Thursday, 3 June 2010

Sunny Hebden Bridge

We spent Tuesday in Todmorden, only to find it was early closing day. This obviously has a different meaning in Yorkshire, for early closing read not bother to open at all. As there were a couple of shops Kathy and I wanted to visit we decided on a slightly later start so we could shop first. We eventually left Todmorden a bit after midday with Chris, Ray and I in the lead with Kathy and a new travelling companion, David aboard Ngarpi, following us. Ngarpi is apparently Swahili for 'How Much!', well, David is a Yorkshireman.

The journey to Hebden Bridge was, for the Rochdale, relatively uneventful but a bit slow. A hire boat managed to get between us and Kathy so we let them leapfrog us at the lock. Then a moored boat with no one on board had come adrift and was part way across the canal so Chris rescued that and re-moored it. By the time he had done that the others had caught up so we waved them into the lock first. 

As the locks are a bit further apart on this stretch Ray was waiting below the locks for me to close the gates so I could ride instead of walking. At one lock Ray stepped ashore and held Morgana on the rope, I stepped on, she drifted out a bit, I asked if he wanted me to bring her in closer, he said " No it's an easy step". No prizes for guessing what happpened next! Ray up to his knees in water, hanging onto the seat at the back of the boat, while I grabbed his arm and hauled him aboard. Good job that the canal is only a couple of feet deep! Apart from a close encounter with a trip boat which was turning round and another boat which tried to pull out between us and Chris the rest of the journey went smoothly. There are good moorings beside the park at Hebden Bridge, Tim had spotted these on Google Maps, an excellent recommendation.

You may remember me mentioning that Ray was towing Almyne Too, the tender for Almyne. Well, Almyne Too is now Merlin, tender to Morgana Le Fey. Chris had been thinking of selling her ever since they bought Scott his little cruiser and we said when we first saw her that we wanted first refusal if he did decide to sell. He and Ray reached a mutually agreeable price and she is now ours. We intend to use her (or should that be him?) as a workshop/ storage area/ spare room. She is only 17 feet long but is fitted out (at the moment) with a bench seat down most of one side and a work bench down most of the other, she even has a little wood burning stove. You can just see her behind Ray in the picture "Waiting for the canal to open" on 20th May.

The Rochdale wasn't going to let us get away with an uneventful day however. We were moored up, sunning ourselves on the towpath when I noticed that Morgana was listing. We were aground, so were the others, the canal appeared to be flowing quite fast, but canals don't flow fast! We assumed that someone had left a paddle up at the next lock below us and it was draining the pound. Chris went to investigate and found a couple, first day out aboard, attempting to fill the lock with one paddle still up on the bottom gates so the water was just flowing straight through the lock. It is the sort of thing all of us have done at some time when a paddle hasn't fully closed but this paddle was all the way up. They knew it, told Chris it wouldn't drop but they thought the lock would fill eventually! Chris rapidly dropped the top paddles and helped them to reverse out of the lock. He phoned BW to tell them about the problem, then one of the local boaters came along who knew the knack for getting the paddle to drop, so BW were phoned back and told it was sorted.

It was barbeque weather so dinner was burgers (interesting Thai Burgers from the butcher in Todmorden) with potato salad eaten at the canalside. Time to tidy up ready for Tim, Margaret and Nicholas visiting tomorrow.

Today's journey 4 miles and 9 locks.
So far we have travelled 281.6 miles, 315 locks, 12 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 7 tunnels.

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