Sunday, 24 March 2019

Leaving the Rufford Arm

We ended up spending Tuesday night at Tarleton and didn't leave until Wednesday morning.  Several swing bridges along the way, thankfully they opened fairly easily.
Swing Bridge on the Rufford Arm
We passed St Mary's Marina
where Falcon had been moored for 3 months about lunch time.  Stopping just after to eat.  We reached Chicken Lock in time to see a boat coming the other way.  The lock was empty so we were first in.  This is the lock we had had so much trouble with on the way down.  The water leaks out quicker than it goes in!  On the other boaters suggestion Paul tipped our ash bucket down inside the bottom gate which helped to block the hole somewhat.  In all our years of boating we had never thought to try that.  You can always learn something new.
Water is a bit low!

With 4 more locks to the end of the arm we moored for the night.
Setting off early on Thursday morning the first lock went well.  Then above the next lock the water level was way down as you can see by the picture.  So I had to go ahead to let water down and finally Paul came through.
Because I had let so much water through the next pound was now low.  Having let in the water to bring the boat up we decided to stop for a coffee before the next challenge.  There was a shout from the bank and a guy from Canal and River Trust was there.  On a routine check, so he levelled up the pound for us and after our coffee break we were able to carry on.  Similar situation have occurred to us on various times during our 7 years of cruising, but usually we have to sort it for ourselves.
Now on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal we spent the night at Parbold.
Yesterday we arrive at Wigan.  So we will be able to restock the larder before we move on.  Not sure now when that will be as at the moment there is a stoppage due to pollution at Plank Lane, only about 5 miles on.  So will have to wait for the update on Monday.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Back on the cut

Paul winding in the distance!
Well after 3 months in St Mary's Marina we finally left on Sunday.  It was good to be out on the canal and to see fields either side of us instead of looking out on boats.  It was very windy so we didn't travel very far.  Just 2 miles and 2 swing bridges, we then moored for the night.
So yesterday morning we moved on to Tarleton.  Just one more swing bridge.  Went for a walk around the village in the afternoon.  Quite a few shops there, more than I had expected.

Coming back to moor at Tarleton

This morning we walked on to look at the last lock taking the canal down on to the River Douglas and then on to the Ribble.
We had hoped to go out of here in the summer and on to the Lancaster Canal, however we are too deep draughted to cruise the Ribble Link which would take us from the estuary on the to Lancaster Canal.  So that will be for the future on a hire boat.  Probably later today we will start heading back towards the main Leeds and Liverpool Canal and start our journey south.

Final lock on the Rufford Arm of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Safely moored in Saint Mary's Marina

At the end of the Rufford arm, not too clear as I had to zoom in.
Well we had a lovely day with Julia and Ralf and got all our washing done before moving on from Maghull on Thursday well over a week ago now. We made gradual progress with a stop at Scarisbrick Marina as we had used our last shovel full of coal!  Not something you want to run out of this time of year.  We had to pick our mooring places carefully as the TV reception is very varied in this area and Strictly was still on!

On Tuesday, a week ago we finally arrived in Burscough.  There is a Tesco and we also found another row of out of town shops with Peacocks, B and M amongst
Looking the other way up the arm towards Rufford.  We went this way on Sunday
others.  It was a 40 minute walk and we had planned to get the bus back but as they were only 1 an hour we walked back arriving at the same time as the bus!
As we had several days to wait for the canal to re-open on Friday we got the train to Preston.  Quite a big town, managed to finish my Christmas shopping!  After Saturdays storm, Sunday was a lovely day and we set off on the last leg of trip into the marina at Rufford.  A short cruise brought us to the arm.

Bridge at Lock 7, you can just the the marina where we are now moored.
First off is a swing bridge which I couldn't move it so Paul had to get off and lend a hand!
All went fairly well then for the next 5 locks.  Then we arrived at lock 6.  It took us about and hour to get through as the bottom gate was leaking so much the water was going out quicker than it was coming in.  This meant that the water in the lock didn't rise enough to make the water levels equal to open the gates.
Eventually the water above the lock had dropped enough that we managed to get the gate open and get through.

Above is lock 7 which we came through yesterday, St Mary's Marina is just visible through the bridge.  We are now moored there.  We have a 3 month mooring and Falcon will stay here for Christmas.  We collect a hire car tomorrow and will be heading south to catch up with as many of you as we can.
So to all of you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A week in Liverpool

At the station with Dawn, Dave and a new friend!  Sadly he is no longer with us.
A short picture diary of our week in Liverpool!
Clipper leaving the docks.

The Liverbirds!
It was lovely to share the time with friends and family.  Our second visit was every bit as good as our first.  We did the ferry which we hadn't done last time.  We were very luck as whilst we were on board the sun came out and we had a lovely trip.

We caught the hop on hop off bus again, but this time we got off at different points.

As well as the anglican cathedral we also visited the Roman Catholic Cathedral as well.  It was much simpler.  Unfortunately we didn't get there in time to visit the crypt underneath.

One morning as we were leaving the docks this clipper was on the move and we watched her turn and go out on to the Mersey.  We found it quite exciting.  Maybe Gill and Alison were less thrilled!

One of the places we were told on the bus to visit is the gents toilets in the Philharmonic Diner.  Last time we didn't make it but this time we went there for a drink, then Alison and I waited ages outside for a gentleman to come out, only to find it was Paul and he was the only one in there!  You can see below how ornate it was.
View from the ferry cross the Mersey

Gents toilet at the Philomarnic Diner
The final night of the 4 of us together we went to see Star Wars in the Ecco Arena.  With the live music it was wonderful.

We finally left Liverpool on Friday, Thursday was too windy!

We spent the weekend at Litherlands and on Monday we arrived here in Maghull.

Yesterday friends Julia and Ralf from Omega, who we met in Dewsbury, came to see us, driving nearly 2 hours to get here!  They are about to sell their house and move on the their boat!  So we went out to lunch and had a good old natter!

This afternoon we are off to the laundrette.

We now have about 10 miles of canal, if we don't do any locks, to move up and down until 14th December as we are booked into St Marys Marina at Rufford.  This is where Falcon will be staying when we travel to Plymouth for Christmas.

Original Start Wars with orchestra.

Our mooring for a week.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Arriving in Liverpool

Continuing our trip towards Liverpool the countryside is so much flatter so the few locks there are, are well spaced.  As we get closer to Liverpool however there are several swing bridges to stop me
Looking back to the bottom lock of the Stanley Lock Flight
from getting bored!  The canal take us through Aintree and along the edge of the racecourse.  No horses about!  As we are well into autumn with few leaves on the trees we can see across the track quite well.
Not many boats around and the water is very clear, unusual for a canal!  Lots of coots around as well as the usual ducks and moorhens.  Also the occasional swan.
On Wednesday we arrived at Hancock's Bridge.  A swing bridge which because it is a busy road the times of opening are restricted.  So at just after 9.30 I opened the bridge and Paul went through.  By now a fair few cars had arrived and
The 3 Graces, Liver Building is the far one.  you can see our shadow on the wall
a bus.  When I pushed the button to close the bridge nothing happened!  So we had to call Canal and River Trust (CRT)! It took them about 20 minuets to arrive but they were on the wrong side to look the workings so Paul had to take them across in the boat!  Thankfully most of the drivers were OK and eventually the bridge was closed and we all got on our way.  Unfortunately it wasn't far to Netherton Swing Bridge.  This time Paul got through and I closed the bridge, however the road barrier wouldn't lock back into place.
Cold but happy to have arrived in Liverpool
So once again I had to call CRT!  This time however we just tied the barrier with string so it couldn't swing open on to a car and we carried on to Litherlands.  There was 1 more swing bridge, however this one was mechanical and all went well.
Thursday was our final part of the journey.  No more swing bridges!  CRT have to unlock the flight of 4 locks at Stanley.  There were 4 lockeepers there.  2 volunteers and 2 we had seen at Hancocks Bridge!  As we started out the sun came out and the final part of our trip was wonderful  I stayed on the boat with Paul all the way.  Once again we saw a kingfisher along Sids Ditch, which is a channel through the industrial area of the docks.  By 3 pm we were moored and sat by the fire with a hot chocolate.  Yesterday my cousin Dawn and her husband Dave came from Manchester to see us and tomorrow Paul's cousin Alison and her friend Gill arrive for 4 days, but they are staying in a hotel nearby.  So we will all be off exploring together!  We are here for a week.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Passing through Wigan

At the top lock waiting to descend the 21 locks
We arrived at the top of the 21 locks on Wednesday ready to start on Thursday morning when the locks opened at 8.30.  It was just gone 9 when we set off.  First 2 locks were empty, so I filled the first one then when Paul was in left it emptying whilst I went to prepare the second lock.  I had the intention of walking back up to open the gate for him once the second lock was open.  However someone was smiling at us as not one but 2 lock keepers had arrived.
This was ideal as one stayed with us whilst the other went on ahead to prepare the next lock.

Large deep locks

Finished 21 locks then one more before we can moor.

They are all big locks with anti vandal locks on each paddle so it all takes time.
Just over half way we had a short stop for a coffee break and a much needed sit down.
Only to find once we set off again a third lock keeper had arrived.
These are all volunteers so we were very grateful for their help.  Because of their help we were moored in Wigan having lunch by about half past one.
On Friday we walked into Wigan town centre, finding a lovely little cafe for lunch.

Spending a second night there we left Wigan after lunch yesterday having got water first.
Moving on today, making the most of the lovely sunshine while it lasts!

A lovely day as we left Wigan

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Nearer to Liverpool

Last Tuesday we cruised through Blackburn.  We did stop there for lunch and some shopping in Aldi which was conveniently close to the mooring.
Eanam Wharf, Blackburn
With a set of 6 locks on the far side of the city we worked 4 of them before stopping for water.  There was space there so we stopped for the night.  The next day we set off just as the rain started, quite a downpour, so in the end we literally worked the 2 locks and then moored again!
After lunch, the rain had eased so it was off to the launderette!  Luckily it wasn't far and the rain mostly kept away.

Some info!

Bottom Lock, Notice the signpost.

Looking up what would have been the Lancaster Canal.
The Johnson Hillock Locks can be seen through the trees.

Approaching Botany Bay.

Making our way slowly along the scenery is amazing, in one part we could see out over the Pennines on both sides of the canal.  In other places we are winding our way through trees with their leaves all changing colour. Our canal guide had said Withnell Fold was a pretty village.  It was right.  Apart from all the parked cars it was just like stepping back in time.  The cottages had been built for the mill workers.  The mill was still there, but parts of it quite derelict.

We came down Johnson Hillock Locks (not easy to say!) on Saturday.  There had been a lot of rain overnight but thankfully that had stopped.  7 locks in total.  The first couple were empty so I had to fill them! then we had a couple of full ones, then in the penultimate lock I couldn't open the gate as the water out side was higher than the water inside, at the top of the lock.  Anyway Paul worked out that refilling the previous lock would lower the pound enough.  It did so we were able to cruise through.  Helped by a passing cyclist who was very willing to stop and give a hand.

Was very glad to reach the bottom as it was way past time for coffee!!
The original canal plan was for the Lancaster Canal to share part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal but dis to lack of funds this never happened and the picture is a short arm which should have become the Lancaster Canal.
We didn't stop for long as we wanted to make it to Botany Bay!  It is an old mill which has been converted to a shopping area.  So once moored we just had to go for a look around.  Amazingly didn't buy anything!

The mooring is on the outskirts of Chorley but the town centre is quite a way from the canal, but very close to the M61.  So on Sunday we moved on again a short distance to Adlington.

Today we got the train into Chorley to visit their market.  Lots
of different stalls, many getting ready for Christmas!

We only have about 5 miles left before we reach the Wigan Flight. 21 Locks which lead down to, yes you guessed, Wigan.  Something to look forward to!