Friday, 4 August 2017


Today's Canal - Huddersfield Broad

Our plan for today was to complete the run into Huddersfield, fill with fuekl, use the services, do some shopping and then return back five locks to moor overnight near to a station for tomorrow's trip into Meadowhall where Alice will miraculously turn into Jess! Such are plans - and you will see how far they turned out . . .

It was threatening rain when we set off so we donned waterproofs - but they turned out to be unnecessary and by the time we had worked through half of the locks it was far too warm to keep them on.

We had seven more locks to ascend, all very much the same except that a couple did not have a bridge at the tail - which means more walking for the person setting the locks as there is only a way across a the lock at the top.

Almost all of the locks now have security devices - which needed to be opened and closed using a so-called handcuff key. Although all the paddles were fairly easy to open, the extra time taken to cope with the security adds to the time.

There was not a lot remarkable between the locks which are generally quite close together but we checked out the possible mooring places close to the bridge for Deighton Station.

Eventually we reached the top of this canal followed by a mile and a half run into the basin at the centre of the town.

Part way we passed what looks a quite new waste to energy plant with its very tall chimney.

The last bridge is known variously as Quay Street Bridge, Turnbridge or, more popularly with boaters, Loco Bridge. The latter is thought to be because the lift mechanism, which is unusual as it lifts the bridge deck vertically, is thought to resemble the very first steam locomotives. Fortunately, it is now electrically powered.

Christine had quite a struggle with the operation and eventually decided that the key mechanism is a bit dodgy as it twice turned off the power power mid sequence. We did later see a CaRT person who promised to report the problem for us.

It was pretty windy in Aspley Basin but we managed to come alongside the fuel point, thanks to help from the marina staff. Mike struggled to unlock the fuel cap and although he eventually succeeded the chap offered to look at it in his workshop after we had filled.

After wire brushing, even more lubricant and lots of pushing and pulling both of our keys now work the lock a whole lot better. Lets hope they stay that way.

In the small chandlery shop we saw the only 'proper' hardwood handspikes on sale and, really as a treat for Mike bought one, selected form thew choice by Alice as our handspiker-in-chief.

Before going any further we had lunch and then moved across to the service point where we emptied and filled as usual. After a week of practice, Alice is now quite adept at doing the water fill whilst Mike does the elsan.

The man at the marina was very keen to dissuade us from going back to moor at Deighton as planned - he was concerned that it may not be thew safest place whilst he makes sure that the marina moorings are supervised 24/7! In any case, the moorings, although bankside, are free or the first 72 hours. We managed to find a suitable sized gap.

 BY now the afternoon was about to slip away. Christine proposed that we walk up to the town's Art Gallery. We quickly locked up and sorted out a walking route. It was supposed to be just over 10 minutes but it took in an unobvious entrance through the market hall which we missed twice before identifying that it really was the way to go.

The Art Gallery has last admission at 3.45 and closes at 4 pm and by now it was nearly 3:30. The gallery is part of the library building and occupies the top floor. Although it is not a large display it is carefully curated. The first section was called Explore Perspectives of Kirklees and shows some of the more popular items in their collections, mainly 20th century works.

A single Henry Moore sculpture dominates the entrance - it is called Fallen Warrior and captures the moment at which an ancient soldier collapses to the ground - although we do not know how he has been attacked.

Walter Sickert's take on the seaside at Ramsgate in 1930, described as much lighter than many of his works.

 Stanley Spencer was a well-know inhabitant of Cookham in Berkshire where his did much of his work. Many of his paintings have a distinctively religious content but this one is of his garden.

LS Lowry is almost a must for any northern art collection and here there are two, this one of Huddersfield itself was specially ocmmissioned at the time by the town council.

This small plaster model by Hilda Seligman really does capture her title of Innocence.

This portrait of Paul McCartney hardly needs the caption to recognise the subject.

Peter Brook was born on a Pennine village farm and many of his works capture either the remoteness of that existence or the bleakness of the various industrialised mill towns.

The next gallery was a special exhibition of a current artist Kate Sully who finds her inspiration from scientific images of biochemical behaviours - especially the first stages of reproduction. She often starts with a large coloured print of the electron microscope photograph and adds to it three dimensions with all sorts of bright materials.

We stretched our visit to the maximum but as we were leaving Mike spotted that they had mugs for sale with some of the pictures we had just seen printed on them. especially the Paul McCartney portrait and a Lowry. He asked about buying and initially the lady said that we were too late as she had cashed up. But seeing Mike's disappointment she asked if we had the right cash . . . very kindly she accepted that (and left a note for whoever opens up tomorrow!) and took two mugs out of thew cabinet and even then wrapped them carefully!

The gallery has a very grand staircase.

We decided to walk up to the station so that we know where it is for the morning. Arriving at the large open space outside the station we found the annual food festival very much in progress. (See here for, coincidentally the same when we last came this way four years ago!)

All sorts of foods are available, mostly cooked in front of your very eyes. This chap was turning out poppadums on a continuous basis! However, although Alice and Christine sampled some marshmallows, nothing took our fancy - except for some free samples of Diet Coke!

We eventually went to the ticket office in the station. This was most fortunate as we discovered that trains on Saturday and Sunday out of Huddersfield are being covered by buses. With the festival outside, their departure point is several hundred metres away. Fortunately this is closer to the boat but we could have been a bit upset tomorrow if we walked up to the station and found out then that we needed to be somewhere else - even worse if we missed the departure as well! At least we do now have the tickets.

After a mug of tea back at the boat, Mike and Alice walked across to Sainsbury. It is opposite us beside the canal but a rather longer walk around by the nearest bridges - about the same distance either way. The main reason for the visit was to pick up today;s newspaper but, frustration, they had sold almost all of their stock, including the one we have. However, we made up for it by checking out options for tonight's pud. It was Alice's choice and, after looking at various aisles, she could not easily choose between some delicious looking Scottish raspberries or a sticky toffee pudding - so we bought both! Turned out a wise decision.

We returned to the boat via the Loco Bridge.

So you can now see, so much for our original plan for the day! But that's canal cruising for you.

3.0 Miles - 7 Locks


  1. We were in Aspley basin a couple of months ago, the staff at the boatyard were very helpful. Our stern gland took a bashing coming down the Huddersfield narrows which was chronically short of water, and the boatyard did a fine job of fixing 'our leak'. We stayed in the basin FOC, outside the pub, for a couple of days until the new gland arrived. We also used Sainsbury's delivery point for items bought from Amazon. We were remiss though not to visit the art gallery. Jennifer (

  2. We hear too much about the failures of the system so it is great to be able to share news of the very many really helpful people who are around.