Sowerby Bridge to Todmorden
2 Sept 2013
10 miles - 18 locks - 7 hours
After an e-mail exchange with nb Tacet, and a discussion with the lock keeper at Tuel Lane, we decided on a change of plan. The opening hours over the summit are limited and our plan to spend a night between the two top locks would result in a couple of days of after dark heroics to get us into Manchester on time. We therefore sacrificed a day on the Yorkshire side to ease the trip down into Lancashire - and this meant skipping a night in Hebden Bridge and pressing on to Tod instead.
Tuel Lane Tunnel
We took on 100L of diesel at Shire Cruisers to replace that used on the trip north. Not the cheapest fuel by any means, but suppliers over here are few and far between. Whilst filling up a little Springer was poled across the basin, leaving a much tattier twin behind. The odd thing was that it was decorated ready for Christmas, so it really begged the question. It transpired that it forms part of the TV show "Last Tango in Halifax" starring Derek Jacobi. Sadly the filming wouldn't start till 1.00pm and we needed to be on our way, so we will just have to wait till the Christmas Special is televised and we find out how the two boats fit into the story.
Last Tango in Halifax comes to Sowerby Bridge
We were out of the ultra deep Tuel Lane Lock 45 mins later at 11.45, tailing other boats and turning locks all the way. We passed one boat in Hebden Bridge which made life a lot easier and then found our way impeded by a boat across the channel at the "alternative zone". It was nothing more than badly banged in pins, but it took a while to persuade the locals to help re fix their colleagues boat.
Tuel Lane Lock
The journey up from Hebden Bridge takes the canal out of the mills and woods and into open pasture, catching another boat and speeding out passage to Tod which was reached at 6.15pm.
With little enthusiasm for making a meal on board we checked out the local eateries and were faces with either Weatherspoons (boring) or a strange Thai restaurant known as Humenska or the Three Wise Monkeys. Our apprehension was allayed by some locals who vouched for its quality and whilst it couldn't decide if it is a club or eatery, the food was truly top class and the beer, a stout from the Little Valley Brewery was simple devine.
Perhaps the strangest incident was saved for the close of the day. As the bar manager and a client were viewing and discussing what appeared to be either erotic art on an on line S&M site (its a fine distinction) in walked this chap with Buster his dog. Buster was almost human and when his master left for a natural break he jumped up onto the bar stool and took his place. Buster, it turned out, was Andy Kershaws dog!
Todmorden may be known for its great wall containing 4 million bricks, but it is also known for The Incredible Edible Todmorden initiative, but more about that in my next post.