Saturday, 17 June 2017

A Night at the Premier Inn (with bath)

Sunday 11th June to Thursday 15th June 2017

We untied the ropes at a not too early time for us (9am) – some would say a way-too-early time for a Sunday, but day looked to be quite nice – not all of the wind from previous days had left us yet, but we had a purpose to move.

On through Wakefield where we had spent a couple of days back in August 2012 with friends Mike and Stella, but this time it was a straight through cruise – flood locks were open so no need to have to pull over at all – a lovely gent from the moorings just before Wakefield helped us though Fall Ings Lock (seems to sound like Falling Lock).
Looking back at Wakefield after clearing the Wakefield Flood Lock
After that there was a regular procession of locks until we finally called it a day at Crigglestone – the nice weather that we set out with had become more cloudy and windier – giving rise to thoughts about rain. There was a mooring near to the pub there, so we took it and ventured down to see what it was like – neither of us felt like a drink so we opted for the coffee and cake option instead; the menu items seemed a bit higher in price than we would have thought and what seemed to be on the plate, so it was lunch back on the boat afterwards.
Diane was ready for the men’s final in Paris and I was happy to let her whilst I got on with some work that would come in handy for Tuesday (public holiday in Australia on Monday).

The following day we were off earlyish and we were quite lucky to find some lock-mates in the form of nb Inheritance and travellers Boo (aka Elizabeth) and Peter (residents of that popular city by the name of Hull – everyone seems to come from there these days).
Peter and Boo - a lovely couple 
We were very pleased to be able to share the coming locks with them – they being about 59’ meant that we occasionally had to jiggle boats around to get both in at one time – sometimes it didn’t work but we worked our way through them – deciding not to veer off at the Dewsbury arm we headed for Mirfield and moored up there – to take advantage of the Lidl store on the canal.
Right by where we had moored, there was a new Lidl being built – what we didn’t realise immediately was that they would be working from 5pm to midnight – the compromise to closing the canal-side road during the day.
I slept quite soundly, but apparently whatever noise there was affected Diane’s ability to get to sleep – in the morning I was quite well slept and Diane was just a little underdone, but she was a little excited as we would be heading into new waters once we passed Cooper Bridge Junction.
We have been and continued to be on and off the river as it darted in and out of the canal, sometimes a flood lock would be open and then we would have a lock to rise through, but consistently along the way there were these relatively bright orange barrels chained along the water - I think that they were trying to tell us something -
Not to the left; to the right.

Are you sure we can't go that way?

They do look nice to moor up to...

...OK, not so nice here.

New water was a strange expression when we got through Kirklees Low Lock – for some reason, unknown to all of us, the pound above the lock was well down – I would guess by about 1.5 metres, but still deep enough in the centre to allow passage.
We were able to let a little water down to give more leeway for the two boats and after getting through the top lock it was smooth cruising with a full pound.

No more problems until we hit Brighouse; mooring below the lock on the floating pontoon, we soon found out that there was a severe problem.
All the way along the Calder and Hebble, Diane has been a dismal failure at using the spike to operate the top gate paddles - she was that way 5 years ago and nothing much has changed in the interim period - except that she can now drive the boat like an expert - so naturally the job fell to the crew (oh that would be me!).
Struggling to move the blasted spike

Finally moved it - do I really have to do this ?

Just too much of a struggle

Captain has deemed that the crew has to take over

It is not too hard at all...

The hydraulic gate paddle were not working and the ratchet (the spike model) on the other gate paddle was damaged and the paddle could not be raised.
CaRT were notified but apparently they were all in a meeting until 1:30pm (it being just after 11am when we arrived) – nothing to do but wait.
After some time we all noted that the water level in the lock was rising – slowly but going up – so we thought that we may get it full to allow the two waiting boats to go down and then we could enter and come up – very slowly.
Well after an hour and a half, we brutalised the lock gate into submission and got it open – the two boats went in, we lowered them and locked them out – we brought our two boats into the lock, ready for the time-frame, when suddenly the CaRT guy turned up.
Quickly getting a large G-clamp from his van (something which Peter had identified as what we needed), clamped the broken wooden gate paddle support and promptly raised the gate paddle and in next to no time we were through the lock – then one more lock (only 30 metres away) and we had a water tap to fill the tank, we emptied the cassette and we could then moor up right at the back of Sainsbury.
A longer day than it should have been but at times like these you get to know the people around you and can have a bit of a laugh about everything – there’s nothing else that you can do.
Boo demonstrating chairs that were being made on a boat stranded at Brighouse Lock
Check out Toby's website

We had a chance to have a walk around Brighouse – having never been here before – it is quite a nice town, but not a lot that would drag us to moor up again – it would not be first or last on the list of places for a re-visit. We found a chippy for Diane and the markets would be on the following day, so we would have a look at these – many of the usual shops and establishments were all there.

We both felt a bit tired from our exertions throughout the day and decided that a relaxing end to the day was worthwhile – I managed to nod off to sleep – my nanna nap time.
Next day, we had brilliant sunshine, again, and after a trip to Tesco and a walk through the market (where we bought a couple of things) it was time to head off.
Peter and Boo, had headed off earlier – we had not made any plans about on-going travelling together, but after a couple of locks we had caught them up and continued with them for the day – hitting the three locks at Salterhebble at lunch time – they pulled over for a lunch break (they were heading further along the way), but our destination was right here, and so we completed the last two locks solo and headed into the arm to find a mooring spot.
The Guillotine Lock at Salterhebble

At least it was electrically operated
Those crazy kids

What we found was a relatively empty arm – I had been walking from the top lock whilst Diane brought the boat in – she took it up to the winding hole and after turning it around we moored up on the off-side, right outside the Premier Inn – the sign said “Mooring allowed with permission” – nothing ventured, nothing gained – so Diane went in and it was all OK – with the £10 donation to the Great Ormond Street Hospital – a few minutes of giving some information and the money and we were set.
So we could say that we spent the night at the Premier Inn, and after a short wander around, Diane decided to have a bath (on board) – Premier Inn (with bath).
It was a quiet night here; Diane still less than pleased with my ability to get to sleep quickly and soundly – the bruising has not yet shown up but it will appear.
Deciding to spend a rest day here, we caught the bus up the hill (11% rise) into Halifax – the major town here – first point of call, as usual, was the Visitor Information Centre; Diane then decided to embark on my least favourite pastime – shopping for clothes – fortunately it was a short exercise and I survived (just!).
Initial impressions as we came through the town on the bus was of a town that had been quite successful in the past and was now re-inventing itself.
Our first area to stroll through was the Minster, dating back about 900 years and reputedly to have the bones of John the Baptist buried beneath – a story that shows in the Coat or Arms for Halifax.

We then carried on to visit the undercover markets – quite large in size – plenty of stalls could have tempted us, except that we were on our fasting day (for the 5:2 diet).

Next it was the Town Hall – why is it that people (politicians) always find loads of money to build and adorn great monuments to their activities (or in some cases, lack of activity) – however, it was a very attractive building, both inside and out.
We also met one of the councillors and had a quite interesting chat with him – judging by his remarks, he is of a like mind with us regarding the focus of some of them.

Are we getting old or not, but we were getting quite tired again – we caught the bus up the hill and would be going back that way and we had not really walked that far at all.
Maybe it was just an off day with our fitness, but the boat looked good when we got back.
We did decide that we would push to other side of the arm and thereby save another night at the Premier Inn – not enough water for her indoors to have another bath.
Despite any problems we may have had with a low pound; problems with the spike;
a problem with one lock, the scenery is simply lovely

21 Miles, 28 Locks
YTD:  567 miles (912 km), 275 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 19 Swing Bridges

Total: 5199 Miles (8367 km), 3426 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 191 Swing Bridges

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