I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday 7 July 2013

Salterhebble Locks Lower Pound (Calder and Hebble Navigation) - Saturday 6th July

We are governed by our canine alarm clock in the mornings.  The trouble this morning was that the clock was wrong – 6.45am is not the time to get up!  I was a bit concerned as we changed Muffin’s food last night and I wasn’t too sure if he was very hungry or if he was desperate to go out.  I lifted him onto the bed and after washing the pair of us he settled down for half an hour.  I gave up at 7.15am and got up to give him his breakfast – that’s what he wanted and was a happy puppy after that.

Sowerby Wharf
 We went round to Shire Cruisers to fill up with diesel and then headed up to Salterhebble locks.  The pound was very low and we now know that, even though C&RT are pumping water in, if the situation doesn’t change they will close the pound.

Salterhebble Lock Cottage
Salterhebble Lock

Coming into Salterhebble Lock backwards
Richard was not looking forward to the top Salterhebble lock.  Not only is it only 57 feet (we are 60 feet) he had been told to go in backwards.  We topped up with water and then Richard navigated into the top lock.  We had the assistance of a very helpful C&RT man – no doubt he had seen it all before!  Richard tied the stern rope up to a hooky thing (!) which kept him as far back as possible.  We let the water out very slowly and I watched the bow gently pass the cill – phew!  The next problem was getting the boat out round the shaped bottom gate but it all worked perfectly.  (Hopefully the photos show exactly what I mean!).
Front end
Back end!
The middle lock was much easier though it’s still quite worrying watching the boat sinking down knowing that it is really too big for the lock.
Middle pound
The Calder and Hebble Navigation use a spike on some locks to operate the paddles.  You can buy them for about £20 but Richard bought a piece of 3” x 2” wood from B & Q in Rochdale for £4.50 and made his own and has a 3ft length left!  So far I haven’t had to use the spike as those mechanisms were on the C&RT man’s side!  It will be interesting to see how they work.  When I do use the spike I will take a photo to illustrate.

We pulled over after the second lock for lunch but as the mooring was so nice we decided to stay put for the rest of the day.
Halifax Arm Wharf
In the afternoon we took a walk up the Halifax Arm of the Calder and Hebble.  My photo shows the original wharf which was built to serve Halifax before the Halifax Canal was built.  This canal, opened in 1828, went up 14 locks in less than 2 miles into the town alongside Hebble Brook.  The local mills used the water from the brook so water for the canal had to be pumped up – about 1,000 gallons a minute!  The canal was very expensive to operate and tolls were high and it was abandoned during WWII.  The route of the canal is long gone but you can now walk along the Hebble Trail which takes in part of the canal route.  The trail starts at the end of the Halifax Arm along a footpath under the old canal bridge and then along a lovely leafy path.  It seems strange to be walking along and suddenly realise that you are in the middle of an old lock!  A new housing estate has been built over lock 4 which means that the canal will never be restored.  I’m afraid we turned round here – it was a long walk up into Halifax on a very hot afternoon.

Sowerby Bridge to Salterhebble Lock Lower Pound
2.17 miles
2 locks

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