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

Monday 2 July 2012

Sunday 1st July

We woke up to blue sky and sunshine but of course it didn’t last! We had 23 locks ahead of us to get up onto the summit pound which is where the this part of the Chesterfield Canal now terminates. Of course, with a name like the Chesterfield Canal, the canal once went all the way to Chesterfield. In 1961, the entire length of the canal was proposed for official abandonment, but protests made meant that under the Transport Act 1968 it was classified as a cruiseway between the Trent and Worksop, while the rest was classified as remainder. Restoration efforts began in the 1970s, with the Chesterfield Canal Society formed in 1976, focusing initially on the route east from Norwood Tunnel to Worksop, which presented relatively few physical obstacles to being restored to navigation. There are 5 miles of waterway from Chesterfield to Staveley which have also been restored which leaves 9 more miles still as “work in progress” this includes Norwood tunnel. A significant diversion will be needed around the village of Killamarsh, where a housing estate has been built on the line of the canal. The middle section of the tunnel was lost to coal mining, and as part of the reclamation of the derelict mining area, the canal will be rebuilt in the open air, probably at a higher level with locks at each end.

We had originally thought that we wouldn’t attempt 23 locks just to get up to the top then turn round and come back down again but we met a BW man in Retford who said that we really must go up to the top as it is lovely and the views are great. The locks are divided into 2 with the hamlet of Turnerwood doing the dividing. The first 8 locks are all single locks almost in a flight - you can certainly work them as such. We stopped in Turnerwood for an ice cream and a coffee and to admire the prettiness of it all. The next 14 locks are a mixture of single, double and treble locks. I had never worked a treble lock before and had to make sure that the two top locks were full before starting our ascent up through. It didn’t take us long really and the weather was kind to us with just a couple of very light drizzle showers. We stopped at the top for lunch and then continued on our way to the end. With the BW man’s words ringing in our ears we looked for the lovely views but could only find a very overgrown canal with trees hanging over it. If there is one thing I don’t like it’s being shut in – I hate cuttings as they really depress me and the trees had the same affect. We got to the end and turned round though there was a pretty impressive feeder coming into the canal with a waterfall. We got back to the top lock and Richard walked down to see if there was a nice place to stop, he came back and said he had found an ideal place 9 locks further down so off we set again!

Now Richard is an engineer and he decided that he knew better than James Brindley, who built the canal and the lock, and British Waterways who put the signs up with operation directions for the treble locks! I won’t go into details and embarrass him more but he managed to flood the towpath and when we got through the bottom lock we couldn’t get under the bridge as the pound was too high – hmm! Anyway we made it just below one of the treble locks and moored up for the night.

I didn’t feel well at all. I had a griping tummy ache and felt really cold. Richard made beans on toast and at 8pm I went to bed in my clothes to try and warm up.

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