Day 43 (17) – Bank Newton locks

A very long 11 hour day today and our first mechanical problem of the trip.

We set off from Hapton in heavy rain eager to get through Burnley and back into open countryside again. The M65 was always to close.

The first navigation item of interest was the Gannow tunnel outside Burnley, an arrow straight broad tunnel of exceptional construction, probably the most drip-free we have gone through.

Then on into Burnley by 7.30am. Of all the industrial towns we have gone through Burnley still displays its former dependence on the canal more than any other. While many of the old warehouses and wharves have been “reconstructed” to work in the modern era there are numerous examples of original and now derelict buildings, often the only sign of their canal past are the rusting mooring rings and hooks in the crumbling masonry.

There is a huge straight embankment through the centre of the town that carries the cut high above the shops offices and houses below. It’s known as the mile but is apparently just short of that. 🤔

The canal refused to make way for open spaces as we went through Nelson but at last the 7 Barrowford locks hoved into view. Not the easiest to lock through due to fast and full bywashes but with the help of a C&RT lockie we were through in a couple of hours.

It was while taking on water at the top lock our first engine problem manifested- we couldn’t turn the engine off! The “Stop” solenoid was FUBAR. It then started to rain a torrent while Steve tried to figure out the problem.

As we were so close to home we telephoned Snaygill Boats (who do all servicing etc for WYVERN) for help/advice. To our huge relief Jo (Snaygill owner) came out on a Sunday afternoon and met us the other side of Foulridge tunnel (the leakiest/drippiest by far) and replaced the dead solenoid. Words can’t express our gratitude for her kindness in getting us out of a fix in this way. Thank you Jo.

As we have said numerous times life on the cut is as much luck/fate as planning. If the solenoid had failed anywhere else on our journey we would have been stymied. Of course we belong to River Canal Rescue (the AA of the waterways) who would have fixed us but it would have meant a huge delay while they got to us. We really have been lucky on this trip.

So, after only a 30 minute delay we were on our way again.

We went through the 3 Greenberfield locks in short order and are currently moored up in the most beautiful open countryside a short distance from the 6 Bank Newton locks. Too much to do today so called a halt.

We are on the home stretch now, we might just make it home late tomorrow but there are still 11 locks, numerous swing bridges and a fair few miles between here and Riddlesden but we’ll see how tomorrow pans out. Unfortunately, the weather forecast is for heavy rain all day tomorrow- not what we need with so many locks still to do. It’s uncomfortable and dangerous as the lock sides get slippy.

However, This evening it’s sunny and windy and it’s almost the start of the Aire Valley so the Curlews and Peewits are in full cry. Incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

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