Sunday 7th June; Kirklees Low Lock to Huddersfield
Apart from the main road behind the trees the other side of the river, and the distant roar of the M62, this is a peaceful spot. As we walked Meg last night we were aware of occasional crunching noises underfoot. On investigation, this turned out to be from crayfish claws. They were dark red in colour, making us think they probably belonged to the American invader the Signal Crayfish – so it was good that they had been eaten, but bad that they had been in the canal at all; not only do they out-compete the native white-clawed crayfish and burrow into and destabilise the banks, but they carry Crayfish Plague which kills the white-claws. There was no indication of what had caught them, but it was probably an otter or mink. We set off at about 9, the Calder re-joining the navigation as we left the lock.
I was relieved to stow the Calder and Hebble Spike away as we made for the start of the Huddersfield Broad canal. Dave found an offcut of oak which he trimmed to size, so we hadn’t shelled out much for the few times it was needed, and I wore gloves to save me from splinters (our spike wasn’t nicely rounded and oiled like the ones you buy). But although it was easy enough to raise paddles with it, I kept bruising my knuckles when I lowered them. I heard that someone had been told that you were allowed to just drop the paddles, but I don’t think that can be right as one did slip when I got it wrong. So bruised knuckles it was.
The entrance to the Huddersfield Broad was under a bridge with a 90-degree turn to the right and the weir straight ahead, the main channel having already split off.
Dave had to wait on the lock landing while I emptied the lock. It’s not a brilliant photo because I can’t walk on water…
The Broad canal had a pleasantly rural feel for the first mile, although there were various works areas beyond the trees. There were lots of dog walkers and a few runners, and we met a boat coming down too. They moored along this bit overnight with no problems. The second mile had vast areas of sports pitches the other side of the towpath and Dave enjoyed watching a football tournament as Chuffed rose up the last lock! Luckily Meg was off the boat and too low down to see the ball or she might have tried to run off and join them.
Leaving our final broad lock on this trip; Huddersfield Broad no 9, Red Doles.
The final mile into the town was not so lovely but not too scruffy either. The waste incinerator on the way produces 10MW electricity, enough for the annual needs of 15,000 homes. The photo shows how lovely the weather was.
The main point of interest is the Turnbridge Loco Lift Bridge. It still has some of the original lifting mechanism in place though nowadays it is controlled by the BW key (I really should remember to call it the Watermate key). I didn’t have my camera with me when we went through so the photos were taken later.
Dave inspects the modern control panel tucked away behind the old mechanism. It took me ages to find it!
There was a space on the visitor moorings opposite Sainsburys and we were all moored up by lunchtime. In the afternoon we went for a wander around the town. As it was Sunday half the shops were closed, as was the museum. We admired the splendid Concert Hall; even though I had to negotiate parked cars and a waste bin or two I couldn’t really get far enough away for a decent picture.
We did a bit of shopping, made it to Sainsbury’s before they closed, then stowed the anchor away, gave Meg her tea and wandered up to the Aspley pub by the basin for a beer in the sunshine.
10 locks, 1 lift bridge (electric), 3 and a half miles, 4 hours.