Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Almost there

The view from tonight's mooring at Saterhebble
Another day of glorious late summer sunshine has brought us virtually to the end of the Calder & Hebble. Tonight we are moored in the middle of the picturesque Salterhebble locks and within a couple of miles of the start of the Rochdale Canal.
The River Calder – in the warm sunshine it could be the Dordogne
The C&H has continued to charm us though its character has started to change as it moves toward the Pennine hill country and begins to show a more gritty side to it. Old mills and mill chimneys dot a route which is still largely countrified and ran for most of today in close parallel with the River Calder as it travelled sparkling  over rocks and low weirs through a thickly wooded valley. In the warm sunshine we could almost have been in the Dordogne!
Coming through the locks at Brighouse
First stop today was Brighouse where the C&H parts company with the river for the last time and rises through a pair of locks separated by an attractive circular pound. Brighouse has a not unattractive waterfront with a couple of well converted old mill buildings though there are a few more lying empty and derelict that remind one of its now-gone industries.
Then back out into the country we went, with locks now much more closely spaced but just as haphazard in their condition and working methods. Forget your handspike for just one locks and you'll be sure it's the only one where you'll need it. A couple of miles after Brighouse the canal runs through a long, straight thickly wooded stretch with a nature reserve to one side and some handy mooring rings. A good spot for lunch and a walk through the reserve – which it turns out was created by landscaping and replanting a huge rubbish dump. On the other side of the river another handfill site is in the process of getting the same treatment with bulldozers and trucks moving and spreading tons of top soil into position.
One of the many old derelict waterside mills
The little town of Elland has, according to the guidebook, "an attractive canal basin" and is "a good stopping place". Well maybe, so long as you don't mind the roar of traffic over the new bypass and bridge. We pressed on to Salterhebble and its flight of three locks – the first of which has a guillotine bottom gate (full of surprises is the C&H), an alteration made to squeeze the gate in beside a road.
We are now in a large pound and small mooring basin with just a couple of locks between us and the end of the Calder & Hebble.

Cruising in the country and enjoying the sunshine

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