King Of The MountainsPosted: July 18, 2014
The stretch from Slaithwaite to Marsden is spectacular as the moors rise all around. Sitting in the last but one lock before Marsden, a car stopped and a lady appeared with her camera, explaining she’d seen us on the river in York and was pretty surprised to catch us in her home village too. It was lovely to receive Christine’s e-mail as we hardly ever get a photo of us on the boat together.
After mooring in Marsden, we untied, pulled back, moored again, re-shuffled – moored again and again. Nick eventually gave up and sat staring at the fuzzy television screen in complete shock, he flashed a disbelieving glance at the no service notice on the phone. ‘We’re going to have to talk.’ he muttered. So we did for a while, and then we walked down the hill into the town, Murk enjoyed his retro narrowboating experience as it involved splashing about in the river at a time he’d usually be snooring.
One night was fine, but by the following morning the entertainment plan was in place – raid the charity shops of any dvd that sounded remotely watchable. After a charity shop swoop we walked along an old pack horse trail leading up onto the moors. The views were breathtaking and dropping back into the village it was quite bonkers to find a few people saying they’d seen us on the local Facebook page, Christine had mentioned adding the photos but not being Facebookers ourselves we’d understimated the Facebook force.
Trip boats done for the day we moved upto the tunnel entrance where Nick deconstructed any sticky out bits of the boat in readiness for our tunnel trip. With drinks poured and the sun shining things couldn’t have got much better – and then they did. A fire engine rolled in for a bit of training. ‘Hello, we’ve seen you on facebook… Oh my. Cups of tea went down well, I was up in the air when a much much better idea occurred to the men in uniform. ‘You’re from Brighton, this’ll be right up your street, you’ll love it,’ they decided whipping Nick of his feet. Priceless. He was begging for it.
We were stranglely sorry to head into the tunnel, Marsden had been brilliant fun – a beautiful place with great friendly people.
Tunnel take two was no less incredible than first time round. The longest, deepest, highest tunnel on the network it blows any other out the water – there’s no going back, the rest become merely big bridges. First boat through this morning, the air was clear and the safety shadow was in place meaning we just slowed at the railway cross passage to check-in before getting the all clear to press on. At 3.25 miles long and over 200 years old the past hangs heavy in the air. Typical cargos included wool, coal and horse manure. The coal toll was higher than that for manure, meaning boats were often packed with two-thirds coal then topped off with manure – the scam was finally rumbled and one lucky person got the task of digging down into each load of manure to check for hidden coal, that person also got to walk the boaters horses over the hill – there and back twice a day, a total of around 13 miles…and that boy was just twelve years old.
Moored and put back together we left the boat to walk one of the old turnpike roads back over the hill to Marsden…and back.