Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Ribble Link

Hi There
August has been a gentle month for us of 26 cruising hours after July’s 55 when our son and his girlfriend were over. Allowed us some pretty lazy days, but the weathers been pretty good and we’ve managed to find some good walks as well. Spent about ten nights spread between the Appley Locks, Parbold and then outside of Burscough that are only about five miles apart. We then gave ourselves six days to travel the final six miles from the branch at Burscough up to Tarleton where our Ribble Link experience will start.

Just need to quickly say that in the event of me mysteriously disappearing from blogging life, please forward the following evidence to the police for me. 
Taking the boys for a walk and trying, with difficulty, to get Binks to go through the gate.
Here's me doing my cameo appearance as Maximus Decimus Meridius from the Gladiator film.
And Nicky trying to get a picture with the boys who are otherwise interested.
Now onto our Ribble Link experience . . . . . .
Tarleton Lock and as you can see, we're not going anywhere yet as the tide hasn't come in.
Looking down from Tarleton Lock.
Five narrow boats doing today's trip and we're in fifth place. It's a double lock so we'll be the third lock to go that'll cost us a bit further into our journey.
And we're off and looking back at the lock. Quite a flow here as it's quite narrow for a mile.
Starting to open out a bit now and making better headway.
The narrow boat in front was in the first lock so we've made up about thirty minutes on him in the first couple of miles. The boat that's just overtaken us was in the lock behind and going fishing for the day.
The narrow boat in the right of the picture has gone round the Asland Lamp that's the marker we need to keep to the left of so we don't find ourselves dry on a sandbank. It's off to the left and out of sight in this picture that'll give you an idea of the detour that you need to make before you can head right towards Savick Brook that'll take us onto the Lancaster Canal.
Not very clear, but you might be able to make out the Asland Lamp in the distance almost in line with the starboard side of our boat. The sailing boat in the right of this picture is the one that is in the left of the picture above that puts the detour we need to make a bit more into context.
Just coming up on the Asland Lamp and need to remember to turn right here or we're off out to sea and heading towards America. Oops that'll be a problem as we haven't got a visa . . . .
A couple of fishing boats that have come from Preston Docks and in the distance, the two narrowboats that were in the lock before us.
Getting towards the end of the journey, the turning into Savick Brook is about a mile on the left, BUT . . .
We're not going there today as we'd received a call telling us that there won't be enough water so it's onto Preston Docks for us for an unscheduled night stop.
Waiting for the lock to open so we can get into the marina, lucky for Nicky that it's not windlass operated !
It's Nicky's lucky day, the swing bridge isn't windlass operated either. . . .

And here we are moored up for the night.
Every cloud has a silver lining and all that though. The bonus of the detour turned out to be a Morrisons Supermarket about five minutes walk away as we needed to do a shop, an Elsan point,  water point and washing machines and tumble dryers at the marina. And the bonuses didn't stop there either. We popped into a motorhome shop that was close by as we've decided to get a low voltage twin tub washing machine that we were expecting to pay about £100 for and found that they were less than £60. So that's on order and we'll be picking it up when we come back to do the return trip on the link in October.
So this is sort of the morning after the night before (but without the drink) and heading out of Preston Docks and back towards Savick Brook to finish our journey we started 24 hours ago. The boat in front is the one we'd past yesterday who spent the night with us in the dock.
And quite a nice day for it to.
Just starting our turn into Savick Brook.

And coming up to the sea lock.
Where we met up with three other boats that were doing The Ribble Link today.
We thought The Ribble Link experience stopped as we'd crossed the tidal part, but as it turned out, the Savick Brook is a whole experience by itself and mostly very narrow.


You might just be able to make out the canal going off to the right in front before turning left again a little further ahead where you can see the narrow boat that's in front.
Waiting at the first lock, where . . . . .
a couple of clunks and a head down the weed hatch later I retrieved a chunk of wood from the propeller. All fine though and after the problems we've had with bent prop shafts and propellers falling off we were mighty relieved that this was all it was.  

And on we continue, only seven more locks to go !

Getting there now, the final leg, a staircase that you need to reverse into. 
In we go and for once the boat did what I wanted it to do, was it skill, probably not, just no wind, no flow and luck.
The staircase from the middle lock.
And then the top lock and nearly done.

Reversing out now and finally on the Lancaster Canal, thirty hours after leaving the Leeds and Liverpool.
Moored up and in need of a rest now, so this will be home for the next few days. Glad we got round to making a gangplank as we'll be needing it here as the canal is apparently very shallow at the sides.
And so in signing off,
Day 322 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 571 miles and 271 locks further on from when we started.