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Leads/Liverpool from Wigan locks to Leads


Kendorr
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I started boating last year and took on a route from Thorne along the Rochdale, onto the Bridgewater, Trent and Mersey, Macclesfield, Peak Forest, Huddersfield and back to Thorne. I was with another boat through to Manchester and a second boat along the Macclesfield and Peak Forest, the rest of the time was completely solo.

 

This year I intend going down the Trent and working my way through to the Leads/Liverpool to join it at Wigan.

 

As a single handed boater I have found the locks to be no problem, going up is easy, going down takes me a bit longer, but still not a concern, I also don't mind bridges when the mechanism is available on the towpath side. However, I have noticed that many of the bridges on the Leads/Liverpool are opened from the non towpath side. I've watched a couple of videos showing how single handed boaters go through these and I'm sure I could manage them myself. My concern though is the amount of time taken and holding up traffic.

 

So, after all that, my questions are;

Does anyone know where I could find information about which bridges need to be opened (I've counted that there are 39 bridges in total but not sure if they all have to be opened to allow passage through),

Which is the first and last (I might decide to get crew) and

If there are any real problem points that I should look out for.

 

Thanks folks

 

Kevin

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With a bit of innovation and help from passers by you should be able to manage all the swing bridges on the L & L single-handed. Chances are that you will meet other crewed boats that will help as well. Suggest not worrying too much and just taking them as they come, it can even add to the fun.

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I wouldn't worry, it doesn't take that much longer holding up traffic when single handed using ropes to bring the boat threw than with a crew. The majority of the swing bridges are farm or foot traffic. I find if it's really windy I struggle on my own using ropes tho.

 

I actually use two ropes, it helps if you have a clear roof. Use a centre rope and a stern rope. I tie these to the bridge, open the bridge, untie, pull the boat threw, re tie the ropes to other side of bridge so I don't lose them when closing the bridge and then from the towpath pull the boat in using the centre rope. It helps if you have long ropes. The stern one being longer than the boat by about 4-5 meters and rope that floats so if it goes in the water it doesn't catch on anything.

Edited by Robbo
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Most of them need opening and most have no landing stage on the operating side. You can fiddle about on those in the remote areas but like you I worry about single handing through the busy road bridges - you do get a lot of ear-ache.

 

Having only single handed the L&L once, many times with crew, I suggest hanging around to see if another boat comes along. I did that and the other boat although also single handed speeded things up a bit, One of us operated the bridge whilst the other took both boats through. The first few breasted up but that was too risky for the windows on the bridge side so after that we just took them one at a time. That meant closing a bridge now and again to appease the motorists.

 

My preferred option with crew is to cycle the bit between Skipton & Bingley and open the bridges for all following boats - you wouldn't believe how many bottles of wine this has generated.

Edited by Midnight
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I have single-handed the entire L&L and here is the technique I use for swing bridges:

 

1) If not possible to pull up on the operational side do so on the landing stage.

2) Walk across the bridge taking your BOW rope with you.

3) Pull the bow over to you and open the bridge.

4) Walk down the gunwale and motor the boat through

4) Get back off the boat taking the STERN rope with you to the bridge abutment and close the bridge.

5) Hop back on and away you go, excitedly looking forward to the next one which won't be too far away on the L&L!

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Thanks again, I'll also make sure I spell Leeds correctly in future posts!!!

 

Your way rgreg sounds much easier than the ones I've looked at on youtube. Sometime in August/September I'll be putting the advice into operation.

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Not exactly related to the OP but I'm supposed to be cruising from Leeds to Newlay lock today, anyone know the state of the ice outside of Leeds?

 

Did you come down to Granary at the weekend? If so believe I bumped into you and mentioning the stoppage at Knostrop (although you already knew).

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ive done this but not on my own and dont remember any bridges on the non towpath side.

 

there are some but for farmers and they leave them open when not using them.

 

if I did do it on my own I would moor up at busy swing bridges and wait for another boat to come along of try get help of someone.

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ive done this but not on my own and dont remember any bridges on the non towpath side.

 

there are some but for farmers and they leave them open when not using them.

 

if I did do it on my own I would moor up at busy swing bridges and wait for another boat to come along of try get help of someone.

 

Sorry but virtually all the many swing bridges between Gargrave and Bingley, plus a few beyond, have the pivot and therefore the controls on the non-towpath side. Note also that most farm bridges are not left open to the canal.

 

There is at least one now though near Bingley that has duplicate controls via radio link to allow operation from towpath side, but this/these are still very much the exception.

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Thanks again, I'll also make sure I spell Leeds correctly in future posts!!!

 

Your way rgreg sounds much easier than the ones I've looked at on youtube. Sometime in August/September I'll be putting the advice into operation.

That time of year and on the stretch from Gargrave to Bingley where you will find a majority of the bridges am sure it will be busy enough to rely on hire boats/day boats.

On the previous mentioned stretch you will find about 10 day boats in operation and 3-4 hire bases with a approx total of 30 hire boats. Plus the owners. You wont have to wait long for help.

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So, after all that, my questions are;

Does anyone know where I could find information about which bridges need to be opened (I've counted that there are 39 bridges in total but not sure if they all have to be opened to allow passage through),

 

My thought on that one is look at google maps satellite view, it would give a rough idea of which are open normally.

 

for example

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.8768173,-1.8798117,293m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

my only other thought is single handing up the Wigan flight sounds pretty tough, it may be worth waiting for another boat to share with!

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Sorry but virtually all the many swing bridges between Gargrave and Bingley, plus a few beyond, have the pivot and therefore the controls on the non-towpath side. Note also that most farm bridges are not left open to the canal.

 

There is at least one now though near Bingley that has duplicate controls via radio link to allow operation from towpath side, but this/these are still very much the exception.

Which swing bridge has duplicate controls? I know that bridge 199 has a radio link with the controls sited on the towpath side. This upgrade was completed in March 2015.

Regarding single handed swing bridge operation most if not all swing bridges have priority over road traffic, unless specifically stated at the control box.

The key to single handing bridges is a rather long centre rope. Have a look at my YouTube video - search for micklththwaite.

Regards,

RAP

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Which swing bridge has duplicate controls? I know that bridge 199 has a radio link with the controls sited on the towpath side. This upgrade was completed in March 2015.

 

The key to single handing bridges is a rather long centre rope. Have a look at my YouTube video - search for micklththwaite.

Regards,

RAP

I find the technique that you use a bit of a faff and too much physical effort. I much prefer the technique I outlined in my previous post: no tying up required and minimal physical handling of the boat. Each to their own of course. My advice to the OP would be to try different techniques until he finds the one he prefers.
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Which swing bridge has duplicate controls? I know that bridge 199 has a radio link with the controls sited on the towpath side. This upgrade was completed in March 2015.

Regarding single handed swing bridge operation most if not all swing bridges have priority over road traffic, unless specifically stated at the control box.

The key to single handing bridges is a rather long centre rope. Have a look at my YouTube video - search for micklththwaite.

Regards,

RAP

 

Yes that would be the one. Assumed that C&RT would probably be converting others. The farm bridges I referred to whch are invariably closed to canal were all manual ones. Quite possible to operate single handed though with the help of a line from towpath side.

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There are several very good historical reasons why swing bridges are fitted to the off side. Firstly, they would then not interfere with towing lines, secondly, the foundations would be easier to build as they were not on the towpath, which in general was made up and thus likely to be unstable for building, and thirdly it reduced the amount of land required. Today they are probably better operated from alongside the swinging section as that is where there is most likely to be an accident, so it is easier for the operator to control anyone trying to interfere or swing on the bridge.

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There are several very good historical reasons why swing bridges are fitted to the off side. Firstly, they would then not interfere with towing lines, secondly, the foundations would be easier to build as they were not on the towpath, which in general was made up and thus likely to be unstable for building, and thirdly it reduced the amount of land required. Today they are probably better operated from alongside the swinging section as that is where there is most likely to be an accident, so it is easier for the operator to control anyone trying to interfere or swing on the bridge.

 

There's no reason to not have controls on the towpath side now for the automated ones, seems daft why they put the controls for these on the non-towpath side in the first place for these apart from it from the historical reasons, it's certainly no more dangerous as a number of places already do.

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There's no reason to not have controls on the towpath side now for the automated ones, seems daft why they put the controls for these on the non-towpath side in the first place for these apart from it from the historical reasons, it's certainly no more dangerous as a number of places already do.

How do you stop children messing around on the swinging bridge when you are on the other side. You need to be next to the swinging span in order to ensure that the bridge is operated safely. There have been deaths caused by people being trapped by swinging bridges, and the number could rise if no one is close enough to control those nearby. You can certainly have controls away from the bridge, but that makes it less safe in operation, certainly for single-handed working.

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I am sure if you are traveling with a locking partner as often seems to be the case on the L and L you could get them to do the bridges for you, certainly last time I was there we were working alternate bridges with the boat the we had been up the previous lock with.

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How do you stop children messing around on the swinging bridge when you are on the other side. You need to be next to the swinging span in order to ensure that the bridge is operated safely. There have been deaths caused by people being trapped by swinging bridges, and the number could rise if no one is close enough to control those nearby. You can certainly have controls away from the bridge, but that makes it less safe in operation, certainly for single-handed working.

Most if not all automated bridges you need to keep your hand on button to open, and been on the tow path side I would see more of the danger and people in the way. The controls on the non towpath side you tend to not notice people around you as they are not in your main vision as your looking at the bridge.

 

Been single handed I also have to leave the controls and get on the bridge so I'm more in danger if people are around and messing.

 

I believe the serious injury / death? Has been caused by youths messing with the bridges. I've only heard of one and I think it was a manual bridge.

Edited by Robbo
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There's no reason to not have controls on the towpath side now for the automated ones, seems daft why they put the controls for these on the non-towpath side in the first place for these apart from it from the historical reasons, it's certainly no more dangerous as a number of places already do.

Not all the electric swing bridges are fully automated, on quite a few you still have to push the bridge open and closed once the electric barriers are down.

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There's no reason to not have controls on the towpath side now for the automated ones, seems daft why they put the controls for these on the non-towpath side in the first place for these apart from it from the historical reasons, it's certainly no more dangerous as a number of places already do.

 

It's not the controls that need moving, it's the landing stages that need moving to the offside like several of those on the Lancashire side.

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