Jubilee Venture & Scouting Venture
4th - 6th April 2014 Camp
Parents drove Cubs and Young Leaders from Buxton to our pre-arranged meeting point at the Navigation Inn just outside of Wakefield for 7:30 on the Friday evening. Chris & Lesley had arrived earlier and prepared things including the food which was delivered by Tesco’s to the pub Car Park. Our thanks go out to all at Wakefield as picking up the boat at this location made the trip possible. A detailed safety briefing took place on the Friday night along with a familiarization of the boat and the Canal. The bunks were erected and all set to sleep for 10pm.
A pleasant night’s sleep saw Saturday morning come all too quickly and following a good breakfast, all were present whilst the daily checks took place below the rear deck. Following fitting and adjusting lifejackets and a safety reminder we got underway for 9am. As we headed off upstream the first lock was only a few minutes away and a demonstration of how to use the lock safely was delivered to willing ears. The boat rose safely and soon we were on our way. We stopped at what Chris called the “Hole in the Wall” but was labelled on our chart as a (former lock and marina) after about half an hours travel. The toilet and bin were emptied and we were soon under way again noting that stopping after the hole in the wall rather that before would have offered easier disembarkation from the boat. It’s worth noting that all the facilities advertised here were usable except for the lock on the toilet door which had been changed preventing use by anyone with the standard British Waterways key.
After three hours travelling we reached double locks at the junction of the Dewsbury Arm and saw a helicopter fly low overhead. We took lunch beside the towpath and afterwards we headed on up the locks and further up the canal and an hour and a half later we went through the flood lock onto the River Calder. The river was wide and fast flowing to compare with the canal, though the marker showed it in the Green. Quarter of an hour later we were at Greenwood lock and looking at the signpost for Sowerby Bridge. We soon were back out onto the river reaching Shepley Bridge Lock mooching on up the canal and up through Ledgard Flood lock and back to the river up to Battyeford Marina where after a break we turned around and headed back for an overnight at Shepley Bridge marina.
Shepley Bridge marina was a great overnight stop where we invested the four Young Leaders and slept well before the domestics including morning bin & toilet emptying. Our journeying back was even more fun than Saturday’s journey upstream and as well as being accompanied along the towpath by a sponsored charity walk. The canal and river was alive with wildlife including toads, ducklings, swans, herons and a kingfisher. We are both grateful to the Wakefield team who helped to make the trip possible and found things worked really well, we were taken aback by the state of some of the locks on the journey which were clearly in poor shape, shame on the Canal and River Trust who clearly are not putting sufficient investment into this area. The young Leaders were doing a project on Water Management and we had covered the need not to waste water only to find some lock gates that fitted so badly that water leaked out nearly as quickly as we put it in. Come on Canal & River Trust, this is a beautiful part of the world, the Calder & Hebble Navigation is a great area of beauty put some more investment in here and fix the leaky locks!
Our view on the whole trip was GREAT ! The next trip in Jubilee Venture is already booked for 10 weeks time. We would thorouly recomend this to other groups so if you have an interest contact the Wakefield team
Thanks to all that helped.
Chris and Lesley
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