An exciting trip to Huddersfield

For our trip in September we decided to visit our friends at Huddersfield. This involved a trip as far as Milnsbridge on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.


Final Location

Engine Hrs


Start time

End time


On marina


Quiet night in the marina. Had chat with Chris, Maddy, Boo & Peter. Borrowed Calder & Hebble Hand Spike from Chris.


Stanley Ferry Visitor Moorings

Stanley Ferry Visitor Moorings

Fine evening at Stanley Ferry


False start to the day. Once prepared for cruising we came out of marina to find Lemonroyd Lock ‘óut of order’. After trying to get CRT to understand where we were (!?), we eventually got call back with message that an operative was due back within the hour. Lock keeper arrived 5mins later and let us through – so eventually off at 11:45. Arrived Woodnock Lock at 13:30 and squeezed on to end of lock landing, after the 3 boats already ‘rafted up’ had shuffled up. Awaiting CRT assisted passage due to sluice damage here. Started locking us through at 14:00 on the dot – 4 narrowboats and a widebeam, reducing to 3 narrowboats and a widebeam as we came through the next couple of large automated locks. Managed to just get to Stanley Ferry before the marina closed but they had no stock of Hand Spikes despite them being made in the CRT workshops next door. They have to go up to Leeds to be entered into stock before being sold out!




Perseverance Inn Visitor Moorings (24hr)


A pleasant morning cruise through the bottom of Wakefield – very little intrusion from industry or housing – apart from broken glass spread round the lock at Fall Ings. Quite strange in places as going on and off the river sections which varied in width from broad canal to almost Trent proportions in places. Teri getting to use the Hand Spike in places – not a fan – you can see why they are unique to this canal. As we approached the Figure of Three Locks there was a narrowboat moving strangely to and fro across the canal – it then became apparent why, they had a crew member in the water. I pulled across well short, fortunately being able to get into the side and Teri took the boarding ladder to assist. Father and mother on hire boat with son (adult) in water. Teri eventually got them to cut engine, got a rope ashore and lifebuoy in water. The man could not climb out unaided and bank high. I was called to provide extra help. Secured Earl with mooring stake and went to assist. Boarding ladder floating and top rung broken. I got rope around him and tied a bowline. He could still not climb boarding ladder and starting to tire. Took him across to the bank and got 3 people hauling but still could not get out fully and rope slipping from under his arms. He was a big guy. With the aid of 2 cyclists on his arms we finally got him out and on to the side. The locks now getting smaller and harder to operate, so with the unexpected delay we decided to finish at the earliest available mooring rather than pushing on to Mirfield, thus saving 2 locks and allowing us to fill and dispose in the morning. Just enough rings and high edge wall for one boat at Forge Lane (Perseverance Inn!) 24hr moorings, but it will do us. Large fenders deployed for first time.




Aspley Marina 72Hr Moorings (opposite Sainsburys), Huddersfield

Locomotive Bridge Huddersfield

Locomotive Bridge Huddersfield


Long day! Morning went ok, on and off the river, alternating between wide expanse and narrow broad canal. A couple of the short lock landings exercised the mind coming off river sections, particularly the last one after turning at Cooper’s Bridge with the weir boom only a boat length or so past the landing. This is Yorkshire real boating for men! The Huddersfield Broad Canal is suddenly different, narrow, weedy and full of rubbish. The locks were fighting back with gates swinging open and stiff paddles, with the added inconvenience of anti-vandal locks. Consequently the expected 3.5hrs up from the junction became 4.5hrs. Final bridge was the cool lifting Loco Bridge with the deck rising horizontally. Got into the last 72Hr mooring spot but the ledge restricted how far the back could be teased in. But we are on rings, we will be ok for tonight. Must check the weedhatch tomorrow, there were several clanks and between 2 of the locks we seemed to be getting excessive wash off the prop, although this could be due to lack of water, the pound seemed to be 6″ down. Once we had moored up opposite Sainsbury’s we went shopping there. A long day but hopefully a shorter one tomorrow.




Milnsbridge between locks 8E &9E

Milnsbridge moorings

Moored at Milnsbridge


Checked the weedhatch and removed several plastic bags, weed and twine. As we departed were warned that there had been no water above the first lock last night and the Aussie hire boat (first seen at Lemonroyd) was on the services. As we arrived below lock 1E a liveaboard boater walking his dog informed us there was not enough water above. He phoned CRT for us. As the Aussies arrived and struggled to comprehend why we were stopped, we set off with windlasses with boater to let down some water from lock 3E. Because of the constructed channel here when the canal was reopened there is a long detour around lock 2E (only accessible by water) to 3E. By the time we had let down 3 lock fulls CRT arrived and we went back to the boat, to find that the Aussies had already gone up lock 1E. Another boat arrived behind us and we started following up. The water was a good foot down in some of the pounds and we had to progress slowly keeping to the centre of the channel and sending the lock full of water down to the following boat as we departed each lock. We found the Aussies above 6E tied up on the lock exit having lunch! We struggled along to 7E grounding in places. At least the bywash was running at this next lock. As we continued up the crew from the following boat came up as they had grounded completely. As we got up 8E CRT turned up again and let more water down to get them and then finally the Aussies up. A 2hr journey turned into 4! Winding the boat below 9E was straightforward and a good edge with plenty of bollards is opposite some fairly new flats. We could just about get into the side but put out the large fenders to stop us getting tight in and then stuck if the water does go back down. Again it has been strange passing places we know so well but seeing them from the different perspective of the canal e.g. coming under the Manchester Road by The Bridge Pub and under the railway viaduct.




Aspley Marina 72Hr Moorings (opposite Sainsburys), Huddersfield

Moorings at Huddersfield

At the 72 Hour Moorings in Huddersfield


Didn’t worry about getting off too early as plan was to just drop back to Aspley Wharf. Water levels were good all the way down to Lock 2E and progress was good, although still touched a couple of things under the surface. Once down 2E it was apparent that the water level was down again in the pound towards 1E, how much was revealed as we ground to a halt entering Former 2E – we were sat on the bottom of the old lock with no way to climb out, so we couldn’t get back to 3E to send anymore water down. 1pm we phoned CRT explaining the situation and requesting assistance. CRT Operative was over at the Peak Forest Canal so was delayed getting to us and at 14:45 some water starting coming down, unfortunately another boat joining us and one lock full just flushed us slightly further into the old lock. CRT finally arrived at approx 15:15 and went to start flushing water down. Eventually floated through at 16:05, 3hrs after arriving there. We then called at the Sanitary Station to water and empty. The first decent tap, so much that it blasted the hose nozzle off into the water tank! What a day! Fortunately enough space to moor up on the 72Hr moorings almost exactly where we had stopped on the way up.




Anchor Pit Visitor Moorings


Set off reasonably early as expecting another slow day. Lots of rubbish and duckweed again but don’t think we picked up anything on the prop this time (although will check tomorrow morning to make sure). Took 4.5hrs, same as going up. Locking is slowed by having to operate anti-vandal locks. The locks are all very tight and we had to keep an eagle eye on the cills and open the opposite gate and then shuffle across to get out. This was hindered in some locks by the leaky top gates and at one of them I got a good swilling across the whole back deck. At lock 1 Teri told me that one of the Button Fender chains had popped off as I had wedged it up on the bottom gate. I went and hooked it back on. At the very next lock – Kirklees Low – I caught it again on the top gate and detached both top chains and it was hanging on the lower chains. After exiting the lock I went to investigate – one screw adjuster had already gone and as I pulled the fender up the other was dislodged and disappeared into the water. I tried to put one chain straight to the shackle but lost the shackle as I tried to hold the fender up and fasten it one handed. So I just tied one chain up to the other shackle. Once we had moored above the next lock and before Anchor Pit Flood Lock we had a better look and with two lengths of thin line secured the top chains to the top anchorage points. This will do until we can get to a chandlers. The lower screw adjusters are captive at one end, not sure why the others weren’t. Gave the Well Deck and Back Deck a good mop down, then cleared out the back drainage channels and also mopped out the under engine enclosed section which had taken on some water (more than the actual bilges). The mooring on the map looks very close to the M62. It is, but just around a corner and the mooring is secluded. You can hear the traffic in the background but not too bad. I don’t think it will stop us sleeping.




Cooper Bridge 72Hr Moorings

Masons' marks

Masons’ marks on the lock walls


Checked weedhatch and yes had one long root/runner around the propellor and a small amount of weed tight round the prop. Not too bad but definitely worth checking after the Huddersfield canals. Then when we went to start the engine the oil pressure light did not come on. I had noticed this a couple of times 2 days ago but then it had started working again. Problem solved by tightening the screw attachment of the lead to the pressure sensor. Quick little run up to the Brighouse Basin and then reversed in to fill with water and dispose. After which we reversed up the canal a little way onto the 48Hr Moorings behind Sainsbury’s, by 12:00. After shopping and lunch set off back towards Cooper Bridge and the 72Hr Moorings just inside the flood lock. Several Buzzards (?) Soaring over the last lock as there was yesterday. Why are all the locks different lengths, some I need the nose to be pulled across whilst tight back against the cill, whilst the next there is 4 or 5 feet to move around in?




Horbury 48Hrs Mooring (Bingley Arms)


Back down some of the shortest locks and smallest most awkward lock landings. This involves jiggling in locks, sometimes even being pulled across once one gate is opened whilst the Stern Fender is either against the cill or hovering over a cill lurking just under the water. And coming slowly out onto river sections and spinning sharply to get into one boat length or less lock landings. Then there is lining up for flood locks, checking there is nothing coming out with a weir protection boom IMMEDIATELY beyond. Reminder to self – do not come up here when it has or is forecast to rain. But other than that it is beautiful countryside despite being busy today (7 boats on the move!). Shepley Bridge no longer has boatyard or chandlery facilities, just the Trust boats, and the guys there training so they came out and helped us down the lock.




Stanley Ferry Visitor Moorings


Bit more wind today making hovering for locks slightly more problematic. At first lock was caught by the continuously cruising gentleman that we moored behind at Cooper Bridge, now with family onboard (he told me that his wife visits him at weekends). Shared the lock with them but they then stopped for water (after knocking into the back of us) at the next lock, catching us again as we were finishing descending the lock after that. Cocked up the entrance to the flood lock at Wakefield as I hadn’t taken any speed off and went to take a wide turn so we could see in, so ended up not turning fast enough and go slightly past the entrance, eventually rotating in on the downstream corner. Fall Ing Lock seems to be ‘wino’ corner, one gentleman falling off his bench and then extracting his bread to eat whilst still sitting on the floor, another more coherent walking his dog and chatting about the lock and masonary. As we approached the final flood lock at Broadreach I could see the amber light on but could see straight through it, but then as we approached the gates closed. Teri had to use her key to open the gates at each end but there was no difference in water levels. Very strange as it was definitely open when we went the other way.




Lemonroyd Marina


Started up engine early as down to 58% by 9:30. At 10:30 ambled up to Sanitary Station to water and dispose. Slow potter through 2 locks up to Woodnook by 12:45 to await CRT assistance to lock down at 14:00. Not quite slow enough at one lock and a soft shackle gave way as I got pushed in by the wind and a side fender got caught in the ladder rebate. Fender retrieved ok. So need to order some replacement/spare soft shackles. Thought, soft shackles might also work to hang front fender. CRT man knocked on boat before 13:30 saying he could pen us down now as he had had to bring an electrician out. So 2 boats went down and one hire boat was waiting to go up. Due to constant rain decided not to go to Castleford for diesel, flood lock was also closed. Decided to try Lemonroyd Lock without ropes – success, if no other boats around this is best way, just stay well back when waiting outside and the same in the lock. You can then use the engine to keep you in the middle. Messed up reversing into berth and the normally helpful wind just pushed me across the fronts of the other boats.