Friday, 26 May 2017

Boat names

 

A few more funny and odd boat names for your perusal .

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                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Bandit country (again)

 

IMG_3565We pulled pins from our mooring at Parbold at 06.25, yes I know it was early but a fantastic day of weather was forecast so not being one’s to waste the day we thought we would make the most of it. The plan today is to try and get to bridge 9 on The Leeds and Liverpool canal by 14.00 which is the time that the swing bridge is operated by Canal and River Trust staff . They then drive ahead and also operate swingbridge number 6 it’s then a 1 hour cruise in to Litherland which it seems is a safe place to moor. We have been told that it is bandit country and not safe to stop anywhere all the way in and if you are going to moor before bridge 9 the safest place is back at bridge 10.

We stopped off for water on the way at the rufford  junction which is where we will be heading when we come out of Liverpool as we have booked The Ribble link to take us up onto The Lancaster canal.

IMG_3569An early morning miserable Angler . I don’t know what more us boaters can do to make them happy . I slow down to tick over and keep in the middle of the canal . Yet as we pass there is no eye contact or a hello or anything. Carolyn still always makes a point of saying hello to every single one of them , it’s funny sometimes to see their response.    Come on Anglers give us a smile and a wave.

IMG_3571After a good cruise and plenty of swing bridges but no locks we arrived at Swing bridge 9 . We arrived at 13.30 so had half an hour to spare which was pretty good going.

IMG_3575As CRT staff operate the bridge we are told not to stop and keep going and they would be at bridge 6 to meet us . This is a very busy road and one of the reasons they operate it for you is in case an emergency vehicle wants to pass over .

IMG_3578This is one place I’ve always looked forward to passing on our boat . It is Aintree racecourse and this is the Canal turn fence. Unfortunately the view of the course from the canal is hopeless and I was a bit disappointed ,anyway at least we saw it.

IMG_3588After passing through bridge 6 it was a 1 hour cruise in to Litherland and the safe moorings . We were surprised to see Sid and his mate Paul the CRT guys standing on most of the bridges on our way in and asking if we were OK . It turned out that a couple of days before a boat had been stoned from one of the bridges by the local Scroates and as we were the only boat going in they were concerned for our safety.

IMG_3599We eventually arrived at Litherland after a most enjoyable nine and a half hour cruise .We were locked in the compound which is also the CRT services and their work yard and office, There are cameras and a fence that surround the area. After mooring Sid came down to check we were OK  and said he would be back tomorrow , a great service from CRT we thought. We have a day off tomorrow so we will do a big shop in Tesco which is the building in the back ground and get ready for our trip in to Liverpool.

                                                                                                             Happy Days

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wigan Pier

 

IMG_3526After being told by some not to moor at the bottom of the Wigan flight we did so and had no trouble what so ever overnight and would recommend the mooring to anyone as it is handy if you have just come down or waiting to go up the flight .

Pulling ropes through rings at 09.00 and after dropping down the bottom lock  of the Wigan flight we passed  this building which we thought was Wigan Pier as it said Wigan Pier in big letters on it.

IMG_3529In fact Wigan Pier was on the other side of the canal and this reconstruction shows where it was . You can just see one of the two rails which protrude out over the canal . I will try and get a better picture the next time we pass.

IMG_3538This lock is right opposite the DW Stadium which of course is the home of Wigan Athletic FC .

IMG_3545Another first for us on this trip was to see this Turtle , although I think it’s probably a Terrapin . We have waited over 4 years to see one and was surprised to see this one just outside of Wigan.

IMG_3561We were lucky enough to pick up this mooring in Parbold where we will spend the next day or so .We have been told it’s a good place to chill out and as we have got ahead of ourselves we have a bit of time to spare before our booking in Liverpool

IMG_3554Not long after mooring we spotted these two Canal and River Trust guys blowing up this boat next to their van. They then launched it and just went up and down for half an hour . Carolyn asked them what they were doing to which they replied “ checking boat licenses”,which I find a bit odd as that job is normally done on foot by a data checker. More like out on a jolly me thinks.

IMG_3557We were soon down to the village to stock up the cupboards from the local shops . The village has most things a passing boater needs so it’s well worth stopping here.

IMG_3552In the evening we arranged to meet up with Jack and Tina NB Sandoy at a pub called the Stocks . We had a great evening catching up and the food was very good and well worth a visit if you are this way . Thanks for a most enjoyable evening and we will try and meet up on our way back through.

                                                                                                                 Happy Days

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Wigan flight


IMG_3489It’s D-day although I should probably call it W-day for our descent down The Wigan flight of 23 locks although we are going to moor before the bottom one so it will be 22. It seems that this flight is known for being the most gruelling set of locks in the country. As well as the big heavy gates each lock has 6 sets of paddles and every one has a handcuff lock on it to prevent vandalism. Also you can see that the gates have these massive beams in front to ease the pressure on them.

IMG_3491We were so lucky that friends Jack and Tina turned up to help us down the flight. Jack and Tina have a boat called narrowboat Sandoy and it was built by the same builders that built Inca which was Sabre narrowboats ,who were renowned for building quality boats .. If you put our two boats together they look nearly identical and they look the same inside as well.
We had planned to set off at 09.00 but it seems one of the pounds had somehow emptied so the lockie on duty had to run water down from the top which made us half an hour late starting. With Tina feeling a bit under the weather she left us to get on with it.

IMG_3494Jack and Carolyn soon formed a good team and had a great system going to get us down the flight.

IMG_3503We also had a bit of extra help from the lockie and a fellow boater and blog follower who cycled ahead and set some locks for us . Sorry I didn’t catch your name but many thanks for your help.

IMG_3510Over half way down and we are making very good time.

IMG_3500We had been warned about this lock and told to get well inside the boat and stay at the front of the lock to avoid filling Inca with water .

IMG_3501There was also a few good leaks from the side walls . Luckily we had remembered to close all the windows after learning our lesson the hard way on other lock flights we have done.

IMG_3509On this lock because the bridge is so close to the gate you have to use a windlass to wind the gate open.

IMG_3512The last lock before mooring and what a great job done to get all the way down here.

IMG_3515We finally moored up after three hours and forty minutes which was a great time as the guide book says anything up to six hours, and if it wasn’t for Jack’s help it would have been twice as long . A massive thanks to you Jack, we so appreciate all the help you gave us and we will catch up with you both again soon.
Yes the locks are heavy and it is hard work ,but from what we had heard we expected a rough area with Graffiti as well as unsavoury characters everywhere . But in fact it’s a well kept set of the locks with grass cut, locks painted and all in all not a bad flight. I know the lockies and the Volunteers work hard on the flight ,so it’s all credit to them, well done !.
After a night here we will drop down the final lock on the flight and pass the famous Wigan pier as we continue our journey towards Liverpool.

                                                                                                              Happy Days

Monday, 22 May 2017

Botany Bay


IMG_3421We pulled ropes through rings from our moring at Riley Green at 07.10 and had a good 6 hour cruise in front of us with a total of 7 locks which are the Johnson’s Hillock flight. There’s still some great country scenery to be had as we head towards Wigan which is our destination today.

IMG_3469We have come across a few locks like this before where the gate paddles are so high Carolyn has problems working them . On some they provide a step to bring you up to a higher level, but not on this flight.

IMG_3471Again I need to be careful not to go back to far in the lock as this amount of water leaking through the gate would soon sink us.

IMG_3473At the bottom of the flight and how the other half live . They have their own outside bar and BBQ.

IMG_3476This building dominates the skyline as we head towards Chorley. It’s the Preston Temple of the Church of Latter Date Saints.

IMG_3479A short distance from the Church was this imposing building which is Botany Bay . Having read the guide book last night it told me that it was a large old Mill that had been converted in to a slightly surreal shopping complex . I had purposely not mentioned it to Carolyn as I knew she would want to stop. Just our luck that we saw a couple of walkers and Carolyn asked them what was in the building “Oh you must stop and go in it’s amazing” they said . Anyway 2 hours after going in Carolyn emerged with a big grin on her face and says it was very good . If ever you are passing it’s well worth a visit she said.

IMG_3488After an 8 hour cruise , well actually 6 hours when you take out Carolyn’s shopping trip we arrived at Wigan top lock . Then another first for us happened . 10 minutes after mooring there was a knock on the side of the boat , I went out to see a person in a hoodie actually sat on the side of Inca. He then asked me if I wanted to buy any Ganga after someone down the locks had told him a blue boat at the top wanted some ,not having a clue what he was on about and obviously looking a bit stupid to him he said you know weed/cannabis .He said he just had a fresh supply come in from Amsterdam and it was some good shit. By this time Carolyn had come out and said no thanks, talk about being open with it.
Tomorrow we have arranged to drop down the locks at 09.00 and to be honest we don’t know what to expect after hearing so many stories about this flight , what ever happens it’s sure to be an experience.


                                                                                                                  Happy Days

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Blackburn

 

IMG_3385We pulled pins from our mooring at Hapton at 07.55 and after a short cruise we came across these kids that were doing a school project and wanted a Selfie with any item from the canal . Needless to say we stopped mid stream and became that item .Only to pleased to help….

IMG_3389Today we will go through Blackburn which is another place we have been told not to stop in as it’s Bandit country . To be honest I’m getting a bit pissed off fed up with not being able to stop in certain towns. These towns must have such a lot to offer to passing boaters and how much would it take to make a few safe and secure moorings to allow boaters to stop, moor up and visit these towns .

IMG_3395As we pass between Burnley and Blackburn we are still experiencing some great views of the countryside.

IMG_3408At last we have made it to the half way point of the Leeds and Liverpool canal . Just another 64 miles to go .

IMG_3424As we start to head in to Blackburn we passed the massive Imperial Mill which was a major employer in the town . In 1910 there were 87,377 looms in the town of Blackburn which were operated by 42,000 textile workers with many of them being children as young as twelve.

IMG_3427Passing Graham Brown’s and that’s a good idea for an old telephone box .. or maybe not.

IMG_3430Now this is something that beggar's belief . All along the canal through Blackburn there are seats like this one . How lovely they look you might think , but no it’s not . As you can see the local Scroates have cut through the wire to get to the rocks which the seats are made of . According to a couple of locals we spoke to they then stone the passing boaters with the rocks provided . Not only that ,but they can sit in comfort as they do so ….UNBELIVABLE !!!

IMG_3438Passing through Blackburn and we had a flight of 6 locks to do . As you can see like many locks on the canal system they need a bit of TLC from Canal and River Trust and with this one needing some urgent attention to the cill

IMG_3441Probably the best part of Blackburn for boaters was as we got to the services at lock 56.

IMG_3442The bottom gates on lock 56 need to be wound open using this handle as they are so close to the road bridge that passes over the canal.

IMG_3446We then passed Ewood park the home of Blackburn Rovers. Yet again it’s just the same as Burnley ,there was not a single boat moored anywhere through Blackburn . Speaking to some friendly locals as we passed down the locks they said that Blackburn was a good place and they would welcome passing boaters . Come on Canal and River Trust maybe you should get together with Blackburn council and give boaters some safe and secure moorings in Blackburn.

IMG_3450Cruising through the outskirts of blackburn we passed this which is handy for us located at the bottom of someone’s garden next to the canal. We can make a phone call , buy stamps and post a letter .

IMG_3456After an enjoyable 8 hour cruise we reached  Riley Green where I said that I would treat Carolyn out to a slap up meal . But how was I to know that a couple of weeks before we got there the Pub had burnt down.

IMG_3458After passing the burnt out pub we moored at the visitor moorings on the other side of the bridge . As you can see the Visitor moorings leave a lot to be desired , but they will do us for tonight before we move on in the morning.

                                                                                                                      Happy Days