Sunday, 27 October 2013

Liverpools Albert Dock

Hi There

Well we are back on the main network now having crossed back across The Ribble Link to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

For our first year anniversary aboard we treated ourselves to a pub lunch on the Lancaster Canal before we left complete with wine and beer and a treat it certainly was as it was our first time since Christmas. Retiring early and living on a budget does mean some sacrifices, this being one of them, but would we change it, not a chance.

The trip back across The Ribble Link wasn’t as nice as it was going over and although it was dry, it was very windy so had to crab most of the way. Still managed the tidal part of the trip in two hours though and going north to south there is less of a likelihood of running out of water as we did on the initial trip to the Lancaster Canal. The two hours does of course exclude the trip down Savick Brook that links the Lancaster Canal with the tidal part of the link that in itself is another 2 – 3 hours so makes for quite a long day.

Just turning out of Savick Brook and onto the River Ribble. High tide is in about an hours time so pushing the tide for the first part of the trip.

With a strong wind from the north that makes going in a straight line a challenge.

 Our travelling companions for the day were the NB Tunnels End and
NB Reflections.
Our next port of call was Liverpool and we’d booked the Liverpool Canal Link for a weeks time so pretty much just travelled straight down there that gave us a couple of days rest before doing the link itself. We met up again with our friends Alan and Ann from Scotland who were on holiday in the Lake District and travelled down to see us. We hadn’t seen them for about four years then we meet up twice in the space of about two months. We then had ‘another’ pub lunch so after being baron of them for ten months we’d had two in about two weeks, ain’t life a bitch !

The Liverpool Canal Link consists of two swing bridges and six locks all of which were operated for us by the Canal and River Trust guys. So Nicky had a day off from hard labour and . . . actually I don’t know what she got up to as I didn’t see her for most of the trip as it’s a lonely life for me out back in bad weather. Actually tell a lie, she did look out and started to ask me if I wanted some waterproof trousers about ten minutes after it started pouring down and simply just shut the door when she saw my jeans wouldn’t actually get any wetter even if I jumped into the canal. The trip out was a much nicer day so there are some photo’s of the outbound journey a bit below.

One of the main reasons for heading towards Liverpool was for my annual pilgrimage to a footy match. Not Liverpool or Everton of course, but Man U and not so strange to moor in Liverpool when you’re watching a match in Manchester cos my mates Steve and Alan were flying into Liverpool airport from Jersey along with Alan’s wife and daughter who were going to be staying with Nicky on the boat whilst I was away. Turned out not to be the best result for us, 1-1 against Southampton, but the beer on the Friday and Saturday made up for it although not having drunk much over the past year plus trying to keep up with the adults left me feeling very jaded !

Tina and Nikita with The Boys and

then The Boys enjoying a snooze with Aunty Tina.

We then had more visitors, this time in the shape of Nicky’s uncle and aunt aka Paul and Cath who live just north of Liverpool. Cath happens to be a Liverpool supporter, but other than that she's really nice so I let her come aboard. They came down to see us for an afternoon and then we met up with them again a few days later and they took us for a walk around some woods, sand dunes and beach at a place called Freshfields. It was really nice to get away from the city, especially for the boys who’d now been a week without a decent off lead walk and considering they’re normally used to 2 – 3 hours a day out in the wilds it must have been a bit of a shock to their system.

Whilst in Liverpool we also had the luxury of electricity on our berth so plugged into it and didn't have to give a thought to our usage and whether we were going to be travelling or how bright it was going to be for the solar panels to charge up the batteries. Even so, we still only managed to spend £1.90's worth of electricity during the eight days we were there.
Anyway enough chat and back to some proper boat blogging and pictures of our trip out.

We were moored up in Salthouse Dock that’s within the Albert Dock development and you can see us here, the first boat from the left, actually we're the first boat from the right as well as we were alone for much of the time. We had the company of two narrowboats the first night, but they left the next morning (note to Nicky, change your deodorant) and then two others turned up for our last night. Our first proper experience of civilisation this year actually found us even more remote than our normal choice of rural moorings with not even a towpath outside the window with your usual throughput of walkers and cyclists.

As I said above, the trip out was far kinder for us you’ll see by the quick guide to the Liverpool Canal Link below.

Leaving Salthouse Dock then travelling through


Albert Dock

and towards the cut through to Canning Half Tide Lock

Now we’re in the Canning Half Tide Lock complete with Binks in his place of safety. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know where to look for him, if you haven’t you might struggle to find him in the photo in which case you’ll have to go through my other blogs to find out where to look.

Now in Canning Dock with a Light Boat turned cafĂ© in the background.

And the first of six locks.

You’ve now got three tunnels, two smaller ones of 88m and 99m with the first taking you under the Museum of Liverpool and then a longer 190m one into the second lock. This stretch also takes you past The Royal Liver building.

From this lock it's now a straight run through Princes Dock

Central Docks

Central Docks Channel that the CaRT guy called 'The Ditch'

Passing the Victoria Clock Tower as you pass into

Salisbury Dock and Collingwood Dock

Stanley Dock

And into the first of the four Stanley Flight locks.


Looking back from the top lock


And back home on a canal once again

Just the number 10 swing bridge to go now so Nicky’s swung into action (sorry for the pun) and five hours is more than enough for us, so this’ll be home for the night.

If you’re thinking about going to the Albert Dock in Liverpool, then do it and if you haven’t thought about it then pencil it in as something to look into. I don’t think you could be better placed at Salthouse Dock that is adjacent to Liverpool One, with virtually everything within walking distance. We’ve missed out on more than we’ve managed to see during our stay there and if it wasn’t for one eye on forthcoming stoppages and loosely planning our next five to six months then we might have looked to extend our stay.
We’re now heading towards the daunting prospect of Wigan’s flight of 21 locks that doesn’t sound like they’ll be particularly enjoyable, but at least it saves on the cost of  gym membership for Nicky I suppose.

And so in signing off,

Day 371 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 738 miles and 299 locks further on from when we started.


Thursday, 3 October 2013

1 Year Today

Hi There
Well as in the title post, we are one year today. The 3rd October 2012 saw us spend our first night on Badger Sett that was the start of a planned six months timeout, that ran into a twelve months time out and looks like now being permanent. Whilst I'm sure our life and lifestyle wouldn't suit some, it certainly suits us and when we Skype family and friends they all seem to say that we look really well and happy. Not sure how to take this, does it mean that we didn't look really well and happy before ?
We've been on the Lancaster Canal since our last post and enjoying the 41 mile main length and largely rural lock free scenery. Lock free other than the Glasson Branch that has got six locks that we just did yesterday.

Nicky's got a bit of a fetish lately and unfortunately, one that I can write about without censorship. The first time it happened I thought she'd left me as she just stood up, put her coat and boots on, picked up her unable-to-be-without-phone and shot out the door. Just when the prospect of my new life started to dawn on me and all those locks and lift bridges I'd have to do by myself, she was back. Turned out she'd spotted a sunset she liked and a few more since then as well.

Not so much a sunset, but a moon up this next one.

Just after Lancaster is quite an impressive aqueduct that takes you over the River Lune, strangely enough it's called the Lune Aqueduct!

Looking down the river from the Aqueduct towards Lancaster Castle.

Dec's our youngest son and his girlfriend Stevie came to see us for a few days on their way back from holiday in Tenerife and Dec's took the opportunity of 'taking control'.

He did very well and was extremely calm and relaxed, until . . .

a boat came around the corner just in front.

We stopped with them at Hest Bank overlooking Morcambe Bay for a few days and it was great to see the sea. Coming from Jersey there isn't really a day that goes by when you wouldn't see it, especially when I worked at the harbour and our house had sea views. Okay, distant sea views, but it was still mentioned in the sales spiel when it went on the market. Took a walk down there as the boys, well Binks more so, loves the water.

Dec's and Stevie with Benji trying to work out how to get up there.

Now you can't go to Morcambe Bay without visiting the great Mr Morcambe himself, although as an option I suppose you aren't duty bound to make fools of yourselves, but hey, when in Rome.

And a final treat for the boys on the beach with Benji about as close to getting in the water as he gets.

and Binks waiting 

for someone to just hurry up and throw that stick that's being waved about

so he can go and rescue it

Came across this little fellow on one of our walks.

although the boys weren't too sure what to make of him.

The Lancaster Canal has been great and improves the further north you go. The navigation is unceremoniously cut off by the M6 although it used to continue on to Kendal and there are plans to maybe open it up in the years to come. It won't be cheap though with locks to fix, tunnels and aqueducts to be built under and over roads and that's just to reconnect it back to the canal. After that, there's about 15 miles of canal to make navigable, some of which is filled in. You can walk along what they call the 'Northern Reaches' although we only managed 5 of the 15 miles that starts bringing you into the foothills of the Lake District and what would be a lovely stretch if ever opened up.


Some of it is fairly clear, but

some of it isn't.

 And the M6 cutting it off in the background.
Looks like there is some attempt to keep the Northern Reaches clear and some of the views that await.


We went for a walk to Warton Nature Reserve that's about two miles west of the canal and went up to the Crag. Trying to take a photo of the boys and Nicky proved tricky though as they were either
in the way 

looking the wrong way

or looking the wrong way and the wind was blowing

with this being about the best I could get in the end.

I on the other hand didn't have a hair issue, we just all looked the wrong way.

The boy's like to be warm and in the sun even if there is only a patch big enough for one at a time. Benji is in the hot seat for now, but don't move or . . .

to late you did and Binks is straight in there


That's it for now other than a quick close up photo to give you nightmares. Taken with Nicky's phone, as are a lot of the photo's in this post and puts my camera to shame.
And so in signing off,

Day 347 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 636 miles and 277 locks further on from when we started.

Note - For those eagled eyed of you who have noticed we're only on day 347, but have been going for a year, it's because we went home for Christmas and I didn't include those days in our log. Guess we'll have to be like the Queen and have two birthdays, one on the 3rd October and the other on the 365th day or subsequent multiples thereof in the years to come.