Monday, 25 June 2012

Back on the Leeds Liverpool

As expected, we didn't do the Ribble Link on Saturday & we were told it would probably be Monday or Tuesday but there was an 20% chance that it could be Sunday. We had already moved up to the moorings at the sports arena & were asked to stay there rather than clog the basin, you have to reverse into the staircase locks so need a bit of wriggle room. We were to expect a phone call at 9am Sunday for an update.
 I really didn't think we would be going so Eric, who has been spending a few days with us, was making plans to get the train back to Manchester on Sunday, it's his School Prom this evening which he didn't want to miss (what was wrong with an school disco!)  had to pick up his suit from the tailors (didn't need a suit for a disco!) & wouldn't have got back in time had we done the link today.
With bags packed, buses & train times sorted, just to be sure I sent a quick text to Steve (BW) "assume we are not going today?" A phone call back 5 minutes later " get into the basin, you're off!"  Which pleased Eric as he still got to do the Ribble Link which he had been looking forward to it. 
   10 minutes later we arrive at the basin which has 6 other narrow boats 
& 1 cruiser waiting to go down.

 & the Fire Brigade ?? 
Turns out they were waiting for us to go so they do some exercises
 2nd pair goes down, our turn next
 1st time we've had a fireman do a lock for us! 5 minutes later they left hurriedly on a shout.
 We followed nb Tereen reversing out of the bottom lock,
No photos of the next bit, Savick Brook, which was a bit of a nightmare, the brook had been in flood on Friday & when water levels returned to normal a thick layer of sticky mud was left on the lock landings so we had a job keeping our feet.
After a brief respite at the holding basin the sea lock is opened & a surge pulls us all forward causing a bit of chaos for a few moments & lots of shouts of "reverse!!" the little cruiser is dragged forward & then spun around by the strong current. Somehow we get sorted out.. 
 & Steve sees us thorough  the sea lock 
 & we head out onto the river
 the rain clears & the sun comes out.
 smiling faces
  Rounding Asland Lamp
& down the long straight to Tarleton lock, apologies for the quality of the photo, the camera battery had died, this was taken on my phone & has also been cropped. Through the lock & we were moored up on Tarleton visitor Moorings by 4.30pm.

We got the bus into Burscough this morning, did a quick Tesco shop & Eric got the train back to Manchester, hopefully not forgetting to pick up the suit on the way home & as I type should be on his way to the Prom, I hope there will be photos. ;)
Poppy was booked in to Mayors Boatyard this week to have her bottom shot blasted & then a 2 pack epoxy blacking applied but the weather is against us, 3-4 dry days are needed & that's not this week :( so we will just be hanging about waiting, fingers are crossed for coming out of the water on Saturday. 
The weather looked good for tomorrow & we had planned to get the second coat of paint on the roof but I've just heard the weather on the radio & it's now forecasting showers by lunchtime.....just for a change.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Flaming June ??

When we crossed the Ribble Link in April the weather was dreadful, wind & rain, never mind we said, it'll be a better crossing when we go back down in June.  Pah! we are sat here near Lea Town, a couple of miles or so from the link, it's blowing a gale & has not stopped raining all day. 
Not sure if the crossing will happen or not, can't see it myself but will have to see what tomorrow brings. We will move up to the basin early am & await orders.

Soona is not impressed

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


We spent much of last week in Carnforth after moving up there on Tuesday, the weather was miserable so we settled in to sit it out & had a fire most days. Our batteries were getting tired so we took the opportunity of the canal side car park at the Canal Turn pub to get some delivered from Alpha Batteries although in the event the driver didn't manage to find the car park, he parked on the main road & carried them up, still good service though & our inverter has stopped squeaking after an hour or so of TV ;-) 

The weather forecast for Sunday was for some sunshine & not much wind so we were off early doors, glad to be moving again. The plan was to go up to Tewitfield, turn round & come back down the mile or so to the Capernwray Arm. The plan unravelled a bit as when we went passed the arm it was full but Mark (who was walking ahead) spotted a likely place at Borwick. So that's what we did & it was a lovely mooring with cracking views. 
 From the side hatch
& from the towpath

We needed to use the plank for the 1st time in ages which was no problem to Soona & Sid

 There is something down there!
 We found this narrow plank some time ago & it came in useful as a cat plank so they can get in the bow  as well as the stern, just in case they need to get away from  passing dogs etc.
 Leaving at 7am on a glorious morning. It was a very pleasant cruise & until we got to Hest Bank we had the canal to ourselves & then it got really busy with 5 boats oncoming in just a few minutes, one of them was Nb Epiphany & we managed a quick hello as we passed each other.

We are now back in Lancaster & I'm about to leave Mark to his own devices for a few days whilst I nip off  visiting family.  It's a good job we have some new batteries as the TV will be getting a bit of extra use due to some football thing....

Monday, 4 June 2012

Back in Hest Bank

We came up here on Friday, stopping off in Lancaster for a couple of hours to pick up some food for the weekend, it was a very pleasant cruise in the sunshine
 Yours truly negotiating the Lune Aqueduct,
 not too difficult as dead straight & no wind!
Mark in charge of the camera for a change
One of Mark's pics
& another,  Morcambe Bay & the Cumbrian hills coming into view
 This swallow sat still just long enough for a photo ( heavily cropped)

After yesterday's washout when we had to put the chimney back on & light a fire it was so cold & damp, we were keen to get out in the sunshine today
so we walked back up to Rakes Bridge
& down the track

along the lane 
past the kids enjoying splashing about in Happy Mount Park,
 to Morcambe, not the best photo but I wanted to get the hills in the distance.

We did a bit of pottering, called in to the indoor market were I got some bits & bobs I wanted for crochet from the excellent wool & haberdashery stall then a visit to Morrisons provided us with the makings of a picnic which we enjoyed sitting on the sea wall. 
Mark treated himself to a couple of bottles of Bank's Bitter from Aldi, a bargain at 99p which nicely quenched his thirst once we'd walked back home.
Tomorrow the weather looks iffy again but we shall move on regardless as we will need the services at Carnforth, the ones in Hest Bank being permanently closed. Not sure were we will moor, shall see what turns up.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Trying to keep cool...

After a cool start it was a hot & humid afternoon, we managed to get the roof sanded ( the black & decker sander makes it sooo  much easier) & one coat of paint on but it looks like rain stops play tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Back at Cabus Nook

After a weekend spent in Galgate lazing around enjoying the glorious weather, too hot to do much else, yesterday we came back down to Cabus Nook, hoping the spot we had last time was free, which it was :) We are quite surprised that such a lovely spot (where you can actually get into the side!) is usually deserted, not complaining though, we like it peaceful
 The weather was even hotter than at the weekend as the cooling breeze had dropped & I ended up sat on the back under the back canopy with the sides removed, I do like a bit of sunshine but wilt  when it's hot, Mark loves it, the hotter the better but even he had to seek some shade now & again. 
This morning dawned grey & chilly a bit of a change from the last few days,  needing some shopping we went down to Garstang & did a Sainsburys shop,  intending to stay overnight but after lunch decided to turn round & head back here. 
I have been doing the steering & had my 1st attempt at winding, it went okay but with lots of input from Mark! Today was a bit more challenging in the steering department, meeting oncoming boats in bridge holes etc so plenty to get my teeth into. 
No disasters & just one minor hiccough when I took my eye off the ball to admire the view of the Pennines but no-one else around to see it ;)
 It is a cracking view...The sun came out & it was a lovely cruise back. 
 Buttercups in the distance fields, Irises lining the banks
 A Family of Shelducks, the young are tiny & very cute,
 not the best photo, as soon as we got near the little ones dived out of sight
 The lorry dwarfed the bridge, They were never built for heavy traffic ( I don't suppose the builders knew what the term meant!) so it's not doing too bad after a couple of hundred years. 
  a mug shot...
The resident Swan family aren't camera shy

We got back here at 4.30 & I got straight on with washing the cabin port side, it was in sore need as it's been a while since it was towpath side, I can see out of the windows now. 
More jobs tomorrow as our roof needs a repaint, the paint is in fairly good condition but has got very grubby & won't scrub clean any more so probably a good job that it's forecast to be cooler as it will be easier to work in.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Galgate, again & a walk to Glasson Dock

We left Cabus Nook on Wednesday & made our way to Lancaster, we were hoping to find a mooring spot so we could stay overnight & were pleasantly surprised to find the visitor moorings almost empty so we got some shopping in & I collected a prescription from Lancaster Post Office, having again to explain about 'Poste Restante' to the counter clerk who, having never heard of it ("are you sure you haven't had a card through the door, you will need to collect it from the delivery office") checked with another clerk & found my letter. 
I had an appointment at Rosebank Medical Centre & can highly recommend them to any visiting boaters need a GP,  they were great, especially as there had been a mix up & the appointment had been made for the previous day but no problem, they soon registered me as a temporary patient & I saw a GP within 15 minutes, sorted.

Yesterday morning we winded in one of the basins & headed the 4 miles back to Galgate this time with me steering for a change, Mark usually does most of the driving as I enjoy walking the tow path & doing the locks, it's good exercise, but I feel I do need to be able to steer as you never know when it might be needed. It's easy peasy here on the Lancaster as no locks to contend with so a good place to practise.  Plenty of room on the 7 day moorings so we got tied up & spent the rest of the day enjoying this fabulous weather.

As we now don't need to go down to Glasson Basin for diesel we decided not to bother cruising there & walk instead so this morning we made the best of the weather & had a very pleasant stroll

 The hawthorn trees & hedges are laden with blossom, my favourite time of year
 abundant buttercups 
                  reflections on the underside of the bridge
The visitor moorings in the basin were just about full so it's probably just as well that we left Poppy moored up in Galgate.  First stop was the Lock keepers Rest for an ice cream before having a potter round which, as it's only a small place didn't take long , I bought some lemon & parsley smoked mackerel from the smoke house & then we went back to the Lock Keepers Rest for a spot of lunch before heading back up to Galgate.  
A lazy afternoon followed ( just for a change!) enjoying the weather, the wind has got up today providing some respite from the heat, can't believe a week ago we had a fire! 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Cabus Nook

Has summer finally arrived? Looks like it & I hope we're not tempting fate as the chimney has been removed & stowed. 
We arrived here at Cabus Nook yesterday lunchtime after an overnight stop in Garstang on Sunday, we had hung about Galgate waiting for some decent weather to go down to Glasson Dock ( we had been told more than once that it's a windy spot at the best of times) & whilst down there we planned on filling up with diesel. 
Diesel outlets are few on the Lancaster, as far as we knew there was Moons Bridge Marina, which we had passed back at the end of April & Glasson but  Dave, the warden at Galgate Marina, told us that Glasson no longer sell it so on Friday with nothing more pressing & the weather still more like March  we turned round & headed south (after I had rung Moons Bridge 1st to make sure they did have some!) & filled up. 
We should have plenty now to see us through to June 23rd when we go back down the link, especially if this weather lasts as the solar panels then do a good job keeping the batteries topped up.
 We passed this 'caraboat' on the way, I suppose someone must like it....

We'd barely got moored before this family stopped by to see if we had any tidbits

It's delightfully rural here & very peaceful,
 just the odd tractor droning away as the farmers crack on with haymaking

 Sid's really enjoying it here 

Although not sure what this was about as he does not usually do knees!

Soona meanwhile does what Soona does best ;)

We will have to drag ourselves away tomorrow as I have a doctors appointment in Lancaster but I'm sure we will be back here.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Busy doing not a lot at the moment!  We moved back to Hest Bank last Friday stopping briefly at Carnforth to restock supplies from the handy Tesco & do the necessary at the services.
 It would have been nice to stay at Capernwray longer but we needed water etc, but we shall be up there again as we are not due back down the Ribble Link until 23rd of June so plenty of time, which is just as well really given the recent wet & windy weather, if we had just been up here for a couple of weeks we would have needed to move regardless but we can potter long or stay put as the fancy (& weather) takes us.
We've had the odd nice day, last Sunday being one of them, cool & breezy but sunny so we walked into Morecambe
Looking North West across Morecambe Bay, the mountains of Cumbria in the hazy distance
 Sculpture showing the position of the distant hills
 They are all named, but you'd need a very clear day (& probably binoculars) to see them all.

Mark found us a footpath for the walk back, it started by walking through the busy Happy Mount Park with lots of families out enjoying the sunshine, full marks to Lancaster City Council Leisure Services for this gem. Out of the rear of the park & onto a pleasant footpath which took us back up to the canal at Rakes Bridge,just a couple of hundred yards from our mooring.

On Tuesday morning we moved down to Lancaster, there was a boat on the service point but they were just about to move off so good timing, even better, they had just vacated a space on the visitor moorings. We had a very brief chat ( I'm hopeless at remembering boat names) recognising each others Yorkshire accent, turns out they were from Goole  which is where we started  continuously cruising from 2 years ago on the 18th May 2010. 
During the last 2 years we have done 1409 miles, 935 locks, 31 tunnels, 48 lift bridges & 61 swing bridges & the Ribble Link, one way...

We enjoyed our short stay in Lancaster despite the weather, the moorings are quiet despite being close to town. The moorings are 7 days, there were 3 other narrow boats & some GRP boats filling up the rest of the space & whilst we were there was no-one on any of the other boats until Friday night  when someone appeared on the boat in front of us so I doubt that many if any were 'visitors'. 

As no rain was forecast, yesterday seemed a good day to move so Mark reversed back to the services, dashed to the paper shop whilst the tank was filling & by 9am we were on our way. It was a very pleasant cruising along in the sunshine,  we are planning to do the Glasson Arm & spend a day or two in the basin so here at Galgate, just 1/2 a mile or so to the junction looked a good place to sit out the next few days of windy, showery weather.  Sid is happier too as shore leave was cancelled in Lancaster, although there are lots of dog walkers  about so he's not strayed too far from home  
The wind is getting up now, we are in a bit of a dip here so seem to be sheltered from the worst of it, Mark  sawed & chopped some logs this morning, has just lit the fire & we have an episode of  'The Bridge' to watch so when the rain arrives we won't care...

Before I go....I spend a lot of time walking along tow paths & see a lot of this, 

either left on the ground or even more bizarrely, hung in the hedge, why ? 
 I just don't get it - hoping the day comes when I spot someone doing it & I can ask them.