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One way trip via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Between Sowerby Bridge and Ashton-under-Lyne, via Huddersfield

One way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

33 miles 97 locks 40 hours

One Way Map Seven-night One Way Trip

This trip has been a real wow with our intrepid pioneers, who have been thrilled by the scenery and the atmosphere.
Sail down the Calder & Hebble Navigation past Brighouse, with a short river section to Cooper Bridge, where you take the right turn into the bottom lock of the Huddersfield Broad. This leads you up through the outskirts of Huddersfield right into the City centre. Go through the University, a weird but satisfying juxtaposition of sixties high-rise and nineties mill conversion, then dive under another mill (this one real) into a new tunnel which leads directly into a new lock - followed closely by another new lock by another new college. As you emerge, a steel-truss railway viaduct frames the start of your journey up the Colne valley into the hills. At Slaithwaite the canal has been put back on its original track. You will enjoy exploring the village. Then go on towards the summit, past Marsden, whose Mechanics Institute is the home of Mikron Theatre (though they will be away touring). So at last you come to the summit, 644' 9" above sea level, where a very short pool makes the entrance into Standedge Tunnel all the more dramatic by its understatement. The Standedge Visitor Centre gives an unforgettable insight into the lives of the tunnellers who blasted their way under the Pennines, the packhorse teams who preceded them over the top, and the leggers who took the boats through 3 ¼ miles of pitch dark. Now you drive your own boat through, accompanied by a Canal & River Trust expert, who gives a fascinating commentary as you go, on the work of the original miners and of their modern successors.
After the tunnel, the canal descends quickly through the Diggle flight, then into the Saddleworth villages, with weavers' cottages, and genuine charm as well as craft shops. The centre of Stalybridge has been transformed by the construction of a new canal.
You enter Ashton by passing under an ASDA, to be compared with the Sainsbury's you passed at Huddersfield several days (and 74 locks) ago. Our base is at Bridge 24 on the Ashton, a little past the Industrial Museum at Portland Basin.

Navigation notes

You require an active, experienced crew; the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has many locks. At least one of the crew must have adequate experience (you need to know how to pace yourselves, and we may not be able to give lock instruction to those who start from Ashton).
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is not yet in as good condition as other canals and you may experience difficulty or delays. Some of the locks can be hard work. Passage through Standedge is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (the days that suit you). Dogs are allowed through the tunnel. We will book passage for you with Canal & River Trust. We will give further details in the Route Companion available to you as soon as you have booked your holiday.

Distances and times shown (for guidance) are for the complete trip. Information we provide about specific waterways or suggested routes is for general reference only. Please see more about route availability.

This route has a short section on a river navigation. In normal conditions the rivers are placid but in prolonged wet weather they can flow too fast for safe navigation. In such cases boats wait at safe moorings while flood water recedes - usually quite quickly.

Transfer arrangements for Ashton

Your direction of travel will be advised the week before you start. It depends on that taken by previous crews. Your Information Pack has all details for both directions. If coming to us by car, you will come first to Sowerby Bridge whichever way the boat is going. All cars are parked at Sowerby Bridge. The easy 20-mile transfer by minibus or taxi to or from Ashton will accordingly be at either the beginning (for the whole party) or the end (for the whole party or just the drivers) of your holiday. Cost about £11 per head, minimum £45, plus a small extra charge for bikes or dogs. We will discuss details with you. Those travelling entirely by train can get to Ashton (Guide Bridge station) and Sowerby Bridge from main line trains at Manchester or Preston.
This one-way trip is available only on Cornwall. Saturday start.

Brighouse Basin on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Brighouse Basin

Locomotive Bridge, Huddersfield on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Locomotive Bridge

On the way out of Huddersfield on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal


Marsden Locks on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Marsden Flight

Standedge Tunnel on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Standedge Tunnel entrance

Uppermill on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal


Scout Tunnel on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Scout Tunnel

Near Stalybridge on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal


Stalybridge on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal


Portland Basin on a one way boating holiday via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Portland Basin Museum

How to Book

Use this form to check availability. When you find the boat you want, click 'Book this holiday now' and you can pay your deposit or hold for 48 hours - or ring 01422 832712.

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Trip Reviews

"Gorgeous weather, fab scenery, interesting places, friendly folk. Really enjoyed it. Holmfirth was an excursion. Tunnel - really worth the trip & visitor centre interesting. Took train to Berry Brow to climb Castle Hill out of Huddersfield. Great views." - Mr Lloyd, Cornwall

"Scenery between Slaithwaite and tunnel excellent but it rained! From tunnel to Stalybridge also good. Very easy to find shops. Pubs by waterside plentiful. Lot of interest by local people about our journey. " - Mr Reeves, Cornwall

"Scenery fantastic. Good walks from the canal. Good food recommended at Roaches Lock pub. Enjoyed Standedge Tunnel experience. " - Mr Mansel, Cornwall

"All very, very good. We loved Marsden area. Scenery beautiful & all the people we met were friendly & helpful. Food places good." - Mr Tergeggen, Huntingdon

"Amazing variety of scenery, flora and buildings. Standedge Tunnel fabulous, chaperone very knowledgeable and good company." - Mr Piearcey, Huntingdon

"The scenery was terrific. The tunnel was for us the high spot. Very interesting area history." - Mr & Mrs Murfitt, Cornwall

""Best pub Commercial in Slaithwaite. One of the best canals for scenery we have been on. Tunnel was wonderful - unlike any other - Trevor Ellis the tunnel chaperone was fab - interesting & helpful."" - Holliday/Cohen, Cornwall

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