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  • clivenmel

Oct 14th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } �   Today�s great expectation, as we depart from Sowerby Bridge, is the famous Tuel Lane Lock. This amazing construction is preceded by two other tricky locks with tight basins between each, where you are obliged to �hover� until the �crew� set the lock gates for the boat. We had again paired up with our new friends Peter and Jean on Dorothy May and together, having listened to the advice from the BW staff, set off.   Tuel Lane Lock is the deepest lock in the UK (and therefore we are fairly sure � Europe) at almost 20ft deep and needing 140,000gallons of water to fill it! This new lock was originally 2 locks that were redesigned as a single monster, as part of the Tuel Lane Project, re-connecting the Rochdale to the Calder & Hebble and is approached under the new road system through an S-shaped tunnel that brings you immediately into the gaping lock itself.   Fortunately, BW guys man this lock during all it�s open times and they operate the gates on your behalf while the boats are eased upwards with securing lines. It all went very smoothly indeed � it�s a pity more conventional locks aren�t as easy to use as this one.   By this time it was mid-morning and the weather had deteriorated; a steady, very wet drizzle had set in and it was waterproofs again all round. After that, it�s been a steady push through very attractive countryside which just needed some sunshine to show it off. The small, engagingly named village of Friendly made way to Luddenden Foot, where the ne�er-do-well Bramwell Bronte, brother of the famous sisters, was once briefly the Station Clerk. This was followed by the Brearley locks and on into Mytholmroyd, whose name means �river of small stones or hard water!� This place evidently has connections to the poet laureate Ted Hughes and also to a story from 1956 when a pair of gorillas escaped from a private zoo; Occasional sightings are evidently still made � maybe the reports are influenced by the rather good real ale pubs hereabouts? A carved statue does commemorate the event, however, so there must be some truth to it after all.   The poor weather remained so we pushed on again towards Hebden Bridge. There was a lock just before the town centre with a bridge immediately after it with a signpost to the station, therefore Thelma made a sharp exit, without even time for a hug as she had a train back to Huddersfield in 10 minutes!  She made it and had a very quick change at Halifax (3 minutes!) but all went well and she arrived back in Huddersfield before we had got through to the other side of Hebden Bridge. It had evidently cost her the princely sum of 35 pence! The rest of us piled into the Stubbings Wharf pub for a well earned drink at 3.15pm, although sadly no food as it finishes at 2.45! Couldn�t believe they couldn�t rustle up something, especially as we had eaten nothing since breakfast, but no�good selection of beers though..   Here we said our goodbyes to Peter and Jean as they were staying the night here before returning to their winter mooring at Sowerby Bridge. We hope to run into them again on our travels next spring.   So we are now about a mile or so west of HB and hunkered down for the night with a toasty new stove pumping out the heat � I can�t turn it down! Maybe have to open a window!   Tomorrow is a full day, climbing up to the Pennine summit of the Rochdale � another 24 locks! Poor Mel! (Ps. no pics tonight - will try when we get a fast signal)  

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