This video is about our journey on our narrowboat from the Ashton Canal to the start of the Rochdale 9 Locks which go through Manchester.
We left Droylsden Marina and cruised the 18 locks heading towards Manchester. According to the Nicholsons Waterways guide the only 2 places safe to moor in Manchester is Telford Basin and Castlefield Basin. It took us 6 hours cruising time to reach Telford Basin at Piccadilly village where there were private moorings with a 24 hour visitor mooring for CRT license holders. We struggled with the turn into the basin as it was a very tight turn and we had some rubbish wrapped around our prop which made handling the boat difficult. The area was lovely and quiet but was surrounded by flats which meant no TV signal.
The next day Pat had to clear the prop, the water was exceptionally cold and it was a bit of a struggle but he cleared several carrier bags and string from around the prop. Hopefully this made it easier to exit the basin. We completed this section of the Ashton Canal and turning left was presented with the famous Rochdale 9 locks.
This video is about Our Narrowboat Quest on the Ashton Canal.
On Wednesday 17th October we cruised from Stalybridge on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to Droylsden Marina on the Ashton Canal. After passing through Lock 1W on the Huddersfield Canal we were immediately on the Ashton Canal. Passing through Ashton under Lyne we called in Portland Marina for fuel and coal then continued for the next hour to Droylsden at Fairfield Junction. Most of the Ashton Canal is in a densely built up area of industrial units, old mills and urban landscapes.
The Ashton Canal forms part of The Cheshire Ring encompassing parts of the Trent and Mersey, the Bridgewater Canal and the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. We would have preferred to have cruised down the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canal, thereby avoiding Manchester, however due to lock closures because of the water shortages these canals were not navigable at this point in time so Manchester and the Rochdale nine it was!
We had booked the boat into Droylsden Marina for two weeks while we visited our daughter in Kent.
On Wednesday 31st October we left the marina and took in the 18 locks on our descent to Manchester. The Nicholson Waterways guide recommends that you commence these locks before 10 am, completing them the same day and only mooring in recognised sites in the area, avoiding school holidays. We were a little nervous as to what to expect, however this was not a school holiday so trouble hopefully was not on the agenda.
It was a beautiful autumn day with plenty of sunshine and this section of the canal was quite pretty in parts but on the whole unremarkable. Sadly spoilt by lots of rubbish and plastic in the locks and canal in general.
Finally we leave the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in our narrowboat heading towards Manchester.
Sunday 14th October- We cruised down to Stalybridge visitor moorings, negotiating 8 locks and Scouts Tunnel which is 205 yards long. On the way passing Hartshead Power station where the canal passes underneath an electricity pylon that had been erected while the canal was closed and the only viable route for the restoration of the canal was through the legs. There are good moorings at Stalybridge, with the local town a bit tired looking, only a few minutes walk away, a large Tescos next to the canal and an Aldi also a few minutes walk. Tow path very busy as you would expect in town. We wondered if we would experience any trouble here but all was quiet except for the noisy and unruly geese who were ready to attack when ever you passed.
After leaving Staybridge on 17th October we cruised to the end of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Ashton under Lyne taking in 5 locks. We had completed the 19.5 miles, 74 locks and 3 mile long Standedge tunnel, across the Pennines in 9 days.
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal has its challenges but is such an interesting canal of contrasts. We passed through heavy urban areas in Huddersfield and Ashton upon Lyne, lovely rural pennine villages like Uppermill and Saddleworth, beautiful open countryside and heathered moorland at Marsden and Diggle and impressive old mills sadly now in decay. Although heavily locked we wouldn't have missed it for the world and loved all of its contrasts but will not be doing it again.
After conquering the Standedge Tunnel in our narrowboat, not having sustained a great deal of damage we are now on our journey West along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
After conquering the Standedge Tunnel in our narrowboat, not having sustained a great deal of damage , we are travelling west along the Huddersfield Narrow canal. In hindsight we probably should have moored at Diggle just outside the tunnel but as it was still quite early in the day we wanted to continue down the next set of locks, which were nine in total and find somewhere to moor. It took us the next 5 hours to do the nine locks down to Uppermill, but that was because when we arrived at lock 24W it was padlocked. We contacted CRT who said that it was only opened on Wednesdays to allow boaters through and up to Standedge Tunnel. However this was a Monday and we had come East to West through tunnel, it appeared that they had not taken this into consideration. We tried to moor up in the pound but were unable to get any mooring pins in as the canal bank and towpath were concrete. We finally moored up on the lock landing expecting to be there until Wednesday. Suddenly someone from CRT arrived and unlocked the padlock for us and we were able to descend the lock. We made our way through the lock and moored just passed the bridge where we stayed for 2 days.
On Wednesday 10th October we travelled down to Uppermill visitor moorings through 2 locks where we stayed overnight. Uppermill is a beautiful pennine village with little stepping stones across the river, some lovely coffee shops and pubs and a small co-op for provisions. This section of the canal from Diggle to Saddleworth village was amazing in the vibrant autumn colours.
On Thursday 11th October we cruised for 3 hours down The Roaches taking in 7 locks on the way. We moored up just passed lock 15W as there was a storm due, here we stayed for 3 nights while the weather settled.
Following on from our adventure on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, this video is a mainly real time cruise through the Standedge tunnel. This is our tribute to all of the navvies and others that designed and built this remarkable tunnel. Thanks to volunteer Trevor for all the information he imparted and for guiding us through the tunnel, Part 2
Wow, what an experience!!
This is not a tunnel for the faint hearted, taking your home 600ft into the bowels of the earth, under Saddleworth Moor isn't something that you do every day.
The morning started off with preparation to get everything in order to make the safe passage through the tunnel. We set up the cameras and donned our new uniform of high vis and hard hat and with much trepidation we set off, our guide Terry was very reassuring.
Entering the first part of the tunnel with the light fading behind us, the temperature took a distinctive change and reduced by several degrees. It dawned on us that there was now no turning back, we were committed to moving forward into the darkness for approximately the next 2 hours, not knowing what lay ahead.
After passing through a solid brick area we came into what can only be described as arched brickwork, this continued for some time. At this point we were able to stand up almost straight, just had to be careful not to bang our head on the ceiling. Trevor warned us that there was water cascading down at certain points. We came across this at the shafts built to assist in the construction of the tunnel. To the left side of the archway there were openings which although very dark we were told that they led into the train tunnel which is still in use today.
We eventually came to the first check in point, this was the first of 3 throughout our journey.
For our preparation for this journey we read the Canal and River Trust information on their website. This was quite daunting as it stipulated that anyone requesting passage through the tunnel needed to in the case of an emergency be able to climb a vertical ladder.
Setting off from the check point with only the echo of the engine noise drumming in our ears, we came across the first area of exposed rock. Pointed and jagged, the light exposed the mis-shaped outline of the tunnel where it had been cut by hand using steel rods hammered into the rock and dynamite to blast away the area. We suddenly came into an area of light grey but very smooth concrete, Trevor mentioned that while the train tunnel was being built, the rock had been disturbed and some collapses had occurred. We were looking up at the area where the rock fall had been repaired with steel mesh and sprayed concrete, which was part of the permanent repair completed in 2000. Although it looked quite substantial it was still disconcerting to think of the amount of rock that had fallen and the work that it took to make these repairs.
After what seemed an absolute age (and probably was) we came to a narrowing of the tunnel, Trevor had warned us that there was a kink in the tunnel, hoping that this was as narrow as it would get Pat asked if this was the narrowest point and his reply was "not yet'!
We now found that we were unable to stand and found ourselves squatting down as the tunnel became ever increasingly lower. Pat managed to bump the roof with a considerable thud on the bolts protruding from the rock face, thankfully he was wearing a hard hat. Suddenly there was a bang from the starboard side of the boat as part of the stern bounced off a piece of jagged rock as the tunnel became ever smaller.
We eventually saw a small white dot in the darkness, although it took us another 30 mins to finally reach the end of the tunnel and emerged from the ground into daylight. What a relief, but we were excited to know that we had completed the Standedge Tunnel.
Following on from our adventure on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, this video is a mainly real time cruise through the Standedge tunnel. This is our tribute to all of the navvies and others that designed and built this remarkable tunnel. Thanks to volunteer Trevor for all the information he imparted and for guiding us through the tunnel.
We had arrived at Marsden on 6th October, the following day we walked down to the tunnel entrance, had a coffee in the little cafe there and a walk around the visitor centre. The centre is free to enter and tells the story behind this amazing feat of engineering and why it became the the worlds most expensive canal tunnel. If you don't have a boat the centre runs boat trips through the tunnel, either 30 mins or the full length trip of 2.5 hours at £5.50 and £28.00 respectively, with family tickets and concessions.
We also took in the circular walk from the visitor centre experiencing some lovely views across the moors.
We had our passage booked the following day so a little later in the day we moved the boat down to outside the cafe and topped up with some water ready for the following day.
At around 0830 Trevor, our volunteer guide through the tunnel arrived. He advised us to remove as much as we could from the roof, so off came our barge poles and gang plank, our chimney and navigation lights. We removed our pram and catch cover completely as we did not want to damage it. Trevor also measured from the water level to the highest point of the boat but it materialised that we were in fact 2 inches too high for the tunnel. As we had both had showers the previous evening there was a little bit of space in our water tank so we topped up with more water which solved the problem.
We were advised to wear waterproof coats as in some areas where the air shafts were located water streamed through. We donned hard hats and high visibility jackets which were supplied and set off into the tunnel on a fascinating experience.
This video is about our continuing journey on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal through to Marsden and the East entrance to Standedge Tunnel.
This video starts at the end of our day of 4th October, we are continuing our journey through lock 3E and onwards to between locks 8E and 9E where we finally found somewhere suitable to moor at around 7pm. We had completed a 8 hour day covering just 5 miles and 13 locks.
On Friday 5th October we left our mooring at 8am and started our cruise up towards Slaithwaite. (pronounced Sloughwit) There was some lovely cruising in this section with some difficult bends and narrow locks. After 5 hours of cruising, 3 miles and 13 locks we moored up just before the sanitary station. The town was a few minutes walk away with a small co op and a larger Aldi.
The following day we left Slaithwaite at around 1030, after having a bit of a lie in as we were feeling quite fatigued after having done an 8 hour day with 11 locks and an 8 hour day with 13 locks.
We had intended to do about 10 locks, leaving the remaining 10 locks for Sunday however once again we didn't find anywhere to moor except for lock landings. Most of the canal bank was concrete and a lot of the tow path was concrete with no mooring rings. We ended up doing the whole of the remaining 21 locks, another 8 hour cruising day and covering just 2.75 miles.
We moored up in Marsden next to the railway station and the next day took a walk down the tow path towards the visitor centre and tunnel entrance. Here we found a nice little cafe an
The start of our journey by narrowboat on The Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Starting from Lock 1E at the rear of Huddersfield University , through 74 locks and The Standedge Tunnel to Ashton Under Lyne. The canal was constructed in 1793 and eventually closed in 1948. After being derilict for 50years, against all odds it was reopened in 2001.
This video is about our journey in our narrowboat on the Huddersfield_Broad_Canal.
After having completed a nine hour day the previous day cruising the Aire and Calder and Calder and Hebble Navigations, completing 11 locks, topping up with water, visiting the elsan point and a shop for groceries at Lidl we arrived on the Huddersfield Broad Canal around 5pm. We moored up just before lock 3, not a great mooring as there was a factory opposite but we were both tired. We had Standedge Tunnel passage booked for Monday 8th October so were planning three 4 -5 hour days with Sunday to spare.
We left our mooring the following day. The Broad canal was quite industrial with only other moorings being outside Sainsburys or at Aspley Boat Yard. However it was great to see the 150 year old Turnbridge Loco Lift which opened in 1865 replacing an earlier swing bridge. The bridge is raised horizontally via chain pulleys using counterweights, which used to be hand cranked but is now electrically operated thankfully!
We made our way passed Sainsburys, (which in hindsight we wished we had stopped and moored overnight making a fresh start the following day onto the Huddersfield Narrow Canal as we were unable to moor until between Locks 8E and 9E), passing Aspley boat yard and through the tunnel towards Huddersfield University Campus where we began our ascent out of Huddersfield on the Narrow Canal.