Huddersfield Canal

This week I found myself in Huddersfield. While I didn’t have a lot of time to take photos, I did go for two walks in the morning down the canal which ran past my hotel. Of course I took my GH3 with me. I had intended to swap between the 7-14 and the 12-35 but some cold weather and an absence of warm clothes on my part left me with the 12-35 mounted all the time to avoid dropping lenses with frozen fingers.

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The Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs just under 20 miles (32 km) from the rear of the University of Huddersfield campus, near Aspley Basin at Huddersfield to the junction with the Ashton Canal at Whitelands Basin in Ashton-under-Lyne. It was built in the period 1794-1811 and closed in 1944.

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In 2001, after 27 years of restoration by the canal was fully re-opened to navigation. The canal is now entirely used by leisure boaters.

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During the period of time when the canal was closed, several lengths were culverted and infilled, and in some cases built over. Over the course of the restoration project, the vast majority of the obliterated line became available to be opened out again, and the canal remains on a substantially identical alignment with some minor alterations.

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Two factories had been built on the line of the canal on the period in which in had been infilled. In each case, the solution was the same: the lock was relocated upstream of the factory and a tunnel constructed below the factory. This avoided disruption to the firms now using the sites.

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It was funny how the feel of Huddersfield as a now industrial town and post-industrial town were both visible from the canal. Actually, there seems to be a lot of still very active industry in Huddersfeild, but there were factories and building that had fallen into decay along the route I walked.

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As ever (as I recall from living near to the Regent’s canal in London) graffiti artists wage a never ending, soon to be obscured, war with their peers and British Waterways…

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The second time I popped out I took my son with me. Almost instantly he face-planted into a muddy bank, but otherwise seemed to have great fun (as I lived in fear trying to shepherd him away from the banks)…

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He was convinced that we could only get back to our hotel the way we had come, so once we had crossed the bridge he kept attempting to escape back where we had come from (which ended up with me having to scoop him up and carry him back toward the hotel). In the meantime (while waiting for my son to face the right way) I took this shot which to me demonstrates that the 12-35 at 35 is a worthy back up to the Oly 45mm. OK, the bokeh may not be as nice and perhaps I should have gone for a fill flash, but I’m otherwise very happy with this shot.

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It was a great pair of walks that I enjoyed, the more so for talking my camera with me. Even an hour here or there can make the difference between a trip you mainly remember for the journey and one that lingers in the memory.

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4 thoughts

  1. Lovely set of images an your narrative sets the scene for someone like me who had never heard of this area. Your son seems quite the character and your photos of him illustrate the light and life he carries with him. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks! I had never really given much thought to visiting Huddersfield until I did, so I confess I had to look up the history of the canal. My son is definitely a character although I did have to spend about 10 minutes cleaning him up to avoid being handbagged by mummy on our return to the hotel…

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