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  • clivenmel

Oct 16th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Sorry there wasn�t a blog yesterday � by the time we arrived at lock 36 the Rochdale Summit, at 7pm last night, we were too tired to even turn the computer on!    We had got up very early on Wednesday morning and actually left our mooring just beyond Hebden Bridge at 8.00am!  We knew we had a long, hard day ahead of us � starting with Lock No 14!  Everything seemed to be going reasonably well, apart from the weather which couldn�t seem to make its mind up what to do in the morning, one minute it was sunny and the next it was raining.  We came round a bend in the canal and there were some strange signs in the water � not seen any like this before � an arrow pointing left and a red sign saying �Danger � underwater obstruction� � needless to say we gave it a wide berth, but didn�t actually see any sign of what was under the water!  We continued on our way and by this time had met up with another boat going the same way so we doubled up in a couple of locks with them, however we went round another bend in the canal and came across a very large obstacle � a dredger barge which had drifted from its mooring and settled itself right across the canal!  We tried nudging it with the front fender but it just wouldn�t move at all so we had to call out the BW boys!  We found out later on that it had been cut loose from its mooring by some sweet little angels who were playing down by the canal � the little darlings! I blame the parents!!!  Anyway, the boys in blue (British Waterways men all wear blue sweatshirts!) duly arrived and managed to lasso the barge and pull it back up the canal, under a bridge and tied it up again where it belonged, so after a short delay we were on our way again.   We meandered along a really spectacular stretch of canal, the scenery was really rugged and beautiful, but there was an awful lot of water in the locks and many of them were overflowing like Niagara Falls again.  Some of them were filling over the gates and hardly needed the paddles opening as there was so much water coming down.  This continued lock after lock.  In some places the towpath was flooded because the locks were so full they were overflowing!  Finally we arrived in Todmorden and had to negotiate yet another guillotine lock.  This was where we parted company with the other boat as they were turning round to go back to their hire base.  Just before this lock was yet another example of canalside art, a really lovely mural of different kinds of fish.  We have seen many pieces of sculpture and other art forms along the canal and some of them are really lovely.    Just after we came through Todmorden we came upon an incredible sight, the biggest wall we have ever seen, it is absolutely huge, I cannot begin to imagine how many bricks it took to build it!  The Great Wall of Todmorden is actually a blue brick retaining wall supporting the adjoining railway. A little further along we arrived at the Gauxholme Locks, a relentless climb uphill!  Yet another amazing sight was waiting for us, a Gothically inspired cast iron railway bridge with crenellated abutments, absolutely fantastic!    We continued our relentless slog up to the summit and by the time we reached lock 36 it was rapidly getting dark.  This lock was immediately followed by a swing bridge � I had to open the lock gate to let the boat out and quickly run round to the bridge to get it open so that Clive could go through � I couldn�t find any instructions for the bridge at first and was a bit concerned that there were no barriers to stop the traffic, just a stop sign on the bridge when it was fully opened and that was at the other side of the canal!  Anyway it all went well once I had figured out how to open it and no cars ended up in the canal thank goodness!  By this time I was on my last legs, feeling absolutely exhausted and Clive was also very weary so we were very relieved to realise that we had finally reached the summit and couldn�t go through the next lock until the following morning when the BW man arrived to unlock it.  We moored up and had a very quick wash and brush up then walked the short distance to a local hostelry we had seen from the boat called Bird I� th�Hand (for you Southerners who don�t understand our local dialect that means bird in the hand!).  We had a very pleasant meal and a wee drop of alcohol and then trudged back to the boat and a very much needed night�s sleep.   We were up bright and early again this morning and after a quick breakfast were ready for the off again starting with Lock No 36 � The Summit section is the highest broad canal in the country, at 601 feet above sea level. BW are trying to conserve water and also restrict the water levels rising too fast along the canal so the next few locks had padlocks on one of the paddles so that you could only use one paddle to empty the locks.  Needless to say this took ages and Clive got very chilled down in the deep dark locks out of the sunshine.  I on the other hand was working up a lather because I was hotfooting it down to the lock in front to get that one set whilst the previous one was emptying, then rushing back up to open the gates to let the boat out.  However the water level was very high and as one lock was emptying the water was tearing down the pound and overflowing into the next lock so when I tried to open the front gates the force of the water coming over the top was so great I couldn�t open them!  A couple of times I had assistance from walker�s using the towpath but on other occasions Clive had to tie up the boat and come and help me crack the gates � what a day!   We finally arrived in Littleborough about 4.00pm and decided to call it a day after 14 locks. We moored up and went shopping for a few bits and pieces and then came back to the boat and got all cosy in front of our lovely new stove.   I am afraid there are only two photos today, we have a very poor signal and it took ages to download these two and then it wouldn't download any more!  Next time we get a good signal on the dongle we will put lots more photos in the gallery - watch this space!

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