Friday 30 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (6-6)

Friday September 30th

Goole Boatyard
Day 41

A dry start to the day, for the first time since the hot spell started the boat was not covered in dew this morning. The weather soon warmed up and we have been lounging around and enjoying it. Humber Princess arrived this morning empty and moored up next to Humber Pride.

A few boats who moored outside the club house left early to make the run back to Doncaster. There has been a steady flow of leisure boats all day in and out of the marina. Including one that looked like a converted lifeboat.

I have been working on a problem with the battery bank. After a great deal of head scratching I found that one of the inter-battery straps has a loose crimped connection. This must have been like this since Rosie was built. The plastic insulation over the strap was holding the un-crimped connection together. Instead of four batteries we are now working on a bank of two.

A second visit to the boathouse clubhouse is on the cards for tonight.


Daily Total
Distance: 0 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1956

Thursday 29 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (6-5)

Friday September 29th

Goole Boatyard.
Day 40

A clear cloudless sky as far as the eye could see heralds another Indian summer day. We are moored between the boatyard and the Yorkshire Waterway Museum which we hope to visit later today.

The Aire and Calder canal at Goole is very busy with pleasure craft as well as commercial vessels. So there is something of interest to watch at all times.

Where some people like to sit quietly and people watch – we have now perfected the art of aquatic boat watching – which is an adaptation of the traditional Gongoozeling where boat watching is done from another boat.

Lafarge Aggregates large cargo vessel Battlestone arrived at 11am to moor up opposite the visitor moorings complete with a full load of sand. Humber pride arrived mid afternoon and moored up just below Battlestone. Later Heather Rose H. Arrived with a full load of sand and also moored up for the weekend. It is good to see that some traffic is still using the port facilities.

We enjoyed a “Quiet” evening in the Goole Boathouse bar.

Only a couple of Pipistrelles detected.

Daily Total
Distance: 0 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1956

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (6-4)

Thursday September 29th 

Southfield Junction to Goole Boatyard.
Day 39

A heavy mist had built up over night and the canal has a glass smooth surface this morning with not a single ripple. No wildlife noise, total silence other than a distant faint pop pop of someone’s engine starting further along the moorings. The tranquillity was soon shattered when at 7am the boat decided to wind on the mooring. Complete with all the expected disturbance that winding would create. Backwards and forwards in a seventeen point turn! Accompanied with frequent shouts between the tiller and the bow as they approached each bank. The fact that the canal junction was 200 yards only further along in the direction they were pointing and wide enough to wind the Titanic seemed lost on them.

They then demonstrated their Klaxon horn as they left. Giving a cheery wave to all the disapproving faces lining the windows of the remaining boats. Wishing everyone to have a “nice day no doubt!” With a feeling of Deja Vou I remembered that the Titanic hit an iceberg in poor visibility. The mist has not left the water yet, I can live in hope.

The morning sun through the mist was an orange orb and it was possible to see what looked like a sunspot on the surface. Must try the old trick of a sheet of white paper and binoculars used as a projector to display the suns image later!

A gentle cruise towards Goole stopping twice en-route to scrump apples from two bank side trees. One was a sweet eating apple the other was a cooking apple. Mousaca and Apple crumble for tea announced the senior galley slave.

We pulled into the BW Water point and topped up the tank. I did a check on the batteries by way of a test of their condition. After leaving them to settle to their quiescent state I found that two were at 12.58v and one at 12.51v.

We backed up from the water point onto the 3 day visitor moorings. The sun was beating down and we all ended up sat in the shade until late afternoon watching the comings and goings of the various vessels.

At 8pm an hour after dark John Whittaker's Humber Princess came through the lock fully laden with oil. At 8:30. John Whittaker's Humber Pride also passed with a full load of oil and disappeared off up the canal into the night.

Several Pipistrelle bats detected around the Goole boatyard.

Daily Total
Distance: 8 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1956

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (6-3)

Wednesday September 28th

Knottingly to Southfield Junction
Day 38

A good start to the day as the sun was soon up over the horizon. A heavy dew on the boat overnight made giving Rosie a wipe down her port side very easy. A light breakfast followed a visit to the boat yard and we were able to establish that we would not get onto the slipway before Monday morning.

I spent some time down in the engine bay topping up the batteries with water. I suspect that one of the batteries is going faulty and discharging the battery bank over night. We had already promised ourselves a new set of batteries for the spring. So we may need to review the purchase date.

We watched Battlestone carrying a load of sand travelling up river towards Castleford. Its good to see cargo still being handled this way. We passed through Whiteley Lock and Pollington Lock under the control of the lock keepers. We shared Pollington Lock with Two other boats.

Taking advantage of the good weather, we decided to make a visit to Goole. We passed by Kellingley Colliery site was unusually silent as the shift was cancelled due to the recent death of a miner in a roof fall. Coming from a mining family and knowing that the working conditions underground can carry great risks. I certainly identified with the tragedy that has befallen this family.

Every one remembers the 1966 tragedy of Aberfan. When a colliery spoil heap collapsed into homes and a school, killing 116 children and 28 adults. The miners and their families have paid a great price with their lives over several hundred years in enriching this country. Their reward was to be treated as shit for political expediency and the decimation of their industry under the Thatcher Government.

We watched several large skeins of Greater and Lesser Black Backed Gulls passing high overhead to the East. The new ploughed fields alongside the canal were very attractive to large numbers of Gulls and Rooks. One ploughed field held a large number of Lapwings. Almost each mile of canal has its own resident Heron.

A very sedate pace along the canal brought us to Southfield Junction. We decided to stop for a late lunch and then after eating and enjoying a couple of beers we decided to stay put for the night. For most of the late afternoon and early evening we could hear a Long Eared Owl calling. Moored nearby is Nb Pipistrelle who also have a couple of dogs aboard. 

A widebeam called Walrus, last seen moored in Knottingley came along the canal at some speed. They slowed down far to late before the junction to reduce the large bow wave that rattled every boat on the moorings. Battlestone returned empty heading for Goole just as dusk was falling cruising past the junction at a gentle pace. The effect as Battlestone passed the end of the junction was almost as nothing when compared to Walrus. Just a gentle rise and fall. After dark another wide beam boat came into the moorings with only the green navigation light was working.

We spent a bit of time sat in the dark just admiring the stars. It is so dark here that the Milky Way was easy to see. Last time we stopped here we detected three types of bats and in good numbers. This time only a few Pipistrelle were detected.

Daily Total
Distance: 10 Miles.
Locks: 2
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1952.7

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Choosing a boat name

There are many boat names that are duplicated on the canal and some boat names are more popular than others. Kingfisher for obvious reasons is a very popular boat name. There are many other bird names to choose from such as Osprey, Mallard and Merlin which we have seen over the last few days. Waterside plant names such as Iris and Sorrel seem to abound as do waterside tree names like Willow. Waterside wildlife names like Otter and Toad are popular if only from their connection to books such as “Ring of Bright Water” or “Wind in the Willows”.

So its not easy to find a unique name unless you use a bit of imagination. Humour often applies to boat names. The humour can be quite obvious or it could be done with a play on words. “Sir 'T' Fiable” was one recent humorous name spotted, as was SKI explained as “Spending Kids Inheritance”.

There are also famous boat names such as “Titanic” or “Cressy” that you could emulate. You could also combine together words such as a plant name and a place name such as “Rose of Arden” though even that name is not unique as there is a sea going Yacht of exactly the same name.

Our old house was named “Wits End” as we lived at the end of a cul-de-sac. We were going to rename our boat to “Wits End II” but “Rose of Arden” has grown on us, so now that we are unlikely to ever change her name. Often abbreviated most of the time to just “Rosie” by us anyway.

Insects also play a part in boat names, I have yet to see a Wasp or Horsefly but I have seen several Dragonfly and a few Queen Bee's. Nymph is the larval stage of the Dragonfly but I think the use of Nymph is related to the world of children’s stories such as the Water Babies.

Children’s stories have given a few names such as Puddleduck or even Swallows and Amazons. Harry Potter has given a whole new realm of characters and magical places. I wonder how many times the JK Rowling imagination will be reflected in boat names.

But are there names that we would not use – I suppose Hitler might not be high on the list of duplicates though we have seen the U boat Narrowboat on the Leeds Liverpool Canal in Leeds.

Whatever you choose someone else will be thinking along the same lines. Private Eye has a section on “Pseudo names” so you could lift one from there and have something like The Angus McCoatup Carrying Company or some other similar name.

Duchess of Alba
You could choose a name that reflects one of the natural feminine beauties from around the World. One such as the “Duchess of Alba” who is higher in the aristo's social standing circles than our own dear old expensive to maintain queen.

Yes, choosing a boat name is such a difficult task.


Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (6-2)

Tuesday September 27th

Beal Lock to Knottingly
Day 37

A late start as we only have a short distance to go. First we washed down the roof of the boat which has been neglected for some time. It made a significant change because there was a light covering of dust and the first of the autumns falling leaves.

What can you say about the weather, it was sunny and hot from first thing in the morning. However, the breeze on the canal helped when we ambled on tick over up the River Aire to Bank Dole Lock. We passed a small cruiser on our way up river. At Bank Dole both of the bottom gates were open and the paddles still up.

A pair of Kestrel were alternatively play fighting and hunting on the flood banks. I hoped to see the Little Owl that we saw on our Easter cruise at Beal Lock but it did not turn up.

We visited the boatyard where the boat in front of us in the queue was being blacked. With a bit of luck we will be on the slipway tomorrow and the weather will hold good to get the job done. It would be good to be back on our cruise before the weather breaks again.

Later, we observed a couple of Common Pipistrelle that were our hunting very early, well before sunset. Later I detected a Daubentons which we identified by illuminating it with the high power torch.

Daily Total

Distance: 2.5 Miles.
Locks: 1
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1949.1

Monday 26 September 2011

Summer/Autumn Cruise (Week 6)

Summer/Autumn Cruise 2011 (Week 6)

Monday September 26th
Knottingley to Beal Lock.
Day 36

Up early to let the dogs have some exercise. Today we are waiting our turn to be lifted from the water ready for the maintenance work being done. The boat yard has a small back-log of work to be finished on other craft and so we may be here for a couple of extra days.

The weather is overcast with the odd few patches of blue. It is quite cold and the wind is quite gusty at times. This is causing Rosie to move around on her mooring so I have deployed a couple of springs in addition.

There are a few little jobs of my own that I have started. I have fitted a new length of cable to the satellite dish. The old cable was crushed in a door and the picture quality deteriorated. I also needed to fill the stern gland greaser with fresh grease. I might just brave repacking the gland once Rosie is lifted out of the water. I have a small drip tray under the gland and it is collecting about half a pint of water a day.

I have been watching the antics of several cormorants who are fishing in the canal close to Rosie. The fish they are catching look quite small, so I imagine it will take some time for them to get a good meal. Periodically they emerge from the water to dry their feathers. Unlike other birds, the feathers on a cormorant are not covered in oil and so the birds can become waterlogged over time. It seems quite a strange posture almost crucifix like, as they perch to dry themselves in the sun and wind.

The Sun arrived at about 10:30 roughly the same time as we were told that we would not get Rosie out of the water until Wednesday morning. So I decided that we should get onto the River Aire and cruise for the day. We stopped at Beal's lock to take on water, it took so long the tank must have been almost empty.

A Kestrel kept pace with us along the flood bank for quite a distance and it was easy to see why the old country name for the Kestrel was Windhover. It was not having any luck and only left us when we came across three Environment Agency Vehicles parked on top of the flood banking. A steady passage had us to West Haddersley Flood Lock for 13:30 so it was time for lunch and to await the arrival of our friends John and Tracy.

We worked the lock and passed three cruisers through from the direction of the Selby Canal the wind on the river was making it hard going for them. We watched them slowly zigzag their way up river.

Later, we returned back to Beal Lock and moored up for the evening where we enjoyed a spectacular sunset. Even later we spent some time observing a clear moonless night sky. Then it became so cold that we lit the stove before retiring to bed.

Two Common Pipistrelle bats were detected.

Daily Total
Distance: 10 Miles.
Locks: 3
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1946.7

Sunday 25 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (5-7)

Sunday September 25th

Mill Bank Lock to Knottingley
Day 35

Mill Bank Lock moorings are another very nice place to moor, a tranquil and pleasant spot. The railway passes close to the moorings but the trains are very infrequent especially at the weekend. We woke to find that the pound was almost empty (down 5 feet). The last boat up in the previous evening through the Figure of Three Locks, was running late as it was getting dark. The boat is moored on the Dewsbury Arm at Savile Town Basin. (We know who you are) Being in a hurry they had left the ground paddles open on the top lock. We had to call out the BW emergency team to help us float off the bank side. However, some of the much needed water would now have to come out of the shallow Savile Town Arm. I expect they might find themselves a little short of water until BW can fix the lack of water problem.

The weather is supposed to start to get warmer today and remain so for at least a week, according to the long term weather forecast. Temperatures in the mid 80's are predicted! The forecast accuracy has been poor over the last month, so I am on a wait and see what happens frame of mind. Some sunshine would be most welcome after the dismal fortnight we have just had.

Rosie was moored in the lock by breakfast, whilst we waited for the levels to return towards normal. We were under-way by 10am, then it started to rain, it was only light but it was rain! We had rain several times during the day. It was 3:30 before the sun broke through and by then was quite low in the sky.

Our days cruise involved the last part of the Calder and Hebble until reaching Fall Ings Lock we joined the Aire Calder once more. The Memsahib obviously hated our heavy hard wood lock spike so much that she accidentally left it behind. Later in the afternoon when we reached Castleford Flood Lock we had completed our big ring cruise.

The Big Ring - Starting from Castleford on the Aire and Calder canal. Until joining the start of the Leeds Liverpool canal in Leeds. Cruising north until reaching Skipton. Then heading South until we joined the Bridgewater Canal on our way to Manchester. Leaving Manchester and climbing up the Rochdale Canal and passing over the summit before the long descent to join the Calder and Hebble. Then the circle was completed when we arrived back on the Aire and Calder and reached our starting point at Castleford once more.

Now we are moored in our favourite spot in Castleford for a few days whilst Rosie has some essential maintenance done on her. Before we can resume our Summer into Autumn cruise once more. In the evening the weather changed and it became cold and very windy. We also had several showers of rain. Due to the weather no bats detected.

Daily Total
Distance: 20 Miles.
Locks: 13
Swing / Lift Bridges: 1
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1942.9

Saturday 24 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (5-6)

Saturday September 24th

Kirklees Top Lock to Mill Bank Lock Moorings
Day 34

The top lock is a very nice place to moor, a very tranquil and pleasant spot. This morning our smoke from the stove is slowly rising and drifting away in the still air. It was very quiet with only the faint far-away sounds of the motorway advertising civilisation. I took the dogs for their morning constitutional walk and then realised that the railway was not all that far away. The lines here must be continuous welded section as there is no clicker clack as the trains pass by.

As for the weather, I awoke to an almost clear sky and a heavy dew lay on the grass. Vapour trails from aircraft criss cross the blue sky. The night had been cold but there was no sign of any ground frost. The trees are now starting to make the changes for the autumn. The greens are now starting to pale towards yellow and will over the next few days and weeks turn to that burnished gold.

A few late foxgloves and Oxeye Daisy are still flowering and a Pheasant is calling like a faint klaxon from the near by trees where they will have roosted for the night. The Blackberries now seem to be past their best, having been well picked over by the people passing by. Now its the turn of the wildlife to glean a meal from what's left. Its good to just sit look and listen when all is well with the world.

We did a couple more locks with Nb Buttercup before we waved Paul and Shirley goodbye. As Nb Buttercup headed off onto the Huddersfield canal. A couple more friends that we have made along the cut.

The change of season almost coincides with the completion of the circle of our summer into autumn journey. In a few days we will be rejoining the Aire and Calder Navigation once again when we arrive at Fall Ings Lock.

We stopped at Lidl just before Shepley Bridge Lock and stocked up with whatever was left to stock up with! After an hour we were on our way again. The promising weather of the morning gave way to a dull overcast afternoon. But we did not get any rain.

As we were passing, we diverted up the Dewsbury Arm to Savile Town Basin. Winding in the winding hole and then retracing our way back to the main canal. This is a very shallow section of canal and we found it difficult to complete. Later we moored up just below Mill Bank Lock for the day.

Just after dark a Tawny Owl started calling in the trees near the boat. Off in the distance another Tawny was answering the calls. Later a Long Eared Owl was observed flying over the canal calling loudly.

Four Pipistrelle Bats were detected.

Daily Total
Distance: 8.5 Miles.
Locks: 9
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1934.7

Friday 23 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (5-5)

Friday September 23rd

Elland Lock to Kirklees Top Lock
Day 33

Under way by 9am in company with Nb Buttercup with crew members Paul and Shirley.

The weather was brighter than it has been for some time. The sun when it broke through was quite warm. But it was a day for wearing a coat at the tiller. We stopped in Brighouse Basin for the Memsahib to take on board more provisions from the nearby Waitrose supermarket. We had a wander around the town centre and visited a few other shops. Brighouse has what I call a Mill Town feel about it. Weathered stone built buildings with mullioned windows and what seems to be the remnants of a medieval street layout can be seen.

Two hours later we were on our way again. We passed through Anchor Pit Flood Lock and entered the River Calder. Rosie loves deep water and she was in her element. As we cruised along we were hardly creating a ripple on the surface. Eventually we stopped for the day quite early at Kirklees Top Lock which has moorings for about three boats and is set in a very tranquil area. Sometime later a third boat arrived and the moorings were now full.

Two Shire Cruisers boats came up through the locks during the late afternoon. Later we had a meal (Memsahibs Curry) with Paul and Shirley and a good chin wag about our boat experiences. It is surprising to find that you have passed each other several times in the past without noticing.

What should have been a good night for bats proved to be a disappointment when no bats were detected at all between the lock and the motorway bridge..

Daily Total
Distance: 3.5 Miles.
Locks: 7
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1925.4

Thursday 22 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (5-4)

Thursday September 22nd

Blackpit Lock to Elland Lock
Day 32

Up bright and early first job was to turn the boat round so that the pump out pipe would reach. Just as we finished our friends (Jan and John) on Nb Kingfisher arrived to fill up with water. The weather was a bit on the cool side but it did not look like it would rain.

Later we shared a few locks with Nb Kingfisher. By lunchtime we were at the very deep Tuel Lock and we had to wait for two hours for the duty lock keeper to arrive. Due to the odd number in the queue we ended up paired with Nb Norfolk. We continued together until we arrived at Shire Boats where we took on 52 litres of diesel at a split of 50/50 as we are using more for domestic than we are for propulsion. We also purchased for £12 a hard wood lock spike.

Whilst we were in the Shire Cruisers chandlers shop the Memsahib spotted an orchid that was being neglected. She talked the staff into letting her take ownership of the plant. She also had the cheek to commandeer the pot it was in. This is not the first time we have done this and we are becoming experts in resurrecting forgotten plants. We have a window sill full of rescued orchids at home, so it will be kept in good company.

After we left Shire Cruisers Marina at Sowerby Bridge we started the next part of our journey but this time along the Calder and Hebble Canal. The importance of the Calder and Hebble as a through route makes one  feature of the canal very significant it has short locks. The canal is a "wide" navigation, meaning that its locks are wide enough for 14-foot wide-beamed boats, but its shortest locks are amongst the shortest on the connected network inland waterways.

The shortest locks on the upper Calder and Hebble force boats longer than about 57 ft to lie diagonally in the locks. This is only possible for narrowboats, so 57 ft is the maximum length for a wide-beamed barge on the Calder and Hebble. Even for a narrowboat of less than 7-foot beam the maximum possible length is about 60 ft which is 12 ft shorter than a full-length English narrowboat. Narrowboats approaching 60 ft can only be squeezed through the shorter locks, even when lying diagonally and by expedients such as removing fenders and going down locks backwards.

As we cruised along we came across a couple of BW workers with brush cutters clearing the tow path sides. A short distance behind them was a man with a motorised air blower. Who instead of blowing the debris into the hedgerow where it would break down over time. He was busy texting on his mobile phone and blowing everything on the tow path into the cut. I was going to have a word with him. But under his hard hat and inside his ear defenders he was so preoccupied with texting on the phone that he did not notice us pass him by.

Another quirk of the Calder and Hebble locks is the handspike, a length of 2-by-4-inch timber shaped at one end to provide a comfortable two-handed grip. Calder and Hebble boaters have to carry these in addition to the more usual windlass, in order to lever open the simple lock gear which lifts the lock paddles to allow a lock to fill.

We had a small detour up the Halifax Arm just above the Salterhebble Lock. However, due to the strength of the stink from the local sewage farm we soon headed for the clean fresh air again by returning back to Salterhebble Lock where we met up with Nb Buttercup crewed by Paul and Shirley we paired down the locks together until mooring for the night just above Elland Lock.

The local pub did not do food on a Thursday, so we had a walk into Elland with the dogs and called into an Indian takeaway. Chicken Biriani and Mushroom Curry with a couple of Chipati's made a nice change.

We detected several Common Pipistrelle bats around the boat.

Daily Total
Distance: 9.5 Miles.
Locks: 10
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 2
Pump Outs: 1
Engine Hours: 1925.4

First time buyers living on a canal.

First time buyers living on a canal.

The above is quite a statement to make, yet if we are home owners one of the main ways to categorise our home is by its worth. We are all interested in the monthly rise and fall of property prices in the areas where we live. Could we be trapped in “negative equity” a sort of “no man's land” that can only be avoided if you can sit out the down turn and continue to pay your mortgage.

Yet we don't think of our boats in quite the same way. They tend to be very expensive luxury leisure items that we enjoy spending some time on. We don't expect to make a profit. There is the old joke about a boat being a hole in the water in which we throw money. But is this all about to change?

Lord Snooty AKA Dave Cameron's “big society” as championed by the Con-a-Lib Government have come up with a new old idea. Why not live on a boat. The Minister for Housing Grant Shapps has been encouraging local authorities to get into the big new thing, by covering the affordable housing shortage and to get people to live on a boat.

The new BW charity could be very charitable to the homeless. It could now be expected to provide mooring facilities for cheap alternative housing. This would require long term mooring leases at affordable rates. As well as improved sanitary facilities in all areas.

Could this create a new market in starter homes on boats for first time buyers before moving into the more usual bricks and mortar. Could this be a floating version of a residential trailer park. It might seem to be quite far fetched at first sight, but is it?

One of the problems around affordable housing is that as property prices escalate people working in essential services like hospital nurses cannot afford to get on the property ladder. Small bed-sit flats not unlike the accommodation of a narrowboat can cost between £500 and £750 pounds a month to rent in such areas. Add to this the typical annual service charges and you are looking at around £1000 a month.

We all know of areas where current residential moorings can cost £3000 a year. Yet living on a boat in such circumstances could provide significant cost savings. Some people already know this and have been making savings on their cost of living expenses for years.

Now that rule changes are being made by the “Communities and Local Government Department” so that boats and caravans can be used by local councils to accommodate homeless people. BW the charity could become a social housing project on a grand scale.

I expect the chintz curtained NIMBY groups to start to form in the near future. Like travellers at Dale Farm I expect we will be asking BW to respect our canal culture.


Wednesday 21 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (5-3)

Wednesday September 21st

Golden Lion Wharf to Blackpit Lock
Day 31

The day started early at 2am when the dogs started to give warning growls. I checked out of the window and there were a couple of young men sat smoking on a picnic table outside the Golden Lion. They went on their way after about half an hour, so I went back to bed!

Up again at 8am to find that some of the boats in the pound were moving and heading down towards Hebden Bridge. The level of water in the pound was very low due to leakage and I knew that if we did not move soon we would be left high and dry on the bottom. A quick check above the lock told us what the problem was. The top pound was almost empty. Someone had been in touch with BW to advise them about the problem. The previous day 12 inches of water had been coming over the top of the lock gate.

We caught up with a hire boat preparing to descend the lock and joined up with the crew, Jim and Sue from Wales. The inclement weather continued all day as it has for the last few days. Heavy overcast and frequent showers, sometimes quite heavy. However, steady progress was made almost all the way into Hebden Bridge.

We moored up above Black Pit Lock (9) when our friends John and Tracy arrived on the tow path. We said goodbye to Jim and Sue and they continued on their way. The Memsahib went shopping with Tracy. Whilst me and John took the dogs for a good long walk. I heard the familiar call of a Kingfisher which I spotted flying low over the water. John was pleased to see his first ever Kingfisher and followed shortly afterwards a Yellow Wagtail. All from the aqueduct over the nearby River Calder. Two Nb called Kingfisher were moored nearby!

Later we dropped down through Black Pit Lock and went to the pump out mooring just as it started to rain quite heavy yet again. It was soon dark and the heavy rain continued so we were unable to complete the pump-out so we will have to do it in the morning.

Two Common Pipistrelle bats were detected.

Daily Total
Distance: 4 Miles.
Locks: 10
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1918.0

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (5-2)

Tuesday September 20th
Chelburn Bridge Wharf to Golden Lion Wharf.
Day 30

Up bright and early “fettled and fed” as my mother would have said. In time to meet the lock keeper Ray McDonald for an 8:30 start. The summit is over 600 feet above sea level and the Memsahib was awarded “The Rochdale Canal Certificate” signed by by the lock keeper.

The rain continued throughout our journey but did not dampen our spirits. We were in the company of Nb York (shire cruises) and her hire crew. In no time at all we were across the summit and heading down the canal and going back into gods wonderful county of “Yorkshire” once more. Later when Nb York stopped to take on water, we paired up with Nb Stafford (shire cruises) and her newbie hire crew.

There was a great deal of water in the canal as we came down from the summit. Most locks had a few inches of water passing over the gates. It was a problem free trip until we got to Library Lock in Todmorden where the guillotine lock requires the water to be below a certain point before the gate will open. With sluices open front and back and over a foot of water cascading over the gate it took about an hour to get a level where the guillotine would operate. Just as we were about to open the lock, a boat behind at the next lock sent down more water. We had to wait until that cleared before we could get into the Golden Lion water point. As soon as we were moored up we were taking water on. The water pressure at the tap is very high and we were filled up in quick order.

Later the pound became low as three boats worked their way down. While I was flushing more water into the short pound through Library Lock Nb Kingfisher arrived. I met up with a couple from Australia doing the grand tour. Bruce and Shelagh (I don't know their real names) were very interested in how the waterways worked. Bruce had a short trip along the canal in Nb Kingfisher as they went up to turn round in the winding hole just above the lock. Boats up to 56 feet can wind just below Library Lock but even the short ones seen to want to go up to turn.

There is a rather enthusiastic young local man who frequents Library Lock and the Golden Lion Wharf area.  He lends his services to the hire boaters who are in difficulty. He seems very capable of handling a boat. Even if his manoeuvrings with the boats are a bit quick for my comfort levels.

Rosie now has a date in Castleford with a couple of men to have her bottom touched up. Cue the music “Doing the Black Bottom” and a wealth of Ken Dodd's notorious “how tickled you are madam” euphemisms.

At 3pm we decided to call it a day, as we are expecting visitors tomorrow. But at least we have a BW sanitary station toilet available which has reduced the need for a pump-out. We went to the near-by Morrisons to stock up on provisions and the Memsahib went for a mooch round Todmorden and found a Lidl supermarket. She came back with even more provisions.

The next problem came just before dusk, a hire boat on its way up through Shop Lock somehow had the sluices open at both ends of the lock. By the time we realised they had almost drained down the pound. Once more I had to let down some water to raise Rosie and four other boats off the mud. Another interesting day was had by all!

Two Common Pipistrelle bats were detected.

Observational Note:As we travel around the canal one thing that has come to my attention is that bats are much fewer in numbers wherever boats are moored up for the night. I have also noted that this change has come around with the increased number of boats that have their stove lit at night. So there is a possibility that the wood smoke from the stove drives the prey insects away!

Daily Total
Distance: 3 Miles.
Locks: 19
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1913.2

Monday 19 September 2011

Summer/Autumn Cruise (Week 5)

Summer/Autumn Cruise 2011 (Week 5)

Monday September 19th
Chelburn Bridge Wharf
Day 29
Up early and out with the dogs for a walk. Met two boats coming across the summit pound. Nb Penny Royal and Nb York (shire cruises) both heading for Littleborough moorings. Had a chat with both crews who were working down the locks as a pair. Later in the morning a third boat came past, Nb “Oo da thow't it” heading towards Littleborough.

The weather has been overcast with frequent showers. So we decided to sit out the rain until tomorrow. Oops, I have now discovered that we need a pump-out and the nearest point is two days and 22 locks away. The local canal side pubs will be getting a couple of drop in visitors at their convenience.

Today has been a day for reading and catching up on mucking out the boat. I prefer the reading to doing the mucking out! This is a very quiet section of canal with few walkers or bike riders passing by. Internet connectivity is very hit and miss at the moment. I need to check our email in box as soon as possible. Plus I have a couple of emails to go out.

Daily Total
Distance: 0 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1906.8

Sunday 18 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (4-7)

Sunday September 18th.

Littleborough Lower Lock to Chelbourn Wharf
Day 28

Awake by 6:30 and the weather continues to provide us with heavy showers. We are having another day in Littleborough before making our final push up the last few locks climbing to the summit. We will not be moving today, so I decided to provide some observations of the first month of our Summer / Autumn Cruise 2011.

We have seen both the best and the worst of the English canals. Out in the countryside the canals are for the most part pristine. I know that some locks could do with some remedial work doing. (A stitch in time) There are sections where the trees require some pruning and in a few cases felling to avoid problems later. (A stitch in time) Dredging in some places is needed urgently. (A stitch in time)

There is the usual detritus left behind by fishermen and picnickers which is a matter of education in taking your litter home. In some cases canal side waste bins are full to overflowing and that is down to the local authorities doing their bit and not waiting for a complaint before acting.

What is obvious is that the problems become worse as the canal side becomes more built up. I know that many people take a pride in their back garden overlooking the canal. Many of the owners do take the time to clean out of the canal items that fail to float past. The efforts and the pride of these people should be acknowledged.

What I am talking about are the deprived areas where the local canal is not seen as an amenity. The canal is the liquid dumping ground for whatever gets left behind when the local authorities make cut backs on dustbin emptying. Or when local authorities have stringent rules about what can be taken to local dump-it sites. In a sheer lack of understanding by authorities of the nature and scale of the problem. Every canal bridge becomes the local dump-it.

Taking a boat through some places is fraught with problems real and imagined. As the nature of the canal changes from countryside to small towns the amount of detritus builds up. The tow path becomes less of a wildlife habitat and more of an dog shit dumping area. People with social problems drinking their first fix of cider for the day. They greet us as we pass, from their sleeping place and bridge underpass that also doubles as their communal urinal. Why do people in their privacy piss on the wall and not into the canal. I think it's something to do with the White Lightning syndrome.

As small towns become larger built-up areas with canal side indicators of deprivation – graffiti being the first permanent indicator after the increase in the number of floating plastic items that greet you as a form of early warning. Abandoned buildings surrounded with barbed and razor wire. Protecting decay from the arsonist and vandal. Each section of barbed wire decorated by brightly coloured keep out signs and the wind blown supermarket plastic bags. Each providing a trade marked line of bunting. From which the he name of the nearest supermarket can be easily be established.

Then there are the open sewer, sections of our industrial heritage canal. Here it is is human waste of every kind. Rotting food, soiled nappy’s, old clothes, plastic bags and bottles. The discarded television, table, chair and settees. Car tyres and old engine oil. Each heavy item transported to the nearest bridge by the same supermarket inspired transport system the trolley which is then disposed of in the same way from the bridge as it is to much trouble to wheel back. The supermarkets provide a selection of replacements as needed anyway!

What can be done to improve the situation - this is not rocket science.

In such areas provide a free large item collection system. With a free phone system to request the collections.  Stop supermarkets from using plastic bags and legislate for paper carrier bags. Increase the number of bin collections and forget about sorting items into different coloured bins. The people who dump from bridges are not going to ecologically inspired. Reduce the size of trolley wheels so that they will not easily move items over uneven surfaces. The next person who admires the “art” in a “graffiti mural” gets their own “tag” provided by a punch in the mouth.

Welcome to our English Heritage, the canals that inspired the Industrial Revolution. The biggest linear park we have that also multi-tasks as a land fill site. I have just had a good idea! What we need is a ex quango team of failed management. A team that can be reformed as a charity to manage the situation. We also need a hole in the head.

After lunch the weather was sunny and warm so we decided to make a move after all. We said goodbye to Nb Sir “T” Fied. As we climbed, some of the pounds were down and we came across Nb Tacet sitting at a tilt on the bottom. So we flushed down the next lock after we went up. As the pound above had plenty of water we let down more until we could see that Nb Tacet was sat level in the water again.

Some pounds between locks were low, others were high and spilling over the top and bottom gates. Arrived at Chelbourn Wharf about 5pm. A quick look around and we found a nearby pub called The Summit. Over we went to see if there was any pub grub still available. What a brilliant choice I made. A first class Balti Curry was followed by Jam rolly-poly smothered in custard I was in boaters heaven. Pub meals here are top nosh and not to be missed.

No bats detected.

Daily Total
Distance: 1.5 Miles.
Locks: 11
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1906.8

Saturday 17 September 2011

British Waterways transitional team

I see that The British Waterways transitional team to charity status has managed to get itself included in the latest edition of Private Eye once again. I have read Private Eye for many years and the reputation of the Eye for shining a light into dark corners and exposing the truth is legendary.

The whistle-blowers are obviously letting more secrets out of the bag. It does not bode well for the future. The finances don't stack up and if the Rochdale canal is typical of the rest of the system, the doo-doo is very deep and must stink to high heaven.

So I presume the transitional team meetings will be having brain storming sessions about the shape and size of the volunteer collectors charity boxes. I wonder if there will be a standing charge for each lock gate, levied by a toll collector volunteer.


Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (4-6)

Saturday September 17th
Littleborough Lower Lock
Day 27

Up early and out with the dogs for their morning constitutional walk. Walked up to the Rochdale Canal summit pound. Met up with the crew of Nb Tacet leaving the summit lock on the Rochdale Side of the Pennines. Had a chat with the lock keeper and returned back to the boat just in time to miss a torrent of rain.

We decided to stay in Littleborough today. So a shopping trip to the co-op was called for. As we came back to the boat loaded up, I looked like a Bedouin Donkey again. Then the rain came down yet again. Had to move the boat along the moorings to get a satellite signal for the television. There is some hidden object in the water that stops us mooring close into the bank. Having to use the gang plank on a lock mooring is different! This seems to be the norm along the Rochdale canal so far!!!

Daily Total
Distance: 0 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1901.4

Friday 16 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (4-5)

Friday September 16th
River Irk aqueduct to Littleborough Lower Lock
Day 26

A late start after having a bit of a sleep in. The Memsahib had taken the dogs out for a walk before I got about of bed at the crack of 9:30. The weather is cool and overcast but the winds are light.

We passed a boat coming the other way almost at the top of the six Laneside locks. We were able to leave four locks set for them and the last two were set for us. The Slattocks section of the canal is short of water, often the pounds are down more than a foot below their normal level.

Above the Laneside locks the pounds were very short of water than they were lower down and also filled with much debris of every imaginable kind. One short pound could only be crossed when we flushed the lock above. The Rochdale canal is littered with supermarket trolleys and we counted 23 during our days cruise.

Things did not improve in the canal until we had passed through Smithy Bridge. Where we were caught in torrents of rain. As there was no pounds with sufficient water to moor, we pressed on into Littleborough. We moored up below the Littleborugh Lower Lock. Nb Sir “T” Fiable was also moored up here. Last seen on a warm evening stroll with the dogs in Leeds Armouries dock three weeks ago.

We decided to treat ourselves to Fish and Chips by way of a reward to help us recover from the rigours of the day. We found “Dave’s English Chippy” just a short walk from the moorings in Littleborough. This has to be one of the best fish and chips we have ever eaten. Portion control is not practised at this chippy and one serving would have been more than enough for the both of us. They close at 9pm.

The habitat at Littleborough would be ideal for bats, however the steady downpour of rain put paid to detecting any tonight,

Daily Total
Distance: 8 Miles.
Locks: 15
Swing / Lift Bridges: 2
Tunnels: 1
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1900.1

446 Mhz hand held walkie-talkies

Have you seen the small 446 Mhz hand held (licence free) walkie-talkies that are available. We use a pair when locking the boat. They are good for the lock wheeler to keep in touch with the helmsman, They are low power and have a range of half a mile or so. We have a pair of Motorola that take 3 AA rechargeable batteries. A set of batteries lasts a full day and we re-charge them overnight.

This started me thinking that it would be good to have a boaters channel on 446 Mhz that we would all use. This would be good for keeping a watching brief for other boats on the move that might like to buddy up through the locks.

We use Channel 1 sub-channel 11 when working through locks and so I suggest that other boaters could use that channel for short range communication boat to boat.

We use the same radios when we are out on our motorcycles using channel 8 sub channel 15. This is the popular bikers channel and it is surprising how often we would hear someone bike to bike.

Private Mobile Radio is a part of the UHF radio frequency range that is open without licensing for personal usage in most countries of the European Union. Depending on surrounding terrain range can vary from a few hundred metres (in a city) to a few kilometres (flat countryside). The United Kingdom introduced PMR446 service in April 1999.

The range of 446 Mhz, just like any VHF or UHF radio, is dependent on many factors like environment (in-city range is far less than in an open field), height above surrounding obstructions and to a lesser extent, weather conditions. The antenna type and location, transmit power and receive sensitivity also affect range. However with PMR446 most of these variables are fixed at manufacturing to comply with the PMR446 specifications.
Frequency (MHz)
The sub channel number is a sub-audiable tone that is transmitted at the same time as you speak. If your radio is set to channel 1 but on any other than  sub-audiable tone 11 the radio will ignore the transmission and not turn on the receiver. This makes the radio ignore unwanted transmissions on the same channel from non boaters.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (4-4)

Thursday September 15th
Dale Street Basin to River Irk Aqueduct
Day 25

Up early and out with the dogs for their morning constitutional walk. We were under way by 8am to arrive at lock 83 at 8:30 to meet the lock keeper. There are a minimum of 19 locks to get through on this section of the Rochdale canal. We must be at lock 65 before 4pm as it will be locked down for the night.

The weather today has taken a turn for the better with a warm start to the day. We soon had the pram cover down and the dogs enjoyed sunbathing on the back counter.

From Lock 83 to Lock 65 the canal is a boating challenge, Today was no exception. Just after lock 82 some canal side construction work is being done on a short arm. Part of the safety barriers had fallen into the canal and it looked like top soil had also been tipped in at the same point. We managed to get a bit of scaffold pole stuck between the skeg, tiller and prop which stalled the engine. I managed to leaver the pole clear of the skeg and propeller. Later, I checked down the weed hatch and this has caused some damage to the propeller. (A bent blade and a chunk of the blade edge is missing) We reported the incidence to BW and to the construction staff working on the canal side for them to check and make the canal safe for navigation.

The damage to the propeller is manageable for us to continue our cruise. We will have to make arrangements for the boat to be lifted out of the canal for inspection and the necessary repairs to be made. Castleford boat yard is the nearest place with a slipway on our cruise that we can get this done. Balfour Beatty will be getting a bill for the repairs.

As we continued our climb, some canal staff were busy flushing the locks above us. We were just about to enter one lock when a surge of water came down the bywash. This pinned us to the bank and the boat was tipped at an angle until the amount of water passing through the bywash subsided. The Memsahib did a bit of quick thinking and closed down the bottom lock gate sluices and then opened the top gate sluices to draw some of the surge into the lock. Water was also pouring over the lock top gates and was flooding a section of the towpath above the lock in places.

As we progressed along the canal, the situation of a lack of water and the amount of rubbish piled up in the canal proved to be a real challenge.

As we passed a block of canal side flats, a young mother appeared on a balcony and threw a used baby's nappy into the canal. There were twenty plus other nappies floating in the canal. We counted 24 shopping trolleys. I had to go down the weed hatch at every other lock to clear the propeller. Bottles, plastic bags, sacks, broken plastic toys, car tyres, even complete cars the list of rubbish disposed of in the canal defies description. Add to this recipe a long queue of people wanting to "work the lock for you for a bottle of beer". The "Rochdale" is one to avoid, we will never go back. When we passed over the summit the lock keeper presented us with a certificate for completing the climb up to the canal summit from Manchester. He told us that most of the boats crossing the summit actually go down into Littleborough and then turn back. Not many actually make the trip to and from Manchester.

We had an exchange of friendly banter in Failsworth with a few locals enjoying a pint of beer at the Failsworth Home Guard Club. Everyone of them claimed to be Captain Mainwaring, even the ladies! However, most of them looked like either Private Godfrey or Corporal Jones including the ladies!!!

Later, we met up with Oliver who was only 15 weeks old and out for a walk in the good weather with his mum. Everyone was interested in how the locks worked and then mum and dad had a quick look round inside the boat. It seems that boat passages through this section (Limited to four boats a day in each direction) means that the locals don't see the locks in use very often. We were given a culinary tip by Oliver’s dad about the Cheese and Onion pie at the Rose of Lancaster canal side pub.

We stopped for the night just after the River Irk aqueduct. This is a tiny river that runs alongside a small park where we exercised the dogs. We walked back along the canal to the Rose of Lancaster for a pub meal. We would recommend the nachos starter to share if you like spicy food. The Cheese and Onion pie is also top nosh!!! The moorings at the pub are in a bad state of repair and should be avoided.

A better place to stop with good moorings would be the Boat and Horses at Chadderton. We had a friendly exchange of “Cheers” with the clientèle sat outside the boat and horses in the warm sunshine as we passed - we were the only ones drinking tea!

Only Pipistrelle detected tonight – but in good numbers. (10) The sky is clear and the temperature soon began to fall so I lit the stove. The dogs soon positioned themselves in close proximity to the stove!

Daily Total
Distance: 7 Miles.
Locks: 21
Swing / Lift Bridges: 1
Tunnels: 1
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1892.1

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (4-3)

Wednesday September 14th
Castle Quay Manchester to Dale Street Basin
Day 24

A boat passed us during the night (3am) with no navigation lights or headlights. The boat was heading towards the Leeds Liverpool canal. I only know this because the dogs insisted in going outside as something was bothering them. It turned out to be someone doing a patrol round the quays.

I was up later than normal about 8:30 and we have decided to do a lazy start. The weather is quite overcast with frequent light showers. First job was to clear the weed hatch from a build up of plastic bags on the propeller, grease the gland and then to move to the water point and fill up the tank.

Manchester city centre is not a place that you would expect wildlife other than a few ducks. However, there are large numbers of ducks and geese as well as a good few swans. Everywhere the footpaths are covered in their green and white droppings. This is effective cover for the few dog owners walking the patch who seem to just let their dogs crap anywhere.

We spotted a pair of Mink swimming around in the water. After a while they pulled themselves out onto one of the old canal warehouses that has now been converted into offices. We watched them for quite a while, one of them disappeared up a pipe and the other spent some time scent marking on a waterside platform.

Off to face the Rochdale nine by 10:00. Water was pouring over the top gates all the way up. It was difficult to get a level in some locks and we had to resort to giving the gates a gentle push with the bow button. We stopped for lunch after the first five and then set about finishing the climb.

We were at Dale Street Basin by 4pm and decided to call it a day as we cannot go any further than lock 84 without booking passage with British Waterways. We are meeting the lock keeper at lock 83 at 8:30 in the morning. There are good secure visitor moorings with pontoons at Dale Street Basin.

Beware of “care in the community” types as they try to lend (whether needed or not) assistance at the more difficult locks 84, 85 and 86 and then ask for money for a bottle of beer! There are a lot of people sleeping rough at this point but the pontoon moorings are more difficult for them to enter. The dogs also seem to be quite a good deterrent.

We encountered a hire boat making their way towards the bottom of the Rochdale nine and intending to go into the main basin. We had to show them at lock 84 how to pull open a lock gate with water spilling over the top using the boats bow line. I suggested that they stop for the night as there is no secure moorings and that there was only two hours of daylight left. They decided to go for it. Brave or foolhardy I don't know but there were nine people on board.

Yesterday we passed the wonderful and hallowed turf that is the Manchester United football ground. Tonight we are moored up in the shadow of Manchester Cities ground, where I believe they grow potatoes. To night Manchester United play Benfica and we will be watching the EUAF match on ITV at 21:30. (Draw 1-1) Manchester City are playing a team of aged an ancient Italian ice cream sellers. (Draw 1-1)

Nothing detected in the way of bats but we are trapped on moorings with no access to the towpath to explore outside of the basin.

Daily Total
Distance: 1 Mile.
Locks: 9
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 1
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1882.8

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (4-2)

Tuesday September 13th

Worsley Bridge to Castle Quay Manchester.
Day 23

We heard something of a clunk in the night on the boat roof. When I checked for the scrotes boarding party, I found a small branch had broken off a nearby tree and had landed on the roof.

We were up with that lark this morning to find that the gale force wind had dropped overnight. The weather had taken a change for the better and we were under way by 8:30 in bright sunshine. We had an uneventful cruise with only three other boats passing us going the other way.

We crossed over the Manchester Ship Canal at Barton Swing Aqueduct but there was no moving traffic to be seen in either direction as far as the eye could see.

I paid due homage as I passed the Old Trafford ground of my beloved Manchester United. I doffed my metaphorical hat as the Sir Matt Busby Way came into view. We eventually moored up in Castle Quay at 11:30 just as the wind started to pick up in strength once again.

Our 2009 Nicholsons Guide lists a boat yard (Edgerton Narrowboats) seems that it has closed down!

We both had a walk into Manchester Town centre to purchase a couple of matching sets of waterproofs as our old ones have seen better days. A matching pair of North Face waterproof over-suits mean that I am now a pauper once more.

No bats were detected tonight in the basin. I did however note that there are bird boxes and bat boxes along the nearby section of the Rochdale canal.

Daily Total
Distance: 9 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1877.3

New Section of Canal
The Rochdale Canal is a navigable "broad" canal. The "Rochdale" in its name refers to the town of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, through which the canal passes.The canal runs for 32 miles (51 km) across the Pennines from the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in Manchester to join the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire.

As originally built, the canal had 92 locks. Whilst the traditional lock numbering has been retained on all restored locks, and on all the relocated locks, the canal now has only 91 locks. The former locks 3 and 4 have been replaced with a single deep lock (Tuel Lane Lock), which is numbered as 3/4.

Because of its width, The Rochdale Canal was more successful than the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and became the main highway of commerce between Lancashire & Yorkshire. Cotton, wool, coal, limestone, timber, salt and general merchandise were transported. In 1890 the canal company had 2,000 barges and traffic reached 700,000 tons a year. The equivalent of 50 barges a day, in spite of competition from the Manchester and Leeds Railway. Cutting tolls, the canal managed to retain trade and remain profitable, but by the start of the 20th century it was in financial trouble. Its reservoirs were sold to the Oldham and Rochdale Joint Water Board in 1923. Apart from a short profitable section in Manchester linking the Bridgewater and Ashton Canals, most of the length was closed in 1952 when an act of parliament was obtained to ban public navigation and by the mid 1960s the remainder was almost unusable.

When an Act of Parliament was sought in 1965, to authorise the abandonment of the canal, the Inland Waterways Association petitioned against it, and when it was finally passed, it contained a clause that ensured the owners would maintain it until the adjacent Ashton Canal was abandoned. In early 1971, a boat rally was organised on the canal, and later that year, there was public debate over the high cost of a project which had in-filled part of the canal to create a shallow water park, when restoring the section for navigation would have been cheaper. Discussion of the relative merits of restoring the canal or the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in 1973 led the formation of societies to promote both schemes in 1974. The Rochdale Canal Society wanted to see the canal fully re-opened, as part of a proposed Pennine Park. The Ashton Canal, which joins the canal above lock 84, reopened in 1974, and the nine locks on the Rochdale Canal between the junction and the Bridgewater Canal were restored at that time.

The canal benefited from the activities of the Manpower Services Commission in 1975, when £40,000 was allocated under the Job Creation Scheme to fund work on the Rochdale town section of the canal. T he following year, another 150 jobs were created when a further £208,000 grant was made. Despite the progress, there were plans to sever the route with a low-level crossing by the proposed M66 motorway in 1979, and to build a supermarket on it at Sowerby Bridge in 1980, both of which were met with opposition. 

One benefit of the Job Creation Scheme was that the perception of the restoration changed in official circles. The local council was responsible for the young people employed on the scheme, which ran for twelve years, and found itself having to negotiate with the canal company. At its height, there were 450 people working on the canal, and since no-one could work on the scheme for more than a year, several thousand people learnt practical restoration skills, and many retained an interest in canals afterwards. The section from Todmorden to Hebden Bridge was completed in 1983.

The Rochdale Canal Society worked hard both to protect the line of the canal and to begin the process of refurbishing it. A new organisational structure was created in 1984, with the formation of the Rochdale Canal Trust Ltd, who leased the canal from the owning company. A proposed extension to the M66 motorway created a new threat to the canal in 1985, but Greater Manchester Council began to look at ways to remove blockages in the following year, particularly the M62 embankment which blocked the route at Failsworth.

Calderdale Council managed a £1 million scheme to remove three culverts and restore two locks later that year, with some funding coming from the European Economic Commission. The MSC-funded restoration was approaching Sowerby Bridge, where planners were proposing a tunnel and deep lock to negotiate a difficult road junction at Tuel Lane, so that a connection could be made with the Calder and Hebble Navigation.The entire eastern section from Sowerby Bridge to the summit at Longlees was open by 1990, although it remained isolated from the canal network.

In 1991, an Ecotec Report looked at the costs and benefits of completing the restoration. It estimated that another £15.9 million was needed, but for a total expenditure of £17.3 million, some £30 million of benefits would be gained by the region, including 1,028 full-time jobs. Some of this money would come from Derelict Land Grants. The re-fashioned link with the Calder and Hebble Canal (which had never closed) was funded by £2.5 million from this source. The initial plan included a lock that was only 57.5 feet (17.5 m) long, but space was eventually found for a standard 72-foot (22 m) lock. The first boat to pass between the restored Rochdale Canal and the Calder and Hebble Navigation did so on 11 April 1996, although the official opening did not take place until 3 May. Tuel Lane Lock is nearly 20 feet (6.1 m) deep, making it one of the candidates for the deepest lock on the British canal system.

In 1997, the Rochdale Canal Trust was restructured, in response to announcements that there might be large grants available as part of the Millennium celebrations. The canal was still at this point owned by a private company, and the Millennium Commission would not make grants to a scheme which was for private profit, rather than public benefit. The restructuring would allow the Trust to take over responsibility for the canal from the Rochdale Canal Company. However, the plan was rejected by the Commission, and in order to access the grant of £11.3 million, the Waterways Trust took over ownership of the canal.

Additional funding to make up a £23.8 million investment package came from English Partnerships and the councils of Oldham and Rochdale. As restoration proceeded, boats could travel further and further west, and the restoration of the sections through Failsworth and Ancoats were a significant part of the re-development of the north Manchester districts. The restored sections joined up with the section in Manchester below the Ashton Canal junction, which had never been closed, and in July 2002 the canals was open for navigation along its entire length.