Pennine Waterways News

Sunday 31 March 2013

Snowy start for Standedge season

Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre have got off to a snowy start to the 2013 season! The official first day of operation on Saturday 23rd March had to be called off when deep snowdrifts blocked roads in the area. This included the cancellation of the first public trip of the year right through the tunnel. The hardy staff opened the site the following day but with no vehicular access! Things gradually improved through the week, with short boat trips running for the brave souls who managed to reach Tunnel End on foot.

By the time Good Friday arrived, the sun was out at Standedge and the snow was going. This was good, as it was the first day of the Easter Trail. This will be available until 14th April at a cost of £1.

Hopefully the snow will be long gone in time for the Family Fun Day which takes place on Sunday 14th April, which will include a petting zoo, bouncy castle and kids' craft activities.

The photograph of Standedge Visitor Centre was taken during the week by Jill Whitehead, who was on board a train which paused long enough for her to capture this shot of the snowy scene.

Standedge Visitor Centre seen from the train.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Huddersfield Narrow could be shut for weeks

Updated 15th April - see below

Boaters hoping to traverse the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in the next few weeks are going to face delays. Just as the new boating season begins it has been discovered that there is a split in the heel post on the tail gate of Lock 32w at Diggle. The Diggle locks have single tail gates which are heavy, putting more strain on the split post. The gate will not close completely making it difficult to fill the lock. The gate is likely to fail completely if attempts are made to use it.

Following investigation of the gate at Lock 32W the Canal and River Trust has found that it has more significant damage than first thought and will need to be removed and taken to the repair yard for repairs.

The Canal and River Trust does not yet have a definite programme for this and will issue an update as soon as they have. As a precaution they have stopped taking bookings for Standedge Tunnel for the next 4 weeks.

Any boaters already travelling on the canal are asked to wait above Lock 42e at Marsden or below Lock 24w at Wool Road.

Update Thursday 28th March:
The Canal and River Trust say that unfortunately the damaged lock gate has not yet been removed from the lock due to access issues with the land owners. Temporary road access is required and CRT staff cannot do this without crossing other peoples land and permission has not been given yet.
As it is a single leaf tail gate it will not fit in a work boat and using a crane and a lorry is the only way to remove the gate from the site.
The Canal and River Trust hope to remove the gate next Thursday, 4th April, when it will be taken to CRT's workshop for repair. It is hoped that it will be returned a fortnight after that. If it becomes clear that it will take longer to repair than expected, CRT will issue a further update.

The Canal and River Trust hopes the Diggle flight will re-open to navigation on 26th April.
They say they are disappointed about this delay and apologise to customers affected by a situation outside their control. Boaters who have bookings for Standedge Tunnel will be contacted to reschedule passage. Lock 30e below Marsden has now re-opened and anyone wishing to transit the tunnel and moor above Lock 32w at Diggle can arrange to do so.

Update Friday 5th April:
The gate is now in the Canal and River Trust's workshop and has been assessed. The repair work is expected to take one week and C&RT plans to re-install the gate on Saturday 13th March.

After final checks C&RT anticipate that the Diggle Lock flight will reopen on Monday 15th April.

Update Monday 15th April:
The Canal and River Trust has announced that Lock 32w has been re-opened to navigation.

Lock 32w at Diggle, fenced off to allow draining.

The single tail gate with its split heel post will not close completely.