Boatwif Blog

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Silver linings

Uppermill (no miles or locks) Sometimes even grey and blustery days can bring reward. Uppermill is a pretty village with a fair amount of bustle and a range of facilities. Last night one crew member sank rapidly “under the weather”, face and head a fire storm while body from neck down an out-of-control, shivering, shuddering wreck. The Midges’ Revenge!  At 8am the Captain established that Uppermill possesses a Health Centre just a few hundred yards away and by 9am he...

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Downhill to busier places

Diggle to Uppermill:  2.73 miles, 11 locks             Cleddau has cruised nowhere else quite like the Upper Tame Valley:  the land folds around in a great bowl shape so the eye can feast on a  panorama, taking in slopes and hamlets, ridges and  railway line, meadows and marshes, mills and the white flashes of lock gates, paddle gear and lock bridges descending the valley.  For the first mile or so the wide view allows you to see the occasional distant...

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Wet knees

Standedge to Diggle:  3.38 miles (3.24 miles within tunnel) Wednesday: An early alarm for the Cleddau crew: nb Labour of Love was to be first off through the tunnel, Cleddau second. Checklist time:                    clear rooftop of poles and equipment                    seal chimney vents with plastic bags                    remove cratch cover and glazed panels    ...

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Rest day at Marsden

(Dispatched from Diggle, on Wednesday morning) Marsden to Standedge Tunnel, 0.6 mile             Sometimes it’s not what you say – it’s what you can hear… Tuesday was a rest day at Marsden, awaiting Wednesday’s Standedge tunnel passage. When you’re boating, travelling, especially in a heavily locked area, activity dominates. You concentrate on safety, procedure at the locks, the progress of the boat and what you can see around you. The eyes work hard. But on a “rest day” other senses...

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Ever so slightly frustrating

 Up to Standedge: ¾ mile, 10 locks Monday morning and only 10 more locks to the Standedge summit and the tunnel… Shortly after breakfast the Captain prepared Lock 33 ahead, untied the ropes and pushed off.  Up ahead Boatwif waited at the open gates. Before Cleddau had even hove into view the friendly volunteer lock keeper was on hand. “Best to pull in after this lock,” he advised. “Moor up and have a cup of tea.” The problem, it seemed,...

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Little acts of defiance

Slaithwaite to Sparth Reservoir:  2.06 miles, 11 locks             Motto of the day: be prepared for the unexpected… With just about a three hour trip expected today there was time to complete the boat chores in relatively slow time this morning. The Captain, taking advantage of Slaithwaite’s retail opportunities, left to find some Sunday reading matter. There was a judder as he landed back on board. “Well, we’re going nowhere, the British Waterways barge is loose across the...

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Slothful in Slaithwaite

Moored in Slaithwaite: 0 miles, 0 locks Top news story this morning was the flooding in parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, “five inches of rain in some areas, a month’s worth of rain in twenty four hours…”  Yep, it certainly rained!  Some time after dawn a great quietness woke the Cleddau crew – the rain no longer drumming on the cabin roof. Would the towpath still be largely under water? Would the water levels in the canal still be...

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Deluge day

Linthwaite to Slaithwaite: 1 mile, 6 locks. Friday 22nd June. There had been a moment yesterday when the Cleddau crew contemplated delaying departure from Huddersfield on account of the rainy conditions, but a weather forecast check predicted an even wetter day today – how absolutely right it was!  Moored up safely now since before midday in Slaithwaite (remember, pronounced Slouwgh –et) this truly has been the wettest day ever in Cleddau’s cruising history. The Relief Crew  were with us on...

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Midsummer monsoon

Huddersfield to Linthwaite, 3.7 miles, 15 locks Back to the good ship Cleddau yesterday to ready her for a Thursday morning departure: as the crew peered over the wall from the car park to the canal below something looked strangely amiss: there was the boat, yes, but she was pointing east not west as she had been left, her stern drifting away from the canal bank and her canvas cratch flapping in the breeze. A deep breath – and then...

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Wild boating into Huddersfield

It was always going to be a long trip, direct from the moorings at Slaithwaite to Aspley Basin in Huddersfield, a distance of 4.77 miles and 21 locks. The Captain walked most of the towpath between locks and since the last boater down in these parts did not close the bottom gates at any lock his task (twenty one times) involved dealing with five gate movements at each lock, a huge amount of walking around each lock chamber, much fiddling...