Posts Tagged ‘canal’

Fridge (whatever) floating in ice-bound canalWhilst I’ve been out and about walking this month (although there’s not been too much of that because of the snow), I’ve been surprised at the amount of rubbish to be seen here and there – just discarded without a care.

I don’t mean the usual rubbish we’ve become mostly immune to (crisp packets, pop and beer cans etc.) but BIG rubbish; white goods such as fridges and freezers.

The canal and hillsides most convenient for the roadside seem to be the favourite places.discarded yellow microwave It must be a case of being able to pull up at the side of the road and throw the stuff out without being seen. The lazy bastards could take a slightly longer journey and take their crap to the tip – it opens every day and it’s free!

We threw out [not ‘threw out’ in the sense of this post though] a defunct dishwasher the other week.

As always, we put stuff like this in front of the house and if it’s still there after a couple of days, we take it to the tip. I say ‘if’ because usually, if it’s something containing any amount of metal, it goes before the sun comes up.

The tatters who go around collecting such things often stop and ask if we have anything, they never come down the drive but they take anything that’s left outside the drive. The dishwasher had been outside less than an hour before it disappeared. Less than an hour!

I wonder what the lazy, thoughtless anti-social pillocks who dump their crap just anywhere would think if we just threw our stuff in their yards or gardens?

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Sharon and I have just completed a long bank holiday weekend break with the delightful Karen Ford and her partner Dave. We started in Whaley Bridge and finished in Nantwich (two places I’d never been before).

Why? Because they are both ardent narrow boaters and they had asked us to share the experience of life on the canal with them.

We’ve both enjoyed it thoroughly, but I have experienced a number of varying emotions en route.

First of all, I’ve always enjoyed camping and after Sharon and I met we moved up from tents to caravans; owning an old four berth at Home Farm in Stillingfleet, near York. We got rid of that some time ago though, because we never found the time to get over to York and our summers seemed to be becoming filled with trips to America. Therefore, the ‘special’ (some might say cramped) canal boat arrangements were not a surprise to us and in some ways – looked forward to!

But life without a road map has confused me completely.

We travelled by train to Whaley Bridge and almost picked up a £1,000 fine. I’d bought an open return from Huddersfield to Manchester and thought I’d buy singles then to Whaley Bridge. However for reasons too mundane to go into here, we arrived in Manchester just as the train was about to pull out. When I asked the conductor for the tickets, I was told that it is now an offence to board a train without a ticket, if where you board is a manned station – a potential £1,000 fine for non compliance. The fact that we would have missed the train by going to the ticket office was no defence, apparently. Anyway, he was a nice ticket collector who only told us that, and didn’t try to get the fine from us there and then.

By now, the rain that had threatened in Huddersfield had set in and there was no sign of Karen and Dave (due to my failure to clarify which hour my “We’ll be there at ‘half-past'” referred!) We eventually met up at began our journey down the Macclesfield Canal to Bollington, where we planned to stay the night. We had a few pints in the Dog and Partridge on Wellington Road there.

On Saturday we passed by Macclesfield and headed for Congleton. On this stage of the journey we had our first experience of working the locks. The weather was mainly ok; overcast and damp with sunny periods just about sums it up, so we were outside most of the time. This energetic outdoor life suited me fine! It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to Congelton and I can’t remember now why or how often I visited there in the dim and distant past, but I think that I’ll visit again, the town had a nice feel to it. Known as ‘Beartown’ http://www.mybeartown.co.uk/ Congleton does indeed boast a number of colourful bear statues around the place – something unique and attractive. The night we were there it also boasted a Jazz and Blues Festival – which was cool. Because of this, we didn’t manage to get any dinner that night but settled for extra beer and cheese and biscuits later back on the boat.

Then came Sunday and a day full of locks! Apparently ‘heartbreak hill’ used to be known as the ‘Cheshire Locks’ and I’m told that there were 28 of them between joining the Trent and Mersey at Kidsgrove and stopping for the night at Wheelock. Until this week, I’d thought that Kidsgrove was near Birmingham so it underlined my growing disorientation – I was sorely missing my map! Furthermore, I was surprised to find that we were only about eight miles from Stock on Trent – totally confusing.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvT9AvwbgP4Wheelock was like visiting Royston Vasey. One pub was closed and for sale, another was too scary looking to enter as it seemed to be full of Tattsyrups and the third (the nearest) was heaving! It seemed to contain the entire population of the village as they celebrated ‘Cyril’s 40th (sic) birthday’! But they had Bombardier on tap, so we stayed there for a couple before retreating to the boat for a lovely dinner (cooked by Karen), a game of cribbage and a fitful sleep – as the village celebrated Cyril’s fortieth (not sure he wasn’t at least ten years older though) with singing and fireworks right through to the early hours of Monday (3.30am!)

Our journey to Nantwich on Monday was a little easier on the back and arms but took some time to complete. It was still overcast and cloudy as we passed the salt mountains at Middlewich but turned sunny for a while as we turned up the Middlewich arm of the Shropshire Union Canal and headed towards the two hour wait before the lock just after the B5074 Church Minshull to Nantwich road. Nine narrow boats were backed up in front of us and despite help from the Canal Society (they were working the locks and selling marmalade) it still took a while! There was a similar delay at the next lock, but we lost some of the boats in front as they turned up the Llangollen Canal.

Bank Holiday Monday evening in Nantwich was quiet. We had Chinese – a story in itself and a few beers in the Oddfellows Arms on Welsh Row.

We had a train journey home, laced with luck and good connections. There had been plenty of disruption on various networks and someone had jumped on the line at Guide Bridge (Trans Pennine – Manchester) – hence our train from Nantwich was late. However, we walked off of that at Crewe and onto a local train bound for Manchester. We walked off that at Piccadilly and onto a delayed Hull train. I’d thought it was delayed by a few minutes (and therefore still on platform one) but apparently it had been delayed by over an hour! We arrived home no later than originally planned. Excellent.

It has been a wonderful few weeks. Thank you Karen and Dave.

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Well, we’ve finally been walking on a Saturday morning again! Two weeks ago, I had man-flu, so we didn’t go anywhere and last week we walked around Holmfirth on Sunday morning, which was different.Shows river in full flow at Marsden

This week, because the weather promised to be so appalling we decided to stay on the level and just walk into the wind and rain. Last week’s walk in Holmfirth had been a challenging walk on a crisp yet sunny day, but you can’t walk many yards without encountering a hill in that part of Summer Wine Country.

Today’s walk started down by the River Colne and took us along the road by the University, past the new Premier Inn building site at Aspley and along the Huddersfield Broad Canal towpath as far as the river Calder at Cooper Bridge, Bradley. There are only nine locks on this canal, over its four mile length – which gives some idea of how flat that is.  I was brought up at a time when this part of the Huddersfield canal system was called the Sir John Ramsden Canal after the local landowner/Lord of the Manor, a chap who features in much of Huddersfield’s history.  The Huddersfield Narrow canal (which flows to the south west of the town) by contrast, follows a steep track up the Colne Valley – with forty two locks between the town and Marsden, Tunnel End.

We returned via the cycle path which now follows the route of the old Huddersfield – Kirkburton railway line, as far as Fartown and then turned up towards Birkby where we were able to peruse and purchase Asian groceries, before continuing into town and back to the car. Birkby, where I used to live when I first married, now has a huge variety of Asian food shops where just about anything you want can be purchased. I bought a big bag of paprika, ready for a large batch of Hungarian Goulasch I plan to make over the next couple of weeks.

Now I’m watching the rugby.

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I didn’t pick a very good time to start a ‘Saturday Walk’ blog did I? They don’t seem to happen on Saturdays any more. This week my main walk took place on a Wednesday (30th December)! I’d also walked to town earlier in the week, with John T, Carol and Sharon and that was nice, but it was a very steady walk because of all the ice we had to traverse. We had a few drinks in town and then came back here for a chilli.

Both John (Rousell) and I had had some domestic problems over the last week. The weather had been so cold that we had both experienced pipe blockages and I’d also had a pipe burst in the garage. What’s more, my car had broken down on Christmas Eve, with what turned out to be a broken spring. This awaits the new year to get fixed and as a result John came to Wellhouse, from where be begun our walk.

We set off in thick fog, down the road and up towards Golcar Church, before turning left on Small Lane and across the fields to Bolster Moor. We tracked across Bolster Moor towards Waller Clough Road and then around the top edge of Slaithwaite, along Crimea Lane to Pole Moor. As far as possible, we then kept to the fields as we dropped into Slaithwaite and along the end of the still frozen reservoir. All the way we were accompanied by fog and mist and although we expected to come out of it as we got higher up the hill, it was only down on the reservoir that we actually saw the tops of hills around the lake. The frozen water seemed to be dragging the mist down to it.

Slaithwaite itself seemed to be damp and dour in the mist induced greyness and we carried straight on through and along the canal as far as Linthwaite, where we turned left and up Lowestwood Lane. Lowestwood lane is a fairly bust road, used by locals and those wanting a short cut to the M62. It starts quite steep as it approached the railway arch and then gets a bit steeper until the bend halfway up the road. Then it gets steeper still – until the top! Hard work.

It was nice to get out today and nicer still to get some exercise and have a proper chat.


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