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

Saturday 6 July 2013

Sowerby Bridge (Rochdale Canal) - Friday 5th July

It was goodbye to Hebden Bridge this morning.  I made a quick dash into the town while Richard used the services.  The weather is good so I wanted to get something for the barbecue and also Muffin was running out of food!!  He has dry food and we have a large box of it in the cratch but I worked it out that he wouldn’t have any food for our last day on the boat.  We weighed up whether or not to starve him for 24 hours or go and find a pet shop – I went shopping!!

Hebden Bridge
Hebden Bridge
I didn’t see much of the canal today as I had ironing to do – there were no more t-shirts and we are going to need them – hopefully!  I also had washing to do – it’s all very well stopping in a place for a few days but I do get behind with the chores.  I keep hinting to Richard that we could do with a generator but I guess that when we stop for any length of time we are usually in a built up area so we couldn’t run a generator anyway.
We passed through Mytholmroyd (pronounced My-tham-royd) – the birthplace of the poet Ted Hughes (I studied him for O Level many moons ago!) 

Blackpit Lock
My lock!!!
We finally arrived in Sowerby (pronounced Sorby) Bridge and the infamous Tuel Lock.  There used to be four locks in Sowerby but the top two were filled in for a road improvement scheme in the late 1960s.  When the canal was restored locks 3 and 4 were made into one at a depth of 19 feet and 6 inches – the deepest in the country!  We had to wait for a good half an hour as there were hire boats coming up from Shire Cruises.  I went for a quick wander round the town but there wasn’t much to see.  There had been a market today but at 3pm it was more or less cleared away.   

Sowerby Bridge
We were called into the lock and started our descent.  It is very quick and very deep!  As we came out of the lock we found a curved tunnel but knew that nothing was coming the other way – or so the lock keeper told us!  Suddenly we were back out in the daylight with two more locks to go.  There were two hire boats waiting to go back through the tunnel and up Tuel lock.  We had to wait for the bottom lock as a Shire Cruiser was in there.  The short pound had already serviced one lock full of water with the earlier two hire boats but instead of waiting for us to empty the middle lock into the, already, low pound, the last boat didn’t wait and Mary H was aground by the lock waiting point.  She listed quite badly and I began to panic – I had visions of cupboards opening and stuff everywhere.  As it turns out it was only some drawers that had come open and a couple of deck chairs had fallen over.  I would like to point out at this stage that the culprits were Shire Cruises employees.  They were showing the new hirers what to do – some instructing!

Tuel lock
Tuel lock
Exiting Tuel lock
Exiting Tuel lock
Exiting the curved tunnel
In Lock 2
We pulled over just after the bottom lock where Richard cooked a scrummy barbecue.  We are just yards away from the end of the Rochdale Canal.  We have done 92 locks and 32 miles – it’s been hard work but worth it for the scenery.

Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge
5.51 miles
7 locks

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