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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

It's the same old argument, leave gates open or close them!

Monday 18th

Last night sunset. Not as spectacular as some I have seen but the different shades of red and gold made it worthy of a photo.

Ian got it wrong! Convinced it was 7.45am he got up and put kettle on. Then he went outside to put the solar panels up. Discovered that the boat wasn't rocking as he got off, hmmm, we were listing slightly. Surely not. It's a river for goodness sake. How can you be aground on a mooring on a river? Seems the river had dropped slightly overnight and we were stuck on a build up of mud. Big push and she slid off.but FS was now at least 4feet from the bank. He managed to get back on, came inside and took another look at the galley clock. What!!! How can it only be 6.45am! Yep, our bedroom clock had stopped and proper time was now 6.55am. May as well get up and get going so by 7.30am we sidled out through the open flood lock, did the short downstream section of river and turned right into the Huddersfield Broad canal, the end of cruising the rivers for now.

Huddersfield broad canal on the right under the bridge.
 Getting Ian onto the landing was easy even though the slight flow toward the weir was trying to take FS away. With the river low the river landing height was much higher then normal and I feared for FS's paintwork on the cabin side. A fender was quickly adjusted and placed and the paintwork was saved.

Seemed to take a long time for Ian to empty the lock. When I did eventually bring FS in he told me of a problem he had. Both top gates were open. They needed closing, but the only way to get from one side to the other was do a balancing act over the bottom gate. No walkway plank on these gates but thank goodness the hand rail was there. Could have had a dodgy moment trying to balance if it wasn't. In this case it just goes to show the importance of closing all gates when leaving a lock!

Good job he is sure footed! Only way across was along the top.
These locks, according to Ian, were much easier to use. It is of course a doddle for me being the helms women and only having to keep an eye on FS's momentum. Paddle gear had been well maintained and greased and gates opened with ease, well apart from one that is. The gap on the closed bottom gates of lock 9 was huge and even after opening all the top gate paddles didn't do much other then let the water in nearly as quickly as it flowed out.  Again I had to help get the top gate open but brute force and ignorance......as one says.

Huge gap
3.6 miles and 9 locks saw us enter Huddersfield. From my viewpoint, and while waiting for the unique lift bridge Turnbridge Locomotive to be opened, was one of wall to wall boats. Wanting to stop and shop I was beginning to worry we wouldn't find anything but Ian could see perfectly well  from where he was operating the bridge that there was a space big enough for FS further along. Getting lunch out of the way, it was hit the shops for a bit of retail therapy dragging Ian kicking and protesting loudly and holding onto his wallet for all it's worth, along with me.  Result.

Turnbridge locomotive lift bridge

Road bridge being raised. Visitor moorings (72 hours) are on the left. Residential on the right by Sainsburys.

Looking back

Into a space and now to shop!
On our return realised it was a bit noisy this mooring. Right next to a paintshop the hissing of the compressor seemed to go on and on. It was also very hot! With the sun finally coming out (been overcast all day) and without any shade, we baked. Curtains had to be closed to keep out the heat but did nothing to cool the boat. Times like these that I wish we had air conditioning. Went to the The Aspley for a pub meal, much cooler sitting inside and with the ice cold coke topped up for free, most welcome.

And seen on route,

Plenty of Azolla weed in all the locks. Marooned in the middle, a Drake.

 The Huddersfield Broad canal was once called
Originally known as Sir John Ramsden's Canal, his family virtually owned Huddersfield,  before becoming known as the Broad Canal to distinguish it from the Narrow Canal. It served the developing textile industry, bringing in coal and raw materials and shipping out manufactured textiles. It was taken over by the London & North Western Railway in 1847, and purchased by the Calder & Hebble Navigation in 1945.

And wildlife,

Weird jumping bug on the Azolla weed. Not the weevil that was released to help control it.

Bug on the Azolla weed

Not a brilliant photo but this is the first Kingfisher I have seen for over a month.

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