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

Thursday 25 July 2013

Marsden Visitors Moorings (Huddersfield Narrow Canal) – Sunday 21st July

We hadn’t really decided last night whether or not to move on or stay in Slaithwaite for another day.  We switched on Breakfast Time and the weather forecaster said there could be thunderstorms tomorrow so we decided to go.  We knew that it was unlikely that we would be able to moor before Marsden so that meant another 21 locks.

Sparth reservoir
We left about 9am and after 3 locks we were out in the countryside again.  Just before Lock 24 we found a homemade bakery in an old converted mill and it was open so I bought a lovely hot loaf for our lunch.  Lock 24 is yet another guillotine lock but this one is manual whereas the others have been electrified.  It was jolly hard work and I’m glad that I had Jim to share the winding with – it seemed to go on forever!  Above Lock 24 there appears to be some mooring – whether or not you can get the boat alongside is another thing. 

Dry spillway at Sparth Reservoir
The locks are well spaced out – 21 of them in 2.77 miles – I ended up walking the whole way, it just wasn’t worth getting back on the boat.  The scenery is wonderful though I did find myself not really getting chance to take it all in as there just wasn’t time.  We celebrated the 7th lock of the day by having a cup of coffee – in the lock of course as there is nowhere to tie up.

The canal at Sparth
The River Colne runs beside the canal nearly all the way – you can hear the water bubbling its way down and every now again you can hear it making a slightly louder noise as it falls over a weir.  Sadly the only photo I took of this part of the canal is very poor and not good enough for the blog.  At Lock 31E there is a winding hole and mooring – as there is a boat tied up pretty close to the bank I guess you can get alongside there.  Just below Lock 32E there is, what looks like, a large concrete staircase – this is supposed to have water pouring down it from Sparth Reservoir but, as you can see from the photo, it is practically empty. 
Marsden flight
Suddenly there is a flight of locks in front and they are really lovely.  We noticed a boat in front of us so decided to move out of Lock 33 and reverse back and stop in the lock tail for lunch to let the water replenish itself.  (Our fresh bread was wonderful!)

Marsden flight
There isn’t much space between the locks on the flight and in fact some pounds are so short they were built circular to hold enough water.
Marsden flight
Just before the last lock, 42E, there is a low bridge with a pipe across the canal.  Jim was at the helm and suddenly stopped as he realised he wasn’t going to get under the pipe with the plants on the top!  I had been setting the lock and a lot of onlookers were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the boat which didn’t come!  I went down to see what was happening and we realised that we were going to have to strip the roof.  We are quite proficient at this now but with all the onlookers on the towpath it wasn’t easy!  We were finally through the last of the eastern locks and ready to moor up.  C&RT had told me that we needed to be through Lock 42E before 4.30pm and at the tunnel entrance before 8.30am the next day.  What they didn’t say was that you HAVE to moor up just above Lock 42E and you are NOT to go down to the tunnel entrance until after 4pm the day before you go through the tunnel.  If it hadn’t been for a local man we would have happily gone down to the tunnel entrance and then got stuck with the trip boat.

View over Marsden
The moorings aren’t brilliant.  On one side there is a high wall with tall modern houses and on the other side there are trees and dense vegetation.  We have no phone or internet access and very little TV signal!

Gongoozlers at Lock 42E
Richard and Jim walked down to the tunnel to see if there was any chance of us going through tomorrow but the C&RT people on duty were from the leisure division and couldn’t help us at all!  We decided to ask again in the morning when the tunnel people came on duty.

Once again we had planned to have a barbecue but with a busy towpath beside us I ended up cooking everything in the oven!

Slaithwaite to above Marsden Visitors Moorings 42E
2.77 miles
21 locks

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