Pennine Waterways News

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Huddersfield Canal locks closed after boat damage

Impatient boaters have damaged cills on two locks on the Huddersfeild Narrow Canal, resulting in stoppages.

There is an emergency stoppage today at Lock 17w in Mossley as BW staff repair the cill.

A similar emergency stoppage will close Lock 7e between Huddersfield and Milnsbridge on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th July.

Any enquiries regarding these stoppages should be made to BW on 01782 785703.

In both cases the wooden cill has been damaged by boaters attempting to enter or leave the lock while water levels were too low. This has happened a number of times in recent years. There are several pounds on the Huddersfield Narrow that are regularly low, so boaters should be alert to the risk of damaging the cill.

Boaters should be aware that, when closed, a lock gate butts up to a wooden cill that forms a water-tight seal against the gate. These wooden cills are usually slightly higher than the adjacent canal bed. Attempting to enter or leave a lock when water levels are too low can result in the boat's skeg catching the cill and damaging it, or even ripping it out of place.

This will mean a water-tight seal cannot be made, making it difficult (or impossible) to completely empty or fill the lock.

When levels are low, boaters should proceed slowly and be prepared to stop and back off it the boat makes contact with the wooden cill. Forcing the boat over a cill is selfish and could result in other boaters having their holidays spoilt by a stoppage. The best course of action is to send someone to open the next paddle above the cill in question and wait until water levels are high enough to cross a cill without making contact. (Only enough water should be released to increase the water level sufficiently. The paddle should then be closed again to prevent the pound above also becoming too low.)

Update 9th July:
Repairs at Lock 7e have been completed ahead of schedule and the lock has now re-opened to navigation.

Lock 17w cill being repaired in 2008


  1. Surely, a water level marker on the side of the lock could indicate whether the water level in the pound is too low to enter or leave the lock, with appropriate instructions for boaters.

  2. Interesting idea, but the depth required by a particular boat would depend on the draught of that boat. 3 feet of water might be plenty for many boats but hopelessly shallow for others!

  3. A depth line could be applied to the side of a Narrowboat, similar to those on seagoing vessels, thus it would be easy to see the actual draught. A depth-over-the cill gauge would then be of use to see if the boat could safely pass over it.


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