Horbury Junction

We started off from Stanley Ferry about 9.30, intending to travel for at least four hours today. Initially there are some big river sections and this makes the journey much faster because of the depth of water under us. The flood locks were all open as well.

The first lock that we had to work was Fall Ing Lock leading up from the River Calder into Wakefield. I could remember from last year that this is a big and heavy lock and it took a lot of hard work to get through it today. We passed uneventfully through Wakefield and along to Thornes Lock. We couldn’t budge the only ground paddle that was working and the gate paddle required the “spike” so Alan dug ours out and passed it up to me. Liz was very taken with this new, to her, method of opening a paddle. When the lock was nearly full Alan jumped out and easily opened the ground paddle with the windlass. Strange, but the same thing happened at the next lock, when I couldn’t move it at all and then it opened easily with the lock nearly full.

As we went through Thornes Lock a bike rider stopped and said that we wouldn’t get very far as a car had gone into the canal just past the Navigation Pub, and that there were police, ambulances and an air ambulance at the scene, and a very wet looking young man on the side.

We went on through Broad Cut Low Lock (where the ground paddle misbehaved) and then passed two BW staff in the Navigation pub car park just before Broad Cut Top Lock. They knew no more about the car than we did and were on their way to the scene to find out what was happening. We thought we would go on but as the boats were entering the top lock a dog walker told us that we wouldn’t get through as the car was in the middle of the canal. We reversed the boats out and moored up before walking along the half mile or so to find out what was happening. By the time we reached the activity we found some police officers, the BW men and the car with just the top of its open bonnet sticking out above the water. We were nowhere near a road and it seems that a young man, who was alone in the car, had driven downhill across a field at speed, through the fence and into the canal. It was thought that he had been attempting to kill himself but had changed his mind as he went into the water, though we don’t know how he got out. It really doesn’t bear thinking about what would have happened if a boat had got in his way as he crashed in.

The police divers arrived and we were told that we would be able to go though in about 30 minutes when they had finished. A diver went into the water to check the inside of the car, and then a hook was attached to the side and the police Land Rover pulled it to the edge of the canal. It may be some days before it can be removed but there is plenty of room and depth to go past.

By the time we had walked back to the boats and had lunch it was unanimously agreed that we would stay where we are for the night, and then do two long days to Sowerby Bridge, where we have a booking to go onto the Rochdale on Tuesday. Alan has been doing all sorts of things with wires stretched round the boat and his tallest aerial attached to the parasol base. I gather he has been having fun! Friday night is pub night (well Friday pub night as opposed to any other pub night) and the Navigation is recommended, so off we go.

Diver approaching car

Car being pulled to the side

operating a spike

Today we did 5.62 Miles and 6 Locks

Statistics so far:-

2632.23 Miles, 1566 Locks, 175 Swing Bridges, 90 Lift Bridges, 45 Tunnels


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