Pennine Waterways News

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Rochdale Christmas Closure

There is bad news for anyone hoping to travel along the Rochdale Canal between Manchester and Failsworth during the Christmas and New Year break in the stoppages programme. The canal between Piccadilly and Failsworth will be unexpectedly closed over that period.

BW announced that a car had been driven into the canal at Miles Platting in East Manchester. The vehicle is stuck in the lock chamber of Lock 81, which means that it is not possible for boats to pass through the lock. The Christmas holiday means that it is not possible to arrange for the vehicle to be recovered until 4th January. The whole of the lock flight between Manchester and Failsworth will remain closed during this period and the usual booked passage will not be possible.

Update 4th January:
The obstruction has been removed and the canal is now open to navigation.

Looking towards Lock 81, Rochdale Canal

Saturday 17 December 2011

New Life for Old Boat!

There is good news for those who are interested in older boats as work on the restoration of the historic wooden narrowboat Hazel moves to the re-planking stage.

In July, Hazel was winched from the water onto the bank at the WCBS boatyard on the bank of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Stalybridge, where the rebuilding work is taking place.

All the old timbers were removed. New base timbers were laid and the ribs attached. Work has now started on re-planking the boat's sides. A traditional boiler and steamer box has been built to enable the new side planks to be curved to shape. The planks are softened by steam in the steamer box so that they can be shaped to fit the curves of the hull sides.

(Click photos for larger versions. Press Back button to return here.)

Hazel at the WCBS boatyard in Stalybridge. The steamer box is in the foreground, with one of the planks sticking out at the far side.

A traditional steaming boiler has been set up to create the steam.

The iron ribs have been attached to the new wooden base. The cabin is supported in place above.

The first steamed plank has been curved into shape and attached to the side of Hazel.

This photo shows how the plank is not only curved, but has to have a twist to make it fit the boat's shape. It is held in position with numerous clamps until it is no longer flexible.

Launched in 1914 as Mull, this horse-drawn wooden narrow boat was based at Northwich and carried up to 30 tons of coal or salt. She was renamed Hazel in 1939 following a change of ownership. She became a pleasure boat and in 1951 had an engine and full-length cabin fitted. In recent years Hazel has been in the care of the Wooden Canal Boat Society and has been on display at Portland Basin on the Ashton Canal. More information about the work on Hazel and other wooden boats can be found on the WCBS web site.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Facelift for lock in Rotherham

Ickles Lock on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation (Photo: Neil Arlidge)
Boaters using the South Yorkshire Navigation will notice improvements next time they pass through Ickles Lock, just west of Rotherham. As part of British Waterways' winter maintenance programme, Ickles Lock has had its gates replaced.

Both sets of old gates were craned out and replaced with new ones made at BW’s Stanley Ferry Workshop in Wakefield. New balance beams and cills and repairs to the lock chamber wall will also be carried out as part of the refurbishment project.

The upgrading of Ickles Lock will cost £125,000.

Gate being craned into position at Ickles Lock (Photo: BW)

Gate being placed precisely into the quoin at Ickles Lock (Photo: BW)

Saturday 26 November 2011

Closure of busy towpath on Peak Forest

A popular and busy section of towpath on the Lower Peak Forest Canal is to be closed for 18 weeks.

The blockage will be near railway bridge "A" which means the towpath will be closed between the junction with the Ashton Canal at Portland Basin and Stanley Lift Bridge in Dukinfield.

The closure will be from Monday 28th November 2011 to Friday 6th April 2012 to allow work to proceed on the United Utilities water quality improvement project.

An alternative pedestrian route from Portland Basin is to cross Dukinfield Aqueduct on the north (left) side, then cross the footbridge over the entrance to Portland Basin Marina. Turn right and walk to the top of Charles Street. Turn right along Astley Street then almost immediately sharp right down the lane to Stanley Lift Bridge (and the reverse).

Between Monday 28th November 2011 and Friday 25th May 2012 a temporary bridge will in place across the canal to provide access to these works. This bridge will have a restricted headroom of 6 ft 4 in for boats, which is lower than surrounding bridges.

Dukinfield Aqueduct, Peak Forest Canal

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Marple Locks: Half Day Stoppages

There will be two half-day stoppages at Marple Locks on the Peak Forest Canal next week.

The entire lock flight will be closed on Tuesday 29th November from 12.00 noon to 5.00 pm, and again on Wednesday 30th November from 8.00 am until 1.00 pm.

The stoppages are to allow the verification of the SCADA gauge. SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) gauges monitor lock usage and water flow.

Monday 21 November 2011

Wigan Stoppage

A stoppage has been announced on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Wigan.

The pound between Locks 86 (Henhurst Lock) and 87 (Bottom Lock) has de-watered overnight. This affects the canal between the junction with the Leigh Branch and Wigan Pier.

BW is investigating the cause and running water down to re-fill the pound, which is not currently navigable.

This is the stretch of water outside the windows of BW's North West offices!

Update, 22nd November, 8.30 am:
BW has discovered that there is damage to one of the wooden cills at Lock 87 that helps make the gates watertight. BW staff are carrying out repairs. The navigation remains closed.

Update, 28nd November, 10.30 am:
Cill repairs are now complete and this part of the canal has now been re-opened to navigation.

Looking from Lock 87 towards Lock 86 in Wigan.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Huddersfield Waterfront Progress

Former Sellers Engineering site looking east towards Chapel Hill

The photos in this article show the current situation at the former Sellers Engineering site where the tunnel beneath the site is being opened out and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal being brought back up to the surface as part of the Huddersfield Waterfront development.

Click on each photo to see a larger version of the image. Click on your browser's Back button to return to this page.

All the concrete tunnel roof sections have now been removed. The concrete struts will remain in place until the tunnel has been partly filled to bring the level up ten feet to the new canal bed level.

Wider section of canal under construction

The canal will run through most of the site using the tunnel's current profile, meaning the channel will only be around 3 metres wide. Towards the eastern part of the site a wider section is being constructed which will allow boats to moor and to pass. A new lock will be constructed just beyond this wider section to take the canal down to the level that ran through the tunnel.

Former Sellers Engineering site looking west towards Longroyd Bridge

Lock 3w - the gates and paddles have now been removed.

The lock shown in the photo will be partly filled to bring the bottom up to the level of the canal bed above the lock. Boats will pass straight through the lock to reach the new channel, with a new lock replacing this one to be built at the other end of the development.

When the development is complete, walkers will be able to follow a path alongside the canal right through to Chapel Hill. Please see the October report for more background information about this project.

Please feel free to click below and add a comment.

Monday 24 October 2011

One Day Stoppage at Thorne

Boaters using the Stainforth and Keadby Canal this week should be aware of a one-day stoppage at Wykewell Bridge on the outskirts of Thorne.

Essential works will be carried out on Wykewell Lift Bridge between 8.00 am and 4.30 pm on Thursday 27th October. The bridge will be without power and therefore out of action during that time.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Name for New Waterways Charity announced

The new Canal and River Trust logo

It has been announced today that the name of the New Waterways Charity will be "Canal and River Trust". The announcement comes from the transition trustees. In Wales the Trust will be known as "Glandwr Cymru". The trust will take over the waterways of British Waterways in April 2012 and those of the Environment Agency at a later date.

In a statement, the trustees say: "The decision has been taken following extensive public and internal consultation and market research into the replacement for the name and symbol of “British Waterways.” They reflect the important step the Government is taking in creating a new successor organisation to hold the waterways in trust for the nation in perpetuity. The change also offers an opportunity to attract the attention of, and to appeal to, the wider public."

The design agency Pentagram, who created the British Waterways symbol in the 1980s, provided free design consultancy to develop the new national charity‟s name, symbol and imagery.

While many will welcome this news as a step towards building a positive public image for the new charity, it will disappoint those who are worried at the cost of replacing all the existing BW signage at a time when the government will be giving the charity each year one sixth of the amount it is prepared to spend on ensuring weekly bin collection.

The name chosen may be confusing for many people, as the charity will not have responsibility for the vast majority of rivers, with only a small number of navigable rivers being included in its portfolio comprising mostly canals.

This is a genuine news item,unlike this story which appeared on 1st April this year.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Huddersfield Canal closed for tunnel removal!

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal has closed to through boat traffic early this year because of a lengthy stoppage between Locks 2e and 4e in Huddersfield.

The stoppage began on 1st October and will continue to March 31st 2012, in effect closing the eastern half of the canal, while Sellers Tunnel is removed. British Waterways will take advantage of this longer-than-usual stoppage period to replace all or some of the gates on eleven of the locks on the east side of the canal, hopefully leading to fewer problems with water levels.

The work to be carried out in Huddersfield involves the opening up of the tunnel that was constructed below the former site of Sellers Engineering in 2000, bringing the canal back to the surface. This will require the new Lock 3e to be relocated close to the site of the original lock, just west of Chapel Hill.

Rather than construct a brand new channel, for most of the route the existing sheet-piled channel will be used. This will be partly-infilled to raise the canal bed to the higher level. The concrete struts that currently prevent the two sides from collapsing inwards can then be removed.

A short wider section will be constructed west of the new lock, enabling boats to pass.

The former Sellers site showing the tunnel being opened up.

In order to fit the work into the comparatively short time slot, a head start has already been made by removing the concrete roof sections that were placed between the supporting struts, as seen in the photos above and below. [Click photos to see larger versions.]

The former Sellers site showing the tunnel being opened up.

Sellers Engineering has moved to a new site and their former site is being developed as the Huddersfield Waterfront Quarter regeneration scheme, which includes the new site for Kirklees College as well as offices, around 300 new homes, leisure facilities and restaurants.

The completed development will include a public square next to the canal and will enable walkers to follow the canal from Longroyd Bridge to Chapel Hill. There will still be the shorter section between Chapel Hill and Queen Street where a pedestrian diversion away from the canal will still be necessary.

Sheet-piling channel during construction in February 2000.

The concrete roof sections being put into position in 2000. (Photo: Costain Ltd)

To better understand how Sellers Tunnel was constructed, see the sequence of web pages that illustrate its construction just over a decade ago.

For an impression of what the scheme may look like, see this web site.

The removal of this tunnel and relocation of the lock after just ten years must make them candidates for the shortest-lived canal tunnel and lock!

The locks on the east side that will have gates replaced during the stoppage period are:
- Locks 1e, 7e, 12e, 28e, 28e, 32e, 37e, 38e, 39e and 40e will have their top and bottom gates replaced.
- Locks 8e and 40e will have their bottom gates replaced and Lock 34e will have its top gate replaced.
- The top gate of Lock 31w at Diggle will also be replaced.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Tree Closes Lower Peak Forest

The Lower Peak Forest Canal is currently closed between Marple Locks and Romiley, after a large tree has fallen across the canal near Hyde Bank Tunnel. The towpath remains open.

British Waterways say that the navigation will re-open at 3.00 pm tomorrow afternoon Thursday 15th September. Winding can be found below Marple Bottom Lock or between Chadkirk and Hatherlow aqueducts.

Any enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 01782 785703.

Update 14th September, 4.45 pm:
It is reported that boaters have removed part of the obstruction and boats are now able to squeeze past with care.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Fallen Trees block Rochdale Canal

Two trees have fallen across the Rochdale Canal, closing it just west of Hebden Bridge.

High winds, which affected the area as the remnants of Hurricane Katia crossed the country, brought down the two trees close Bridge 18, Hebble End Bridge, near Stubbins Wharf. This is a short distance west of Lock 9 in Hebden Bridge.

British Waterways say that the navigation will re-open tomorrow evening Wednesday 14th September. Winding can be found below Lock 9 or below Lock 12.

Any enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 01782 785703.

Update: The blockage has now been cleared and the navigation re-opened.

Stubbins Wharf, looking towards Hebble End Bridge

Monday 15 August 2011

BW Recover Stricken Boat - photos

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was closed today between Mossley and Stalybridge after a boat came to grief in a lock.

The boat, nb Dizzy, was entering Lock 9w from the short pound above, which was very low. The stern of the boat became stuck on the wooden cill that abuts the top gate. The water in the lock continued to drain away until the bow of the boat took on water and sank.

It is believed that one of the hydraulic tail gate paddles was obstructed and would not fully close. BW say this had not been reported to them by other boaters, although one boater has said he reported it a week earlier. In addition, the lock has considerable leakage around the tail gates. It is understood that the lock drained so rapidly that the crew were not able to rectify the situation in time. Fortunately, no-one was hurt in the incident.

The boat owner arrived and assisted BW ground staff in re-floating the boat. This was done by sealing the front doors and vents and carefully re-filling the lock. The well deck took on water but the boat floated as the levels rose.

Nb Dizzy in Lock 9w.

Nb Dizzy lives up to its name, pivoting on the lock cill.

The pounds above and below the lock were drained to facilitate the recovery.

Doors and vents sealed, the water level is carefully raised.

Nb Dizzy afloat once more, although low in the water, having taken on water.

The excessive leakage around the tail gates may have contributed to the incident.

Huddersfield Stoppage as boat sinks

Boaters on the western half of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal face possible delays after a boat sank in Lock 9w near Black Rock, Millbrook.

British Waterways, whose local maintenance depot is only half a mile from the lock, are draining the pounds above and below the lock in order to recover the boat. The pound below is half a mile in length so re-filling the pounds afterwards will take a little time.

Boaters are asked to moor above Lock 10w at Scout Embankment or below Lock 7w in Stalybridge town centre and await instructions from BW staff. It is expected that the pounds could re-open around 12.00 noon on Tuesday 16th August.

The boat has been re-floated and BW staff have begun re-filling  the pounds. The canal could be passable again some time on Tuesday morning, as long as the cill has not been damaged.

See photos of the stricken boat and the recovery operation.

nb Dizzy stuck in Lock 9W

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Stoppage in Wigan for investigation

Boaters in Wigan face a delay on Thursday if they are travelling between the Wigan Junction and Wigan Pier.

The two locks between Wigan Junction and Wigan Pier (Locks 86 and 87) and the pound between them will be closed on Thursday 11th August. It is necessary to de-water Lock 86 to investigate a reported obstruction in the water.

It is not known how many hours the stoppage will last. BW staff will be on hand at Locks 86 and 87 to advise boaters.

Poolstock Locks and the main Wigan flight will not be affected by this stoppage.

Henhurst Lock, 86, Wigan

Monday 8 August 2011

Delays for lock investigations

Boaters on two Yorkshire canals face delays while BW carry out emergency investigations of leaking locks.

Oddy Locks, on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Leeds, will be closed for 5 hours tomorrow (Tuesday 9th August). This is to allow the lower of the two locks to be de-watered in order to carry out urgent repairs to prevent leaks.
BW also needs to conduct a thorough investigation of the lower gate cill and lock floor after damage was reported last Friday.
Boats should wait above Newlay Locks or below Office Lock until the canal is re-opened at lunch time.

Lock 1e on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Huddersfield will be closed on Thursday 11th August between 8.00 am and 4.00 pm. This is to allow the lock to be de-watered in order to investigate leakage from the chamber.
Boats should wait above or below this lock until it is re-opened. In practice, boaters heading westwards up the canal would not want to start late afternoon and would be better setting off very early, before the lock is closed, or waiting until the next day.

Lock 1e, Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Sheffield Stoppage

Sheffield is currently cut off from the waterways network by a stoppage at Tinsley Locks on the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal.

British Waterways say that paddle sluices at Locks 7 and 8 on the Tinsley lock flight are 'inoperable', meaning that passage through the locks is not currently possible.

Repair works will start shortly and BW will issue an update on progress..

Any enquiries about this stoppage should be made to British Waterways on 0113 281 6860.

Update 12th August:
Works have now been completed. The flight will reopen as soon as water levels to return to normal.

Tinsley Locks

Monday 1 August 2011

Restrictions on Rochdale Nine

British Waterways have warned that work to be carried out on the "Rochdale Nine" in Manchester will result in restricted opening hours for two weeks.

The work will affect Locks 86 and 87 of the Rochdale Canal, alongside Canal Street in Manchester.

On alternate days these locks will not be open until 3.00 pm. On the other days the locks will be open from 8.00 am. The locks will close at 8.00 pm each day.

BW staff will assist boaters through these two locks as access will be restricted.

The restrictions will apply from Wednesday 10th August and continue for up to ten days, until work is completed. The restrictions will not apply at weekends.

The opening hours for Locks 86 and 87 are expected to be:
 •   Wednesday 10th August - open 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm
 •   Thursday 11th August - open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm
 •   Friday 12th August - open 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm
Saturday 13th August - no restriction
Sunday 14th August - no restriction
 •   Monday 15th August - open 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm
 •   Tuesday 16th August - open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm
 •   Wednesday 17th August - open 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm
 •   Thursday 18th August - open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm
 •   Friday 19th August - open 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm
Saturday 20th August - no restriction
Sunday 21st August - no restriction

 •   Monday 23rd August - open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm

Please look for local notices or check with BW if you may be affected by the late opening. Pennine Waterways website has no control over any changes to the announced plan.

Any enquiries about these restrictions should be made to British Waterways on 01782 785703.

Update 10th August:
British Waterways has offered additional advice to boaters.
On Friday 12th, Monday 15th, Wednesday 17th and Friday 19th August, boaters wishing to use the 'Rochdale Nine' should arrive at either Lock 84 (at Dale Street) or Lock 91 (at Castlefield) by 1.30 pm to reach the restricted section by the time it re-opens and to ensure safe passage of the flight. Arrival at these points after 1.30 pm on these dates will mean that passage will not be possible until the following day and you are advised to find a safe mooring away from the flight.

On all other dates including Saturday and Sunday (13th & 14th) the canal will remain open normally (i.e. from 8.00 am).

BW's recommendation to be clear of the 'Rochdale Nine' flight by 4.00 pm each day still applies but will be reviewed in the event of any further civil disturbance in the city.

Update 12th August: Important!
British Waterways has now changed the above advice. It would appear that the restrictions now also apply on Tuesday 16th and Thursday 18th August in addition to the dates shown above.

In other words, restricted passage through these locks will apply each day next week, Monday 15th to Friday 19th August inclusive.

If you are intending to go through the 'Rochdale Nine' locks next week, please phone BW on 01782 785703 to arrange assisted passage.

Lock 86, Rochdale Canal

Police Close Canal Near Leeds

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal has been closed just west of Leeds while the police carry out an investigation.

The canal has been closed to navigation between Lock 13 at Newlay and Lock 7 at Kirkstall.

Boaters should remain moored above Newlay Locks or below Office Lock in Leeds until the canal has been re-opened.

The towpath is also closed.

An update will be issued tomorrow (2nd August). Any enquiries about this stoppage should be made to British Waterways on 01942 405700.

Update, 8.00 am 2nd August:
The canal and towpath have now been re-opened.

Newlay Locks, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Tuesday 26 July 2011

One Day Stoppage on Huddersfield Narrow

There will be a one day stoppage on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Milnsbridge on Thursday 28th July.

Lock 8e at Factory Lane, just below Milnsbridge, will be closed to navigation for the day. This is in order to carry out investigations in preparation for repair work which will take place over the coming winter period.

Any enquiries about this stoppage, including from boaters booked for Standedge Tunnel, should be made to BW on 01782 785703.

Note: Lock 7e at Milnsbridge is closed today (26th July) for the same reason. Sorry for the lack of warning, but no advanced notice of this has been received.

Lock 8e in Milnsbridge

Friday 15 July 2011

Bridgewater Canal celebrates 250 years!

The Bridgewater Canal is 250 years old!

The Duke of Bridgewater's pioneering canal was opened on 17th July 1761. While it was not Britain's first canal, it was the first modern canal to be built in Britain along a route that was independent of a river. To celebrate this landmark anniversary a number of events are taking place along the canal's route.

On Saturday 16th July a "Right Royal Regatta" will take place, recreating the visit of Queen Victoria to Worsley in 1851. Come along and cheer and wave flags as the 'Queen' boards the 'Royal Barge' at Patricroft before travelling to Worsley with a flotilla of boats!

There will be a boat trip and entertainment for residents from Winton as part of the Right Royal Regatta event. The trip ends at Oldfold Park where the group can watch the regatta go by before the return trip.

On Saturday 16th July New Manchester Walks is organising a walk from Castlefield to Worsley, starting at 10.30 am from Deansgate Station. packed lunch and walking boots needed!

On Sunday 17th July there will be "a leisurely guided stroll around Worsley Village to mark the 250th anniversary of the opening of the Bridgewater Canal, taking in the major sites connected with this wonder of the industrial age". This starts at 2.00 pm from outside Worsley Courthouse. The circular walk will be around 1.5 miles long.

On Sunday 17th July a walk will take place to launch a self-guided walk and heritage trails linking the canal and railway heritage in the Eccles and Patricroft area. The walk will start from Eccles railway station forecourt at 1.00 pm and will last approximately 3 to 4 hours. Appropriate footwear and clothing should be worn. For more information email or telephone 0161 789 5016.
Eccles Community Arts Gallery will run a Capture the Canal painting competition during September. This is open to all ages and will end with an exhibition in a public art gallery in Eccles.

Later in the year, the Friends of Salford Museum and Art Gallery are linking together a series of community-based activities and events. You can help them to investigate the Bridgewater archive and select pieces to exhibit. There will be opportunities to record people’s memories and stories of the Bridgewater Canal. A film will be created for people to tell their tales and experiences with the Bridgewater Canal. A mobile app for iPhone and Android users will help people explore the canal through a Heritage Treasure Hunt. A tapestry will also be created to commemorate the 250th anniversary.

The Friends of the Bridgewater Canal, in conjunction with Trafford Walkers and Ramblers Trafford, are organising guided walks. These will be: on 13th August, from Lymm to Stretford and on 8th October 2011, from Stretford to Worsley

Worsley at the heart of the Bridgewater Canal

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Future of Pennine canals on Politics Show

Yorkshire's edition of The Politics Show last weekend featured an eight minute item about how the New Waterways Charity could affect the future of the area's canals.

The programme shows footage filmed at Standedge Tunnel, Bingley Five Rise Locks and Sowerby Bridge. It includes interviews with the Huddersfield Canal Society's Alan Stopher, British Waterways' Julie Sharman, Shire Cruisers' Nigel Stevens and Waterways' Minister Richard Benyon.

The item can be viewed by anyone in the UK by following this link to BBC iPlayer and moving forward to 51 minutes into the programme. It will be available to watch until 17th July.

Alan Stopher being interviewed at Standedge Tunnel (BBC)

Monday 4 July 2011

Cill Stoppage on Huddersfield Narrow

Boaters on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal face delays after a cill was damaged at Lock 16e at Linthwaite, between Slaithwaite and Milnsbridge.

The wooden cill by the tail gates of the lock has been damaged. BW is de-watering the pound below so that the damage can be assessed.

BW will issue an update once the extent of the problem is known.

Update 4th July:
At the moment BW do not think the lock will be re-opened until Thursday morning but will issue a further update tomorrow.

Update 5th July:
The fish rescue on the pound being drained below Lock 16e is taking longer than expected. It is therefore expected that the canal will now reopen on Friday morning.

Update 6th July, 4.30 pm:
Repairs have now been completed and the canal is being rewatered.
BW says that the canal should re-open to navigation before 12 noon on Thursday 7th July.

Boaters should be aware that, when closed, a lock gate butts up to a wooden cill (or threshold) 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. Boaters should not attempt to force a boat over a cill but should ensure that the water level is increased before proceeding. If necessary BW should be called out to assist.

Looking towards Lock 16e at Linthwaite.

Monday 27 June 2011

Restricted Opening on Ashton Canal

There will be restricted opening times on the Ashton Canal this week due to evening stoppages as work is carried out to connect the marina arm at New Islington to the main canal line.

From Tuesday 28th June to Friday 1st July, the canal between Locks 2 and 3 in Ancoats will be de-watered between 4.00 pm and 1.00 am.

The canal will be open and available for use during the hours 1.00 am to 4.00 pm.

There is no suitable mooring above the stoppage area, so boaters heading from Ashton to Manchester (such as those doing the Cheshire Ring anti-clockwise) should not set off from Ashton after 12.00 noon on those days but should moor up at Portland Basin.

Update 28th June:
To complicate matters further today, there is an emergency stoppage at Lock 16 at the top of the Clayton flight.

The water is very low between pounds 16 & 17 due to a paddle being overwound. The paddle has come out of its frame and it needs replacing and the paddle rod needs straightening.

British Waterways will be on site at 10.00 am fitting stop planks and the maintenance team will be repairing the paddle. The canal will be re-open at 2.00 pm.
Boaters are asked to wait below Lock 16 or above Lock 17 and await for instructions from BW staff.

Update 28th June:
Repairs at Lock 16 have been completed and the navigation re-opened at 12.30 pm.

The location of this week's evening closure between Locks 2 and 3, Ashton Canal.

Saturday 25 June 2011

Canoes take to Cheshire Ring

Members of Macclesfield Canoe Club will be sticking their oars in this weekend as they embark on their annual Cheshire Ring event in kayaks and canoes.

The journey around the ring will be completed in under 24 hours, with some of the faster members doing it in under 18 hours, with participants continuing through the night!

Boats are carried past the 92 locks and over the 5 tunnels meaning that in there is almost a half marathon of walking/running in the 96 miles of the ring (96 miles as the small loop at Red Bull is bypassed).

Boats start and finish from the Miners Arms at Bridge 18 on the Macclesfield Canal near Adlington Marina, Four Lanes End, between 8.00 am and 12.00 noon. They will travel anticlockwise via the Lower Peak Forest and Ashton Canals, Rochdale Nine, Bridgewater and Trent & Mersey Canals. A highlight of the event is carrying (portaging) the boats along Canal Street in Manchester on Saturday afternoon.

Boaters on the Cheshire Ring should be aware of the possibility of canoes appearing suddenly.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Stoppage on Huddersfield Narrow

Boaters on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal face delays after problems have been found with two locks near Slaithwaite.

There is a problem with the cill at Lock 24e, the Guillotine Lock in Slaithwaite. There is also a problem with the by-wash at nearby Lock 26e. Excessive leaking is causing the pound above to lose water so that a navigable level cannot be sustained.

BW staff have put in stop planks to preserve water levels and have been monitoring the levels during the day. Repairs will be carried out as soon as possible.

BW staff are on hand to keep boaters in the area updated.

Anyone with a booking to pass through Standedge Tunnel should phone BW on 01782 785703 for advice.

Lock 24e, Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Sunday 12 June 2011

Stoppage on Ashton Canal

The Ashton Canal is currently closed between Lock 1 in Ancoats and Lock 18 in Droylsden.

The canal was closed at 9.00 am today following what British Waterways mysteriously describe as "asset failure" at Lock 3. As overnight mooring on the lock flight is not recommended, the entire lock section is now closed.

BW will issue an update at 12.00 noon on Monday 13th June.

This stoppage affects boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring and the South Pennine Ring. Boaters approaching the canal should remain moored in Manchester or at Portland Basin until further news is available.

Update 13th June:
The Ashton Canal will remain closed until 2.00 pm Tuesday 14th June to allow contractors to effect emergency repairs at Lock 3.

Update 14th June:
The canal has now re-opened.

Lock 3, Ashton Canal

Thursday 12 May 2011

Calder and Hebble Drained Near Elland

A section of the Calder and Hebble Navigation between Elland and Brighouse has been drained in an act of vandalism.

British Waterways staff are currently transferring water down from upstream but, as the pound between Park Nook Lock and Cromwell Lock is one mile long, it will take some time to fill. BW estimate that this will take two days and an update will be issued tomorrow afternoon.

Any enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 0113 281 6860.

Cromwell Lock, Calder and Hebble Navigation

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Boater Damage Shuts Rochdale Canal For One Week

The Rochdale Canal looks set to be closed for a week at Sowerby Bridge after a lock gate was damaged by a boat.

Inattention from a boater resulted in the boat lifting the towpath side head gate out of its pot, making the lock inoperable.

British Waterways staff were on site this morning and had been hoping to have the lock open by mid-day, minimising disruption to boaters booked to use Tuel Lane Lock.

However, investigations revealed damage to the bottom of the displaced lock gate and the cill. These works will take approximately one week to carry out safely as the cill will have to be reconstructed.

This stoppage will affect boaters navigating the South Pennine Ring. It is a further blow to canal users in the area after water shortage forced severe restrictions in the use of Tuel Lane Lock.

Any enquiries about this should be made to British Waterways on 01782 785703.

It is expected that the canal will remain closed until Thursday 19th May. British Waterways will issue an update on progress on Monday 16th May.

Update Thursday 19th May:
The damage to the locks is more extensive than originally thought, resulting in delay of opening until 1.00 pm on Saturday 21st May.

Update Friday 20th May:
Lock 1 will reopen for navigation at 8.00 am on Monday 23rd May.

Update Monday 23rd May:
Lock 1 is now open for navigation. Restrictions on passage through Tuel Lane Lock announced earlier in May will apply, with advance booking required.

Pound above Lock 1, Rochdale Canal

Tuesday 10 May 2011

One Day Stoppage on Rochdale Nine Next Week

Boaters hoping to use the Rochdale Nine flight of locks through Manchester next Wednesday, 18th May, face delays as the locks will be closed for most of the day.

The pound between Locks 91 and 92, just above Castlefield, will be de-watered to allow clearance of objects in the canal to improve navigation.

The de-watering will start at 7.30 am and is planned to last until 3.00 pm. Navigation will be possible again after 5pm after the water level has been restored.

This stoppage will affect boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring.

Boaters who find that they will arrive at the Rochdale Nine next Wednesday should moor at either Castlefield or in the Piccadilly Basin area above Lock 84 and enjoy a day shopping or sight-seeing in Manchester!

The pound between Locks 91 and 92, Rochdale Canal

Monday 9 May 2011

Stoppage on Wigan Flight

There is an emergency stoppage in place on the Wigan flight of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The stoppage follows the failure of the tail gate apron and cill at Lock 77.

No details about the expected length of the stoppage are available yet but this item will be updated when more is known.

Update Wednesday 11th May, 4.00 pm:
The repairs are not yet complete and the lock flight remains closed. A further update will be issued on Friday 13th May.

Update Friday 13th May, 4.00 pm:
BW say that while they were repairing the cill it became apparent that there is significant structural failure to the lock floor below the tail gates. BW engineers are working to find a solution to repair the lock. A further update will be issued on Wednesday 18th May.

Lock 77, Wihan flight

Friday 6 May 2011

Leeds and Liverpool Summit Restrictions

In a bid to prevent closure of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal this year, British Waterways are beginning restricted opening hours on the locks each side of the canal's summit pound.

From Monday 9th May, the Barrowford and Greenberfield flights of locks will be locked between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am Monday to Thursday. The locks will remain open on Friday evenings and at weekends.

Lasy entry onto these flights will be at 4.00 pm. Volunteers will then padlock the locks at 6.00 pm when all boats have vacated the locks.

Bank Newton and Gargrave lock flights will not be padlocked but BW request that boaters do not use these locks after 6.00 pm as there will be no feed into the East Marton pound during that time so if the locks are used and pounds run dry, there will be no supply of water to refill pounds.

BW say these restrictions will reduced the feed from the reservoirs by around 50% and the water saved will help towards keeping the canal open throughout the season. Last year the shortage of water resulted in the closure of 60 miles of canal between Wigan and Gargrave.

During restricted opening hours last year, some boaters cut off padlocks and used the locks anyway. BW have stated that if that happens again the boats will be traced with a view to prosecuting the boaters for criminal damage.

BW also warn that if any pounds are drained by vandalism or boater misuse then they will not automatically use additional water to refill them. So far this year BW is aware of numerous instances of boaters leaving paddles up on these critical lock flights.

Before opening paddles at locks, check that the previous boater has properly closed the paddles at the other end of the lock. When you leave a lock, check that you have properly closed all paddles. This is one of the simplest ways of helping to keep the canal open. BW also request that boaters wait for another boat so that locks can be shared and not to turn empty locks if a boat is approaching from the opposite direction.

When travelling downhill on these lock flights, a crew member should fill the next lock before you empty the lock you are in, thus re-filling the pound and avoiding unnecessary waste down the by-wash.

If the water situation deteriorates, BW will introduce further restrictions, which will include Barrowford, Gargrave and Wigan flights being closed between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am 7 days a week.

For any enquiries about these restrictions contact British Waterways on 01942 405700.

Greenberfield Locks

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Serious Water Shortage at Sowerby Bridge

British Waterways have issued an urgent warning to any boaters planning to use the eastern part of the Rochdale Canal. This involves the need to book Tuel Lane Lock in advance and the risk of delays or even closure.

As a result of the continuing dry weather, the Environment Agency has told BW to stop using the pumps that extract water from the River Calder at Luddenden Foot. These pumps feed the 3-mile long pound above Tuel Lane Lock. As this is Britain's deepest canal lock, each time it is used, a huge amount of water is taken from the pound, which cannot be replaced simply from the normal use use of the locks above. BW state that "loss of this abstraction will have a significant effect on our ability to continue navigation".

With immediate effect BW are requiring advanced booking for Tuel Lane Lock. This will be limited to one use of the lock per day. The time of this locking will flexible and will depend on the availability of water and the needs of the booked boaters.

Bookings will only be taken 48 hours in advance to the Red Bull office - 01782 785703.

BW warn that this will result in delays for boats passing through. If the pounds below Tuel Lane (i.e. above Locks 1 and 2) become starved of water, BW will have to close this section of the canal until water is available.

BW warn that "anyone choosing to pass down the east side of the Rochdale Canal should do so with the knowledge that water supplies are constrained and that Tuel Lane may not be navigable for some time".

Any enquiries about this should be made to British Waterways on 01782 785703.

This restriction affects boaters navigating the South Pennine Ring. It does not affect the Calder and Hebble Navigation.

Update 10th May:
The recent showery weather has eased the situation very slightly. As a result the number of lockings will be increased to two per day in each direction (i.e. four narrowboats per day in each direction). Narrowboats must share the lock. Passages must be booked a minimum of 48 hours in advance as described above. The pattern of two lockings a day in each direction will continue daily until the end of next weekend, at which point the situation will be reviewed.

The tunnel below Tuel Lane Lock, Sowerby Bridge

Thursday 28 April 2011

Broken cill delay on Marsden flight

The Marsden lock flight on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal is closed at the moment following damage to a wooden gate cill at Lock 32e.

The cill on the lock has been damaged to such an extent that the leakage through the gate will not allow filling of the lock. The British Waterways team are on site and will be effecting the repair today.

For the latest information about this stoppage contact British Waterways on 01782 785703.

Boaters should be aware that, when closed, a lock gate butts up to a wooden cill (or threshold) 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. Boaters should not attempt to force a boat over a cill but should ensure that the water level is increased before proceeding. If necessary BW should be called out to assist.

Pigtail Lower Lock (32e) Huddersfield Narrow Canal