Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Brass Band Weather (not Brass Monkey)

Friday 16th June to Sunday 18th June 2017

The mooring at Salterhebble was again very quiet and we woke with the sounds of the birds – quite early though – which was good for me as there was a mountain of work in my in-tray, so I was able to get an early start on it all, but being Friday, it is easy to spread it over the weekend and in reality have a three-day weekend.
Never-the less, we were able to get a reasonably early start to cruising – untying the ropes just after 7:30, cruising to the waterpoint and from there is was a gentle 3 miles to Sowerby Bridge.
It was a bit disconcerting when we pulled up at the Visitor Moorings – one boat was already moored there and then there was us.
The rings had been removed using an angle grinder and there was no manner of being able to put a pin or a chain in anywhere to allow secure mooring – or really mooring of any kind.
Diane went for a walk further up and reported that there were moorings up there, below the lock making it difficult to go back for a diesel fill at the boat yard; a mooring almost opposite the boat yard but would involve reversing out of the arm and that was it.
She also remarked that back through the previous bridge there were moorings on rings – about 200 metres behind us.
So we reversed back to those rings which provided a much more open area and much more secure being on rings.
By then it was time for a bit of a walk together and to check out the situation of getting into fill with diesel and then get out again – we spoke with the lovely people at the hire company and as luck would have it we were right in time for them to be able to do us – almost all of the returning boats were in and none to go out just yet; the price was OK; and we needed a new gas bottle – so back for the boat; filled up with everything; reversed out of the arm – we had a kindly offer from Colin and Jan on nb Pelako to moor up in front of them but I felt it was a bit cramped, so we got back to the junction – just as that last hire boat appeared – and then we followed the waterway around to moor just below the lock.
Hebden Bridge - a fine church but we didn't have time to go inside

as if she doesn't struggle enough with some gates

We caught up with Jan and Colin later on at the pub overlooking the basin for a couple of drinks – after all it was a Friday night.

Friday night, the pub, new friends - what's not to like

What a lovely couple – very solid Yorkshire people who enjoy a laugh – hope that we can see more of them in the future – life with friendly boaters seems to be the best.
The following day we set off again, this time with the intention of making it to Hebden Bridge – a few locks to do, but the third lock was Tuel Lock 3/4 – two made into one very very deep lock – at just over 19’ deep it is the deepest on the system – and it seemed that way too.
Summer had decided to hit us this weekend and it was really quite lovely cruising along with the sun on our backs.
We met up with a day-boat coming down at Lock 5; and then we met up with a tunnel wall at Fall Ing Road Bridge – not marked in Nicholsons as a tunnel but the CaRT signs say it was – anyway, just as we entered the tunnel light stopped working and in the pitch dark we didn’t see the 60o bend and the bow hit first just before the back end and seat took a bit of a knock. Carrying on we made it through and onto Hebden Bridge where we winded and found a lovely mooring spot right on the park.
By this time the sun was high in the sky and it certainly felt like it – I don’t need to tell you that we do not like this heat, but I can tell you there were so many others here that were exactly the same as us.
Shade was at a premium and if you had some you probably could have sold the space; ice-cream outlets were doing great business as well as the pubs.
We wandered around the market area and got a feel for the town; visited a couple of antique shops (that is shops that sold them, not shops that were), until we finally had had enough of the sun and retired back to the boat, where fortuitously there was some shade on the towpath and it was wide enough to sit out there.
We were on the other side of the canal to the main part of the town, but the park was a mecca for many people of all ages.
As we found out later, it was a bit of a double-edged sword – nice to have space but the evening noise was a bit of a nusance, but sleep did not entirely elude us, even with the heat.

Next day was Sunday and we had decided before we even ventured here with the boat that rather than cruise the 21 locks and 6 miles to Todmorden (and to the available winding hole) and then return the same distance, we would simply take the train there – it was just a 12 minute ride.

Todmorden - looking down towards the market area

We rather enjoyed the area of Todmorden that we saw – the markets were nice and Diane managed to find a few things that she could buy, so that made her happy, I was glad because it wasn’t too much, and we both found enjoyment in a walk along the canal to discover the Great Wall of Todmorden – ranking amongst the wonders of the known world (Pennines Division).
The Great Wall of Todmorden - this one cannot be seen from space

About lunch time (which is 12 noon – in the north it is usually referred to as dinner time) we boarded the return train back to Hebden Bridge – we couldn’t dare miss the Marching Brass Band Festival which was kicking off just before 1 o’clock.

Please pick me to stay.... please, please

Being great Brass Band afficianados that we are (wouldn’t know one end of a tuba from a cornet – although that does sound a bit like an ice-cream), we found a huge spread out crowd of people who were, in fact, very much interested in the competition and had there local favourites.

We really enjoyed the atmosphere and probably one of the few times where there were such numbers in a confined space but it was easy to walk around.
But finding a shady spot with a place to park our bums, we watched 3 or 4 bands go through their paces, stepping it out and blowing and drumming for the chance of greater glory.
We do not know who the eventual winner was, there was a chippy with Diane’s name on the door and I had my name on a couple of cold ones back on the boat – we could still here the brilliant music from where we were sitting (in the shade, in the park).

It was best to remain out of the sun, but as mid afternoon approached the intensity was dying down a fraction; Diane was not really ready to have a noise interrupted sleep again (I was fine – I generally don’t hear a thing), so we decided that having seen quite a lot and not much else would be likely to throw us any more of real interest (but we could always be wrong), we fancied a cruise back out of Hebden Bridge to a more docile and peaceful location.
So off we went, untied ropes, and were cruising back towards Sowerby Bridge but not planning to reach there today.
We dealt with the bendy tunnel again, no problems experienced – it could well be Diane’s expert steering that was the main reason – down a few locks and found a nice little mooring at Mytholmroyd, where we stopped and had chairs quick smart along with cold cider.

When it finally cooled down but was still quite light, we wandered around the small village (too small for a town) and when back on board we were ready to settle down for the night.

9 Miles, 9 Locks, 3 Tunnels
YTD:  576 miles (927 km), 284 Locks, 18 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 19 Swing Bridges
Total: 5208 Miles (8381 km), 3435 Locks, 142 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 191 Swing Bridges


  1. You should have carried on up the canal to
    Best Chippy in the world! Sadly we've only ever been past when they were closed.

  2. Hi Pip and Mick

    Diane is always on the look out for a new chippy to try - maybe they were closed because they were sold out