Friday, 20 June 2014

A Long Day,

20 June, 9 miles, 6 locks, 2 swing bridges.
Dawn at 0349, Dusk at 2236.

Here we are at Aintree, 6 boats under starters orders. 0900 and the swing bridge is opened. We are off, Molly Rose settles into 3rd place. At Litherland the 2nd boat pulls over for water and Molly Rose slows while getting rid of some weight (rubbish) then back out into the centre of the track holding 2nd position until the last lock where she leaps forward and enters Salthouse Dock First.

What a great introduction to Liverpool as you pass through the old docks with old buildings being renovated and new buildings of modern architectural design being built. I am looking forward to the next 2 weeks here in Liverpool.
Heading towards the Mersey

The impressive  "Liver Building"

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Swing Bridges

13 June. 440 yards

Today the intention was to go to Preston so we could take a train to Blackpool tomorrow. We moved to fill up with water and talked to a local boater that said a bus went from Garstang to Blackpool. Easy decision as it would be better to end the day at Garstang rather than Preston. So what do we think of Blackpool? Been there done that and don't need to go back. It was an over the top party town with flashy lights and not that attractive arcades etc. There were some lovely buildings amongst the tacky ones but generally felt that Blackpool had no pride in itself.

14 June 16 ½ miles

Spent the day cruising through the countryside to Preston. Once we settled in I rang Jim, who had made our acquaintance when last we were here and lent us a book on the Lancaster canal for our journey. We were invited around and had a delightful evening with Jim and Anne in their home. This is the bit we really enjoy. Meeting and getting to know the locals.

15 June 0 miles

Went into Preston to check out the Harris Museum, Unfortunately closed on Sunday but we did get to go into the beautiful building which was also the library which was open. I needed to get a document printed off so am now a member of the Lancaster Library. Walked to Preston dock for a look around and a coffee. Saw a steam train on a tourist run. Before back to the boat

16 June. 1 ½ miles.

Yesterday we spotted a big supermarket by the docks. Just 20 minutes away, so we stocked up this morning. Set off, filled with water and moored up in the basin ready to head down the Ribble in the morning. A fellow boater made himself known and came over for a cuppa to while away the evening. We have been told, in the local vernacular, this is called having a crack.

17 June. 14 miles, 10 locks (4 operated by CRT staff)

Going down the link as far as Savick Brook is like being on a canal, then they drop you into the river which is not flowing because it is held back by the sea lock which is closed. Just before the sea lock we wait for an hour or so, waiting for the tide to come in to give us sufficient water to go out onto the River Ribble. Green light, sea lock open and off we go 4 narrow and 1 wide beam. We are first on the river but not long before the wide beam is the only one behind then he drops back, we look back and all seems normal. He drops further behind and I check through the binoculars and all looks normal. Next I see him throwing the anchor out which brings back memories of sitting on the Severn river in 2010 with our anchor out being rescued by a wide beam of similar colour. A quick call to the lock keeper to see if we have time to go back, we have, so around we go keeping clear of the mud banks. We arrive at the wide beam and by then he is arranging a tow with a life boat. No way we could take him anywhere. He is now organised so back down the river and checking with the lock keeper that we have time to make it. Arrive at the Tarleton lock with plenty of time to spare. Now back on the main system and heading for Liverpool. Spend the night opposite Rufford hall where we had visited 3 weeks ago.

18 June, 7 ½ miles, 7 locks, 4 swing bridges.

Soon after leaving Rufford we pair up with a couple of English gentlemen, who had crossed with us yesterday, and travelled through the 7 locks to Burscough where they stopped for lunch and we turned right towards Liverpool. A pleasant, fine,hot day ended with us mooring up at Halsall. A short time later the two English gentlemen decide to join us. We enjoyed a pub meal together.
Swing bridges. Not Diana's favourite job and today didn't help. Arrive at an electronic bridge, puts in key but can't read the instructions because of the bright sunlight. Stops the traffic, nothing happens, then a voice from the pub alongside gives instructions and eventually we are through and traffic flowing again. 300 yards further on another bridge, different design. Electrically swung but manually stop the traffic. Luckily there is CRT staff near by who come and assist. I'm through and the bridge closed, then, confrontation on the bridge. 1 Large tractor with big trailer in middle of bridge facing one very small car with stubborn driver. I watch from a distance as eventually the tractor backs off the bridge and “normality” returns.

19 June, 9 miles, 7 swing bridges.

Last night I was feeding a Coot. He would take two bits a bread and set off about 100 yds to his nest and then return for some more several times. This morning when I get up he is waiting at the door with mum and the kids. We feed them and then another family of Coots and a family of ducks arrive. All hell breaks loose as the Coot from last night makes it very plain that we are feeding his family and the rest are not welcome.
Set off towards Liverpool through open country which is mostly in market gardens and the outskirts of suburban Liverpool. Swing bridges again the feature of Diana's day. No angry drivers but all were different. At one they were making repairs so we stopped for ½ an hour and then the workers opened it for us. On two occasions we opened it for other boats. The last one was being kept open as we passed 9 boats that had come out of Liverpool together. Now we are moored up at the last of the swing bridges, beside Aintree Race course. This one is locked as it can be a busy road and the CRT staff open it tomorrow to let us through to complete the trip.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Tropical Weather

Monday 9 June 2014. 7 ½ miles. 1 swing bridge, open for a boat coming the other way.

Up early to be ready at the marina by 0900 for the boats oil change. Was reasonably sure I knew what to do but wanted to confirm it by watching the expert the first time. With that all done we have decided it's Diana's turn to go to the doctor. Tried to make an appointment with the doctor I had seen in Lancaster but as she wasn't registered couldn't book in. I had a couple of tasks in town so called in on a doctor on the way in and they could see her in half an hour. Back to the boat to get her. Thunder storm passing at the time so I am soaking. Rain had eased a bit for Diana to go to the appointment. I finished what I had to do in town. We picked up her antibiotics and back to the boat for lunch by 1300. 1400 and the day is sunny, all the clouds have gone so off we go south. Following the road to Morecambe for a while. After we turn inland there is a huge crane visible. It is about to put the deck on a new bridge across the canal to a new subdivision. It will be 3 hours before they do the lift so can't wait. Passed over the Lune Aqueduct, moored on the other side and walked down to view it from underneath. An impressive structure and such a different form of construction to the new bridge we saw earlier. Stopped in Lancaster to pump the crap out, still not sure the right way to do it but it is done for now. Moving off the pump out mooring we could see a 65ft gap in front of the Water Witch Pub. With about 30 patrons watching Molly Rose just slid in and stopped alongside. Now I had to mention that as most times with that many Gongoozlers it all goes wrong. The intention is to have a meal and then motor on a bit further out into the country. We are eating outside when another thunder storm decides to make a visit. Rush inside and finish our very nice meal in the dry. We now have two choices, move off into the country and probably get wet or stay moored up outside the pub and hope it is not too noisy. There was a bit of chatter for a while and then a quiet night.

Tuesday 10 June 2014, 5 miles.

Another slow start but that's OK. The Water Witch coffee is the best we have found in the UK so better have one before we leave just before mid-day. It's just one of those nice sunny days putting through the country side watching the world go slowly by. Stopped at Galgate to see their Cafe and Craft shop, neither of which were spectacular. Wondered into the village up to what had been the last Silk mill in England. Nice village nice buildings. Left Galgate with the intention of walking the Glasson branch. No point in locking down 6 locks and then back up for about a 6 mile walk. 5 minutes from Galgate we are looking for a mooring, should have stayed where we were! Eventually we moor up about 5 minutes passed the junction. We will walk down in the morning. Thunder storms looming. Lightning about 4 seconds away. Heavy rain. Hail. All gone an hour later and the sun peaking through again. Just like the tropics with a thunderstorm every day, need an increase in temperature of 10+ degrees to make it convincing.

Wednesday 11 June 2014. 13 miles, 6 locks. (6 miles and 6 locks on foot)

A Lovely day for a walk. We went down to the sea side at Glasson Dock. Not much to see but enjoyed the walk and the Fish & Chips for lunch. Back on the boat and arrive at Garstang about 1900. moored up with the sun still shining. Maybe summer is here?

Thursday 12 June 2014. Nil

Market day in Garstang so off we go. Just before we go there is a knock on the door."I should introduce myself, I'm Tony from Furness Vale and wanted to meet who bought Barry's boat". Tony lives in a house at the marina and has his own boat. Retired in April and been on the canals since. Morning in town, lunch on the boat, a bit of cleaning and now it's late so off to the pub for tea.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Turned arround

Friday 30 May, 5 1/2 miles

Had a wonder into Garstang, checked out the Wyre Aqueduct. Nice village. Bought some bits for the boat before walking, the completely wrong direction, back to the canal. Needed the GPS on the phone to sort me out.

Saturday 31 May, 7 1/2 miles

Headed to Lancaster and tied up close to the centre of town. After lunch I needed a Nan Nap while Diana and Murray checked out town

Sunday 1 June, 0 miles

Murray leaves us today. A quick stroll to the railway station arriving with about 10 minutes to spare. Plus an hour, I got the time wrong. Another cup of coffee. After Murry catches the train we head off to Lancaster Castle arriving in time for a guide tour. The castle is know for hanging the most criminals. It is still used as a court and until recently was a jail. Great value and very good guide. After lunch it was the Cottage museum and the Judges Lodgings. Two quite different buildings. The first a tiny 4 level house and the second the opulence of where the circuit judges stayed in Lancaster. Walked around a bit more of the town before an early night

Monday 2 June, 0 miles

I'm not feeling that well with a persistent cough keeping me awake at night. Went to town in the afternoon to make a doctors appointment and sort out a better phone plan. Saw Doctor at 1700 and there is nothing he can do, recommends rest so the immune system can do its magic.

Tuesday 3 June, 0 miles

36 hours in bed and starting to feel a bit better.

Wednesday 4 June, 4 1/2 miles

Thursday 5 June, 3 miles

details of the past week to be filled in when better internet and on mains power. Laptop battery dying slowly.

Friday 6 June, 6 miles
We spent the morning in Cranford, a town of interesting architecture. We almost didn't go in as the Nicholson guide said "Not particularly attractive but good for supplies". We didn't see it the way they did and will probably be back tomorrow. The afternoon took us to Tewitfield, the end of the navigable canal and the most northern point of the English canals. We moored 100ft short of the end and then walked north for a while to see what a canal looks like after a motorway cuts across it. I was surprised at how good the condition of the now unused locks were. Full support to the trust that is working on restoring the canal to Kendal. It would be a great asset to the network taking you to the gateway of the Lake District. The downside is that the Lancaster canal would no longer be lock free. As Molly Rose was moored  about 200ft from the M6 we could not see ourselves sleeping with that noise.
As Far as you can go

Looks like one day you could go further.

We turned around and found a quiet spot next to a delightful village at Borwick. A great day, warm and the first without rain in a week.
Molly Rose heading south