Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Ribble casts it curse on us again!!

Wednesday 29th May to Thursday 30th May 2013

Our time on the Lancaster was nearing its end and we left Bilsborrow early – as we had been doing recently, in order to beat the weather.

We filled with diesel at Moons Bridge Marina the last fuel stop on the Lancaster; put some more miles behind us and moored up at Salwick just as the rains re-appeared.

Diane relaxed in with the French Open; I settled in for some work – we were both pleased to be where we were (just a few miles from the top basin for the link) and pleased also to be inside warm and dry.

A dose of heavy rain overnight was all that eventuated; morning came and the sky whilst clouded, didn’t show that rain would be around today – as it proved to be.

Getting to the basin early was first item on the agenda and we arrived quite early – before 8am – one boat already there, having moored overnight without any problems.
the basin at the top of the staircase of locks leading to the
Ribble Link

the staircase in question

We had the little matter of a stroll to the Preston end of the canal – not wishing to encounter any problems taking the boat down there and Banjo needed a long walk as well.

It turned out to be a pretty stretch of canal, but somehow we knew we had made the right decision to walk to the end and back.

the Preston end of the canal

the basin at the canal end

we liked the look of this house - its setting close to the canal
and the lovely bay window on the first floor

just a lovely setting for a canal

Savick House, built in 1838

Once back we spoke with the people on the other boat – nb Francesca Leah (Toni and Don) – we both moved our boats into the lock (stern first) just as other boats were starting to arrive.
the tiller pin on Ferancesca Leah - of particular interest
to Diane

The talk between Diane and I of late has been about diesel heaters (particularly Reflecs heaters) and one of the new arrivals had one, so I spoke at length with Peter (the owner – Rum Retreat) and his friend Paul about the one on the boat – discussing all of the in and outs and things of interest.

Before we knew it CaRT had arrived – where did that 2 hours go – just flew by.

With their arrival we were away down the staircase – in reverse – and then away for the next 4 locks on our own – being first we had all of the locks already opened and ready for us to go into.

Don and Diane took care of the locks; we got to the last of the locks before the sea lock – waited about 10 minutes for the same CaRT guys to lock us through and then down to the pontoon to await access to the estuary.
it wasn't all straight cruising along the link

On their way down we found out that Peter had been having some fuel problems on low revs – high revs were OK and was a bit concerned about getting out and then having some problems – we agreed to be behind him on the way out and stay with him just in case.

CaRT to narrowboats – “You’re OK to go” – we were off – two boats were away pretty quick; after having a chance to work on the fuel line for a bit Peter got his boat working so they eased off, us behind and one other at the rear.

About 400 meters beyond the sea lock Rum Retreat stopped – too far to go back and way short of the River Lock at Tarleton – we pulled alongside and strapped them to us and then manoeuvring them around we headed out onto the Ribble, just as a very large cruiser had gone past – the wake propelling firstly the bow and then the stern into the air – this at the same time as Diane was trying to further secure the bow rope between the two boats. Luckily she held on tight.

After the rising and falling, Diane managed to get the bows of the two boats tightly together and although she would readily offer that her knot tying was not the best, she excelled herself today – the front of each boat did not move away from the other for the remainder of the trip – her theory being if you can’t tie knots then just tie lots.

Now with both travelling together we slowly headed further out, straightened up and made our way ahead.

Peter managed to get the engine going again, but we remained together to see how it went – just as well, as about 15 minutes later smoke was billowing from the open engine hole – a broken belt put the alternator out of action – they couldn’t do much about it so it was back to Ferndale to progress both boats on her own – and proud to say she did just that.

The boat that exited after us quickly overtook us and really didn’t look back; the other two ahead had powered away into the distance.
tied together and heading seaward

but we rounded here

still time to smile about it all

Banjo was completely unconcerned about it all

I guess we would have been about 20 minutes behind the third of the boats in passing around The Asland Lamp and we then headed up the River Douglas – unsure of exactly where we were on the map; falling further behind – we lost sight of that third boat after passing the lamp.

We guessed accurately where the marina was; phoned up Harry (the lockie) at Tarleton to explain where we were – “Oh you’ve got a good hour before we close the lock” – about half of that time was all we needed to make it through to there – the Douglas throwing one last challenge at us – we needed to keep to the left to avoid hitting the side of the lock – in many ways easier said than done and we struggled to get the clearance – ever mindful of the desire not to be at full speed and hit the other side or worse not stop in time once in the lock – glad to say that we made it with relative ease; up through the lock – thanking the lock-keepers profusely.
not quite the best way to approach the lock - firstly we
were mighty glad to see it, and secondly the outgoing
current of the river was dragging us to the right

safely into the lock

We managed to moor up safely, glad to be where we were; not really believing that we had actually made it.

There are two things that we could take from today – that our boat is made of sterner stuff than we had at first believed – the engine has a tremendous amount of power out there on the open water; and secondly, it was nice to be able to help someone in distress and to partly pay back in a wider sense the help that others have given to us at various times in our travels – boaters taking care of boaters.
after it is all over - more time to smile

20 miles, 10 locks

Totals: 1746 Miles, 1316 Locks, 56 Tunnels, 28 Lift Bridges, 131 Swing Bridges

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Too hot today!!

Tuesday 28th May 2013

Today we enjoyed sunshine galore; the weather was glorious; we had to make sure that we put on plenty of sunscreen (the heavy duty 100+ type) so that we did not get sunburnt, such was the ferocity of the sun.

Cruising was so wonderful; just a breath of air movement – just enough to take a bit of the heat away.

Shorts and t-shirts were the order of the day.

The BBQ was out for both lunch and also for dinner; the beer was icy cold; everyone sitting outside enjoying a good laugh.

People strolling past engaging in conversation.

We needed to find a bit of shade for fear of collapsing in the heat.

The dog was under the chair keeping out of the sun – he hasn’t been clipped yet and was feeling it a lot – tongue hanging out; the water bowl needed a few refills.

Even too hot to wash the boat down – the water would dry way too quickly.

Wake up Ray, wake up – you’re dreaming – the rain has affected your mind – it is still bucketing down and has been all afternoon.

The dream has ended, reality returns and as I look outside I can see it is still raining; has been since just after we moored up at lunch time after a short cruise from Garstang this morning; after saying our goodbyes to Howard and Janet; to Betty and Dave.

Oh how we all wish the rain could end and we could at least have some sort of run of decent weather!!

4 miles

Totals: 1726 Miles, 1306 Locks, 56 Tunnels, 28 Lift Bridges, 131 Swing Bridges

Monday, 27 May 2013

Return to Garstang

Friday 24th May to Monday 27th May 2013

The weather – it doesn’t quite dominate our lives but it continues to play a big part – do we go or do we stay or do we wait a little while and see what happens.

Well we weren’t waiting around on Friday morning – the predictions all were for high winds later in the day – perhaps early afternoon.

A short trip to wind and then a pumpout and fill with water – this latter part taking a mere 20 minutes and then we were away from Galgate with Garstang clearly in our sights.

Although there was broken cloud, the sun was bright and warm when it appeared and it was just bliss cruising along – nothing better than that, but the wind was starting to rise and the air was quite chilly at times.

As we approached Garstang, Diane and Banjo went ahead to check out the mooring situation – she was happy when there were so many after the aquaduct – I guess Banjo was happy with it as well – he didn’t complain.

So we moored up and not too long after the wind increased in strength again – we had just been keeping that little bit ahead of the weather.

Our Ribble Estuary crossing partners – Jo and Tim (nb Albion) – were moored up just near us – we had been waiting to see them again as they were after a copy of the instructions for operation of the timer for their Mykuni heater (the same as ours), and we were happy to oblige – trouble was, they weren’t aboard – we suspected that something serious had happened – they had not covered much distance at all.

We did a shop at Booths (really like this market – some think a little more expensive but great variety and we were pleased with it); Diane finally got to cook the roast that had been waiting – it was a while since she had been able to get one.

Saturday morning we wandered around and came back to the boat and very pleased to see that Janet and Howard (nb Compass Rose) had arrived with their friends Betty and Dave (nb Olly Oaks) – so it was time for tea – with Janet doing the honours – as we formulated a plan of leisure.

It was a beautiful day – sun shining – as predicted, so were made sure that we enjoyed it all.

First up an evening out just checking out a few of the many pubs – only Howard and I remained at the end and even then we were only a little  bit late – I think we are all getting a bit old.

Sunday was a bus trip to Blackpool and another very lovely day. Not only were there the six of us (plus the two dogs) – but about 10,000 others of a similar mind – plenty of sun for all.

advertising takes over the whole of this tram

Banjo enjoyed the sun and the day out but like us we were all
glad to get back to the boat to rest a bit

from left to right - Betty, Dave, Janet, Howard and Diane
We were a bit lucky in not having to wait too long for the return bus – there was a timetable for Sundays but the bus driver who took us there must have confused it with a weekday – no problems.

Once back at the boat, I decided that I didn't quite feel up to dinner out - in fact I hadn't felt well for the whole day, but Diane represented Ferndale; a short while after she had gone, there was a tap on the boat and I was very pleased to see Jo and Tim - they thanked us for the instructions for the heater timer - they had not had a pleasant trip - their leisure batteries had failed when they were at Bilsborrow (now replaced) but more than this, Tim's mother had passed away and they had been down at home for about 12 days - if there is a fortunate part to it all it was that they were able to see her before she died - our sympathies to both.
CaRT had been great in being able to reschedule their bookings for both the return trip across the Ribble (now late June) and their journey into Liverpool - again we say to CaRT, well done!

On this morbid of subjects, the man who was residing on a boat near bridge 63 here at Garstang had also passed away - several of the local boaters who knew him had only been saying the previous day that they hadn't seen him for a little while, so on Sunday one of them looked closely through part of the window not closed by the curtains and called in the ambulance and the police - sadly they found his body - although we didn't know him we are all part of the boating community and we say farewell to him.

Garstang have a Children’s Festival day on the Monday of this long weekend every year, with a parade in the morning of young children from nursery age up to mid teenage; a few local marching bands and floats as well – the whole parade took about 45 minutes to pass a given point and it was very well done – congratulations to Garstang; there was a parade later in the day as well as a number of outdoor events – sadly the latter organised activites were severely affected by the rain which remained for the day.

The head of the parade - we were well protected with
these reps from the forces

trainee Morris dancers - they were pretty good too

just one of the bands

the Daleks invaded as well

a two-person powered Tardis
Later on, in mid-afternoon, we adjourned to The Kings Arms to watch the Championship promotion game between Watford and Crystal Palace – in what was a rather uninspiring game, Palace won 1-0 with a penalty in the first period of extra time and for Diane it was not an enjoyable result.

So back to the boat and watch the French Open and the end to an overall lovely weekend.

8 miles

Totals: 1722 Miles, 1306 Locks, 56 Tunnels, 28 Lift Bridges, 131 Swing Bridges

Thursday, 23 May 2013

No wind, no rain, no sun either

Thursday 23rd May 2013

All the weather reports were saying it; the CaRT people were concerned about it – so much so that they were contemplating cancelling the upward passage across the Ribble; so who were we to dispute all of that.

The rains and the winds were coming by mid to late morning and we wanted to be at the top of the locks ready for a Friday pumpout – this was on her-indoors master plan – so it simply had to be done.

We woke and the waves outside from last night had subsided; not too much damage to boats, building or trees – well actually there was none.

So after a quick breakfast we prepared the boat and we left the Glasson basin.

With all of the locks set for us – 4 out of the 6 locks had bottom gates that wouldn’t stay closed on an empty lock and the last two locks seemingly always empty we made quick smart time up to a mooring spot around on the Lancaster proper – all done before 9:30am.

What then happened didn’t please either of us – the bloody sun came out and we were bathed in warm sunshine – would have been nice when the cruising was going on.

Anyway, it has felt like two days today – a day’s worth of cruising and being moored up early we have had a full day being still as well.

Vindication for our movement had to wait until just after 2:30pm when the heavens decided it was time to rain down – and reasonably heavy as well – but we were fine – having retraced our steps from yesterday, we were snug inside the boat – even if it did smell a little fishy from the kippers for lunch.

3 miles, 6 locks

Totals: 1714 Miles, 1306 Locks, 56 Tunnels, 28 Lift Bridges, 131 Swing Bridges

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Locks, wind and kippers

Wednesday 22nd May 2013

What are these lock things again – it is so long since we have had to do these – Diane wanted to do most of these but we fell into a routine of mooring the boat on the lock landing and doing them together.

It started off pretty easy...

then it got a bit harder...
...then she was a bit tuckered out and needed the rest

Such was the strength of the wind today that this was the only thing that made sense – it would simply have been next to impossible to hold the boat in the middle of the canal.

This boat didn't help anyone - mooring up at the lock landing -
fortunately we were going down the locks - dread to think how
difficult it would be going up with them right there !!
We made it into the basin at Glasson and followed advice we had received – this was all new for us – and to head left to the visitor moorings – all occupied – so wouldn’t be mooring there.

The right hand side was all long term moorings – so not there.

We had seen a mooring point with bollards just on the right at the start of the basin so we did a 180 and moored up there – fortunately the wind was right at our back and whilst we didn’t find it easy it was manageable and more to the point it was straight sided, so we could tie up tight against the side – magic – and a water point just 20 meters away.

The tidal part of the River Lune, the same Lune that we saw in Lancaster, meanders it’s way around the Glasson docks.

the far gate is the sea lock onto the tidal Lune; in the foreground
is the lock into the basin
If it was possible the wind seemed to increase in strength – but true to form we thought that we should have a bit of a wander around the area to see what was about – we were under the impression that there was only the two pubs down here but we also found a very nice café, a small general store and a smokehouse (after finding it, we remembered someone had told us that it was here). Naturally we gravitated firstly to the smokehouse and left with a nice bag of goodies including kippers, mackerel and cheese – all to be given a try sometime very soon.

Port of Lancaster Smokehouse - don't miss it if you are here
Next we stepped inside the café for lunch – very lovely fish and chips – can highly recommend this to anyone coming here.

The marina - yachts only - more money here than our boat cost

out for a stroll - or more likely an escape - sheep on the run
Finally we also needed to find the Glasson Basin Marina – amongst other things a pumpout card was required for the visit that we planned on Friday morning to the Galgate marina – the card is for their pumpout system. I should hasten to add that the cards are also available at Galgate – only problem is that the office is only open 10am to 1pm.

Moored up safe and sound, but still being rocked a bit  by the

getting a bit choppy indeed

Back to the boat for some work for me and Diane to navigate through the multitude of things that she has to do – some of which were thought about, I am sure, but not so sure that any got done – no problems, there is always tomorrow and then the day after that.

3 miles, 6 locks

Totals: 1711 Miles, 1300 Locks, 56 Tunnels, 28 Lift Bridges, 131 Swing Bridges

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Lune

Tuesday 21st May 2013

As part of the master plan from management we have found time to travel down the Glasson branch and visit the docks area at the end of this branch – this little side journey helps to fill in the time necessary for a decent pumpout – I think it also fills in some time to check out a couple more pubs at the end of the line – can’t so no to that.

But for today it was a nice day for a cruise – initially it was cloudy and we felt a little chilly, but it didn’t take long before the sun was out and we were feeling quite warm.

We had set aside some time to stop and do some admiring of the magnificent Lune Aquaduct over the Lune River – opened in 1797 it has stood the test of time – not just a practical engineering feat, it shows a architectural style of some magnitude.

The Lune Aquaduct from river level

... and from the top

it also makes a nice backdrop - these two just had to be in
the picture

It was through Lancaster itself again and then further on through some wooded cuttings which still managed to allow bright sunlight through.

Lancaster and the castle and church

This certainly was a brilliant cruising day – and may there be just a few more of them to come.

sunny or what !

Just a bit concerned about the cows suggesting rain

the towpath was still quite muddy - so hopefully it will dry
out in the sunshine

We finally moored up after watering at Galgate – sneaking a 55’ boat into a 54’ 11” space between a cruiser and a hire boat – only just nudging the latter a little bit – surprisingly they both moved along after a short time.

10 miles, 1 swing bridge

Totals: 1708 Miles, 1294 Locks, 56 Tunnels, 28 Lift Bridges, 131 Swing Bridges