Not for the inexperienced

Published: Sunday, 08 April 2018

THE recent news that the Huddersfield Narrow Canal is closed yet again, would be no surprise to those who have tackled it, for as boaters tell us it is not for the inexperienced.

The couple Martin and Di in their narrowboat Florence explained it very well:

"We managed with some degree of difficulty to navigate the Narrow from East to West. We are experienced boaters and took it in our stride. Had we been very new to boating, things could have been much different."

Hud empty1The photographs by Martin and Di taken ln the summer show the 'degree of difficulty', that many experience on this waterway with empty pounds, so indeed it would have been very difficult indeed to anyone new to boating, not only from lack of water but too much silt where there is water.

At this time the waterway is closed by too much silt at locks 25E and 26E and the inability of Canal & River Trust to get either a dredger or anything else there to clear it.  The great problem of course is that the Huddersfield Narrow is the most 'locked' canal on the system—74 of them on the 20 miles long canal, with three miles of it in a tunnel, which means very short pounds between locks, and when silted, as they are, the amount of water is so reduced that boats can no longer proceed.

Hud empty2Alas, this is not the only problem, as both the locks and the canal itself leak, and coupled with insufficient maintenance means that boaters get grounded only too often. Sometimes, as in our case in 2011 we had the help of Fred to allow water down into the empty pounds, but others are not so luckly, though experienced boaters are usually capable of getting themselves out of difficulties.

We had problems in both our cruises on the Huddersfield Narrow, the first in 2003 when at that time boats had to be covered in rubber and dragged through the tunnel—with the possibility of a few bits being knocked off! Yet for those those wanting a bit of an adventure there is nothing like the 'Narrow', we would like to do it again!

Hud empty4