Life on board Endellion

On the move

On Thursday (18th September) there was talk of taking Endellion to Mirfield centre tomorrow – we’d heard such things before, eg, “we’ll take her for a spin tomorrow” and when tomorrow comes we wait in anticipation but other priorities get in the way.


It will be quite an event as we haven't been able to get Stewart off the boat since we arrived from Heathrow airport on Tuesday 26th August, three and a half weeks ago. The nearest place for Stewart to disembark, where we can get a ramp down, is just down the River Calder, under the narrow bridge by the weir and into the Ledgard Flood Lock then up to the Lidle supermarket.


Friday being a day off for most of the Ledgard Bridge team we didn’t expect to see Gary and Keith until later in the morning. In fact Gary bobbed down before 9.00am confirming that we’d definitely be heading to town centre today.  Keith was still working on the ramp for the lifter ensuring it was perfect (which it is) and then painting it. By 4.00pm we’re unhooking the main power line, unhooking the internet cable and locking down the hatches to cast off for our new home, for the weekend at least.


Our weekend escape outside the Lidl supermarket, adjacent to The Navigation pub.


Stewart took the helm and for only the second time, this time without Keith at his elbow, and negotiated the incredibly tight and difficult turn out of the River Calder by the weir, under the narrow bridge and into the Ledgard Flood Lock and Calder and Hebble navigation canal. It was challenging but we got through with a little help from Gary and Keith pushing and guiding on the bow and stern.


We are now moored outside Lidl supermarket which is where we thought we’d be from the beginning. This is as we imagined .. sitting alongside other boats, outside a pub in a canal and with easy access for Stewart. It’s after 5.00pm and we say goodbye for the day to Keith and Gary and with relief and a good deal of excitement that we are finally in the spirit of canalling we pop across to ‘The Nav’ to celebrate.



Kevin (owner of the pub) and Christine remember me from my few stays with them when visiting during the building briefing period. The place looks packed but that is only in the restaurant/function room area – the bar is quiet and we settle into the corner.  Nothing interesting to report, the few locals are friendly and well behaved! We soon head back to the boat, unnecessarily nervous that it will be there when we make the two minute circuit from one side of the canal to the other. All is well.


We wake Saturday morning (6.00am ‘ish to do the weather) to a quiet floating village. The sun is coming up – it’s going to be a stunning day.


Keith and Gary arrive to help us finalise access from the saloon (living area below) to the wheelhouse via the lifter by attaching a very cleverly designed ramp. Then from the wheelhouse to the stern deck we use our medium sized portable ramp and from the stern deck to the tow path our mighty ramp which has safety walls on the sides. Stewart won't be taking any bad turns into the river with that one! We also have a short ramp which can get us up one step, which is carried on the back of the power chair - generally required to enter pubs!  


  Ramp up with safety barrier Ramp up view from saloon
  The ramp up in the wheelhouse - note the safety barrier to stop Stewart going too far. From this position it will rise up for Stewart to take the controls. The ramp in the same up position shown from the saloon - keeping it up when not in use is a good safety measure.
  Ramp midway view from saloon Ramp down view from saloon
  Ramp on its way down (or up as the case may be) between floors. It automatically glides along brass plates until flat. The ramp at ground level (the saloon), not flat but with a manageable ramp onto the lifter. A very clever Ledgard design and build.


More ramps to take us up and out.



By lunchtime we are ready for a walk along the bank of the canal to see a bit of Mirfield – Keith said if you go too fast, Stewart, you will miss it. There isn’t much too it, that’s true, but that's one of the things we like about it. Everyone is friendly and helpful, especially the canal people.



    A narrow bridge going to Shepley Marina.             A stunning day for ambling.    

   Shepley Bridge Lock (only 57' long).                     Another tricky bridge to negotiate.


Sunday (21st September) is another stunning day with brilliant blue skies and temperatures of almost 20 degrees! We head off out of town along Station Road to find the pub we’ve seen signposted but couldn’t see the building, called The Ship. It is the other side of the busy Huddersfield Road and River Calder to The Swan which we saw but didn’t feel excited about visiting as it looked like there was no access. We’re hoping The Ship is better. On our way we get the scenes of Mirfield.


    Allotments are bursting with vegetables.               Odd windows.


   Some very grand houses.                                      Some gorgeous houses.    



   Some are rather plain.                               And others are very pretty. 


We have learnt a lot about the town and its wonderful history from Keith who remembers the early days of his childhood and stories from his father when all the mills, mines and malt houses - at one time there were as many as 13 malt house in this town - were thriving. Gary has written the history of the town and created a website and DVD, called A Second Look at Mirfield.


We finally get to The Ship … well, we first see a big sign ‘Hungry Horse’, I ponder this must mean they are serious about food, not just as “hungry as a horse”, but as hungry as a hungry horse”! Well, something like that.

Hungry Horse


The place is huge but on such a lovely day we like the idea of sitting in the beer garden and even consider stopping for lunch. The beer garden is also vast but actually a massive playground for children. We tolerate this with slight amusement .. more families poor in and the noise of children playing gets louder and louder. Actually all a bit of fun.. the not-so-fun side are the slot machine toys, like Bob the Builder, which make a short jingle every minute to remind you they are available. Food is a shared Nachos and then we’re on our way again.

We head up the hill now on the northern side of Mirfield attracted by the massive church spire of St Mary's which you see from miles around.



We’re greeted by the resident vicar (Stewart restrains himself from asking if she knows the Vicar of Dibley!). She is a charming woman who’s only been here a few months but knows enough to tell us, as Stewart had earlier imagined, this church was built with visions of grandeur. It was hoped it would be the Cathedral in this area but sadly for Mirfield, Wakefield beat them to it.


Finally ‘home’ – off to the Nav again tonight for some Karaoke!


Signing off .. Lesley.