Yesterday I found myslef back in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, don’t worry I haven’t taken leave of my senses and dragged Ezri all the way back up there. It was just day trip, with my Uncle Andrew and my dad.
The frist stop on the drive was Todmorden, Having walked to Todmorden from Littleborough lots of times by the canal path it was a bit weird trying to find a parking space, but in the end we did (free in both meanings) just behind the bus station in indoor market.
From there is was a simple walk to the Guillotine lock and Services were almost a year ago now Ezri and me stopped on the day for her frist over heating, the last time I was here on my own, I walked all the way from Littleborough and back just because I could. But this time I just at the canal side just watching the world go by and waiting for my Uncle and Dad as they explored the antique shops.
When I was writing my Littleborough Chronicles I talked about the two Fiberglass boats which join me in the quay, one with a fully working outboard motor and other not so much, well when they left the quay one of them went north and the other back down towards Rochdale.
Being only the second group of ‘boat people’ I spent more that a few days with I hopped I would find out what had happend to them, and on the frist try after winter as tried to get out of Littleborough I saw one and yesterday tucked neatly away I saw the other.
We headed to Hebden Bridge next, not very far up the road on the way we past Stubbing Wharf now the last time I was here with dad both here and Hebden were still trying to clean up after the flooding.
As the car when down the road I was able to see the Stubbing Wharf was reopen but not how bad the canal banking was, is only happened when we turned the bend and I saw the locks were I got aoaked to the bone as I brought Ezri down to Littleborough, there was metal railing around a towpath and heavy Earth moving equipment down by the bank, so even if I had wanted to walking the path would been pointless.
Now Hebden looks to be half way back on its feet many of the shops are once again open but with echos of the floods, a handful of shops are still shut and the even one of the book shops showing a water mark in there window. Finding a parking space was a little more troublesome this time however, Not only are they are small (That dad would never been able to park his car) but unlike Todmorden they are not free.
Like Todmorden Canal runs through the centre of town so it’s quite easy to find, In fact most of the paths lead you there. I walked over to the lock gate and just stood, looking into the water.
Now I know went though this lock, I had to, to Ezri get were I did, I can tell you about the locks before and after yet I have no memory of this one. Even when I sat down on the rope tie, which one of the things I when was single handed, Still nothing no memory of the act I just know I did it.
Walking the towpath a little bit I did see a new morring sign, you have look carefully becauase not only is set back someone has surrounded by putting pot plants across it, when you do see it, it reads 24 hours, the morrings aren’t rings or the lovely Anchor barrier but in fact are bollards black shiny bollards which didn’t really work but look good I guess.
When I have another look at the signage on the lock it became more evidence that the floods were still causing major disruption.
Now want I found some want of a disappointment was that if Hebden is trying to get back on its feet why only 24 hours Hebden is big place with many places to spend money, there’s even a laundrette.
Say you are comming from Sowerby there are nine locks all in one shot even before you get Hebden morrings now after doing all that your going to need something to eat be it the middle of the afternoon or later, so you tie up walk to nearest place eat, pay and leave without much though to rest of the place. You get back to your boat and the next your off again.
But with Stoppages and major Civil engineering works further upstream. The only way you can go is back down to Sowerby
My Uncle Andrew, my Dad and myslef walked around for good three hours and still didn’t see everything. So it feels little off.
On the way back we stopped at Grandma Pollard’s chip shop in Wallsden for something to eat, so it really did feel as if I had never left.