200 Years and still legging it200 Years and still legging it

During the weekend of the 2nd April 2011 I agreed to photograph the bicentenary of the Standedge Tunnel which links Diggle to Marsden travelling for 16,499 ft and 600 ft beneath the Pennine Moors. Dressed in period costume (not Gortex) we guided three boats, Maria, Elland and Vixen under the watchful eye of Sue Day (Chairperson of the Horseboat Society) through the tunnel. I’ve always wanted to take this trip so this for me was an opportunity not to miss and to travel in this traditional way at such a significant time just put the icing on the cake.  To see photographs of this event click here.

Nikon say the D3s copes well in low light and is well sealed against the elements. Well Nikon need to consider the Standedge Tunnel as a testing ground for their equipment. When I take photographs, I always try to remain relaxed and focused but when you introduce zero visibility, dirty hands and water pouring from above and the need to make your contribution to legging a narrowboat through three miles of little used tunnel the photography and the equipment can become slightly sidelined. Add to this the exacting demands of a narrowboat captain and their equal desire to protect their vessel from being smashed against the sides of the tunnel you have a fairly pressured scenario.

This was a fabulous experience which left me with real sense of history. Three days of hard work in cold and damp conditions ended with the sounds of the Diggle Brass Band playing Rule Brittania. I think I may have even doffed my cap to some local dignitary.

To learn more about the history of the tunnel and the canal click here.


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