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After a couple of days off in Huddersfield to prep the boat and turn her around, we'll be ready for our guests to arrive about 1.30pm.
IF we were all so minded, we could have a bit of a race up to Slaithwaite and spend a couple of nights there (Marsden being too far to go before dark) – given that passage through the tunnel is currently only Monday/Wednesday and Friday, we may as well aim for Wednesday passage and take things (a little ) more leisurely.
With that in mind, we'll chug off and aim to moor for our first night around Milnsbridge – places where it's deep enough to tie up are few and far between on this canal but from memory, around lock 12E has few suitable points...even though they are hard to locate.
Next morning, we'll be off on our way and have another 11 or so locks to work our way through before we reach Slaithwaite – this section often struggles for water so it's a good job we've all day to devote to it... all being well, we should tie up for the night on the visitor moorings in Slaithwaite (pronounced “SLAWIT” for some reason).... we'll fill the water tank here in preparation for an early departure on Tuesday morning as we head on to Marsden and moor near the train station until the trip boats have finished for the day.
If we've made good progress, there should be time for our guest to take a look around the visitor centre before it closes and we move right up to the tunnel entrance, ready for booked passage the following moring. It's not the quietest of moorings thanks to the railway line but the trains don't run through the night - well if they do I haven't noticed them on previous stays.
Our passage will be with a chaperone and once through, we'll tie up in the summit pound at Diggle for the day.
Thursday will see us begin the descent towards Uppermill – we'll stop off and use the services block to top up the water and possibly have a pump out … (has to be done). We may send someone ahead on foot to ensure we can get moored in the visitor moorings at Uppermill – if not, we'll hang back and bash pins in just before them...
Our penultimate mooring might be around Roaches lock (which is nicer than it sounds) or Millbrook services ... we'll negotiate and see what the group fancies doing.
When we leave our mooring,we've a few more shallow sections to negotiate but fingers crossed there'll be enough water for us to make our way down to Ashton-Under-Lyne for our final night's mooring together. Portland Basin to be honest isn't the most attractive of places to moor but it's very convenient for shopping and the train station for our guests to perhaps utilise when they leave after breakfast the following morning.
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.
Huddersfield - Portland Basin
11th - 18th July 2021 (7 nights)
From: Aspley Basin Huddersfield
(Huddersfield Narrow Canal)
To: Portland Basin (Ashton Canal)
Via: Standedge Tunnel.
Portland Basin Museum, Ashton-Under-Lyne,