Big Boats And Little Boats

We descended down the last three locks of the Calder & Hebble, and what BIG babies they were too! The last one Fall Ing Lock (no that’s not a spelling mistake) could have fitted 4 Cyans in comfortably. But poor John, the lock beams were gigantic too, and took quite a lot of shifting.

With John, safely on board Cyan. We continued our journey, which is now on the Aire and Calder Navigation.

The River Calder is beautiful, and today she was serine, though there’s plenty of evidence by the rubbish caught high in the bushes on the bank, that the river rises quite a bit.

There appears to be quite a colony of herons on this stretch of the river, and I just managed to snap this one just before he took off in flight. Amazing really, they appear to be able to jump up and fly, like a jump jet, if a little ungainly!

Eventually we turned off the River Calder, turning left onto a part of the Aire & Calder Navigation.

How beautifully constructed the towpath is on this canal…

We saw this boat in the distance, and couldn’t quite work out how big it was, until we got nearer:

She dwarfed ‘little’ Cyan… though I read there’s much bigger ones in this area.

We were aiming for Ramsden, but didn’t realise just what a great place it is. There are lots of big wide beams and little boats (we rudely call them ‘yogurt pots’). Everyone, all appearing to be enjoying the water.

After carrying out service duties, rubbish, cassettes, water (after 30 minutes we gave up on the water as it was slow!), we found a nice little spot for mooring. The mooring is a C&RT 48 hour mooring.

Our mooring’s a few steps from the ‘Stanley Ferry’ pub – where we had a nice drink at lunchtime.

We thought we’d stay at this lovely place for the weekend, probably moving Monday, depending of course on the weather.

Within sight is the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct; built between 1836 and 1839 to take the Aire and Calder Navigation over the River Calder. It is one of the earliest arch bridges in the world, and is considered to be the longest span aqueduct built in cast iron.  The aqueduct has a span of 165 feet (50 m), a width of 24 feet (7.3 m) and a depth of 8.5 feet (2.6 m).

We did 3 locks, 6 miles. Mooring where WiFi is 35 Mbps.

Squeezing Into The Locks

Last evening we amused ourselves watching a single duck, with her 3 ducklings. This morning we found mother duck was having a real tussle with a single male swan. He was horrible to her, chasing her about and looking like he was trying to drown her. Her three ducklings were hiding in the reeds, while she distracted the swan away from her brood. We did manage to tempt the swan towards Cyan by throwing some bread from the hatch, and hoped the duck and her ducklings would escape and the swan would ‘forget’ them. The ploy didn’t work, as the swan went back on the hunt for the duck family. We hope the outcome was not tragic……

This family of swans and very new cygnets were so cute, and they looked quite serine. Mum and dad were taking great care.

We were told last evening by a chatty Canal & Riverside Trust volunteer who was picking up rubbish from the towpath, that the next lock (Mill Bank Lock #7) was the shortest on the Calder & Hebble. Hearing that; was’t conducive to sleeping well, as that information just gave me nightmares!

Nevertheless, after breakfast we geared up for the challenges of the day. At the lock we just took it slowly and we just fitted diagonally inside the lock. Once we emptied the lock John used the boat pole to nudge  Cyan across the lock allowing the gate to open.  Leaving the lock was a lovely feeling, knowing that at least we’d ‘fit’ in all the other locks.

The gates are huge and heavy, the paddles are also hard to operate, C&H locks are quite a challenge for John.

As we missed the water point and services yesterday, we were aiming to make for the services at Horbury Basin. When we arrived, the area looked very tight to access the services, so we gave it a miss, believing the next services are not too far away.

It’s lovely to cruise along the navigation. After dropping down Broad Cut Top Lock #4, we moored up.

The weather has been brilliant, and as we’d moored up by Navigation Inn, we thought it would be rude not to pop into the pub’s garden for a drink. The Navigation Inn has a fantastic play area for children. School looks to be out for half term, and lot’s of children were in the play area having a great time. Rusty was unsettled and not happy with children running around so we didn’t stay too long.

Today we have gone down 4 locks, and 3.25 miles. Wifi is 6 Mbps.

Glorious Day On The River

A glorious day in the making as we set off from our ‘Lidl’ mooring

John took the picture of Cyan ‘hovering’ on the water while he waited for the lock to fill up.  We had intended to use the services at this lock, but annoyingly a boat was ‘moored’ at the water point. Hope C&RT take note and enforce the rules surrounding access to facilities!

These locks are wide, and rather short for Cyan, though they aren’t as deep as some we have encountered.

Poor John, it wasn’t easy for him to jump back on Cyan. ‘One giant step’ etc…..


Eventually we came to a weir on the river, obviously we can’t sail down weirs, therefore we turned off onto a part of a canal system.

It’s the first time this year we’ve spotted a dog rose.

The railway bridge is in use, because as we sailed under it, a train went over it!

For some reason we’ve not seen much wildlife on the canals we’ve been on these past few weeks, so we were really happy to see these little ones, they’ve grown so much and they’re starting to get their ‘grown up’ feathers. Sadly she’s only got three left, when probably she’d hatched over 10.

Here’s our calm and peaceful mooring for the night, just outside the Dewsbury Arm.

Today we’ve gone through 5 locks, cruised 2 miles, and we’ve got 12 Mbps.

After Weekend Bank Holiday

The mooring, at the start of the ‘Calder & Hebble Navigation’ was lovely and quiet, so we decided to stay put and let the ‘bank holiday boaters’, enjoy the ‘space’. Just as well as the rain on Sunday and Monday never gave up!

Tuesday morning; though the weather was cloudy, it looked promising, so we set off without really a place in mind to moor.

We’ve learnt that the structure of the locks are unique to each canal, so as we ventured to our first lock on the Calder & Hebble, we wondered which ‘technique’ we should use.  The locks appear double the width, and roughly being the same length as those on the Huddersfield Broad Canal, which is short for us. We had to go down the locks on the HBC horizontal. Which means it’s awkward to open the gates of the lock, as Cyan’s bow’s  is tucked in the corner. We’ve got round this by John nudging Cyan out the gate with a pole.

As the locks are wide, there’re many beautiful wide-beamed boats of either 10ft or 12 ft width.  Cyan’ beam is 6ft 10in.  It’s a little strange to see them, and they do look ‘luxurious’.

At first it’s strange to be cruising a river, and every now and again there’s evidence of when the river was in high flood, such in the picture below, where ‘rags’ have been caught in branches.

From the river we turned off onto a navigation, which basically is a canal system, cutting out a part of the river that is un-navigational. We passed through the Ledgard flood gates which were open, but should the water in the river be high, the gates will be shut to protect the canal.

We moored up just outside the car park of a Lidl store, where provisions were replenished.

Today we went through 2 locks, cruised 2 miles, and moored where WiFi is 48Mbps.

Back On The ‘Road’ Again!

We’ve got a bit of catching up to do with the website.

As mentioned in our previous post, we moored just outside a pub/restaurant at Aspley Basin, on the Huddersfield (now) Broads Canal.  We took a bit of ‘time out’, doing some shopping, and basically chilling out until the stern gland arrived.

On Wednesday morning our ‘part’ arrived, and was successfully fitted.

The engineer also checked the alignment of the prop, and we’re pleased to report, all is fine. What a relief to finally have confidence our leak is fixed.

We were a little peeved on Thursday  morning as we’d planned to fill up with water, use the sanitary services, and empty the rubbish before we set off on our ‘never ending journey’; unfortunately there was already a boat on the ‘water-point’. After patiently waiting for an hour, John calmly sauntered off to ask if there was a problem, and to say he’d like to get on the water point and use the facilities (boats are not allowed to moor on water-points if they are not using the services). The boater told John he was waiting for his friends to arrive, then he would be moving.  Two hours later, they were still on the water-point.  They finally moved off to moor up just 150 yd. down stream! Hmmm. Rather than getting rattled, John was persuaded to chill out and have another night at the basin.

Friday morning we were up an ready at 8:00 a.m., we reversed Cyan onto the water-point to use the services.  By 8:30 a.m we were cruising under the unusual lift bridge: Originally the bridge was manually raised and lowered by some very sturdy boaters!

The bridge is now electrical/hydraulically powered and we are required to hold up the traffic while the roadway is raised and lowered.

The bridge is a back-road that’s like a bit of a rat-run or shortcut for cars.  We did feel a little guilty having to stop half a dozen or so cars, at what must be their morning journey to work, while we cruised under the bridge.

At the first lock, Lock #9, we soon discovered that descending the lock was going to be a little tricky. The locks were wider. I thought the difference between the Huddersfield ‘Narrow’ and the Huddersfield ‘Broad’ was about the width of the canal. Not so, it’s because of the width of the locks.

Cyan is 58ft long, bigger with her front and rear bumpers. We soon discovered the locks will only accommodate a 60ft boat, maximum. We’re well aware boats have to be careful not to get the stern/rear caught on the lock’s cill. If it does get caught, it can be a disaster!

Eventually we formed a system where Cyan sat diagonally in the lock, with John holding her bow line, while he let the water out of the lock slowly and carefully. I had the important job of keeping Cyan away from the cill with only inches to spare.

These are the first foxgloves we’ve seen this year.

An a beautiful clump of flag irises.

How could anyone get bored with the scenery!

Eventually all 9 locks were behind us, and we left the Huddersfield Broad Canal, and onto the ‘Calder & Hebble Navigation’.  We’ve not been on a ‘Navigation’ before. A Navigation is a waterway that uses both a canal and a river. Where water in a river flows down via weir (where a boat can’t go), a part of a canal has been created which has a lock to drop the boat down.  Sounds complicated?  Sorry about that, we’ve yet to experience a navigation at this moment of typing.

After the shallow water of the Huddersfield, Cyan cruised smoothly in the deeper water of the River Calder.  We didn’t go too far until we turned right, and through flood gates onto the Calder & Hebble. At this spot we moored up for the night.

How nice it was for the C&RT have cut our ‘lawn’ for us!  Behind us are the flood gates, protecting the ‘canal’ from river floods.

This is such a nice spot, we thought we stop for a few days.  We have  72 hours before we need to move on from these moorings.

This evening we have ‘neighbours’ who’ve moored up behind us… guess who they are? Yes, it’s the boat that hogged the water-point!

We’ve done 9 locks, 3 1/2 miles, and the WiFi is 45 mg!