Hirefleet ‘pops’ across Pennines as reopenings continue

Hirefleet ‘pops’ across Pennines as reopenings continue

Hirefleet ‘pops’ across Pennines as reopenings continue - Credit: Archant

As the Yorkshire waterways damaged by the winter floods start to open up again, a hireboat fleet is pictured shifting part of its operation to the far side of the Pennines to avoid the closures.

Repair work by the Canal & River Trust’s engineers has enabled three sections of navigation to reopen in time for Easter:

. The Aire & Calder Navigation from Knostrop to Leeds

. The Calder & Hebble Navigation from Figure of Three to Cooper Bridge

. The Rochdale Canal and Calder & Hebble Navigation from Salterhebble via Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge

However Shire Cruisers’ hireboat operation at Sowerby Bridge remains cut off from the network by closures west of Hebden Bridge and east of Salterhebble. So some of their craft have been moved and are offering one-way trips between Barnoldswick on the Leeds & Liverpool and Huddersfield; while a ‘pop-up’ fleet has been set up at Ashton-under-Lyne for holidays on the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals. Our picture shows one of the boats heading there on the M62.

Meanwhile repair work continues on the remaining lengths. The Rochdale Canal is expected to open west from Hebden Bridge to Lock 15 by the end of May, followed the next month by the Calder & Hebble from Salterhebble to Cooper Bridge. However there is no date set for the final reopening, the Rochdale from Lock 15 to Todmorden, where repair of a landslip depends on stabilisation of the ground and negotiations with third-party landowners.