Pennine Waterways News

Friday 5 September 2014

Boat sinks twice on Huddersfield

One boater had more than his share of misfortune on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal this week when his boat sank not once but twice.

On Thursday the boat was descending Lock 23w at Dobcross when the stern became caught on the cill. Although the boater tried to take steps to remedy the situation, the boat sank. Canal and River Trust staff helped to refloat the boat and move it out of the lock.

On Friday the boater returned to the vessel with the intention of moving it through one more lock to a place where he could more easily deal with the mess inside the boat. Unfortunately the boat still had a great deal of water inside and was low in the water. When the boat reached lock 22w near Uppermill it began sinking again, this time due to taking on water.

A team from River and Canal Rescue attended the boat this afternoon to refloat it again. The boater was clearly upset by his disastrous journey but expressed relief that nobody had been hurt.

Boat on the bottom of Lock 22w

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Lock problem closes Rochdale Nine

The Rochdale Nine lock flight through the centre of Manchester is temporarily closed after problems developed with Lock 91.

There was a problem with a wooden cill, so that the gate could not be made watertight, making the lock inoperable. A section of canal was drained to allow an inspection. The cills have now been replaced but further work is required before the gates can be made watertight.

The Canal and River Trust hope to re-open the locks at around 1.00 pm tomorrow, 28th August, after the work has been completed and the pound re-filled.

Lock 91, Rochdale Canal

Sunday 24 August 2014

Swing Bridge delays at Bingley

Boaters on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal face delays at Bingley because of problems with Micklethwaite Swing Bridge, half a mile upsteam of the Five Rise Locks.

Since 20th August the electrically operated bridge has been manned by Canal and River Trust staff because of technical problems. However, in an updated notice, the bridge has been closed until further notice.

A further update will be issued on Tuesday 26 August 2014.

Update Tuesday 26th August, 5:00 pm:
The bridge remains closed. Contractors will carry out investigations at the bridge tomorrow (27th Aug), after which a further update will be issued.

Update Wednesday 27th August, 5:00 pm:
The bridge remains closed. Work being carried out includes the resolution of hydraulic issues, the replacement of relay bases and the fitting of indicator lamps to prevent users from trying to open the barriers too quickly.

Testing will be completed on Friday 29th August and it is expected that the bridge will re-open to boater operation by Friday afternoon.

Update Friday 29h August, 11.50 am:
Work on the bridge has now been completed and the bridge has re-opened to navigation.

Micklethwaite Swing Bridge

Thursday 24 July 2014

Ashton Canal set to re-open Sunday

New gates in place at Lock 10, Ashton Canal

The Ashton Canal is to re-open on Sunday 27th July following a stoppage of over three weeks after a boat seriously damaged a gate at Lock 10 (Vinegar Lock).

New gates had to be made at Stanley Ferry and these have now been fitted. They are 6 metres high as Lock 10 is the deepest narrow lock in the country, with a rise of 4.22 metres (13ft 10in). New wooden cills have been fitted to make the bottom of the gates water-tight.

Canal and River Trust staff have been fitting the balance beams and paddle gear. (The hydraulic paddle gear, considered inappropriate by some, is being re-fitted.)

Fenders will then be fitted to the gates and an engineering inspection carried out. If that goes well, work to dismantle the work site will take place on Saturday. This will involve removing safety scaffolding from the lock and the heavy duty security fencing that has been erected around the lock.

The canal should then be re-opened to navigation on Sunday morning (27th July).

It is not clear how the damage occurred as the impact appeared to have been at normal water level. However, when canal staff arrived at the scene there was a boat trapped in the lock and the pound below the lock was very low, so one theory being suggested is that the boater may have been attempting to flush the boat from the lock, with the water causing the gate to close just as the boat surged forward.

It is understood that the gates were around 20 years old and should have been good for a few more years. However, the damage was such that repairs could not be carried out in situ, so with the expense involved in removing and refitting the gates, it was more economical to replace them now rather than remove them for repair and then replace them with new gates in a few years time.

The Ashton Canal is part of the popular Cheshire Ring and also the South Pennine Ring , so the stoppage has meant that many hirers and others planning to navigate these rings have had to change their plans.

Lock 10, showing portable gantry still in place and safety scaffolding.

Below Lock 10, with the work boats used to transport the gates and equipment.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Rochdale Canal paddle problem

A paddle failure on the bottom gates of Lock 64 (Kays Lane Lock, Chadderton) on the Rochdale Canal means that the canal is currently closed at this location to facilitate the repair works needed.

The Canal and River Trust is mobilising work teams to the site and it is hoped the canal will be re-opened quickly.

Update Thursday 10th May:
Assisted passage through Lock 64 is available by phoning the Canal and River Trust (01782 785703) when you are approaching the lock.

Update Friday 11th May:
The failed paddle has now been made water-tight and the lock has re-opened to unrestricted navigation but with only one bottom gate paddle working.

Lock 64, Rochdale Canal

Monday 7 July 2014

Lock damage shuts Ashton Canal

Damage to a gate at Lock 10 on the Ashton Canal has closed the canal between Lock 1 and Lock 18.

The damage to the lower gate, which appears to have been caused by a boater, is so severe that an on-the-spot repair cannot be carried out. The gate will have to be removed to a workshop. Arrangements are being made for the gate removal but access to the lock is difficult.

The Canal and River Trust do not know how long the repair will take but are advising that the canal could be closed here for several weeks.

Lock 10 (Vinegar Lock) is the deepest narrow lock on the canal system, with a rise of 13' 10". This stoppage affects boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring and the South Pennine Ring.

Update Monday 14th May:
The Canal and River Trust expects to take delivery of the new gates needed for Lock 10 next Saturday, 19th July. Fitting the gates is expected to take a week, including fitting new wooden cills. They are hoping to re-open the canal over the weekend of 26th/27th July.

Anyone waiting to navigate the canal as soon as it re-opens is asked to contact Ellie or Milly at the Red Bull office on 0303 0404040 so that the volume of traffic will be known and the re-opening can go smoothly.

Photo: Canal and River Trust

Monday 19 May 2014

Marple Locks Stoppage

Increasing problems at Lock 2 have resulted in a stoppage on the Marple Lock flight, Peak Forest Canal.

The Canal and River Trust report that during the day today, operation of Lock 2 has become increasingly difficult. They suspect that there is a developing problem with the cill that has become critical.

The flight has now been closed to allow an inspection of the cill and repairs as necessary. The water level will be reduced first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) to allow the inspection to take place and an update will be issued as soon as possible.

Boaters wishing to use the locks are asked to wait on the mooring points above and below the lock flight.

Canal and River Trust add that they know it is a busy time and that this closure will cause some frustration, but they are working as quickly as possible to make sure that there is no unnecessary delay in reopening the canal.

The locks are expected to be closed at least until Wednesday 21st May.

Lock 2, Marple.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Marsden stoppage after boat 'stuck'

There is a stoppage on the Marsden flight of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal after a boat became 'stuck' in Lock 41e just east of Marsden Station. This will affect boats booked for passage through Standedge Tunnel.

The nature of the incident has not been made known so it is unclear how long the stoppage might be expected to last.

Update Thursday 15th May, 8:00 pm:
Local information is that the boat has now been freed and the locks re-opened.
It is reported that the boat met the Standedge Tunnel width requirements and successfully passed through the tunnel without problem. It then became stuck in Lock 41e for a while and then later in Lock 32e.
Note: Some locks (e.g. 21w, 22w, 41e, 32e) are narrower than others or may have a slight banana-shape. Certain boats may, due to their length or profile, encounter problems with some of these locks. Most boats pass through these locks with no difficulty, however.

Lock 41e, Marsden

Monday 12 May 2014

Tinsley Locks closed after boat sinks

The Tinsley Lock flight on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation was closed on Friday after a boat had sunk in the deep lock (7/8).

The Canal and River Trust staff attempted to recover the boat, but were not successful. It was decided to try a different way of raising the vessel using support from divers. Because of the complicated nature of the recovery of the boat, the divers have requested specialist equipment which is due to arrive tomorrow (Tuesday). Therefore, the recovery operation will now take place tomorrow.

An update will be issued when the canal has re-opened.

Update Tuesday 13th May, 5:00 pm:
The boat has now been recovered. The site is being cleared and the locks will re-open to navigation at 8.00 am tomorrow (Wednesday).

From Google Maps

Sunday 11 May 2014

Flood locks closed on Yorkshire waterways

Following heavy rain over the weekend all the flood locks are closed on the Calder and Hebble Navigation as well as some flood locks on the Aire and Calder Navigation in Yorkshire.

This affects navigation between Brighouse and Wakefield and between Leeds and Knostrop.

The Canal & River Trust will continue to monitor levels and will re-open the flood gates when levels return to safe levels. An update will be issued on Monday 12th May.

Update Monday 12th May, 9:30 am:
The flood gates at Clarence Dock and Knostrop on the Aire & Calder Navigation will be re-opened this morning.

Update Monday 12th May, 10:30 am:
Wakefield flood lock, Brighouse Basin and Anchor Pit locks will remain closed because of high water levels. It is hoped that Battyeford, Cooper Bridge and Ledgard flood locks can be re-opened later today.

Update Tuesday 13th May, 9:00 am:
All flood gates on the Calder and Hebble Navigation have now been re-opened.

A planned stoppage to replace a gate at at Anchor Pit flood lock (east of Brighouse), due for Wednesday 14th May, has been postponed.

Wakefield Flood Lock

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Pollution shuts canal in Leeds

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is currently closed between Office Lock (2) and Spring Garden Lock (6) following a pollution incident.

A fire in a building near the canal has led to the canal becoming polluted. Booms have been put in place across the canal to try and contain the escaped chemicals. The Fire Brigade and the Environment Agency have requested that the canal remains closed until the pollution can be investigated and a plan to manage it has been made.

An update should be issued later today.

Update Tuesday 22nd April, 5.45 pm:
The canal remains closed. A further update will be published tomorrow.

Update Wednesday 23rd April, 4.00 pm:
The canal has now re-opened to navigation.

Spring Gardens Lock, Leeds.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Broken paddles cause lock incident

A frightening incident took place on Friday at Johnsons Hillock Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. A boat had ascended Lock 64 and was starting to leave the lock when the paddles on the bottom gate 'blew', causing the water in the lock to drain very quickly, leaving the boat caught on the cill.

Staff from the Canal & River Trust and nearby Wheelton Boat Yard came to the boaters' assistance. The paddles were blocked up temporarily, allowing the lock to be refilled slowly. Luckily, the boat then refloated without any obvious damage.

Reports suggest that there have been previous incidents with this lock in the last few weeks and that the paddles have been faulty for more than a year. CRT are believed to have carried out a temporary repair recently and it was this repair that gave way on Friday.

It is not yet known whether Canal and River Trust plans to fit new paddles soon or whether a further temporary repair will be made. Boaters using the lock need to be alert to the possibility of further problems.

It is understood that nobody was injured in Friday's incident.

Incident at Johnsons Hillock Locks. Photo: Chris Brooks

Saturday 8 March 2014

Bridgewater boost will see boats return to Worsley Delph

The Bridgewater Canal is to receive a facelift as part of a scheme to regenerate the canal through Salford. The highlight of the scheme will be to open up the historic Worsley Delph to navigation and public access.

Salford City Council was recently awarded a grant of £3.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will contribute to the scheme's total cost of over £5 million. The project will see improvements to the five mile stretch of canal and adjoining areas between Barton Swing Aqueduct and Boothstown.

At Worsley Delph footpaths are to be opened up leading to the entrance to the Duke of Bridgewater's historic underground canal. The Delph itself will be made navigable once again, enabling visiting boats to moor up.

Image: Salford City Council

At Barton, a 'pocket park' will be developed,giving improved foot access from Barton Underbridge to the bank of the Ship Canal giving views of the Swing Aqueduct. Large areas of dense undergrowth is to be cleared, opening up views. Benches and interpretation boards will be provided. There will be a visitor centre and car park on the south side of the Swing Aqueduct. The aqueduct will be lit at night for the first time.

The towpath through Barton is to be improved to create 'Barton Promenade'. The Duke's Drive Country Park area to the north of the canal in Monton is to be enhanced with improved access and footpaths.

A new footbridge across the canal between Patricroft Station and the motorway will provide access to the towpath from new housing developments. A new footbridge across the canal between Monton and Worsley will link the towpath with Duke's Drive Country Park and a proposed marina and new housing in the Broadoak Park area. At Boothstown there will be a new car park, interpretation boards and improved paths.

Work is expected to start early in 2015 and be completed by the summer of 2016.

There appear to be some historical cross wires, as the Heritage Lottery website tells us that “Engineer James Brindley built the aqueduct to carry the canal over the River Irwell” but, of course, Brindley's manificent stone aqueduct was demolished for the construction of the Ship Canal and replaced by the present unique swing aqueduct.

Image: Salford City Council

Thursday 6 February 2014

Wall collapse closes canal in Burnley

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal has been closed in Burnley following the collapse of a retaining wall.

The offside wall has partially collapsed into the canal near Sandygate, in the "Weavers Triangle" area, following heavy rain saturating the ground. This section of canal has been drained by the Canal and River Trust to enable remedial work to take place. The towpath is also closed at this point.

This section of canal is expected to be closed to navigation for around four weeks.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Sandygate, Burnley. Photo: Burnley Express

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Barton Swing Aqueduct stoppage brought forward

The Bridgewater Canal Company has announced that the annual maintenance closure of Barton Swing Aqueduct is to be brought forward to co-incide with a stoppage at nearby Monton.

The annual maintenance work, normally carried out around the middle two weeks of March, will take place between 17th February and 1st March 2014.

The canal will also be closed between Worsley and Monton on the Leigh Branch from 17th February and 3rd March to allow piling work to take place on the off-side bank at Monton.

Barton Swing Aqueduct

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Tony Robinson on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Television presenter and actor Tony Robinson starts a new series of "Walking Through History" this coming weekend with a walk along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal between Liverpool and Wigan.

The programme is being broadcast at 8.00 pm on Saturday 8th February on Channel 4.

The programme looks at the few traces of the canal's original terminus in Liverpool and ends up at Wigan Pier, looking at some of the politics and problems behind the canal's construction.

Tony also takes time out to visit Bingley to see a horse-drawn boat in operation.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Wigan Pier

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Work begins on Rochdale Canal culvert

Work is starting this week on repairing the failed culvert under the Rochdale Canal in Mytholmroyd. The canal has been closed between Lock 7, Broadbottom Lock, and Lock 6 at Brearley, to enable investigations to take place. The task has been made more complex by the strong flow of the stream that passes through the culvert and by the close proximity of houses.

Temporary dams and pumps are being installed to create a dry working environment. The previous temporary repair will be removed and the failed section of culvert will be uncovered.

A permanent concrete repair will be carried out to the culvert over the next week and then new puddle clay will be laid over the top to ensure a watertight seal. The contractors will then remove the temporary dams and pumps, refill the canal, reinstate the towpath, site compound area and rebuild the boundary wall.

Currently the work is expected to be completed and the canal re-opened by 24th January, however this is dependent on good weather and working conditions over the next few weeks. Updated information will appear on this page.

The Rochdale Canal below Lock 7 in Mytholmroyd

Monday 6 January 2014

Tinsley Locks Closed

Tinsley Locks on the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal are currently closed due to low water levels.

While this may seem difficult to believe in the present period of wet weather, on 4th January the pumps failed that supply the summit level into Sheffield. Use of the locks would result in the draining of the summit pound.

Engineers will be inspecting the pumps today and the locks will remain closed until repairs have been carried out.

For up-to-date information on navigation of flight, please contact the lock-keeper on 07710 175488.

Update Tuesday 7th January:
A temporary repair has been carried out ans the lock flight has now been re-opened. The contractors are returning to site on Thursday 9th January to carry out further work on the pumps so there may be more disruption. Please contact the lock keeper on Thursday on 07710 175488 for the latest information.

Tinsley lock flight, Sheffield and Tinsley Canal