South West Portal Scout Tunnel – Mossley, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 30.434 W 002° 02.380
30U E 563690 N 5929128
Quick Description: This one of two tunnels on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, though much shorter than the summit tunnel.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 11/27/2012 11:02:22 AM
Waymark Code: WMFT9F
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member MeerRescue
Views: 4

Long Description:
Scout Tunnel lies between Stalybridge and Mossley, on the west side of the Pennines, between Locks 11W and 12W. It is 615 feet long (188m) and has a tow path running through it.

It became an English Heritage Grade II listed building in 1986. "It was built between 1794 and 1797, and like most of the canal was surveyed and designed by Benjamin Outram. The parapet wall is slightly curved and made from hammer dressed stone."

This tunnel has a mixture of lined and unlined sections and during the restoration some of the sections were reinforced with steel mesh and rock bolts. This Pennine Waterways website has a series of pictures taken during the canal restoration.

The canal tow path is fully open including through this tunnel. There is a handrail through the tunnel and it is possible to walk through it without a torch, but I recommend that you do use one as it is quite dark in the middle. There is a warning sign warning of low headroom and cyclists should dismount before entering the tunnel.

If you don't want to walk through the tunnel there is a footpath round / over the hill on the western side of the canal.

A recently erected sign states that this is the south west portal, which is surprising as this tunnel entrance is definitely at the northern end.
There are three signs at the entrance as follows.

Information Sign

Scout Tunnel

South West Portal

Tunnel Length: 188m
Method of working: Two way traffic
Maximum craft size:
2.7m Beam
2.6m Maximum headroom

Approximate travel time
through the tunnel: 2 mins
BW emergency contact:
T 0800 4799947
Grid ref
397339 401023
Canal & River Trust


Warning Sign for canal boats

Caution low headroom
Cyclists please dismount
Ensure tunnel is clear before proceeding
Remain inside the boat profile
Extinguish all naked lights except pilot lights
Do not smoke
Do not use cooking appliances
Switch on your headlight
Turn off your engine if you have to stop for any reason

T 03030 040 4040


Yellow pedestrians and cyclists warning sign


Low headroom

Pedestrians need to
keep close to hand
rail and cyclists
must dismount
Canal & River Trust


The Huddersfield Narrow Canal
This canal is one of three that crosses the Pennine Hills and built to provide transport between Huddersfield in Yorkshire and Ashton-Under-Lyne in Lancashire.

As the name suggest it is a narrow canal that although was cheaper to build had less carrying capacity compared to the other two broad canals.

Work started on it in 1794 and partly due to the need to construct the longest canal tunnel in the United Kingdom it was completed 17 years later in 1811.
The canal is only 20 miles long and due to the nature of the terrain has 74 locks even though the summit tunnel reduced the required number of locks. The canal climbs 436 feet from Huddersfield and descends 334 feet to Ashton-Under-Lyne.

In theory having a summit tunnel to reduce the number of locks means that the journey times should be relatively short. However the tunnel does not have a tow path and when it was first opened it was necessary to lead the horses over the moor to the other end of the tunnel. Meanwhile it was necessary to leg the boat through the tunnel. This involved specialist workers who lay on their backs and used their legs with their feet against the tunnel wall to leg the boat through.

Competition from the railways led to the closure of the canal in 1944.

During the 1970s leisure boating in the U.K. had become popular and there were various campaigns to re-open canals that had lain derelict for a number of years.

Work on restoring this canal started in 1981 and the whole canal was finally reopened by 2001. These days the canal is only open to leisure boaters and with the re-opening of other connecting canals it is possible to travel far and wide.

However boats are restricted to maximum width of 6 feet 10 inches and a draught of 3 feet 3 inches which does restrict some boats that are used on the broad canals.
Is the Tunnel in Use?: In Use

Which End is this Entrance?: North East

Date Constructed: 1/1/1797

Length of Tunnel: 188 Metres

Construction Material: Tunnelled through rock and in places lined with stone

Associated Website: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
If visiting this Waymark please post at least one picture with your visit log and describe your experience at the location. This adds quality to the Waymark and additional information.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Canal Tunnels
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log  
Writerian visited South West Portal Scout Tunnel – Mossley, UK 5/26/2013 Writerian visited it