Guess what? Nothing bad has happened to us this week – fingers crossed. In fact, we had a bit of good luck. The Calder and Hebble Navigation has some rather unusual lock paddle gear. You stick a piece of slightly shaped 3×2″ hardwood into a ratchet and use it as a lever to raise the paddles. The piece of wood is called a Calder and Hebble Handspike, and we didn’t have one. We’d been trying to get one since Leeds, but with no luck, and we really didn’t fancy lurking helplessly on lock landings waiting for another boat to come along and take pity on us. That would have made us very unpopular indeed.
The Canal and River Trust have a large workshop at Stanley Ferry. It’s one of the places where they make replacement lock gates. They also make handspikes. Martyn sauntered down to the workshop to see if they sold them, and they just gave him one. I don’t imagine we’ll travel the Calder and Hebble again, so when we find another boat in a similar predicament, we’ll pass it on. Pay it Forward and all that. As an aside, the locks on this navigation are fierce. It doesn’t seem to matter how Martyn opens the paddles; which side first; or whether I have a line looped around a bollard. Several times I’ve met the opposite lock wall at a speed faster than I would like, and once lost the rope completely. I’m sure the boater behind me, well out of the turbulence and surge, was highly amused by my antics.
After Stanley Ferry we did a short hop to Wakefield, really just for shopping. The Hepworth is there, but I just wasn’t feeling arty that day; far more interested in dodging the torrential rain.
Also in Horbury Bridge is the most awkward waterpoint. It’s just the other side of this bridge, which nose under very cautiously because it looks like you’re heading into a residential basin, even though the facilities are for everyone. Can you also see in the photo there’s a pair of redundant lock gates? I assume they once opened out onto the River Calder.
Tonight we find ourselves at Cooper Bridge Junction. If we turned left we’d head towards Huddersfield. But we aren’t going that way. We continue straight ahead in the direction of Brighouse and Rastrick. Yes, we’re in Brass Band Country.