Monday, 11 June 2012

Hello, Hello, Hello – what are you up to then?

Wednesday 6th June 2012 to Sunday 10th June 2012

27 Miles, 6 Locks, 3 Tunnels, 10 Swing Bridges for this week

Totals:  1175 Miles,  923 Locks, 35 Tunnels, 18 Lift Bridges, 36 Swing Bridges

Our priorities before we started off into Liverpool were to firstly wind so at least we were pointing the right way and then to fill the water tank; the grey tank was going to be OK until we got into Liverpool and the diesel was OK as well.

One thing we have certainly noticed on the length of canal from Wigan has been the lack of facilities for boaters – they are there but you really have to look for them and do a lot more planning about where you can do what.

Achieving our goals in reverse order we were able to set off – at least for ½ a mile – the swing bridge at New Lane once again played up – a BW notice advising against operating it; so a phone call to them and the message back that it would be passed through and someone would be in touch in a little while – 45 minutes was a bit long to have to wait before we phoned again to find out what would be happening – by this time it was later in the afternoon and would necessitate a longer cruising day tomorrow.

Eventually the BW guys were there and we were on our way – these guys have a lot to do and we have no problem with any of the people on the ground, it is the lack of helpful communication about what is happening after the initial report that is of concern.

as seen on TV with the Queen - they were just out for a cruise,
presumably to turn her around as they passed again on the return
journey about 10 minutes later

We managed to get a couple of hours cruising in and moored in a lovely spot near Model House Farm.

The only problem with the canal through this length – since Parbold - has been the curvature of the side and the need to moor further out from the side, but the scenery is extremely pleasant and beautiful.

The following day we headed off under very heavy laden skies, but there was nothing we could do – we had to be at Bridge 9 by 9am the following day and with many miles and almost as many swing bridges to negotiate we always knew that we were going to start off drier than we finished – a self-fulfilling prophecy really!!

We moored a little short of the target and knew that a half-hour in the morning would get us to the target – achieved in plenty of time and had a chance for a cuppa and bit or work before the BW guys arrived to operate the swing bridges to reduce disruption to the traffic.

We had been forewarned that we could expect to become a bit more intimate with the weed hatch – not at all surprised when it happened – a decent amount of plastic wrapped around the prop – but it was a new record in getting the mats removed, hatch opened and prop cleared as well as putting everything back in place to carry on – didn’t even have to moor up – the good lady wife acted as human mooring pin.

assorted bottles and rubbish - these could be stormwater refugees

These however are not - a bag of rubbish and a plastic sheet - just
waiting to become fouling on a boat prop somewhere
The first few miles of the journey start to make you wonder – why on earth (or water) would we want to put ourselves through the ordeal of finding a way through all of the rubbish and crap that had been dumped into the canal – this was more elusive than the north-west passage – it was not rubbish which had flowed in with stormwater – the filled rubbish bags, large children’s toys, large pieces of foam mattresses were a dead give away about how people viewed the canal.

we couldn't see how this would have found it's way into the canal
- apart from being deliberately thrown there
The sign says it all about the area and then becomes an invivtation
for some to do the opposite

But just as we were lamenting the attitudes of people in the area, it suddenly cleared up – we did pass many volunteers doing there bit to improve the look and gave thanks to them for their efforts.

Again it was not the most brilliant of days – raincoats, hats and umbrellas gave it all away – in fact the latter were put back in place – the wind meant that they really were of no use.

Such was the wind that my beloved Driza-bone cap escaped my attempts to preserve its place on my head and went for an impromptu soaking behind the boat – that was gone – but it was floating and heading for the towpath side.

Diane assumed control of the boat and let me off at the next bridge hole and with trusty grabbers in hand I headed back to search for it.

It didn’t take too long to find, but turning around I found two community police officers (on their bikes) with inquisitive looks on their faces “would you mind telling us what you are up to?”

“I am on a boat and the wind gust took the cap off – so I was here trying to retrieve it”

I left – cap in hand – and with both of them grinning – and headed back to where I presumed Diane might have been.

She surprised only herself in being able to moor up and tie up the boat on her own – I always knew she could do it – she just had to prove it to herself.

views of the locks from the top - heading down into Liverpool

We have got to say the volunteers at the lock heading down into the Liverpool dock area, as well as the BW guys that had by now caught us up – have to be congratulated for their help and pleasant nature – we were through the 4 locks and cruising through the docks in about 30 minutes – it was all quite an experience and a very enjoyable way to enter the centre of Liverpool.

The iconic Liver building - with the two Liver birds - male and female
at the top - each are 18' tall

and this is my very own (a)liver bird
 Through two more locks and then some manoeuvring past vessels towering over us – and that was just the lifeboats – we made our way to the nominated berth.

We thought that we could reverse in but the wind meant that was not going to happen, so it was bow in – the shorter pontoons meant that tying up was a bit more difficult, but got there.

Diane was very excited when she was checking the electricity meters on the post assigned to us – one had ₤3.52 credit on it and the other had ₤14.95 credit – a win.

Naturally we thought that we should see if we could re-zero the meters and use the card we had bought – NOT!!

Free moorings, free electricity and free internet (thanks to the portable hotspot option on the phone) – not bad for 13 days in central Liverpool.

The iconic Liverpool yellow duck - two of these amphibious vehicles
taking passengers for a plunge into the dock areas - they create a
fairly large wave on their entry  - not quite what we are used to on the cananls
The wind did not let up for that first night – blowing us as well as all others around – even when moored up – and all sorts of noises to go with it.

Oh I do love a parade - this one for squad of the Territorial Army
returning from Afghanistan - a real traffic stopper

The first two days here have been great – very handy to everything we need and plenty of things to see and do – we will be trying to see as much as possible over the remaining time that we have here.

1 comment:

  1. We really enjoyed Liverpool, you are not on S7 by any chance are you?