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

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Turnpike Road Lock (Huddersfield Broad Canal) – Monday 8th July

A little voice said to me this morning “are you awake”, I replied that I was “oh good” says he “I can get up and make sure the alternator is working then”. I looked at the clock it was 5.15 am!!  Apparently Richard had been lying awake for a good hour worrying that the alternator had burnt out last night when he put the engine on for a quick charge.  There had been a strange noise when he switched off and he had managed to convince himself that it was sinister!  He got dressed, opened up the engine bay and turned on the engine – everything was working as it should be!!  He got back into bed but neither of us could sleep so I suggested that we get up and get going as the weather forecast for today was hotter than yesterday.  Richard was rather shocked at my suggestion as I don’t do mornings but I had really struggled with the heat and the locks yesterday and couldn’t face that again.  We had a quick breakfast and were under way by 6.53 am.  It was a beautiful morning and everywhere smelt so fresh – it is on mornings like this that I wish I could write poetry!

That is 6.53 AM!
Our lovely mooring spot
Approaching Kirklees Top Lock
After Kirklees Top and Low Locks we were back on the River Calder until Cooper Bridge where we turned off the Calder and Hebble Navigation and onto the Huddersfield Broad Canal. 

The Calder and Hebble going northwards
The old Fearnley Mill
The bottom lock was a real pig – the paddles were very stiff and the gates heavy, it didn’t bode well for the Huddersfield Broad.  However things got better and we discovered a lovely canal. 
An old corn mill which now sells hot tubs!
We had planned to stop just below Turnpike Road Lock but in fact went through it and moored above it.  It is very shady here and the boat should stay nice and cool today.  We were all moored up by 10am – it does have its advantages getting up early!  We are moored right next to some huge playing fields – we could see some boys playing rugby in the distance but nothing near to us.

Playing fields
 Tomorrow we go into Aspley Wharf Marina where we will leave Mary H while we go home for 10 days.  Our car is still at Swanley Bridge Marina so Richard took himself off to the local station at Deighton for a 2 hour trip on 3 trains to Nantwich.  He then drove to Aspley Marina, left the car there and walked back to the boat (2 miles).  This now means that we will go home tomorrow rather than Wednesday.

Playing fields
I spent the afternoon catching up on emails - it's nice to see my inbox almost empty again.  It was very cool on the boat and I thought that the weather forecast must be wrong until I took Muffin onto the playing field to play nose ball and I realised that our mooring under the trees had made the boat really cool.  Richard phoned about 5.45 pm to say he had left the car at Apsley Marina and would be walking back down the canal so Muffin and I walked up to meet him.

Our mooring
We had just settled down to our dinner when we were invaded by kids in kayaks and canoes.  Their kit is stored in containers just down from us on the playing fields and it was lesson time.  However they had 10 minutes free time at the beginning of the lesson, I assume to let off steam as boy they did that!!  It was lovely to see kids using the canal and learning about the water but not at the expense of our boat!  They kept ramming us and I also felt a bit sea sick as they were churning the water up and rocking the boat!
Our mooring
It appears that I started something yesterday with my “hooky thing”.  Thanks to the wonders of Twitter and Brian McGuigan, I now know this to be a blocking pin.  It sits in front of the offside top gates and could be the world's first automatic gearbox! This is where the boatman would hang the end of the towing strap (rope) prior to hauling the boat out of the filled lock. The strap would be taken around a pulley (the block) fixed to the towing mast on the boat and then to the horse or mule. This gave a 2:1 gearing enabling the animal more easily to get the boat moving. This arrangement also had the advantage of keeping the boat in the centre of the lock, making it easier to get it moving than if it were being pulled up against the stonework. As the boat passed the pin, the strap would lift off by itself and the end would run back to the block, so changing up a gear to 1:1.
Blocking pin or hooky thing!
Kirklees Lock to Turnpike Road Lock
2.69 miles
7 locks

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