Saturday, 30 May 2009

A few pictures of the trip to Salterforth.

I saved these pictures the other day and have got to use them now as the reception here is so bad I cannot upload anything.

You see some strange things chugging along. No other boats, roads, or bridges etc for miles just this solitary boat with accompanying shed.
Another variation of lock equipment, a nice little step to balance on while you wind away, some of those steps are over the water making it all the more interesting.
This is the Foulridge Tunnel, the red eyes glaring at you are traffic lights allowing you in at half past the hour to twenty to. A ten minute window every hour.

Swallowed by the green eyed monster. Another wet tunnel but still not a patch on the Blisworth.

Another shot of just outside Burnley.

I now have another strangely named boat to add to my list:

Moose Drool.

The Vented Spleen.

And now "Floater".

We are now in a fantastic location overlooking the Pennines just near the Yorkshire border, unfortunately I can't upload any pictures yet but they will be coming soon.

Until then...................

Moving along the Leeds & Liverpool.

The blogging has been a bit hit and miss lately as we have had to put in a few very long days indeed.
The reason for this is that we have had to pass through two places that are quite close together but very large and spread out, Blackburn and Burnley. Every boater we have met along here has warned us not to moor anywhere near these places if you still want a boat left in the morning, nice......
So we made a plan of mooring safely in the country within an hours chugging of the centre, then getting a very early start to get through each place in one day. It did work but even at ten in the morning there was an awful lot of drunks along the canal and at the locks, what it must be like late afternoon and evening doesn't bear thinking about.

Crossing the border and here we go!Not a good omen, we passed this just after the sign. As it turned out there were more bikes, traffic cones and general rubbish in the canal than we have seen since setting out.

The boat has been hitting things so often its a good job its 12mm steel, I have been visiting the weed hatch on a regular basis removing the plastic bags etc that have to be chucked in the canal and not in a bin.
There are some nice buildings around but the blue palisade fencing topped with razor wire does nothing for the ambiance.There are still lots of these old chimneys around, this one looked as if it would topple over at any moment.
Here we are passing through the "Weavers Triangle" part of Burnley, this bit has been made to look nice but it is devoid of visitors. That boat belongs to the centre and is of course chained to its moorings. In these past three days we have seen five boats and they were rushing through as well.The other side of the triangle.

After Blackburn we found this fantastic mooring overlooking the Pennines, yet again the canal surprises you as this is only half an hour away from the city and an hour away from Burnley.

This was the view from the kitchen window. We had breakfast in the cratch then.........
Back to reality as we approach another town.

One last look.

Still we are through there now in one bit, we are meeting many more boats now as we are back into the country and heading for Leeds, if the reports other boaters are giving us are to be believed, we are in for a good trip.

We need it after those few days.

Until tomorrow.................

PS: Its our wedding anniversary today, I remembered (Just).

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 23 Locks.

We were shoved straight back into working locks today with a vengeance. These 23 are the Wigan flight and are extremely heavy and in some cases really awkward to work, poor D was shattered after that lot.

They are also not in the best condition either. At only sixty feet long they are quite short, leaving very little room for you to keep the bows far enough back to stop them filling with water. All very worrying sometimes as it would only take about thirty seconds to put the bows under with that amount of water pouring in.
There were even winches attached to the beams to close the gates on some of the locks,
vertical paddle gear
and no beams at all just winding gear on others. It felt that we were working through an obstacle course at times.

We made it through safely though and moored for the night just behind this poor old boat.

It is completely sunk and sitting on the bottom of the canal, it added to the foreboding look in the evening sky.

The next day was back to the pouring rain and blowing a gale again. No moving for us then!

So until tomorrow...................

Monday, 25 May 2009

Bridgewater Canal/Leigh Branch, Manchester. No Locks.

We are both not too keen on this canal, although there are no locks there is very little else in the way of facilities for boaters either. Water points are as rare as Hens Teeth so are proper moorings, its very different to the BW waterways which we are glad to get back to.

Its very high though, giving great views as you sail through the rooftops.
Another bridge to stop the traffic, this was a very busy road and it was operated by a bridge keeper. As we approached he was waving away trying to speed us up as a huge queue had already formed, but speed is not an option on a narrowboat I'm afraid, its more of a serene glide.

The drivers eyes did seem to be boring into us as they glared and glared, cant think why.

Very old iron bridge named Abram, it is a wonder how these bridges have survived modern day traffic, it carries another very busy road over the canal.
A more modern bridge here which is also the border back to BW waterways.

Some more of the little darlings.

When we were choosing a mooring spot for the night we came across the right place but on the tow path side there were lots of motorbike tracks, so being clever we moored on the other side next to a field with lots of trees.

When we were settled in our chairs on the bank eating dinner in the sun is when the two Bulls came towards us from the trees.

Now this was interesting, what do you do? run for the boat or stay still and hope. We sat still, very still, very very still. Thankfully they had a good look at us munched some grass and went away.

Note to self: Check fields for Bulls "before" mooring.

So until tomorrow....................................

Trent and Mersey to the Bridgewater canal. Three tunnels 1 Stop Lock.

At last, It has taken me three days to upload these pictures. This site can get so busy it is unworkable, but here we go.

After leaving the Boat lift we had to negotiate three tunnels that were only wide enough for one boat to pass at a time. BW have worked out passage times from either end and have put up signs with entry times. The Preston Brook being the last of the three and at 1239 yds allows you to enter from exactly on the hour to ten past, we of course arrived at fifteen minutes past.

As soon as you leave that tunnel you are on the Bridgewater Canal which is under the control of the Manchester Ship Canal Company.

Story time......are you sitting comfortably?

It was getting late on our first afternoon on the Bridgewater when we came across a perfectly manicured piece of canalside grassland with a walkway and accompanying benches, to top it all there was a perfect mooring place with rings for the ropes and a cafe on a terrace overlooking the canal.

D went mooching off to try to find someone to ask if we could moor here.

After being dragged off to the security building and questioned as to how she got into a secure government Nuclear research facility she was released back to the boat and told to be on her way.


Thinking on....putting up the odd "Private, Clear Off" type of sign would have alerted us, and as for "Secure" they might want to point a camera and machine gun at the canal.


This was the next morning, breakfast in the cratch today for the first time. This can't be a Bank Holiday.
On our way upwards we found this interestingly named boat. I wonder what that means?

This proud old building still seems to be holding out against the developers.

This is its close neighbour, there are two of these and if you look really closely you should be able to make out a PINK concrete or fibreglass cow.

Sometimes the word "why" just isn't enough.

A lighthouse is the last thing we would have guessed was around this corner but there it is.
Passing over the Manchester Ship Canal on an aqueduct that can be swung open. The possibility of a ship large enough to make this happen nowadays is a very rare event. We would have loved to have been held up just to watch, but alas no.

We were however held up by these little yachts, this was at the Lymn boat rally, the boat with the banner on is right across the canal and is acting as a barrier to stop the model boats being swept away.

This boat was decorated with rope lights in the shape of animals.

Shall we stop and look? says I.

Not on your nelly says D. That's not funny.

I am trying to catch up now the weekend is over,

so until tomorrow (hopefully).......................

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Anderton Boat Lift.

One last bit about the lift then we will be back on our travels.

This is the hydraulic ram that supports...............................

This! 250 tons of metal, water and boats.

The lift was operated with water hydraulics when it was first built but the water around here is so full of salt and other chemicals the pipes corroded and the lift failed repeatedly. The whole structure was then fitted with the gear wheels and motors that you can still see on the top.

This was then once again changed back to a hydraulic system but with the benefit of oil instead of water.

Here we are with another boat waiting to be pushed aloft.

The other caisson on its way down.

Half way now, lots of photos being swapped here.

Well those few days have all been an experience not to have been missed.

We are now on the Bridgewater canal on our way to Manchester, the Bank Holiday weekend is upon us and it is getting busy again. We interrupted a "Narrowboat Rally" today as we cruised along. More pictures to follow.

Until tomorrow......................

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Weaver Navigations.

We have spent a couple of days on these navigations now and we cannot actually believe that this waterway is so under used.
All the locks on here are huge having been designed for ships. There are two lock keepers to each lock when you are moving upstream from the lift, and one keeper each lock as you move downstream.
The level of service that you get from these people is unbelievable! They operate the whole system for you and do it with a willingness that beggars belief. We have even been thanked for visiting the waterway.
Most boats seem to ride the lift down, hang around and then ride the lift back up. They really don't know what they are missing.

This is us waiting for the lock to open in the morning, Ubique is 55ft long and is absolutely dwarfed by the scale of the surroundings.

This is us in one of the ship locks, can you spot us?
That gate is half way along and could be used to halve the lock but it no longer works. Two and a half million gallons of water flood into this to raise us 9ft.

The swing bridges are all built on the same grand scale. We learnt today that all these bridges still operate as a yacht moved from a marina at the top down to the Mersey.
That is quite something as all of the roads are really busy, I can imagine that if you were on your way to work you probably wouldn't be too appreciative of a yacht taking priority.

Wildlife pictures following.

Canada Geese,

Disappearing Coot chicks.

The best for last, these Cygnets are just too cute. Was it Tommy Steele with the ugly duckling song?

Whoever it was could never have seen a baby swan.

Much more to follow..............................

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Anderton Boat Lift.

The reception here is bad, very bad.
I have loads of pictures of the lift and the river but I can only get these few on at the moment.

In we go.

It was raining so hard as we started our descent I felt guilty for getting the operators out of their office. Down,
and out. Simples.

Here it is in all its glory as we leave for the river.

The view from along the river. All those wheels along the top are from before it was modernised, they used to carry the wires that held the caissons. Each caisson was counterbalanced by the other. Nowadays they are independent of each other and one little boat like us can be lowered without the need for the other caisson going up.

Those wheels have chevron shaped gearing as they mesh together and were invented by a Mr Citroen all those years ago. The badge on their cars is still that shape nowadays.

More pictures to follow.................................

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Still here.

The wind and rain is as bad as ever today and as we don't have to move we are not going to.

Might be going stir crazy though if we can't get away tomorrow.

This part of a tree was blown down yesterday afternoon blocking the tow path and just missing the boat that is moored in front of us.

Hope to be on the move tomorrow.....................