Saturday, 12 August 2017

Over the Summit

Today's Canal - Rochdale

Weather-wise it was a day of two halves. It began with persistent drizzle which became infuriatingly patchy. One moment a waterproof was needed and then it became too hot to wear but removing it surely brought back another patch of drizzle! The afternoon, as promised, turned to sunshine and by the latter part was as warm as is comfortable when working heavy locks.

Before we left our mooring Mike took a look at the area around the next bridge. He was surprised to see a road milestone which said that it was only 1 mile to Todmorden. But drivers don't have to do all the locks!

Her could also see a spectacular narrow road that zigzagged kits way up the steep hill opposite, starting from just beyond the railway bridge.

He also noticed this former warehouse - perhaps this was a transshipment point for goods arriving from the railway or for farmers to send their good to market.

We set off with  at least a dozen locks to do ahead of us.

Alongside Hollins Lock is the famous Grandma Pollards Fish and Chip Shop, complete with its bus where diners can sit and eat their meals. Alas, it was still too early in the morning to make a visit - we enjoyed eating here six years ago!

Alongside another lock was this quirky play house - no doubt someone really enjoyed designing and making it as well as those who play in it. Note the rope access to the tow path from out of the floor!

We were increasingly 'up in the hills' with some splendid views - even in the rain.

Lock 31 (yes, the photo looks as if someone has stolen the 1) has a rack and pinion mechanism to overcome the shortening the balance beams for the roadway.

Jess harvested some heather which she made into little bunches - matched well with the colour of her top!

The railway has long hugged the same contours as the canal but, in a later generation, the builders could afford a tunnel for the summit level - here the trains dive into the hillside whilst we still had a few more locks to go.

Views still great.

Overlooking Lock 34, where the closures currently begin, is an ominous looking ruined castle - the view from later is less imposing!

These few pounds were quite short of water, even though there seemed to be a steady supply coming down.

Christine had set the next lock for Mike to go straight into but a wide beam boat coming down did not spot why the lock was empty. They filled it and then took a long time coming through. Still, we wanted to have a lunch break and this suited us. However, we were nearly too long as a boat arrived to descend so we hurriedly organised ourselves to complete going up.

Immediately above the lock is a stone that marks the boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Also shortly afterwards is a swing bridge - the first one we have encountered for some time. Six years ago we had very considerable difficulty on persuading it to open (and the boater coming down who is fairly local remarked that it is temperamental) but today it worked well. Even on this small road we managed a queue of two cars each way!

At last: the final lock up onto the summit pound. The views here make all the effort well worth it. If only we could stay in this scenery for longer.

But all too soon we were at the other end of the summit pound and descended just one lock - albeit a very deep one - before mooring up for the night at the old wharf below the lock. Close by was a large quarry and brickworks - now set out as a nature reserve - so no doubt may boats have tied up here before.

The evening was as delightful as the rain had been horrid! Mike and Jess walked across to the main road and down the street that is the village of Summit - with an eponymous pub doing what looked like a roaring trade. There was otherwise not much for us to see but we did spot one building that had a large carved stone: "Ebeneezer 1886 School"

Tonight we had pizza and salads, with lots of different items to choose from. Almost all of the preparation was done by Jess, carefully cutting, slicing and dicing everything from tomatoes to olives, cucumber to radishes - and beetroot at her special request. She also arranged all the layers on the pizza base.

We moored at an internet-free area so this blog was uploaded the next evening.

3.0 Miles - 12 Locks

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