Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Ribble Link Trip

Thursday 6th August

So we were off. We had to wait for enough tide to come in and the Harry the lock keeper started to let the boats out. We were in the second set of two boats and from reading Gypsy Rovers blog that was a good place to be. The first two out caught much more of the tide from the side than we did. The first 4 pictures below were taken by Gypsy Rover which show us on the start of our journey.

We were in company with Ragamuffin. They were old hands at this trip so we let them go first.

We couldn't have had a better day, little wind and mainly sunshine. We had no trouble identifying all the marks we were expecting and although we had the engine running much more than normal we never had to go flat out against the tide.

Looking back at Tarleton Lock
Passing the boat yard after which the Douglas widens out
To add to the day a Mk4 Nimrod from nearby Warton was doing circuits and kept flying over us. Geoff said it was 40 years since he had flown in the Mk 1. We thought it was very obliging of them to escort us up the Douglas.

We rounded Asland lamp with no problem and then we were in the Ribble Estuary

Unbeknown to us at the time, our friend Mike Cockrill was flying overhead in a light aircraft and the picture below was taken by him just before we turned into Savick Brook

Now we were off the river and going up the windy narrow stretch to the waiting pontoon. We had to wait for there to be sufficient headroom under the next bridge. We didn't have long to wait and Ragamuffin set off ahead of us......and then was when the perfect trip came to a grinding halt!
Just when we were sufficiently far off the pontoon not to be able to reach it again....the engine made nasty noises, lots of white smoke from the exhaust, and no power. Brilliant!

A bit of drifting and use of the bow thruster eventually allowed us to tie up on the other side. Ragamuffin had seen our plight and very gallantly came to our rescue and towed us up to and through the next lock (Lock 8)

Being towed was a new experience and not that easy as it was very shallow in places, a bit like a giant ditch. It was also very twisty.

Eventually they towed us out of the lock and onto one of the waiting pontoons just above. British Waterways said they would check how we were in the morning and we could go up the next day.
Geoff had a quick look in the engine but there was nothing to see (well not to his untrained eye anyway). Thankfully we belong to RCR (River Canal Rescue) so we called them and an engineer was with us soon after 6pm. This was Steve from Althen Marine near Burnley and he was brilliant. After initially saying he didn't like the sound of the engine at all, and Geoff and I imagining huge bills and no huge delays to our trip.....not to mention how would anyone rescue us from where we were, he did a few more tests and quickly diagnosed the problem and fixed it. I shall not attempt to describe what it was but it was something to do with water and dross of some sort in the diesel. It was nothing to do with the trip we had just done up the river at high revs. We were just so thankful that it had not decided to pack up when we were still on the maybe it was still our lucky day!
We are trying to track down Ragamuffin so that we can thank them properly, as they disappeared into the distance we were still a little frazzled.
Here endeth the first day of our Ribble trip

1 comment:

John and Fiona on nb Epiphany said...

Wow - some unique pictures and pretty unique experiences I would say! Glad all's well that ends well.
John & Fi