Pennine Waterways News

Friday 25 January 2013

Rochdale Open Day Scrapped

The Canal & River Trust has announced that the Open Day planned for this Sunday at Lock 44, Sladen Lock, on the Rochdale Canal, has been cancelled.

This is for safety reasons due to the forecast weather conditions. Snow, freezing temperatures and icy conditions could potentially make it unsafe for people walking around and inside a drained lock.

The Canal & River Trust was expecting large numbers of the public to visit the Open Day on Sunday, so it seemed the sensible decision was to cancel the event. The works at Lock 44 are due to be completed next week so the event cannot be rescheduled.

An Open Day at Dowley Gap Locks and Aqueduct, near Bingley, also planned for Sunday, has been re-arranged for 17th February.

Sladen Lock, 44

Thursday 24 January 2013

Weather delays Dowley Gap Open Day

The recent bad weather has slowed down progress on the work being carried out at Dowley Gap Locks and Aqueduct.

This means that the Open Day planned for this Sunday, has had to be postponed.

The Open Day has now been re-scheduled for Sunday 17th February. It will run from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, with last entry to the site being at 3.15 pm.

The 240-year-old aqueduct will be drained for leak reduction work, which will enable visitors to walk along a 50 metre section of the aqueduct bed.

The public will also have access to the nearby 2-rise locks, which will be drained to enable new gates to be fitted and masonry repairs to be carried out.

Iain Weston of the Canal & River Trust said: "Over 7000 attended our Bingley Five Rise event last year and for those who weren't able to make that, we're giving them another chance to see some of our remarkable structures. For those that did come, we're offering them something different and unique by being able to open up the aqueduct to the public for the very first time."

Dowley Gap Aqueduct and Locks are one mile east of Bingley, accessed via Main Street towards Leeds, left at Beckfoot School onto Wagon Lane and Dowley Gap Lane, or take the more direct walking route along the canal towpath. See Google Map.

Dowley Gap Aqueduct

Photo: Canal & River Trust

Friday 18 January 2013

Unlocking artwork on the canal

As part of this winter's maintenance programme, Lock 9e of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Milnsbridge is having its gates replaced. However, there will be something different about the new gates - they will include poetry!

As part of an exciting partnership between the Canal & River Trust and Arts Council England, poetry by Jo Bell has been carved into the lock gate's balance beam by the artist Peter Coates. This is part of the Locklines project which will see poetry from Jo Bell, Ian McMillan and Roy Fisher appear at various locks, including Leeds and Liverpool Canal Lock 30 at Gargrave.

Apart from Lock 9e, four other lock gate replacements and two repairs will be taking place this winter. That means that in the last three years gates on more than half of the 74 locks on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal have been replaced or repaired. The funding for the poetry project has come from the Arts Council and not from C&RT's maintenance budget!

Photo: Canal & River Trust

Snow on the Huddersfield Narrow

No, this is nothing to do with the current bout of wintry weather! Anyone who saw the first programme in TV historian Dan Snow's new series "Locomotion - Dan Snow's History of Railways" may have seen that a section of the programme was filmed on a canal.

The filming was done on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Diggle featuring the horse-drawn boat Maria, with members of the Horseboating Society as eye candy.

The episode cam be watched here on BBC iPlayer until 5th February. The canal section begins about 10 minutes into the programme.

Dan at the tiller of Maria. [Image: BBC]

Sunday 13 January 2013

Makeover for Cooper Bridge Weir

Cooper Bridge weir on the River Calder near Mirfield is currently undergoing a multi-million pound reconstruction project as part of the Canal & River Trust’s annual waterway maintenance programme.

The weir maintains levels to allow navigation along the Calder and Hebble Navigation and onto the Huddersfield Broad Canal. It is undergoing a £2m overhaul to install a new 40 metre weir and new fish pass.

Following a major failure of the weir in 2009, this section of waterway has been forced to close on two occasions as emergency temporary repairs were undertaken which led to the navigations being closed.

Project Manager Linda Milton said: "This is the largest project happening anywhere on the waterway system during this maintenance period and is really important for these navigations. The weir is a completely new structure with a heavily reinforced base around four metres below the crest level. The remaining structure is constructed with fibre mesh concrete with steel sheet piles up and downstream tying into a sloping concrete apron to the upstream and a stepped concrete apron to the downstream. The weir also includes a bywash facility for fish migrating downstream. The main fish pass is a Larinier type and also incorporates an elver pass.

"The river cannot be closed fully and so extensive temporary works in the way of steel sheet piles have had to be driven into the river bed to form two cofferdams so the works can be carried out in two halves across the river; some of the piles are 13m in length. This enables the works to be constructed in the dry and at the same time maintain the river flow. However, due to all the heavy rainfall in 2012 this has proven a real challenge and several major floods to the river have caused delays as levels have been so high they have flooded the cofferdams out.

"The aim has been to install a new durable, robust, low maintenance structure that safeguards the navigations. Because of the nature of this river system, there is a high probability that these failures would have kept occurring so it’s important we’ve taken this action to avoid any further disruption to the three navigable waterways which rely on this weir."

Work is due to be completed by the end of January.

Cooper Bridge Weir [Photo: Canal & River Trust]