It took until July 15th to remove the last of the window film, lazy boy views are clearer now. After a quick water stop, hoover and dash for forgotten food we began the climb out of Huddersfield. Locks are back to narrow which makes for an easy life. Under ground, over ground – we wormed our way through the maze of oddly designed bridges, tunnels and lock landings. The first few took a while and then we began to get into the swing of it.
For the most part today’s backdrop was dilapidated mills with a few renovations along the way. Entering one lock a body flew over the boat, followed by another. After negotiating a flight path away form the solar panel the camera came out. Not sure it was the reaction they were hoping for but after a few, ‘Missed its, start again please,’ and by the time Nick had banged on about how ‘When he was younger he’d have jumped it length ways…’ they were more than happy to be on their way. There was one final question, ‘How do we flood a pound?’ Very disappointed with news of overflow sluices and completely disinterested in draining one, they shrugged ‘We just untie boats if the people are knobs.’ And off they went. A few more tow path hangers hung about today but its seems there’s nothing like a southern accent to get them laughing, one long vowel Slaithwaite and they’re putty in your hands.
Water levels are down and creeping our way through one especially low pound we got talking to a Canal and River Trust guy who broke the news that the stoppage caused by some numpty smacking into a gate on the Ashton might not be finished until the date of our Ribble Link crossing. Oh. So our summer might be about to change course. We’ll be stopping well above Portland Basin to discover our fate.
There was time for a quick look round Slaithwaite this evening – many of the canal scenes in Last of The Summer Wine were filmed here.
We’d got used to the speed of river travel and back on canals it’s shocking to see our slow crawl across the Nicholson pages. It shouldn’t really matter when the destination is nowhere in particular, but somehow it still does. ‘Progress’ wasn’t helped by low pounds and dreary weather today. The creep from Blackpole Lock to Offerton Bottom Lock was a painful slow go, with way too many boats (us included) heading up from Blackpole, the levels had dropped low enough for Canal and River Trust to put in an appearance.
Finally up through Offerton Top Lock the heavy skies closed in and we moored just before it hammered down. Leaving the rest of the day to poor soaked hire-boaters with little option but to push on with their Worcester/Droitwich/River Severn loops.
A fuel filter check as the engine sounded a bit dodgy through the shallow pounds – the filter was clear so we’re hoping the gurgling was due to alarming angles created by mounting bottom of canal debris along the way.