A blog about our big adventure on our narrowboat 'Amarantine'

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Standedge Tunnel

After a sleepless night, grounded on the slosh we got up early Wednesday to assess the situation with the water in the pound feeding the lock we needed to go through. No better than the evening before when we rang the BW emergency line. So we put into action what we had been told to do, filling and re-filling locks and managing to fill the pound. We managed to slog our way through to the bottom lock of the Standedge Tunnel, but it was extremely hard work.

We were booked to go through on Monday 19th, which made us 4 days early. We decided to take a walk up to the mouth of the tunnel at Diggle. We were lucky there was one of the guide/minders there so we told him the situation "Get ya boat up here and you can go through today". We made haste back down the hill to get our boat. 10 Locks uphill later and we were at the mouth of the tunnel. I was really tired out at this point and in pain from my injuries after falling in yesterday.

It is an experience I wouldn't have misssed for the world. The tunnel is the longest at 3.25 miles, deepest at 635ft below the hill at the deepest point and highest at 648ft above sea level in the the country. The tunnel sides are a mixture of rough rocky stone and brick arches. I would post pictures, but once again, there is not enough of a signal to do so.

We are at present in a valley surrounded by hills in what would be desribed as 'Wuthering Heights' type countryside. The views are absolutley stunning. A lot of people won't come up the Huddersfield Canal as 74 locks and a 3.25 mile tunnel in the space of 20 miles cab be a bit off putting. But I can hand on heart say, it is worth it (and we haven't even had any good weather whilst on this canal yet).

There are another 30 locks to go until we reach our desitination - Aspley Basin at Huddersfield. We will set off in the morning as there is a shortage of water even more acute this side of the tunnel than there was the other side. By leaving it 24 hours the water levels should have recovered.

We have 5 days to do a 2 day journey from here to Huddersfield. With luck on our side we will make it. I am praying for a torrential downpour, but all we keep getting is a lot of wind and an occasional squally shower.

A couple just stopped by the boat and told us there are two boats stuck high and dry further down the lock flight!! Perhaps we will have to club together and work out a strategy to get us all moving.

On a lighter note they informed us there is a small town with pub, restaurant, shops etc. so with push bikes at the ready, thats this evenings plan.

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