Tunnel trip features as part of canal anniversary festivities

A FLOTILLA of barges set out from Diggle to complete the final leg of a five-day Pennine Explorer Cruise on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The collection of boats had travelled from Portland Basis, Ashton and through Greenfield and Uppermill before mooring at Diggle in readiness for the journey to Marsden through the Thomas Telford designed tunnel.

Twelve boats originally signed up for their trip, initially completed in 2017. However, due to factors around water levels and lock closures, five finally made the journey-the highlight of which was the 3.5 miles trip through the tunnel which is 643 feet above sea level and 636ft deep.

The passage took between 90 mins to one hour 45 mins and each barge was accompanied by a chaperone from the Canal & River Trust.

Boats set off at 45 minute intervals and finally congregated at Water’s Edge, Marsden for an end of cruise celebration- a venue that recently held its first ‘Pride at Standedge’ Festival.

It is 21 years since the rebirth of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the re-opening of Standedge Tunnel to boat traffic.

The boats had previously negotiated a shorter and lesser known ‘tunnel’ The 166 yards ‘Asda tunnel’ takes boats under the superstore of the same name in Ashton. Walkers must detour before re-joining the towpath.

To find out more about the Huddersfield Canal Society visit www.huddersfieldcanal.com Or for Canal and River Trust visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

And if boating isn’t your thing why not complete the CRT’s Canalathon in July, a 26.2 walk or run on towpaths to raise money to protect and care for more than 2,000 miles of waterways.

You can tick off the miles over the month or tackle them all in one go: complete it alone or build a team among family, friends and colleagues. Details are on the CRT website.

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