Cooper Bridge to Sowerby Bridge
1st September 2013
8 miles - 11 locks
We moored two locks above Cooper Bridge, near Kirklees Lock, which was probably a mistake. The mooring is fairly close to a busy road and the drone of the nearby motorway was incessant. On reflection we should have moored just below the Cooper Bridge Flood Lock but we were not to know how few moorings there are hereabouts.
The day started with jam, Helen bottling 27 Jars of Rose Petal Jelly, otherwise known as Turkish Delight on toast, and me off blackberrying beside the canal. An hour's effort was rewarded with another 3kg's pf glistening black berries.
We saw Mulled Wine for a final time at Brighouse and received rave reviews about the Chinese Berry Jam which we had sold them at Castleford - a lovely little used fruit which looks like and orange raspberry but grows on the ground like strawberry - much loved by urban landscapers but rarely eaten. Brighouse is a bit of a desolate place these days - Sagar closed down last year, the elsan point is closed and even the rubbish point is closed - its no fly tipping sign nearly submerged in abandoned waste! BUT - it does have a Sainsburys next to the basin which is a big plus and Helen took advantage of this facility whilst I refilled with water.
Salterhebble bottom lock
It was wild and gusty as we progressed up the navigation, following a hire boat. I have to say that whilst I like the history associated with the handspikes, the sluices they operate can be a bit wild at times, throwing the boat around in the locks. They lack... how shall I put it.... finesse!
An empty upper basin
Things were more peaceful in the trees after Elland through to Salterhebble. But here we hit a snag. The first lock with it arthritic guillotine was ok but then the middle pound was empty, as in no water whatsoever. I walked up to the top and found a couple of widebeams tied up waiting for Canals and Rivers to come and solve the problem. No problem I say - happens all the time on the BCN and proceeded to open all the ground and gate paddles and had the basin brimming full in less than 20 mins.
Flooding the basin
Wand'ring Bark is moved into the lock and the gates shut. Well, that was the idea but neither would shut against the cills. We heaved, we flushed, we swung, we dragooned in every passer by we could muster and achieved - absolutely zilch! In the end we retreated to the services and awaited the arrival of the Trust staff almost resigned to a run over the Huddersfield narrow. In the end the Canals and River guys arrives and pulled, flushed and basically repeated all our efforts to no avail. Something was clearly stuck on the cill so in the end we put WB over the lock gates and the Trust chap fished round with his long rake - and out popped a lorry tyre.
Up - and away!
We got back into the lock and nearly shut the gates. One was stuck two or three inches open but the Trust guys figured we could get it filled. Sluices were opened and the gates creaked, leaning in to meet maybe 6 feet up and with a huge amount of water pouring out of the bottom end we made a level. The price was 6 inches of water out of the long pound to Sowerby Bridge which made the final run on the twilight a bit of a challenge. The three hour delay meant a 7.30pm arrival and no time to look round the town - so much for an early finish!
Late arrival at Sowerby Bridge