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Bike ride, Warrington, Bridgewater Canal, Manchester, Huddersfield Canal - narrow & broad, Dewsbury, Leeds.
(3 day bike-pack)
Sat 18 Jan - Tue 21 Jan 2020

Mon 20 Jan 2020
Sat 18 Jan 2020 Sun 19 Jan 2020
Mon 20 Jan 2020 Tue 21 Jan 2020
Another frosty morning so quite a lot of ice packed away with my tent. The weather was still hazy as I set off and the towpath was still muddy. I continued through the industrial landscape and through the interesting Scout tunnel. It's a shame there is no lighting as it would look rather good. Eventually I reached the south portal of the Standedge canal tunnel at Diggle.
Scout Tunnel.

Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Frenchies Wharf Marina.

Standedge Tunnel. West portal.

Thomas Telford.
I've seen many photos in the past an a brief visit many years ago. I checked the blue plaque to see that the project was started by Outram and finished by Thomas Telford. There was a chilly westerly wind as I set off on the long climb over the Pennines. I set off up the Huddersfield Road which was thankfully very quiet. Only a few vehicles passed on the climb. It was interesting to see a double decker bus coming the other way. Near the summit I joined the main A62 which was quite busy.
Adjacent Railway tunnel.

Milepost on the road.

Standedge east


Over the top was a long steady descent to Marsden where I followed the narrow lane down to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal again and the north tunnel portal. The tunnel is over 5km or 3miles long. I stopped for something to eat and had the whole place to myself. I re-joined the towpath to continue my journey. It was still wet and very muddy in places. There were many locks as I descended towards Slaithwaite. It was interesting in the town as the canal integrates with the buildings and roads.


Huddersfield and strange smells.
In Huddersfield I had to leave the canal where it went into tunnel. I cycled round to re-join it as the Huddersfield Broad canal. The towpath goes under a new bridge at Wakefield Road but the exit was steep narrow steps and a passing men gave me a lift to get my bike up. I continued on the road past the marina then re-joined the canal to head out into the countryside. There was a lot of industry around and some strange smells.
Huddersfield Broad Canal.
The towpath was difficult to ride as it was grass with a narrow concrete strip about 400mm wide. The concrete had deteriorated and crumbled over most of the length. I reached lock 1 at the River Calder. Crossing over I tried to follow the towpath by the Calder & Hebble Navigation but it was totally unrideable. I had no choice but to return to the road.
Huddersfield Broad Canal. Lock no1.

Huddersfield route.
I decided to ride to Dewsbury and pick up my route the other side. It was nice to ride on a solid road again but wherever possible I rode on the pavement to avoid the busy traffic. Before the town centre I turned right to follow the by-pass then right up Wakefield Road and the steep climb through the impressive cutting. Thankfully there was a footpath to follow. At the large roundabout I turned left then further on right up to Gawthorpe. This is where I would re-join my original route but I needed to find water somewhere. In the village centre I reached the Gawthorpe Maypole which was huge. The base didn't seem to have enough room to dance round. Adjacent was the Shoulder of Mutton pub. The Irish landlord appeared at the door to have a cigarette. I asked if he'd fill my water bottles, which he did. I continued then soon started along a rough wet and muddy track. I descended to a bridge where I rode through a flood then started the climb up a terrible muddy and rutted track. This is part of a local official cycle track. At the underpass crossing the M1 I was back on tarmac. At the top I reached the proper road again and East Ardsley. I'd planned to camp near the Ardsley Reservoir and on the way passed a fish & chip shop. I bought a large sausage for 1.50 to cut up later and add to my evening meal. Another muddy track took me into some woodland by the reservoir where I emerged into a muddy field to pitch my tent.

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