Sunday, June 24, 2012
Through Standedge and Down Into Yorkshire
Looking down from the hills above Dobcross, the mist obscures most of the valley through which we had travelled as Zindagi climbed up from Ashton-under-Lyne into the Pennine area of Saddleworth, once officially part of Yorkshire and still believed to be so by many diehards.
Now it was our day to travel through Standedge Tunnel. We cleared Zindagi's roof of the usual garden and other stuff, removed the front cratch and were all ready to go as we waited at the Diggle portal for the westbound boats to emerge.
Back in 2008, Zindagi had to be towed through Standedge (pronounced 'Stanidge'), while we rode in the electrically-powered tug, hearing the bumps behind us as our boat and two others collided with various rocky projections. It did distract from the interesting commentary!
Since 2011, boat owners have been allowed to drive their own boats through the tunnel, with the help of a British Waterways 'chaperone' who knows the tunnel well and can give advice as needed. Here is Terry, our very knowledgeable and helpful guide, when he had stepped off in an 'adit' to phone through our progress so far.
We arrived safely at the Marsden portal, having taken about 1¾ hours to travel through the 3-mile tunnel. It took more than 2½ hours in 2008, and this time we had no paintwork damage other than the usual scrapes below the gunwales.
We had climbed up 32 locks from Ashton-under-Lyne on the western side. 42 more awaited us as we made our way down to Huddersfield, but we were in no hurry and started dawdling down the scenic Colne valley (here near Marsden).
Ten locks down (in only one mile!) and we found this lovely spot - so we stayed overnight until the next afternoon –
and took just 2 hours to travel 1½ miles and another 8 locks down into Slaithwaite (pronounced 'Slawit'), with its unusual vertical steel guillotine lock-gate. Lots of windlass-winding required!
A few days later, we found we had a pirate at the helm of Zindagi! Yes, Shireen and Thor joined us for a few days, so we turned around and went part of the way back up to Marsden.
We walked up the rest of the way to Marsden village, and enjoyed our bagels at 'Crumbals-on-the-Corner'.
This helmsman certainly LOOKS like he knows what he's doing!
Back to Slaithwaite, Shireen & Thor back to Glasgow, and we continued our journey down the River Colne valley, passing the magnificent old Titanic Mill near Linthwaite, now restored and converted to 'Spa apartments'.
. . . And so down to Huddersfield. Last time we were here, this was a gloomy tunnel under Sellars factory, now a brand-new section of canal with a new lock - with building work still going on next to it!
Here we are, moored in Huddersfield, with the Victoria Tower on Castle Hill on the skyline. News was that the River Calder was too high to navigate, so we had to stay a little longer than expected!