2nd - 9th July 2021 (7 nights)
From: Portland Basin (Ashton Canal)
To: Aspley Basin Huddersfield
(Huddersfield Narrow Canal)
Via: Standedge Tunnel.
Portland Basin Museum,
After a (hopefully) pleasant cruise up the Macclesfield and down the Peak Forrest, we'll have spent a couple of days moored in Portland Basin since our least guests departed or perhaps have taken a brief jaunt down the Ashton canal to Droylsden to top up with water.
Our guests will join us around 1.30pm and after introductions (and maybe a libation) we'll chug off northwards – perhaps through Stalybridge and hopefully tie up for our first evening around Millbrook to make the most of the service block to top up the water and dispose of rubbish etc. We'll have probably have gone through 7 -8 locks in our first afternoon … a baptism of fire for anyone new to canals but don't worry... they're single locks and not too daunting.
Next morning after breakfast, we'll chug onwards to and through 'Scout Tunnel' (205 yards), through Micklehurst and by the end of the day, we'll have gone through another 12 or so locks when we tie up in Uppermill – Depending on what time we departed, there mightbe time for our guests to pay a visit to the 'Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery' right next to the canal.
Sunday morning will see us begin our assent to Diggle - another 11 locks and then (hopefully) a lazy afternoon moored close to the entrance to the famous “Standedge Tunnel” The longest and deepest on the network at 5686yards long.
We'll have booked ahead (passages are currently only permitted with a chaperone and hard hats on Mondays/Wednesday and Fridays) and will be ready to begin our passage on Monday... they operate a 1 way system obviously and currently it's east to west AM and west to east PM. We plan on being ready AM just in case the system has changed since we worked out the route!
Depending on how many times 'Capt Ellis' has clonked the sides, we'll emerge the other side about 2 hours later into the lovely town of Marsden, where if there' space, we'll aim to moor for the day. IF not, we'll have to begin our descent towards Slaithwaite. There are very few places on this route where it's deep enough to be able to moor – but a worse case scenario for us is a mud weight around booths bridge...
Assuming we've been able to spend the night in Marsden, we'll try for an early start as today we've another 20 or so locks to work our way down before we end the day (a bit tired I suspect) in Slaithwaite (pronounced 'SLAWIT” for some reason) where we'll top up the water tank and make use of the services once more.
Depending on our guests we'll spend with 2 nights in Slaithwaite OR next day push on and get to Huddersfield – once again, not many places to pull in on route. Once in Huddersfield, we can either tie up outside the University(if our guests are quite agile as it's a bit of a scramble up to the bank) OR press on to Aspley Basin to spend our final night on the visitor/marina moorings... perhaps even with the luxury of shoreline if there is space.
After breakfast on Friday morning, our guests will depart and we'll prepare the boat for our next guests due in a couple of days.
Total distance is 24 miles, and 74 locks . There are 7 small aqueducts or underbridges and 4 tunnels (Supermarket Tunnel (164 yards long), Scout Tunnel (205 yards long), Standedge Tunnel (5698 yards long) – a total of 3 miles underground.