NarrowBoat Ezri – Back Along The Bank 

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.

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – After The Rains

Now the rains have stopped, the plan today was to take a look up the canal from where Ezri is in Littleborough though pass Summit, then Todmorden and stopping just before Hebden Bridge at The Stubbing Wharf pub and take photos.
Knowing a few of the towpaths were shut, the trip would be done in the car with my dad driving. So we made our way up the road, me looking out the windows as we past the canal to see why it was shut.
Pasting though Littleborough most of it looked fine, but as we reached the boarder did everything start to show signs of damage.
Just outside Warland, there are two small football fields and a club house called ‘Canal Side Cafe’ which backs onto the canal and before the winter came me and Ezri sent two weeks there, but as we past it the gates were shut and the welcoming lights were gone. We were comming back down the road so further investigation could wait till then.
A few quick glimpses of the canal from the main road was all I could as we past Walsden and Grandma Pollard’s Chippy most of want I was looked Ok then, the first sight of the emergency barrier fencing came into view, complete with it Canal and River Trust notice another ominous sign
We headed into Todmorden, and over the canal itself the little service and water point was full of boats all huddled together as if to keep out the cold.
I lost my view of the canal as I had map read for dad so did get to see much of anything until we were pasting a cricket pitch, and want I saw was more barrier fencing and deep grooves in the opposite high bank which once was full of trees but now just cut down stumps.
A little shocked at this I missed the right hand turn for Stubbing Wharf and we ended up in Hebden Bridge centre but we were able to turn around in the train station car park.
It was only as we got stopped by the traffic lights on our way back out of town did I start to notice the damage, the whole place was.. The only way I can describing its that the colour and life of the place has physically been washed out.
The canal must have filled up the main street and then the river came to join it, looking though the shops widows all that can be seen are ‘back soon’ or ‘closed for refurbishment’ posters, and from want I saw between the buildings more Narrowboats were clustered together, it must have been so frightening to be in the middle of all that, so it didn’t feel right to take photo like photographing tombstones.
Heading back down the road, we found the turn off but only just, the pub was still there but small car park was building site with more barrier fencing, workmen and a small digger taking most of it, so there was no were to park.
I didn’t think about the road was very narrow so Dad had a little bit of a hard time turning the car around, and when he did I saw that just beyond the pub a huge section of the bank had given away washing the towpath into the canal. As a massive hand had scooped it away.
I did my best to follow the canal as we made are way back home each time I did all I saw was huge chunks of towpath missing or the land had slipped down from the high ground.
Getting to Warland again we stopped only a few minutes at the football field but to read the notice on the gates but all they said was ‘do not park in front of is gate’ not hopeful like the posters in Hebden had been so who knows.
We stopped once again but this time behind the Summit pub, which looks out on the wharf were I had rested Ezri twice, even with the sun in the sky it was bitterly cold, and the site that greeted us was equally as chilling the canal had been dropped not two or three inches but a good few feet.
There was water in the locks between the wharf but in the wharf itself, yet no matter how much water came down from the hills around it the wharf wasn’t going to fill anytime soon.

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Before in the summer

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And now in the winter time
I later found out that the whole canal network running down from Sowerby Bridge to The Summit is shut until further notice as they rebuild the bank stone by .

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The photo is the from the Canal and River Trust and more information about this can be found here http:// https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/the-latest-flooding-news

Narrowboat Ezri – A history of were I live (Part One)

First I would like to apologize for not writing anything about Ezri in the last two weeks because a few things got in the way to stop me.

But now I back, so I’m so I will kick off with something simple.

As Ezri is now sat in the between Todmorden and Littleborough I thought I would give you a little history of the Rochdale Canal.

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The Canal runs for 33 miles from Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire into the heart of the city of Manchester, crossing the Lancashire and Yorkshire border, and having 92 locks (91 now after its reopening in 2002) locks 3 and 4 being replaced with the deep lock Tuel Lane

Conceived in 1776 by a group of 48 men who commissioned the engineer James Brindley to survey routes from Sowerby Bridge into Manchester, but it wasn’t until 1791 when Scottish civil engineer John Rennie was asked to make a new survey was the idea taken to the British Parliament but it was opposed by mill owners  who were concerned about water supply, a second bill was presented and again defeated but on the third time of asking and with help of William Jessop on 4th April 1794 an act was obtained and authorized construction and created the Rochdale Canal Company (RCC)

The first section to open in 1798 was the Rochdale Branch and over time other sections were completed until the official opening in 1804 but work didn’t stop for three more years until the Heywood and Castleton branches were finished

Having more locks means more water is needed so the creation of reservoirs was called for Blackstone Edge Reservoir, and Chelburn Reservoir, were the first two reservoirs built to supply the water and 1798 Hollingworth Lake.

Because of its width and size it became the main highway of commerce between Lancashire and Yorkshire in 1841 and the coming of the railways people though that would be the end of the canal but the RCC were able to stay in the black for many years.

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It was only in 1923 and the end of first world war the Oldham and Rochdale Corporations Water Act paved the way for the transfer of its reservoir  to those corporations to supply drinking water. They could still draw water from some nearby streams, and could also draw some from the reservoirs under certain conditions, but for a a short profitable section in Manchester linking the Bridgewater and Ashton Canals, most of the length was closed in 1952, the full trip having been in 1937 and so when the M62 motorway was constructed in 1960 it was split into two parts and looked as if the whole canal was a thing of the history books.

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Narrowboat Ezri – Locks, rains and Todmordem

The last few days have been both easy and hard at the same time, easy there has been no-more rushing about but still hard because I’ve been on my own.

I got just Hebden Bridge and mooned up for the night after a few swear words at many a lock gate, In the morning I begin to head for Todmorden when Ezri started to smoke I had made it though one of the locks so I was dammed if I was turning around, I was very scarred so I tried Ezri up just before the next lock and worked out a plan of action,

I worked out that if I walked back down the path I would be able to find help, but as I did so I meet some other people going up to the lock, I told them want was happening and they offered help, I turned out I had some how knocked the exhaust pipe so it feed back into the engine which made her over heat,

They gave Ezri a quick check over and went on they way, I slowly made my way to the next lock and the rain came and I got heavy in fact so much I soaking wet right down to my shoes, I tied Ezri up and tried dry off which took me a hour, I mood didn’t get any better but we did make it to Todmorden. As I came in the people who help me in the morning were there and helped me tie Ezri up,

But so pissed I still was I did the only thing I could think of which was to phone home, for some dry clothes so I left Ezri, I know it seemed like I keep giving up but there are just sometimes when its all I can do, without doing something crazy.