past we had a chat with the chap. This was to be his first solo lock, the boat new to him, maybe only by a few days. We wished him luck and carried on to where a footpath heads off to the Don Doors.

The side you don’t get to see from the canal

Water was spilling over the edge of the aqueduct, more so than yesterday when we’d crossed it. I was amazed at how little space there is below the trough to the river flowing beneath. The sides of the trough have plenty of extra support to help it withstand sideways pressure when the river is in flood.

We climbed over the top to the other side, sadly no view along the New Junction as the guillotine gates were in the way. But it being so grey the pictures wouldn’t have been too appealing anyway.

Looking up the New Junction

Was that a Chiff Chaff? It was! A sign of spring.

I so love Blackthorn blossom

We crossed back over the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. The first Blackthorn blossom opening up hunting for the missing sunshine. Bees buzzed round. Was that a Woodpecker we could hear? Spring with all it’s new life.

A small boat in an expanse of water

The single hander came round from Bramwith Lock heading towards Long Sandall. He’d been helped up the lock so still had his first solo lock to come. We wished him well, his next obstacle being Barnby Dun Lift Bridge.

Pootling along

A looooonggg LOUD horn could be heard. Was that someone annoyed to be held up at the lift bridge?

Then another blast. Within a few minutes we could see where it had come from, Exol Pride! I so hope the single hander had been warned about the big blue boat, suspect the Looooonggg blast had been suggesting he got out of their way!

There she goes

We stood and watched as Exol came past, a slight change of engine note before the junction, was that for us or just an adjustment before crossing under the Don Doors? The canal took a good half hour before it returned to calm.

A little after 1pm it started to rain. With whistling wind accompanying it we were glad we’d decided not to move today. Instead I sat in front of the stove and knitted, nearly a whole sock today, just short by an inch or so. Mick pottered on the computer whilst Tilly inspected the insides of her eye lids.


Today we added another option to our escape routes southwards.

  1. Out of Keadby to Cromwell
  2. Head across the Pennines, most probably by the Huddersfield Canals.
  3. Head down the Ouse to Trent Falls and onto the Trent that way.
  4. Cancel a trip to York by boat to meet with family and get through Thorne Lock before it shuts. Have a day trip by train instead.

The jury is still out.

It’s time to add a recipe to the Baking section. Tonight we enjoyed the last slices of my Bakewell Tart.

Click on the photo to get to the recipe

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 walk, 3 waterways crossed, 1 solo boater, 1 Pax, 1 big blue boat, 4 signs of spring, 1 reluctant cat, 1 inch short of a sock.

Knocking The Drawer

Opposite the Concrete works to Sykehouse Junction, New Junction Canal

You could hear Franks brain already at work when Mick got up to make our morning cuppa. To give the freezer more ventilation should the drawer be raised? This would involve raising the whole dinette, trimming the cushions to fit, then they wouldn’t fit to make up the bed. A solution with far too many knock ons.

Why won’t it come out!

First thing though was to be able to get the freezer drawer out of the dinette. For a while it’s been sticking part way out, only just enough space to get the lid off and access the contents. Was this down to something underneath the drawer on the floor? We knew there was a problem with condensation in the drawer as the freezer isn’t particularly well insulated, so that might be causing the problem.

Give it an hammer!

In the past we’ve tried pulling the drawer out to access little catches on the sides which would release the drawer from the sliders, but we could never find the catches. They were possibly on the part that was no longer sliding far enough out to be visible. Frank brought his hammer out and started hitting one section of the sliders back in to the dinette. One slider was obviously having issues and the drawer had quite a bit of play on it.

Eventually the slider gave in releasing the drawer. It moved out just that bit more, then nearly all the way there, then out to it’s full extent! We haven’t had this happen for at least a couple of years!

Freezer out in the open air

Mick disconnected the freezer then it was lifted out of the drawer. Time for breakfast! A bowl of blueberry porridge all round to celebrate.

The sliders were unscrewed from the base of the dinette. There had been no little catch on them, just a lot of screws and you needed the drawer to be fully out to access them all. The troublesome slider was examined. It was bent out of shape. The problem was that the drawer once pulled out of the dinette had nothing to rest on, it was hanging in mid air held only by the sliders. The combined weight of the drawer, freezer and it’s contents had bent the slider, stopping it from working correctly.

New sliders 650mm long and heavy duty sliders were needed. Nothing was available locally, just online. If replaced something to support the overhanging drawer would be needed to stop the situation from recurring.

The outside workshop

For now we could slide the drawer in and out without the sliders. Frank took the drawer outside and cut redundant sections out of the sides whilst retaining it’s structure, hopefully this will enable more air to circulate. Holes were also drilled in the base of the drawer, these won’t help at the moment as the drawer will sit on the floor for a while, but once it is lifted up a touch then air should be able to flow underneath it better. Everything was given a rub of candle grease to help it run more freely.

The floor under the freezer is made up of quite a few sheets of wood, possibly three. This isn’t necessary and a section of at least one (dinette structure) could have sections removed giving more air circulation. Then Frank decided that we’d be better off if the drawer ran on wooden runners, the front edge of it would need some support when it gets pulled out. We may add gliss domes to the leading edge, these are frictionless. Frank hadn’t brought his router with him, the easiest way to cut out the floor, so the remainder of the job will be finished another time.

Thank you so much Frank for your help and leaving us with some of the Bakewell Tart!

Just as Frank was setting off to head back to Scarborough, Lisa and Al arrived for a quick catch up. Their boat was a close neighbour when we moored at Viking last year, Al keeping an eye on Oleanna when the breach happened.

Ooo a yummy yarn donation

Lisa and I have quite a few other things in common, Scarborough and knitting. Lisa is an Indie Dyer and had seen I was busy with my sockathon, she’d come to make a donation. What a generous donation it was too! A bag of interesting bits and bobs, three 50 gram skeins and some baby yarn for my baby socks, far better than anything I could find in Boyes. Thank you so much Lisa for your wonderful donation! Link to Lisa’s Etsy yarn shop there’s some lovely yarn. Best keep my needles knitting!

1978 Austin Allegro for sale at Spicers soon

Two weeks into the challenge and the total amount that has been raised by knitters across the UK so far is £102,000. Brilliant!

Tilly had been making the most of the morning, dipping under the new fencing to head off and explore. It is thought that with the new Siemens factory close by, the rail track that runs along the side of the canal will be used to test the new Piccadilly Line tube trains, it may also be reinstated up into the docks. Today people were working on the track, sounded like they were cutting back vegetation. Tilly had been keeping an eye on them!

By the time we wanted to move Tilly had claimed most of the area including the VERY dusty road as her own.

With water supplies very low we pushed over to the water point to fill the tank. The bins here haven’t been emptied in the last couple of weeks, so we kept our recycling for another bin on another day. We then winded and headed out from Goole.

Goodbye blue Goole for now

Was this to be the last time in Goole for a while, well as there are few places to fill with diesel around the patch we aim to cover in the next few weeks, I suspect we will be back to top up.

As we pootled back along the same stretch of water we discussed our escape plan. At the moment the Huddersfield Narrow is looking like the most obvious route. The Trent still our preferred route. If everything were to fall into place, good weather, tides, amount of fresh, lack of wind, Keadby Lock opening hours it would be silly of us not to have a plan in place to go round Trent Falls again. So we shall work out two routes to cover all eventualities.

Hello Wendy and woofer

At Sykehouse Junction we turned left towards Doncaster and pulled in where we’d been a few days ago. We used outies just in case Exol Pride turned up. Sure enough just as the sun was setting it did, slowing to turn towards the New Junction and the Went Aqueduct.

Here she comes

Once they had just about crossed the aqueduct the engine was switched off, a generator kick started, this was where they would moor for the night. Suspect we’d get complaints if we blocked the navigation in such a comprehensive way.

Handy mooring for the night

0 locks, 6.01 miles, 1 left, 1 wind, 1 holey drawer that moves! 1 road claimed, 1 grey cat, 3 bags of yummy yarn, 1 full water tank, 1 very full bin, 1 clean pooh box, 2 outsides, 1 big blue boat, 2 plans to plan.

Deluded Lentil Baseballs. 12th March

Sykehouse Junction to Opposite the cement works Goole

Tilly was allowed shore leave whilst we joined the Geraghty zoom this morning. For the last four weeks Mick has been involved in something to do with hire cars, so hasn’t been present for at least three of those weeks, so it was nice to see people again and have a catch up.

Then it was time to push off, would Tilly return? Well, a short while after I called for her there was a meow at the back doors. Inside, 2 Dreamies, padded trousers on, trip computer set and we were off.

Reversing out from the junction

Across the way from where we’d moored was a line of buoys marking a relaxing bank, so we didn’t want to get close to it whilst winding. Instead Mick reversed Oleanna back to the junction, good job we’d got the weedhatch cover back in enabling better reversibility. At the junction we turned to face Goole and retraced our wake. Today was chilly and blustery stood on the stern. We discussed our options for escaping Goole, again. If there are enough boats interested then the Trent-Link group will put together an appeal to C&RT regarding Thorne Lock. For us a nudge of dates would be good, freeing up the Easter weekend I suspect would please local boaters.

Someone knows the grass is always greener.

Near Sugar Mill Ponds there has always been a dutch barge moored along the towpath. When we came past last week it wasn’t there, we wondered if it had moved moorings. Then it had returned. Today it had vanished again! Just where does it go to? Maybe for water, diesel? There was a choice of spaces opposite the cement works so we pulled in a touch further away from the boats with woofers. Here is the prefect place to bring a car alongside.


Across the way the moorings outside the Auction house were chocka block. We wonder if mooring is discouraged during the week when they are open, or is it that no-one will notice you mooring there when they are closed?

Hello Lisa!

A large pot of chilli was made in my cast iron casserole and popped on the stove to gradually cook for the rest of the afternoon, saving on gas.

Chilli gently bubbling away

With a visit from Frank on the cards we needed to stock up on a few things, especially potatoes to go with a roast. Mick headed to Tescos whilst I headed to Boyes for some glue and some baby yarn. Tescos supplied us with a new rectangular ceramic lasagne dish, not pyrex, but identical to the one we used to have. So now I can cook reasonable portion sizes again.

The title of the post? Our location on what3words, I found it amusing.

0 locks, 6.11 miles, 1 reverse, 0 dutch barge, 2 gaps, 0 shore leave, 1.5 kg potatoes, 2 types glue, 1 oven dish, 3 meals worth of chilli, 0.75 sock knitted, 1 bakewell tart started.