Wednesday 22 July 2009


I was talking about the impressive Gauxholme railway viaduct. This first photo will give you some idea - very imposing above you on the sky-line as you climb the locks towards it, and perhaps even more so as you drop down under it on the way back.
Day 4 (Tuesday) and we have to submit to the knowledgeable and safe shepherding of "Dave" from British Waterways. He turns out to be a really nice bloke who also owns a westie, so we can charm him up. In fact he goes home from work Tuesday telling his wife all about this boat with three westies on, and she insists he get a photo on the Wednesday as he brings us back over, so we have to be lined up on the back deck to pose for a pic.
Dave sees us through the dodgy locks (leaking gates, bellying, subsiding chamber walls, shallow pounds), leaving us to chug gently along the mile long summit pound (my 2nd photo is of Heckle and Jeckle's boat "Warwick" following us along - gives you a good idea of the summit scenery, the moors and the width of the canal).
We also see, coming up towards us, a genuine old horse-drawn barge being run by the Horsebarge Society. It's moored below a lock as we come out , so once we've gone the guys have to pole it in. They tell us that if the locks are set the horse is unhitched while the barge is still under way, and the momentum of the barge would glide it into the lock.
In the early days of the trip the Silverwoods were keen to try out the fishing, and it became a bit of a competition between Mr and Mrs S and Em-J. Unfortunately, Em-J caught one first (the fine stripey beastie you can see in the pic), which made Mrs S even more determined. As dark fell, the mozzies started to buzz around her, but she was fierce determined and blind to all entreaties to give up, and to the dangers of being bitten to death.
Result was she was eaten alive by the little varmints, and spent several days with her face bloated and swollen with joined up bites, like some kind of horror film elephant-man. The photographer left her alone so there are no pics, and by the end of the hols she was restored to her former beauty. Next year, says Mum, we are remembering the insect repellant, and indeed a "Boating 2010" list has already been started!
Mind you, on fishing, it nearly came to a sorry end as a hobby but more of Mum and maggots in the fridge tomorrow!
My final pic today was at a lock called Benthouse after we had summitted, bidden farewell to Heckle and Jeckle, shopped in Little borough, and climbed back up a few locks to overnight just short of the (Western) summit. A superb idyllic location in the sun, with a small off-canal berth (some kind of loading quay for stone blocks) with hard standing and a nice picnic area for an al-fresco pasta supper (and more fishing - this was pre-"maggots-in-da-fridge")
Enough for today
(the maggots were definitely NOT my fault)

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