Friday, 30 June 2017

Seeing Double

IMG_4989We pulled pins from Plank Lane at 07.40 with a 7 or 8 hour cruise in front of us . We will try and get down to somewhere near Lymm for the night. We will be passing through the outskirts of Greater Manchester and we have been told that there are not a great number of safe moorings so we have decided to do the trip in one hit.

IMG_4995We stopped at this pub in Leigh not for a drink but for the Aldi Supermarket that was right next to it . Needless to stay we stocked up with the most important essentials ,wine and a bit more wine. It’s not that often we get a Supermarket next to the canal so we always stop and take full advantage of it .

IMG_4997On the move again and this is where we leave The Leigh branch of The Leeds and Liverpool canal and join the privately owned Bridgewater canal. As you can see they are a bit slow at taking down their signs as the Vickers Hall Bridge is now open , well I hope it is.

IMG_4998We have heard so much about The Bridgewater Canal and I can say that most of it has been bad . It is owned/run by Peel holdings who as far as I understand are only interested in the land beside the canal and not the canal itself . We have also heard that they are very heavy handed with enforcement with one particular enforcement officer being a nasty piece of work. Anyway I guess we will find out for ourselves as we cruise the canal.

IMG_5009Leaving Leigh and it’s good to see some of the old Mills and factories still standing.

IMG_5012After over 4 years of travelling I think this is the first Pit Head we have ever seen.

IMG_5019We then cruised on and thought we were seeing double as we came across nb Sandoy as we entered Lymm. Of course it was friends Jack and Tina on their Sabre built boat which looks identical to Inca . We had a chat and then went on and tried to moor in Lymm ,but it was rammed full so we carried on for a couple of miles before picking up a nice peaceful mooring for the night at Pickering bridge after an 8 hour lock free cruise.

IMG_5032One of the few places to moor on this section is Worsley and although the moorings are next to a busy a road we have marked it in our guide book as a place to stop the next time we are up this way.

IMG_5038We were soon to come upon this Lighthouse next to Parrin Lane bridge and being so far from the sea we wondered why it was here .

It seem’s that a local man was given the opportunity to buy a mooring for his narrowboat on the Bridgewater Canal in Salford. There was space to build something on the land so he approached the local planning department and they said that he could build anything as long as it was made of stone. He sold his narrowboat and started building a lighthouse 30 miles from the sea. I’m not sure if it has a flashing light or not ,but what a strange thing to build if you could have built anything you wanted to.

IMG_5050After about an hours cruise we got to the Barton Swing Aqueduct Bridge. I must admit that I was a bit excited as I have always wanted to go over it . The bridge crosses The Manchester Ship canal and along with an adjacent road bridge swings open to allow large ships to go in to Manchester.

IMG_5057Crossing the bridge and looking to the right you can see the road swing bridge .

IMG_5058And looking to the left you can see the city centre of Manchester. In the end although it was a good crossing it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I think I just expected something bigger and more imposing.

IMG_5092Nearly at Lymm and we got a shout from this guy who we have never met before . He said “I remember that boat well” . We stopped and reversed back to talk to him and it turned out that it was Paul who fitted out Inca when he used to run Sabre Narrowboats . We had a good chat and complemented him on his excellent work, although I did have a bit of a moan (like I do) about the paintwork which has a nasty habit of oxidising.  It seems from what Paul said that there is some sort of polish with a resin in it that stops the oxidation . If anyone knows what it’s called I would love to know.

IMG_5097I wonder what she is doing under that tree …

IMG_5101We then cruised on and thought we were seeing double as we came across nb Sandoy as we entered Lymm. Of course it was friends Jack and Tina on their Sabre built boat which looks identical to Inca . We had a chat and then went on and tried to moor in Lymm ,but it was rammed full so we carried on for a couple of miles before picking up a nice peaceful mooring for the night at Pickering bridge after an 8 hour lock free cruise.

                                                                                                                                                                          Happy Days


We are having trouble blogging and keep getting the error message below . We use windows live writer and then post to blogger . I have tried everything to resolve the problem . Is there any other bloggers out there having the same trouble if so how do you fix it .

The remote server returned an error: (400) Bad Request.

                                                   Not so Happy Days

Now my pictures have gone ....

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Leaving the Lancaster

IMG_4788The winds had dropped and we had been informed by Canal and River Trust that our passage across the Ribble Link to Tarleton was on. But first I had to my good deed of the day and turn this boat around for this novice lady boater. She did start to try and do it but got in a bit of a mess and asked for help.

IMG_4803We were then dropped down the bottom lock and onto Savick Brook.

IMG_4813It’s very shallow and narrow and you have to look out for some of the hazards on the way.

IMG_4815Arriving at the Sea lock and with the light on red we had a near 2 hour wait for the tide to come in and get to the same level as Savick brook.

IMG_4817With the light turning green we were the first boat out with seven boats following us.

IMG_4821You can see that the lock gate has gone back under the water allowing the boats to go over the top of it.

IMG_4833Onto The Ribble and we seem to have a small Flotilla, what a great sight .

IMG_4838Approaching the Asland lamp 5 mile perch and if we carry we will end up in the Irish sea which you can see in the distance.

IMG_4845In the end Carolyn persuaded me to turn to the left although I must admit there was something in me that wanted to carry straight on. By this stage there was a big distance opening up between the boats which wasn’t so bad as it will give the Lockies plenty of time to lock the boats up with out them all being stacked up outside the lock.

IMG_4855We passed this guy who was on his way out for a sail.

IMG_4859I just love rivers and tidal waters and am now planning are next river and tidal experience in a month or so , but don’t mention it to Carolyn.

IMG_4875After one hour and fifty minutes we arrived at Tarleton lock where we were greeted by the Lock keeper Harry and his crew. Yet again another enjoyable cruise across The Ribble link and yet again I would recommend it to all boaters not just for the crossing but for The Lancaster Canal which is real gem .

IMG_4907Back on The Rufford branch and we decided to push on to Parbold where we knew we could moor and pick up a few bits and pieces from the local shops.

IMG_4910This is the end of The Rufford branch where we are filling with water and then through the bridge hole it’s a turn left and back to the rest of the canal network or right in to Liverpool . We did have a booking for Liverpool from the 29th June to the 6th July which we booked when we first thought we wouldn’t make Liverpool back in May. After making other plans for the end of June which have now very disappointingly at a late stage fallen through we cancelled the booking which we now wish we hadn’t done .
Never mind and as I said before we now have new plans for more Rivers and tidal waters and can’t wait to start the next part of our adventure, although it will take us a few weeks of travelling over some canals we have done before and a new one to us before we start that part of our Summer cruise.
                                                                                                                Happy Days

Friday, 23 June 2017

Winds !

IMG_4647Still at Glasson basin and with the wind picking up we have a walk out to the river which the basin drops down in to.

IMG_4635It’s low tide as you can see with the river Lune flowing through the middle of the sands.

IMG_4656Just like when we were at Hest bank we went back at high tide and what a difference .

IMG_4677With some high winds forecast for the area we battened down the hatches and waited for the winds to arrive.

IMG_4686I must admit we were not prepared for how rough it was going to get in the basin and this is the view out of our side hatch as the winds started to increase .It went on all night and got even worse than the pictures show with waves reaching the gunnels and the spray going over the top of Inca.
We were pinned to the wall with no chance of moving. Needless to say we didn’t sleep that night and can honestly say it’s the worst night we have ever had . We just got battered non stop and even with every fender we had deployed it made no difference.
In the morning we made the decision to try and force Inca off the wall and giving it full throttle we went straight along the wall and managed to control it at the end and head off towards the bottom lock.

IMG_4692As we head up The Glasson branch and the 6 locks the winds start to drop and the sun comes out. What a change and what a relief .

IMG_4701Joining The Lancaster and we passed this chap chilling out on the bank.

IMG_4713On our way towards Preston for our journey back over The Ribble link I got a call from my number one little Sister Sharon to say that she was desperate to see me (not) and was on her way up with long suffering hubby Philip and daughter Gabbers who had just travelled all the way back from Australia especially to see us (not). . As always it was good to meet up and have a catch up . No doubt we will see you all again in a few years time ( cutting wit)….

IMG_4724If ever you come up on to The Lancaster Canal there is one thing that you will notice and that’s the amount of GRP/Plastic/Tupperware/Yogurt pots boats there are .We have never seen so many on any single canal that we have visited . It would be good if a few of them learnt how to slow down a bit , for some reason they seem to be in a hurry and like speeding all the time.

IMG_4735After a good few weeks up here it’s time to head back over The River Ribble and back onto the main canal network . There were 5 boats to drop down and we were the third to arrive in the top basin above the locks, but for some reason two boats decided to jump in front of us . I was going to say something ,but Carolyn said we are not in a hurry so don’t go causing any trouble like you usually do. We were later told the CRT lockie what had happened and he said that it’s a common occurrence here and he has seen boaters coming to blows about who heads down first , Just unbelievable….

IMG_4744After dropping down the 3 staircase locks which we had to do backwards there was just time for a Gary/Carolyn selfie as we reversed out of the bottom lock.

IMG_4755Just before the bottom lock there are three holding pontoons for the boats to wait before heading down to the Sea lock on Savick brook . It’s also used for holding boats if there is a problem on The River Ribble. As we waited to be dropped down Canal and River Trust Lockies turned up and told us that because of high winds we would have to stay on the holding pontoons for at least 2 days before the wind and tides are OK for us to proceed. Luckily we have everything we need on board as there is only a garage which sells basics and is about a half a mile away and Preston town centre a good mile and a half away . With plenty of Internet and good TV reception we will be fine before heading back over the Ribble.

                                                                                                                   Happy Days

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Glasson Basin

IMG_4581After a day or two at Hest bank we pulled pins at 08.10 and headed South towards Lancaster and before long we were passing over the impressive Lune aqueduct.

IMG_4587Arriving in Lancaster we were surprised to see that the visitor moorings were nearly empty which is strange as they were full when we last passed this way 4 or 5 days ago.. So with it being fairly early in the morning and with the boat not very hot we left Hamish for an hour while we had a quick look around the city.

IMG_4588We soon came upon Lancaster Castle which is a medieval castle . Its early history is unclear, but may have been founded in the 11th century on the site of a Roman fort overlooking a crossing of the River Lune.

IMG_4589 The castle formally opened as HM Prison Lancaster in 1955, becoming a Category C prison for male inmates, and a crown court. In July 2010 the Ministry of Justice announced it was intending to close it, stating it was outdated and costly. The prison closure was confirmed for March 2011.

IMG_4591The crown court continues to be located at the castle. Closure of the prison eventually allowed the castle to be opened to visitors and tourists as a permanent attraction. In the meantime, while access to the keep, towers, battlements and dungeons is currently denied to visitors, the castle operates limited guided tours seven days a week. The Castle Courtyard opened to the public 7 days a week . Needless to say at £8 each for a limited guided tour we didn’t bother

IMG_4604Leaving Lancaster and after a couple of hours cruising we arrived at the junction of the Glasson arm which will drop us down the 6 locks to Glasson and then into the basin . We have been told by local boaters that it’s hard work and not worth bothering with . But that comment just made us more determined to make the trip down to the basin.

IMG_4610We have come across these gate paddles on the Leeds and Liverpool canal , but these were so heavy that I had to take over from Carolyn as she struggled to operate them. Still no doubt it will be worth the effort.

IMG_4621Arriving at the basin after only 2 and a half hours we were well impressed with what we saw .

IMG_4626Oops!  Another sunken boat.

IMG_4627We picked up this mooring at the end of the basin and will spend the night here before heading back up the arm and then back towards Preston and our booked trip back across the Ribble Link.

IMG_4632After mooring we just had to walk around to the Smokehouse . Every boater that comes here gives this place a visit .                                 

IMG_4633We certainly weren’t disappointed and the choice of smoked produce was amazing ,not just Fish but anything you could think of . We bought loads and it was absolutely delicious. If ever you are in the area it’s worth a visit……  Now back to Inca and the difficult decision of what wine to have with my smoked Duck.

                                                                                                    Happy Days