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!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Rishton for the night

We went through Burnely on Wednesday, only stopping for lunch.  During the course of the day Paul had to 'go down' the weed hatch 3 times with all the debris the prop was picking up.  On one occasion
Accrington Town Hall with Market Hall in the background.
it was a sleeping bag.  The available moorings didn't look so good so we carried on to Rose Grove where the moorings are secure within the Canal and River Trust Yard.
Spending the night there we didn't move off until after lunch when we made the short cruise of a couple of miles to Hapton.  Not a lot there but it was a good point to meet up with our niece Cheryl who came to see us on Friday.  Driving from Stockport.  Been a couple of months since we last saw her so it was good to catch up.

Our lunchtime mooring on Sunday
Saturday was very windy so as the canal in this area is particularly bendy rather than try and cruise we got the bus into Accrington.  There were some lovely old buildings and we found a nice Italian Restaurant for lunch.  With good Wifi as well as good food so we were able to fill up and up date at the same time!
On Sunday we had amazing views over the Pennines.  With hills and valleys on both sides, the picture does it no justice at all.  The clouds made the hills look really brooding.  Forunately although there was cloud we didn't have any rain.
At Church, this marks the midway point between Leeds and Liverpool

There are no locks on this section
but moving on after lunch yesterday there were 3 swing bridges to bring us to Church where we moored for the night.
Having moved on to Rishton this morning we are now over half way on our journey to Liverpool, but only just!

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

On to Burnley

Well we made Barnoldswick safely leaving Falcon there while we headed south by car!  After a busy 10 days catching up with family, including a trip to Isle of Wight to see Lorraine and family we set
View from the window, frosty morning
off back on the cut on Sunday.  Just a short cruising day! Mooring at Foulridge for coffee we ended up staying there for the night.  We did have a walk around the village, but after a hectic couple of weeks I think we were glad of a quiet afternoon.  Yesterday, a beautiful morning, much bluer than the picture left shows, we set off through Foulridge Tunnel.  We got going early as the passage is controlled and there is only a window of 10 minutes from the hour where you can enter.  Else you have to wait for the next hour.
Exiting FoulridgeTunnel

Barrowford Reservior with locks just visible

It was a short cruise then to the top of Barrowford Locks.  We had intended to spend an hour there before descending the 7 locks.  However a boat had followed us through the tunnel and they were continuing.  We decided it would be best to join them in the locks.  Wide locks always easier with 2.  Also with 2 crew from their boat and a lockkeeper we made good time arriving and moored at the bottom by 11.30.
After lunch we went for a walk.  Back up some of the locks to the Barrowford Reservoir.  This is one of several reservoirs which feed the canal.  At the start of the day we were on the summit of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
You can see from the picture how low the water is.  This is why this stretch of canal was closed from July until October.  Although reopen there are still time restriction on many of the locks.
Next stop will be Burnley. Maybe today or perhaps tomorrow!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Stormy weather!

Filling one of the Bingley 3 Rise, the boats are a long way down.
Bottom of Bingley 5 Rise
Moving on from Shipley our next stop was at Saltaire.  This is a village, much like Bournville, which was built for the mill workers by Sir Titus Salt.  He was so appalled by his workers living conditions that he built a whole village for them to live in.  The only thing missing was a pub as he wanted sober workers! Wednesday last was a busy day for us.  A short cruise brought us to Bingley.  A larger place than we were expecting found the lovely Butter Market in the town and had a look around the Damart  Factory shop.  No bargains there!  Then after lunch it was time for the locks.        Quite famous in the canal world. First the Bingley 3 Rise, closely followed by the Bingley 5 Rise.  We were very lucky to be joined by another boat.  The 3 had a lock keeper, then when we got to the 5 there were 3 of them, so I hopped back on board and came up on Falcon with Paul.
Bottom of the lock!
Not only are there quite a few locks on the Leeds and Liverpool, when you get to a reasonably lock free stretch there are swing bridges!  Most fairly easy to move, but a couple were almost impossible.  Luckily on the whole I was able to enlist the help of a dog walker or gongoozler!
From the top of Bingley to Skipton there were 15 opening bridges!  There were some other boats about, so I didn't have to do work them all.On Friday we went for a walk around Skipton, some lovely old building and alleyways.  After lunch we thought we would move on despite the wind.  That was a mistake, we managed the first 2 swing bridges, but when we got to the third I got it open, but Paul couldn't get the boat off the bank because the wind was just blowing him back!  In the end I knocked on the farmers door and he allowed us to spend the night on his bank.

As it says on the post, moored at Skipton
We were up and moving just after 8 on Saturday morning through the bridge with no problems.  On towards Gargrave where we stopped for lunch and ended up staying the night as the wind had got up again.  We were trying to press on to reach Barnoldswick for Monday to leave Falcon in the marina there while we have some time away visiting various family members, but not as far as Plymouth.  So  we had another busy day on Sunday, leaving just 3 locks for Monday and into the marina.          

East Marton double bridge

Sunday we had the last 3 locks of the Gargrave flight followed by the 6 locks at Bank Newton mooring at East Marton.  When we left on Monday morning we went through the double bridge.  The solution when a bigger road bridge was needed.

Now we are in Taunton with Paul's cousin, Alison.  At the weekend we are off to the Isle of Wight to meet up with Lorraine and family, then off to Bristol to see my cousin, Carole.

Other side of double bridge