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Jim Riley

Old boats in Hebden

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A wet morning in Hebden Bridge. Just seen the Mayor go by, complete with gold logoed umbrellas and a couple of schmoozers leading them to the tea and cakes. 

Now dried up and sun out, might get some more pics.  

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Here's a few more, Maria, the oldest boat, 1853, unconverted wooden horse drawn. 

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Old wooden boats, aren't they beautiful. Apparently there are now men',s 'fragrances', there's something called Lynx that attracts women so I'm told. Now if they could bottle the smell of old wooden boats I just might buy some. I reckon that 'Old Boat' after shave would attract a damned useful woman,. Oops, I can hear my wife heading this way, better go I think.

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41 minutes ago, Bee said:

Old wooden boats, aren't they beautiful. Apparently there are now men',s 'fragrances', there's something called Lynx that attracts women so I'm told. Now if they could bottle the smell of old wooden boats I just might buy some. I reckon that 'Old Boat' after shave would attract a damned useful woman,. Oops, I can hear my wife heading this way, better go I think.

It Lynx the boat that idle women used for their tour, must attract women.

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21 hours ago, Jim Riley said:

A wet morning in Hebden Bridge. Just seen the Mayor go by, complete with gold logoed umbrellas and a couple of schmoozers leading them to the tea and cakes. 

Now dried up and sun out, might get some more pics.  

I popped down to Hebden Bridge yesterday as I fancied a bit of time down south. The 'historic' boats I listed were (in the order I listed them as I walked along the towpath):

 

(F) = original fore end of 'historic' boat.

(S) = original stern end of 'historic' boat.

 

SALTAIRE (S)

FLAMINGO

VELA (S)

ALDGATE

WHITE HEATHER

MADELEY (F) - tied on offside

HAZEL (as butty to FORGET ME NOT)

FORGET ME NOT

PURTON

TUG No. 2 (exALGOL)

BREAM (F)

TASMANIA (F)

PLOVER

WARBLER

BEATTY

BELFAST

RAT (F) - tied on offside

STANTON

BATH

SWAN

DAPHNE

SQUIRE (F)

THOR (F)

MARQUIS

MARIA (butty to JOEL)

JOEL

 

I wonder how many I have missed off the list ?

 

As always the highlight for me was talking with boat owners I had not met before, and catching up with old friends of which quite a few I had not seen for far too many years :captain:

 

15 hours ago, max's son said:

It Lynx the boat that idle women used for their tour, must attract women.

The boat they used 'for their tour' was TENCH :captain:

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10 hours ago, pete harrison said:

 

I wonder how many I have missed off the list ?

Thea (F)

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2 minutes ago, Nick G said:

Thea (F)

Yes, THEA (F) is in my notebook - tied outside of THOR (F).

 

I can only think I missed it off the list above as the lettering is similar to THOR so I thought I had captured it.

 

What really surprised me was the film show following the auction on Sunday evening. I thought it may be too localised and a bit tedious but it was very interesting and really helped to capture the flavour of Hebden Bridge and the surrounding area. I am glad I stayed back for this, even though I had a two hour drive home afterwards :captain:

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6 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

Is that the wooden boat as in Mabel and Forget Me Not?

 

Brought back from the dead? 

No, this FORGET ME NOT is a wooden motor. It features in one of the images above - the motor with an exceptionally long counter and outside the wooden header HAZEL :captain:  

Edited by pete harrison

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1 minute ago, pete harrison said:

No, this FORGET ME NOT is a wooden motor. It features in one of the images above - the motor with an exceptionally long counter and outside the wooden header HAZEL :captain:  

 

Oh thanks, I thought it unlikely. (What has become now of Mabel and Forget Me Not by the way? Not been past for years.)

 

I've not smelled that insanely wonderful 'wooden boat' smell properly since looking over the 'Ian' about ten years ago when it was for sale, but fortunately I came to my senses in time. 

 

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10 minutes ago, pete harrison said:

No, this FORGET ME NOT is a wooden motor. It features in one of the images above - the motor with an exceptionally long counter and outside the wooden header HAZEL :captain:  

It's one of the Wooden Canal Boat Society's from Portland basin http://wcbs.org.uk/ 

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8 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Oh thanks, I thought it unlikely. (What has become now of Mabel and Forget Me Not by the way? Not been past for years.)

 

I've not smelled that insanely wonderful 'wooden boat' smell properly since looking over the 'Ian' about ten years ago when it was for sale, but fortunately I came to my senses in time. 

 

 

Ian was supposed to be here at Hebden Bridge, but sadly we encountered it at Alvecote suffering gearbox problems, and it was forced to pull out.

One of the great things about the event has been the large number of wooden boats - far more than you would ever see at (say) a Braunston or Alvecote show.  I particularly like Daphne - well presented, but not over restored.

We have largely escaped the cameras with Flamingo I think.  Whether that's because we are moored slightly away from the main mass of boats, just through the bridge, or whether it is because we are currently deemed "too scruffy" I can't possibly say, but I'm aware that the brass has remained rather unpolished.  However we are still here.

The 4 days spent on the Rochdale getting here from Manchester are without a doubt the hardest we have ever done - and we still have to retrace our steps.

If anyone is interested in a flavour of how "extreme historic boating" it can be at times, or in seeing some pictures of the Rochdale, please try these links...

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Welldone ALL Thed owners and groups who made it here with "historics" - it certainly hasn't been easy!

Oh, and good to met forum member Jim Riley, and thanks for  letting me use your boat as a platform to clear a blocked sink drain!  Also good to see Pete Harrison here, and that another forum member, David Mack, has got Belfast here.

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43 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

 

We have largely escaped the cameras with Flamingo I think.  Whether that's because we are moored slightly away from the main mass of boats, just through the bridge, or whether it is because we are currently deemed "too scruffy" I can't possibly say, but I'm aware that the brass has remained rather unpolished.  However we are still here.

The 4 days spent on the Rochdale getting here from Manchester are without a doubt the hardest we have ever done - and we still have to retrace our steps.

If that was a challenge to hunt one out or for compliments, you can have both. Flamingo looked great and I found the history board (as well as those on the other boats) most informative in explaining some of the historic terminology for those of us more than a bit confused by joshers, star, town class, rickies etc.  Although I want to say I enjoyed the blog post for Day 1, I think the word 'respect' would be more appropriate considering the energies that must have gone into the journey. Hats off to all the crews for keeping such wonderful boats on the waterways.

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All credit to the intrepid Fincher crew: I feel tired after just reading your account!

But why is the Rochdale in such a parlous state? Is it because, as it's used far less than, say, the Grand Union, CART don't feel that it's worth maintaining properly?

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1 hour ago, alan_fincher said:

 

I
The 4 days spent on the Rochdale getting here from Manchester are without a doubt the hardest we have ever done - and we still have to retrace our steps.

 

Make sure CRT know about this and they just might one day do something about it.

Having done both ways in the last year I would expect that the return trip will be much much easier as at least you are taking your water with you. Try to get CRT to get the long pound Littlebourogh to Rochdale nice and full.

I suspect Failsworth top lock (?) will be the biggest issue for the full length deeper boats as its very silted at the top, and silted just below the bottom gates too. Lots of flushing and lots of revs on those lovely big props that you have. :)

 

.....and don't wait too long to go else the water will run out.

 

.................Dave

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17 minutes ago, Athy said:

All credit to the intrepid Fincher crew: I feel tired after just reading your account!

But why is the Rochdale in such a parlous state? Is it because, as it's used far less than, say, the Grand Union, CART don't feel that it's worth maintaining properly?

Good question. 

I think it’s generally the lack of use which has added to it’s difficulty. 

Just the thought of the  Manchester side with so many locks and nowhere inviting to stay is enough to put most off.  

The competition to tell the best tale of vandalism along with the exaggerated emphasis on difficulty just increases the myth of the undoable North.  

Maybe: people not using it, problems go unreported, maintenance slips. 

And of course there’s the water issues. 

 

In comparison I think the GU has been considered a showcase and had the money. 

With the work I’ve seen going on around the North, I think things are slowly changing much for the better. 

 

A festival like this is good for it promotes  the Rochdale and raises the issues with it.

 

 

 

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I'm going to hazard that its history prior to reopening plays some part in its state. Bits of the lower section at least were filled in and used as a kind of linear water ribbon, ie a shallow sewer full of broken bottles. When it reopened to navigation some bits under buildings were re-routed and some that had been this water ribbon thing had a narrow U shaped section dug out of the concrete. Of course, the rubbish still makes its way into the canal in this urban stretch but instead of being scattered on a saucer shape canal bed can congregate at the bottom of this narrow channel to be dragged along. Along with general silting and greater than usual rate of dumping household detritus, adding in the lack of water and big locks it was a miracle the canal was reopened in the first place, albeit after a hell of a lot of volunteer support.

Today, boats passing through brighten the place up and they do encourage people to get involved in litter-picks etc. I know at least one friend's daughter who has joined in on them because she has been drawn to the oasis of the canal in the midst of a slightly bonkers environment. As both as a boater and a resident I can only hope that passages like the recent ones by the historic boats ensure that the Rochdale gets some of the attention it rightly deserves. As Goliath notes, the festival has been welcome along the full length of the Rochdale to promote its value, not only to the canal network but to the local communities it passes through.

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Thanks for the blog Alan, it sounds like really hard work. How deep is your boat? We spent the entire autumn, winter and spring shuffling up and down between Littleborough and Sowerby bridge with no major issues but we were very close to the bottom in several places. We are about 31", I assume you are a fair bit deeper?

Littleborough to Manchester is bad and I suspect the locals put rubbish in much faster than CRT can ever take it out, but the big issue is a combination of short pounds and lack of a good water supply, so once a couple of boats have gone through it can take a long time for the levels to recover (like several weeks in the summer :) ).

I think you were in the second set of boats so a lot of water had probably been used by the first lot.

There is no easy solution but maybe if lots of boats use the Rochdale CRT will somehow find some water. It looks like the Rochdale is unusually popular this year,even wiithout your efforts, so its doubly bad...a newly popular canal with a water shortage.

Some of the top paddles between Tod and Hebden are certainly almost impossible, but elsewhere they are better, and in some cases it varies day to day, I don't understand this yet, but I do wonder how the hire boaters manage. My long throw windlass saw a lot of action.

 

and the Rochdale would be much more difficult without Ian Mack.

 

.............Dave

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For those interested in a bit more background to the paddle gear on the Rochdale, this is a heritage report I wrote fifteen years ago. Hope you can download it from here.

2004_Rochdale_paddle_gear.pdf

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6 hours ago, Athy said:

 

But why is the Rochdale in such a parlous state? Is it because, as it's used far less than, say, the Grand Union, CART don't feel that it's worth maintaining properly?

 

The Manchester end was restored with National Lottery money and there was fixed funding available and no scope for overspending.

 

Two long sections at the Manchester end were infilled during the late 60s/early 70s and capped with concrete a few inches below water level to form a shallow channel water feature. It won a Civic Trust Award at the time. But the benefit for us was that the line of the canal was preserved through a redeveloped area. If this hadn't happened the opportunity for reopening would have been lost.

 

When it came to the restoration, the cost of breaking out the concrete capping and dregding out to the rubble infill to the original cross section was far more than the remaining funding, so some sections were only dug out to a minimum width and depth. In practice this means that a shallow draft modern narrowboat does not have too much problem (apart from rubbish thrown in), providing you keep to the channel. But for deep boats, like those which have been through in the last couple of weeks, the chances of going aground are very high. Goodness knows what it is like with a wide boat (although former forum member DeanS got his wideboat up at least as far as Littleborough).

 

At the time of resoration it was expected that further money would be found in later years to dig out more of the infill, but this hasn't happened. Meanwhile some of the locals have been chucking stuff in. And with few boats passing through, it is difficult for CRT to justify spending more than the minimum to keep the canal passable. That said, CRT have been very supportive of the HNBC gathering, and we had quite a lot of help on the ground from CRT volunteers and staff.

 

More boaters should try it, and then it might get easier!

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A huge widebeam went up a few weeks ago, we passed them at Walsden. Think they craned in at Liverpool and due to the L&L stoppage decided to go the Rochdale route. I think it was 57 by 12 and a modern squareback with cabin almost right to the front and zero tumblehome. I asked how they had got on but they said so physically and emotionally draining that they didn't want to talk about it.

 

Those "narrows" in Newton Heath appear to stick in everybodies mind as areally bad thing, but for us they were the least of our problems and almost add to the interest and history of the canal.

 

............Dave

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6 hours ago, Pluto said:

For those interested in a bit more background to the paddle gear on the Rochdale, this is a heritage report I wrote fifteen years ago. Hope you can download it from here.

2004_Rochdale_paddle_gear.pdf 31.49 MB · 5 downloads

Yes, that download works fine, and a very interesting document. I do like the idea of historically correct "period" locks, but fear this is not high on the CRT agenda, especially as some listed Rochdale locks are now getting the new blue lock name signage.

 

...............Dave

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