Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Beware Lock 21W

Yet another bright sunny day saw us moving to Uppermill. It was only 2 miles and 2 locks but showed just why this is called the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The first lock no. 20W was deep and quite a bit narrower than we've come across so far so it's a good job we don't cruise with side fenders down.

Passing banks of daffodils we arrived at Bridge 78, High Street Bridge, which is actually a tunnel under the main road into Uppermill and which takes you straight into Lock 21W. One of the gate beams has been cut off because it's too close to the road bridge and is operated by a hydraulic ram.

Now this lock IS narrow but there are no warning signs as we've seen on other very narrow locks on other canals. There was only about 2 inches on each side of the boat and even though we were taking it slowly we got stuck about half way up and the boat started listing a bit. One of the bow fender ropes had got snagged in the joint between 2 stone blocks. I had to quickly stop letting water into the lock while Roger lifted the ropes and as soon as we were free again we raised the water level extremely slowly to the top. It definitely reinforces how careful and observant you have to be when passing through locks and I pity any hire boaters who normally just open the paddles and hope for the best.

Uppermill is a lovely town. There is a museum, plenty of shops and pubs but the moorings are not very good.  It's still very shallow and difficult to get in to the towpath and a bit of dredging wouldn't go amiss.

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