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