With 20 locks to go down to reach the next moorings at Slaithwaite and not knowing the water levels in the lower pounds we decided to take our water with us. The plan was for Jan to walk to the second lock and raise the top paddles. Our son would then raise the bottom paddles of the full lock above. That way the water from the full lock would be released into the pound and then into the next lock. I would steer the boat. Most of the locks were within sight so communication wasn’t an issue.
We were going well until Lock 39 when CRT appeared and informed Jan we needed to wait above lock 31 as their was an issue they were dealing with.
At Lock 38 a gongoozler arrived to watch us work Waiouru down. He/she kept flitting around whilst eating lunch.
There was a swimmer in Lock 36 who was unable to climb the ladder.
By this time the valley had widened near Sparth Reservoir. I’m not sure if CRT own the reservoir but they are able to draw water from it.
We stopped and moored above Lock 31 as requested and I then walked down to the next lock to see what the “issue” was.
OK, the bottom is very close to the top. When I reached Lock 29 I discovered Paul from CRT in the pound immediately above the top gates to the lock.
A hole had appeared in the pound and the water was draining off to the adjacent River Colne. Paul had gone off in his ute and collected some hard “puddling clay” to temporarily plug the hole. I assume he needed hard clay to create a firm plug.
Once Paul was satisfied with the plug we assisted him refill the empty pound. I’ve sent an email to CRT commending Paul for his customer service. He was an excellent communicator keeping us and the other two boaters informed of his intentions and timeframe. It was at Lock 29 I saw the CRT notice advising CRT assistance was required to go through Lock 24 and 24 hours notice was required. Jan tried phoning CRT but their office hours are Mon – Fri. Paul then spoke with his supervisor and obtained consent for him to work us through the lock at 4pm. This was actually his finish time but he was prepared to spend an additional 30 minutes to get us through.
Lock 24 has a manually operated guillotine lower gate. 130 turn up and 130 turns down. There had been a couple of boater safety incidents with the gate last season so only CRT employees are allowed to operate it.
Later Daniel and I managed to get away on a walk to the north of Slaithwaite. He thought we were going for a stroll around the village and it came as a slight shock for him to discover his father was heading for the highest ground. The route took us past the Golcar Lilly pub and I’m almost certain there is a narrowboat of the same name.
Looking back up the valley towards Marsden
South. The canal curves around the base of the hill in front.
Looking south-east with Blackmoorfoot Reservoir in the distance. Paul from CRT had earlier informed us all the reservoirs were being linked by a network of tunnels which will eventually go as far as Birmingham.