Sunday, 27 July 2014

Wigan twenty one and beyond.

Leaving Botany Bay after a nice meal at the Lock and Quey the night before, we headed for Wigan locks. We were not going to do the locks on a Sunday so we moored at Haigh Hall and Country park,about a mile and a half from them. Sunday evening we had a pleasant walk round the country park. Monday morning we approached the top of the locks hoping for another boat to share the work down the Twenty one lock flight. Unfortunately the only boat in sight was two locks down. We set off in pursuit. We were gaining on them and by lock three I had caught their eye so they waited for us. Harry and David were a great help. Harry tied both boats together so Marlene and him went in and out of the locks together and at one point he left Marlene in charge of both boats. Lower down the flight we were helped by two men from the Canal and River Trust. So all in all the three and a half hours were good. On to the Leigh branch where the only two locks before Middlewich took us an hour they leaked that badly.we stopped for lunch next to the lake then carried on to Dover bridge and moored for the night. We try to moor away from other people so if we have to run the engine we don't annoy anybody,but,in lots of cases people come and moor behind us. On the next day to Worsley where I left my hammer on the canal bank. Then it was down through Lymm where all the moorings were full so we had to moor out of town. On to Preston Brook tunnel and the two shorter tunnels that we did on the way up. We moored at Anderton and watched the the lift in operation. By coincidence Stephen phoned and said he had just been reading about the lift and the Stanley Arms, which we were moored opposite. A slow days took us to Middlewich where today we met Pamela,Nathan and the Grandchidren,the are with us till next Saturday. Marlene decorated the boat with balloons and a Happy Birthday banner for Archies Birthday, they have taken Archie to the cinema to see How to Train your Dragon two. Amberley is with us and asleep in her pushchair. Tomorrow we turn round and head back to Anderton to take the boat down the lift on to the river Weaver and back.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Would you believe it.

The seven Barrowford locks went quite well till leaving the last one a fender that was hanging over the side caught in the lock gate and nearly ripped the solar panels off the roof. We carried on through Nelson and Burnley, the over heating was giving us trouble. If we kept at 1400rpm we seemed ok. This continued so we called in at Reedley Marina to see if they could sort it our. They directed us to Knotts Bridge boatyard and ask for Steve. Arriving there around four o clock we had to wait for the engine to cool down so Steve could look at it. He bled the air out of the system and sent us on a test run,unfortunately the problem persisted. It was now eight o clock so we stayed the morning Steve came and discovered a small leak in some pipe joints,so he tightened every thing up and told me to run the engine out of gear to see if that had fixed it. It hadn't,while trying to puzzle it out Steve noticed that the temperature gauge was rising and falling at intervals. It's an electrical fault he declared where is the sender,he found it and found the nut was lose,he tightened it and the problem was solved. Just one small nut causing all that trouble. We thanked him and paid him then left,only we were pointing the wrong way after our test run. While turning at the first wide spot in the canal we picked up a blue plastic sack in the propeller. Into the weed hatch armed with scissors to cut it away. Finally we were on our way again through Hapton and claton-Le-Moors and twisting our way through Church. The plan was to moor before entering Blackburn,however, we could find nowhere suitable. We asked some people in a boat coming out of Blackburn if there was some where to moor up ahead. They told us to moor at the top of the flight of locks. On arrival at the locks(it was now five o clock)there was no mooring. We defended the six locks and headed out of Blackburn. It had been hot and hard work. We finally moored at seven o clock,shattered. Today we have had no problems except the rain. We left at ten and arrived at the seven lock Johnson's Hill flight and found our selves sharing with a small cruiser,he was very nervous going into the locks with us. All went well part from the heavy downpour which soaked us all. We moored outside Botany Bay for lunch and stayed for the night. Botany Bay is a shopping centre in an old mill just off the M61 at Chorley.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Skipton to Barrowford locks.

Hear we are sat having our evening meal the sun shining and the rain bouncing off the canal. Say what you like we get some funny weather in this country. Marlene returned from her Spa day on Monday evening,then Tuesday morning we resumed our trip over the Leeds and Liverpool canal. We made good time from Skipton to Gargrave where we moored and went to the Anchor for our lunch. After lunch we did the last three locks in the Gargrave flight. At the bottom of the next flight of locks at Bank Newton we caught up with another boat which had seen us coming. Traveling up the six locks(a rise of 56 ft 1/2 ins)together made it nice and easy. The boat was called Scrumpy and the people were from the west country. Just before we were ready to moor the engine started to over heat,so we moored where we were. It was lovely out among the hills,a spot where canal twists and turns for a few mile. This morning after checking and topping up the engine coolant we were on our way again,however after a short time we had trouble with the engine getting hot again but only when the revs reached a certain level. We cruised on slower.Meeting a boat at the bottom of Greenberfield locks,we went up together with all locks set in our favour. After stopping at a boat yard for diesel and gas we moored at Salterforth for lunch. Then off to Foulridge Tunnel 1640yards long. The lights were red when we arrived so we moored and waited. On the dot at three o clock the lights went green,we entered the tunnel. It took us twenty minutes to get to the other end, back out into the sun. A mile further on we came to Barrowford Visitor mooring and moored up just above Barrowford locks. As we finished tying ropes and went in for a coffee the heavens opened.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The long climb at Bingley.

Leaving Shipley last Thursday after writing the blog we moored at Saltaire and took a walk up Shipley Glen. Later in the day we carried on toward Bingley and the Three and Five Rise Locks. We moored about a mile from the locks Thursday night, ready to start the locks Friday morning. We left our mooring at 9-10hrs Friday and found ourselves fourth in line at the bottom of the Three Rise. Boats were coming down so every body had to wait. At last the first two boats entered the bottom lock to start the climb leaving us still waiting. Finally on the move we went up the three with the assistance of the lock keeper and on to the bottom of the five. To cut a long story short it ws after lunch before we started up the five and two o clock by the time we arrived at the top. Mooring at the top we decided to stay for the weekend. Monday we left Bingley behind heading to Skipton for Wednesday. In the event we arrived in Skipton on Tuesday after two days Cruising through some of the best countryside Yorkshire has to offer. We moored between the two swing bridges at the far side of Skipton in lovely sunshine. Yesterday we did the tourist bit looking round town then going into Skipton Castle,it was a nice day finished off in the evening with a drink in two of Skiptons hostelries,a fine end to the day. This morning Marlene left by train to visit Pamela for her birthday and on Sunday they are going for a spa day. Me, I will get on with some jobs that need doing till Marlene gets back on Monday evening.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

More maintenance please.

We left Leeds at 08-50,the weed on the stretch above Office Lock was quite bad. At the double Oddy locks we arrived as another boat was leaving the top lock,he said they would wait for us at Kirkstall lock. At the next lock which was Spring Garden lock they had gone up the lock then emptied it ready for us,surely it would have been better to wait for us to go up with them and saved a lock full of water. They were waiting at Kirkstall lock as they said and we went up together. The next two sets of three locks each(a rise of 50ft 5ins)had lock keepers to help us. On the fist set the lock keeper had to leave us to rescue some ducklings who had got stuck in the overflow channel. He told me if he didn't get them out the crows would get them. He also told us that there were no moorings left in Skipton because people had been leaving there boats moored ready for the Tour de France and nobody were moving them on. It's fair to say he was not a fan of Le Tour. The Leeds and Liverpool has more than it's fair share of swing bridges. At Moss swing bridge we could not open it try as we may. A licence checker who was passing phoned it in, so we had lunch while we waited. After lunch the couple on the other boat had been told the knack of opening it,this involved a scaffolding pole being inserted in the strategic spot and pressure applied. We moored at Rodley for the night while they continued on. Yesterday we carried on to Apperley Bridge where at the millman swing bridge a man passing on the towpath operated the bridge( which was electric)for us. Up the two lock staircase was no problem,though hard work. Our next set of locks, a three lock staircase I expected to be manned,however,the lock keeper had been replaced by a notice explaining how to do it. Just down the canal and low and behold Buck Hill swing Bridge would not open even with the help of a passing lady. It finally opened when we got more help from a man who was passing. I feel that the Trust should maintain these bridges a little more. We moored at Shipley for last night. This morning it was 8.45 before we surfaced. The last two days had been hard work.