Ramming and shoving like mad we still couldn’t cram the boat into Lock 6 of the Huddersfield Broad without taking a fender off. In what seemed like no time quite a gathering had appeared, slightly disappointed to realise nothing catastrophic was going down they happily hung around, chipping in with helpful suggestions.
It seems the more chaotic the arrival, the more people you get to know. Finally tied up we’d talked to pretty much everyone moored in Huddersfield. With space tight, I was sent on to pace out the mooring, after a bit of discussion with the guy on the boat opposite I waved Nick on – it was a slightly awkward wave as deep down I knew my paces had been on the short, hopeful, side. Needless to say we didn’t fit and spent the next few hours wedged at an angle, hanging out across the boat behind, creating a bit of a water block until our neighbours finally came home. Whilst moaning about the effect moving might have on his tv reception the guy shuffled his boat along a bit. Discovering we were both Severn Valley, and establishing neither of us had been unfortunate victims of the Severn Valley collapse, we climbed inside to compare and contrast, during which time he mellowed after discovering he still had a picture on the screen.
From Huddersfield bus station we took to a speedy morning trip across the moors. Inside The National Coal Mining Museum at Caphouse Colliery, all kitted out with hard hats and lamps we clambered inside the cage and dropped 450ft underground. For almost two hours our group was taken through the history of mining, shown machinery, plunged into total darkness and given a fascinating tour of the coal face by an ex-collier who worked his last day of mining last March – 43 years without much daylight. Phones, battery watches, cameras, lighters, key fobs are all contraband for fear of explosions, so what lay below stayed that way with no photos rising up to the surface.
Back on the move in the morning, some hardcore lock work ahead – 8 miles, 41 locks.