After a good night at Mirfield we pulled pins at 07.40 and continued our journey along the Calder and Hebble navigation . You always know that you have to give rivers respect when you see all the debris in the trees which shows how high it goes in flood conditions.
This is a lump of wood ,but it’s no ordinary lump of wood it is in fact known as a Handspike. We had heard about these a long time ago and were told you couldn’t do this navigation without one as it was needed to lift the paddles on the locks. Carolyn found this one in the chandlery at Huddersfield where again we were told we needed to have one . It’s basically a bit of 3x2 but this one is made from Hardwood. We had been told they were about £10 to buy so imagine my horror when I was told they have gone up to £18 .. That’s three bottles of Red wine ! . But we have to have one so we bought this one.
Arriving at our first lock that needed the Handspike Carolyn grabbed it and we walked to the lock . The lock was empty and needed filling so we opened the gate paddles which used a normal windlass and then looked at how to use the handspike . At this moment a local boater came over and told us that as we were going down the Calder and Hebble we didn’t need a handspike as we could use the gate paddles on all the locks instead. In fact he said that a normal piece of softwood would do the job and failing that a mooring pin could be used. Needless to say I was a bit peed off , but having bought the lump of wood we thought we might as well use it once just to say we had.
Yet another first for us and we have never come across ground paddles like this before . There should be two but as you can see there is a hole where one is missing . The paddles were so heavy to lift that Carolyn had no chance and it took all of my weight to shift them.
It doesn’t get much better than this . The Sun is coming out and we are going with the flow on a river . We are only using 1,000 revs on our engine instead of our usual cruising revs of 1,300 on canals and are going three times as fast. Just the ticket…
We were lucky to pick up this mooring opposite The Ruddy Duck and will have an early start in the morning as we drop down Fall Ing lock (spelt correctly) and leave the Calder and Hebble navigation and then join the Aire and Calder navigation where all the locks are electric and some of them are a bit on the large size ,so it should be a bit of a break for Carolyn after so many locks in the last few weeks.
lump of wood Handspike which is essential on The Calder and Hebble navigation . Used once !! open to offers.