Out Of The Narrows

We had a lazy day-off on Sunday, although John did inspect the ‘engine ‘ole’, and found the stern gland leak had got worse. Instead of a ‘plip plip’, we’ve now almost got a dribble!

The worsening leak resulting in me not having a very good night’s sleep, as I noticed the automatic bilge pump was spitting out water every 5 minutes! What would happen if the pump burnt out? What if it fused?

With only 8 locks to go (starting at ‘Roller Lock #8E), and just over 2 miles until we reached Aspley Wharf Marina (after Stanley Dawson Lock #1E), who’d been notified we’d be dropping in to get our leak fixed, we decided to have an early start! We casted off our mooring ropes at 8.30 a.m.

Our ‘normal’ plan was for me to do the locking on the first ‘half’ of the locks, and John doing the last four.  As soon as I had completed the first four, and was filling up the lock on ‘Paddock Foot Lock #4E’, John thought it a good idea for me to continue with the locking as the canal was getting more polluted with beer cans, M’cDonald packages, plastic bags, etc. It was at this lock that a C&RT Lock-keeper appeared, saying that he was sending down water as below us the canal was dry. It appears there was a boat stuck on Lock #1 due to lack of water. He said he’d be accompanying us down to Lock #1.

As John sailed Cyan out of Sellers Lock #3E, I lost track of him, and of course Cyan. I’d heard the Lock-keeper tell John to make for Coal Wharf Lock #2, and to stay there until he arrived, as he was going to send more water ‘down’. This is where the ‘fun’ started; there isn’t a towpath after Lock #3, and I was directed to cross a busy road, and round a block of several buildings, to pick up the towpath. Eventually I came to the towpath, and descended down what looked like a flight of 20 ‘fire escape’ steps to get to the towpath. I could see the water in the canal was very low, with lots of rubbish visible.

In front of me was Lock #1, but I couldn’t get back to Lock #2 as there was no towpath.  So I climbed up the ‘fire escape’ steps again, and retraced my steps in case I missed a signpost. I did manage to see Lock #2 from the top of a bridge, I could just about see the top of John’s head in a lock, and I saw the C&RT Lock-keeper busy with his windlass, but I couldn’t see any towpath. It appeared the Lock-keeper had unlocked a small gate to get to the lock, a gate that I missed.

There was nothing left for me but to march back to Lock #1, windlass in hand, and wearing my pink life-jacket. I hardly blended in with the ‘normal’ people of Huddersfield! I wondered if I’d be stopped by a policeman for carrying a ‘lethal’ object?

(John) I set off under instructions to nudge up to lock #2 and hold until C&RT staff attended. Through the short and very low tunnel under the road and out into a pound with no towpath? No sign of Jen at this point, Rusty and I were getting concerned as to where was our crew member!

C&RT arrived through a small gap in a fence and began to fill the lock. ” Where is our crew member?” “No idea Sir”

“WHAT” “She will probably turn up at lock#1″…..probably! He then opened the lock gate and CYAN moved inside. The C&RT guy confirmed he was going to lower the water level then open the top and bottom gate paddles to let water down to the lower lock. CYAN was to remain inside the lock. The water started to boil and we became a fish fillet in a deep fat fryer! Like a rapids ride without the decent! All the time the reassuring smile from the C&RT guy was visible over the bottom gates…….. 40 minutes later we were released from the lock and descended towards lock #1. Very slowly as the pound was full of rubbish and still very low in water. When the lock came into view Jen was standing, patiently waiting…..our crew had belatedly been reunited!

(Jen again) Eventually we’d gone through our last lock, Lock #1, which was just a small stretch of the legs away from Aspley Wharf Marina. Alan, the manager of the marina helped us moor up Cyan, then he made us both a cup of tea (we needed it!).

We’re moored right outside a restaurant/pub called ‘The Aspley’, in the middle of Huddersfield town. Within view on our left is a shopping arcade, advertising House of Frazer, Next, M&S etc., just along side the shopping arcade is a B&Q. To the left of us is an Asda, and behind Asda is an Aldi! I suggested that this mooring would ‘do’ until CYAN was repaired! (LOL).

The new ‘gland’ has been ordered, which should arrive on Wednesday.  We’re very cool!

Today we did 8 locks, 2.2 miles, WiFi is 30 Mg, and we’re shattered!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *