Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wash out day at Lymm and frustrating day!!

Where Geoff reached Friday and we should have been yesterday

On Saturday we had a plan!   Fatal......we had decided to fore go our usual weekend layover as we wanted to get to the Weaver, so Saturday was planned to move up to the Thelwell viaduct and do the walk to the Manchester Ship Canal and we hoped the ferry ride across.   So the plan was shop early, have our usual Saturday cooked breakfast and gently potter off about 11 as the ferry was supposed to run between 12 and 2pm.

The first fly in the ointment was that I bought more shopping than I intended and had trouble carrying it back to Petroc despite taking the wheelie with me.   I had to call Geoff to come and rescue a sheer fluke his phone was on!   By the time I had done our breakfast I was ready to go back to bed.   Since the final straw was the rain ( Not Forecast)I did just that and we abandoned the day's plan.

Today, Sunday, dawned still dull but at least dry so we decided to set off.   Geoff went for the Sunday papers first and had a long wait whilst they were unpacked.   We had to stop after a short while as we had something round the prop....Geoff not pleased.    We then caught up with a very slow boat and we were hardly speeding.   Despite there being many wide places he could have let us through, he declined to do so so a very frustrated Geoff on the tiller.  We also had the odd shower of rain, again not forecast.   Just short of the turn off to the Runcorn Arm which we thought we would explore, we had to stop for another forage down the weed hatch.   This time there were more problems as Geoff was unable to secure it back in place properly......much muttering.   After some considerable time he managed to secure it but all was not 100% so we called in at the boatyard at the junction to see if anyone could have a look.  A very obliging young man diagnosed the problem almost immediately.  Part of the thread on the bolt is stripped, so we need a new bit.  They can fix on Tuesday.  He managed to secure in place and we will be OK so long as we don't pick anything else up which necessitates Geoff taking it off again.   So fingers crossed we set off for the Runcorn arm and have moored about a mile down.  We will do the intended trip up to the end tomorrow and return to the yard to be mended on Tuesday.

Despite the frustrating day we should be thankful as the picture below shows what John and Rosi were sitting in for several hours on Friday on the M6

Total distance:11.63 miles  
Elapsed time:4h45m32s 
Average speed:2.48 mph (2.48 lock/mph) 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Rest day in Lymm

Reservoir just above the village
Parish Church
Duck Pond in the centre of the village
Local Bakers and Coffee shop.....with mouth watering goodies inside.  Unfortunately we could only sample the coffee today as we are still doing our 5 and 2 diet and today was one of the 2 light days!

Lymm is a delightful village so it is no wonder the moorings are quite full, however there is plenty of room away from the 48 hour moorings so there is not really a problem.

After all our long days, today was at last a day of rest.  Well maybe not quite...after meeting John & Rosi for coffee I settled down to some admin type chores and Geoff went on a long walk with Barney.  He decided to do a dry run of our proposed trip tomorrow.  The plan was to do a circular walk to Thelwell viaduct and catch the little ferry over the Manchester Ship canal, walk to the big locks, cross back and return via the penning Way.  That plan has been scrapped as there was no sign of the ferryman and Geoff decided it was too far for me to walk.   So instead we shall drive Petroc up and hope we can find somewhere to moor and do the trip.

We heard from John and Rosi soon after they left to say that they had only just joined the M6 at the Lymm interchange when they came to a grinding halt.  A multi vehicle accident had closed the M6 and they sat there for several hours.....they eventually arrived home just before 7pm....must have been close on 8 hours.

I managed to get an appointment with the local hairdresser so my locks are now under control again.

The rain started in earnest after tea time and we are hoping it all goes through in the night.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Another long day to Lymm

These long days are getting to be a habit, however there were no locks today.   The goal was Lymm where we were meeting John & Rosi who had booked into the Lymm Hotel for the night.  Soon after leaving Pennington we went through Leigh where the Leeds Liverpool Canal seems to metamorphose into the Bridgewater canal......however there are no signs confirming this fact, it is just what our Pearsons Guile indicates.   WE were on the way before 6.30 as we wanted to be in Lymm by mid afternoon.  Surprisingly the morning was much warmer than of late....only 3 layers required for my early morning walk and one of those was stripped off before long......could summer be making a guest appearance??

The Bridgewater is fairly wide, no water shortages and lots of long straight stretches through some rural and lots of light industrial.   It first took us in an easterly direction towards Manchester and then we turned away and skirted the south west suburbs of Manchester.

Approaching the aqueduct which took us over the Manchester Ship Canal
over we go...looking toward Manchester
and the other way
Some new buildings since we were here last........not the worlds best outlook from their balconies
As well as being one of our longest days in time it has also been the longest in distance.......I doubt if we have ever reached the speed limit but we certainly were giving it wellie at times!

We met our first boat of the day after 2 hours travelling but we then saw a few more than recently.
The sun shone most of the way and the rain only put in an appearance towards the end of the trip.

We paused briefly at Worsley to empty the loo cassette and found the facilities there as gross as we remembered. So much so in fact that we decided not to fill up with water.

The was a convenient water tap not far short of Lymm so we decided to stop there. However as we were pulling in we picked up something around the prop. With the aid of the bow thruster (we don't use it much but it has its uses) we managed to get close enough to the side for Geoff to do a mighty leap ashore and pull us in. His investigation revealed a ladies dress wrapped around...thankfully not the body!

On reaching Lymm we stopped short of the main moorings and I went ahead to see what space there was.   By now it was pouring with rain.....and lo and behold the main moorings were full, where have all the boats come from?  So we settled for where we were although it was not ideal for Barney.  A small amount of traffic comes past so he cannot be left safely to his preferred reclining place alongside Petroc watching the world go by.

Later I decided to stroll up to the Lymm hotel to meet John and Rosi.   Foolishly I relied on Geoff's directions to find the place.  Unfortunately he had directed me to what he thought he remembered was the hotel and turned out to be a different establishment altogether.   When I eventually located the hotel it had taken me about 45 minutes to do what on the return journey was a 10  minute walk!.  Next time I will be sensible and consult my google maps instead of a retired navigator.

The hotel is one of a chain but extremely pleasant, not very busy, and we had a very good dinner there.

Total distance:22.47 miles 
Elapsed time:7h13m17s
Average speed:3.11 mph (3.11 lock/mph)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Down the Wigan Flight to Pennington Flash

Moored at the top of the Wigan Flight.....ready for the big day!
Another closed pub
Very leaky lock walls in this one
We had not really been looking forward to the run down the Wigan Flight, stories of stiff lock paddles and  gates, lack of water etc......but in the event it was not as bad as feared and one one might even say enjoyable.   This was of course partly due to the weather which was mainly sunshine, although the morning had started chilly so it was 4 layers again, gloves and woolly hat!  As the day progressed a couple of layers were shed.
When we reached the 6th lock we saw the welcome sight of a volunteer lock keeper.   He went ahead of us for half a dozen locks filling them which was a great help.   It was sod's law that with so few boats around on this canal at the moment that we had a pair going down about an hour ahead of us so every lock had to be filled.   He left us part way down saying that his mate would be with us soon as he would be coming up after he had finished helping the pair ahead.   So a few more on our own and then help appeared.   He was very willing but not very experienced and needed a bit of prompting in the method of one person going ahead to set the next lock!  Still we were really glad of his help.

A smart left turn at the bottom and two more locks before the longish run to moor by the Pennington Flash.   Last time we came this way we stayed for 3 days as it is lovely, but this time it was to be overnight as we needed to make some progress.

Today's interesting boat...good place to keep ones fridge freezer!
Just before Pennington and through the lift bridge there is now a huge expanse of open water with nothing in it....obviously man made and we don't remember it from our previous visit.   We did wonder if it was going to be a marina......
Not our longest day in distance but certainly in locks and time

Total distance:9.38 miles 
Elapsed time:7h34m30s 
Average speed:1.24 mph (4.28 lock/mph)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Onward towards Wigan

Another long day planned as we want to do the Wigan Flight before the weather takes a turn for the worse again.

Early start just after 7.30, the rain had disappeared by then and the day looked promising but cold and with a cold easterly wind.  This meant 4 layers of clothes, woolly hat and gloves!    It is August........

The 7 Johnson locks presented very little trouble apart from one.   I came out of lock 66 and the gate for 65 was open so no hovering in the wind was needed......easy peasy!   However not far from the gate the undertow from the outflow of previous lock must have caught me somehow as I slid gently sideways and away from the lock with no control whatsoever.   With the wind blowing it took a fair bit of manoeuvring to get myself back to where I was meant to be.

No more locks until the 21 at Wigan now.  It was a gentle but longish (for us) run almost to the top of the locks.  We passed one or two boats but still not many.
We passed another sorry sight of a closed pub
We also passed this huge building and I had fond hopes it might be another mill outlet as I was still disappointed they had demolished Barton Mill a bit further back.........No such appeared to be 'The largest play centre in the north'
according to the sign.

We eventually found a nice open mooring a couple of bridges short of Wigan Top Lock

Total distance:12 miles 
Elapsed time:5.5 hrs 
Bridges:44  (lots of bridges on this stretch)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Visitors at Riley Green

A planned layover day as we were expecting visitors.  We had already had a surprise visit from John &Rosi yesterday but today they were coming with friends Ros and Mike with whom they were staying in Wrea Green near Lytham St Anne's .
An element of doubt hung over the visit as the weathermen were predicting dire weather with torrential rain, but in the event no rain materialised until much later on.

So a very convivial day ensued with lunch aboard Petroc, after the men had returned from the Boatyard pub......lots of gossiping and putting the world to rights and then more visitors during the afternoon as  Bill & Hilary, mutual friends of John & Rosi, came to call after lunch.........more gossiping!!
Bill & Hilary departed and later the six of us went to the Royal Oak pub for an excellent meal.  This is a short walk away from the canal but well worth it as the food was excellent.  Needless to say as we set out the promised rain arrived.......5 of us travelled in the car and Geoff nobly walked with his umbrella.

By the time of the return trip the rain had intensified so Ros kindly did an extra run for Geoff & me.  We still had to walk from the bridge and needless to say we had both forgotten a torch!!  However in these modern days my iPhone light did a reasonable job......helped to avoid the puddles which had built up during our sojourn in the pub.

I forgot to mention yesterday that Geoff saw the first Kingfisher of the fact he saw it several times as it flew back and forth.....needless to say I did not see it.....

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Through Blackburn to Riley Green Bridge

We had another earlyish start and Barney & I set off to walk to the first of 4 anticipated swing bridges......the first one didn't give us much bother!

Another day of partly urban surroundings but still lots of lovely stretches and the hills are still there around us.

The first suitable place to stop for the Sunday papers was at the top of the Blackburn locks where there is a large Asda superstore.   We actually met two boats here coming up.  It is still incredible quiet boat wise.  We had been travelling 2 hours this morning before we saw our first fellow traveller at 0950hrs.    

The Blackburn locks were not quite so demanding as the Barrowford ones of yesterday as they seemed to be a couple of inches longer and not leak quite so much.  Apart from one of them .......

The lock itself was lack of water here....
and this flow did not cease all the way down
As we neared the bottom of the locks we had a phone call from our friends John & Rosi who were en route to other friends.   The had time to spare and decided to visit for tea.......we told them our intended destination was Riley Green Bridge so they met us fact they reached there about an hour before us.
So as soon as we arrived and settled Petroc John and Geoff went to the pub across the road and Rosi & I settled ourselves with a cup of tea and had a good catch -up.

One of today's unusual boats

and another one...front and back view.
Total distance:16.17 miles  (A record for us in a day)
Elapsed time:7h9m55s 
Average speed:2.26 mph (3.09 lock/mph) (Gosh we'll be getting a speeding ticket next)

The canal is wide and there are not many moored boats which we have to slow down for......

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Continuing West

A lovely open mooring at the top of Barrowford Locks.   Hectors House moored just behind us.   Tons of mooring space and very few boats.
A very congenial evening last night aboard Hectors House where we swapped notes on good mooring places....a pot luck supper with Sally producing an excellent chilli.  They are heading for the Huddersfield Narrow so were able to tell them the good and the bad!
Curtains still drawn on Hectors House as we crept past at 0730 although a little head did appear from behind one of the curtains to give a brief wave.
A very interesting sign and could be useful if it was by any moored boats.  However this sign is in the lock where the only moored boat is us!
Another interesting sign of which there are many along this stretch of towpath.  Maybe I am missing the point but why do you have one way signs on the towpath??
As we gently amble on our way we do give the occasional thought to all that traffic above us.

We are passing quite a lot of old mills today and some have been converted....................................

......................but some have been demolished.    This one was a great disappointment as it used to be Bardon Mill  When passed here 7 years ago I visited the mill and made quite a few purchases including some of the bedding we are still using on Petroc.   I was looking forward to another visit..
Some of the old chimneys have their uses!
Passing through Burnley where they were holding a canal festival

I cannot remember where this intrepid pair were pedalloing from and to but it was for the Prostrate Cancer Charity and looked like hard work.
This has been one of our longer days as we want to press on a bit so we have time to spend down on the River Weaver.   Now we are on the western side of the Pennines and in Lancashire.   It is a lot more industrial but the hills are still there and there are still good places to moor as we have found today.
Apart from the collection of boats at the Burnley Festival we have not seen more than half a dozen all day.   We moored up about 2pm and only one boat has been past us......they must all be down on the Trent and Mersey!
The Barrowford locks were a bit of a challenge as the top gates leak so badly.  The locks are quite short so going down it is very difficult to stop Petroc being swamped at the stern whilst you manoeuvre your way from behind the gate at the front.  I was quite glad we were not sharing locks as it would then have been quite impossible to get out of the lock without going back completely into the full flow of water.  
Although we have had a day of intermittent sunshine it is very cold and I have had 4 layers on at times and even gloves in the early part of the day.......and it is still August.......

Total distance:12.77 miles 
Elapsed time:6h31m44s 
Average speed:1.96 mph (3.03 lock/mph) 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Back Home to Petroc and onward we go

Petroc has been as snug as a bug tucked up in Lower Park Marina in Barnoldswick for 2 weeks
A nice pontoon mooring with her nose tucked into the grass, electricity and water to hand.
Meanwhile we have gallivanting down south.  We have attended the wedding of nephew Marc to Anastasyia whilst staying with Emma & Dave, visited friends Ann & Keith for a couple of days, and had almost a week with Giles and Susannah, four days of which we were baby sitting the two boys whilst the rest of them went off to the Ukraine for a wedding.  In this last task we were assisted by Boe so it was a real family effort.   Geoff was in charge of Chickens, cats, dogs and emptying rubbish and did a sterling job.   He also cooked a magnificent cottage pie for us all whilst Boe and I took Oscar and Finley to Discovery Park for the day.
The boys were so well behaved (most of the time!) that it was enjoyable....they only started to play up after their parents return.....twas ever thus.

But how nice it is to come home to Petroc.   It was a long journey back for which we had to hire a car one way.  Geoff then had to return it to Leeds and get himself back to Petroc via train and bus......

Yesterday was the most miserable weather up here and I thought summer had deserted us whilst we had been away but this morning dawned bright and we reversed back to the marina office for an engine service.
By 10.30 all was complete and we were on our way again.  The Marina has proved an excellent place to leave the boat if necessary and we can recommend it.  The engine service and cost of mooring for 2 weeks was all  very reasonable.

Barney is all set to resume normal walk first thing as we depart.
Going past where we had been moored, the swans were in a flap about something
Dinky Boat
Good towpath, lovely scenery, sun shining .....what more could one want
Entrance to Foulridge tunnel.  It is one way traffic and one waits for the green light, which was 45 minutes as two boats were coming the other way.   The timings were not as our guide book stated but that could be because the book is 8 years old!
Our intended mooring place was not far beyond the tunnel.  The plan was to meet up with Hector & Sally on Hectors House for supper at the top of Barrowford Locks.  The moorings there were plentiful and as I write this at 1730 we are still the only ones moored here.   Geoff has gone to help Hectors House up the locks

We were lucky with our weather this morning as we were snugly tied up by 12.30 and afternoon proved very showery some of which were quite heavy......put paid to my setting the washing out to dry!

Total distance:4.16 miles

Elapsed time:2h14m38s 


Average speed:1.85 mph (1.85 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


Sods law!
Geoff had no sooner cast off when a wide beam appeared the other side of the bridge.   Barney and I were walking again and we set off in reasonable weather, however things gradually deteriorated and about 1/2 mile from the first of the Greenberfeld locks the heavens really opened.  

Before that however soon after leaving we came upon a hire boat in difficulty as they were stuck on the side.
It was a Father and daughter on board with a small dog.  They didn't seem to be in agreement as to the best method of extricating themselves from the predicament they were in!   SO......................I stopped to help....Geoff carried on slowly as he couldn't find anywhere to pull in where he would not have ended up with the same problem.   Eventually we managed  to get him off but by then the daughter had disappeared in disgust with her father and also to search for the dog who had disappeared.   The dog had got into a field which the daughter was unable to get into.......she told dad that she would see him on the way back as they were intending to wind at the next available place.........he asked me where it was and I hadn''t a clue but it transpired it was further than he thought........I have no idea what the end result was....

By the time Geoff arrived, Barney and I were like two drowned we moored up and went below for a remedial cup of coffee.   We decided to sit it out until another boat came along to share the locks with.
Half way through coffee a hire boat appeared and luckily the rain had eased so we set off with them.  Mark and his two daughters were on a 4 day hire out of Snagill.  Having the girls working the locks made life easier than normal for Geoff and it is always nice to have someone to chat to in the lock.  We parted company at the top as we paused by the sani station.

During this time Boe had taken herself off in the car to explore Skipton and was to meet us at Lower Park Marina later.   Petroc is booked in there for 2 weeks whilst we travel south for Nephew Marc's wedding and a spot of friend visiting and Granny sitting...well Grandad sitting as well much to Geoff's delight

Boe did find us eventually.......after she became lost again!!!!!!  She said it was the map's fault.

So here we are all snug as a bug in a a marina.

Total distance:4.24 mile



Elapsed time:3h34m18s 

Average speed:1.19 mph (2.03 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

East Marton

A gentle 2 mile hop today to East Marton
leaving our lovely mooring
Barney & I walked to East Marton through this delightful countryside
Moored just along from this unusual bridge......any ideas why it was built so????
Moorings at East Marton

The village has a church, a lovely tea room, a livery stables and ........................
.....a pub
We indulged ourselves in the coffee shop which was very decadent but a real treat.   We then went up to the pub to check out food for the evening and it was so sunny we were forced to sit out and have a swift half!
We were expecting daughter Boe at some stage.......the time depended on how lost she got.

It transpired that she did get quite lost...ending up going in the wrong direction down the M65........the latter part of her journey was from Hebden Bridge where she had had lunch with a friend.   We haven't quite figured out why she was on the M65 in the first place.

She made it in the end and later we returned to the Cross keys where we had a very good meal.

Total distance:1.64 miles 
Elapsed time:0h58m9s 
Average speed:1.69 mph (1.69 lock/mph)