I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Thursday 30 August 2012

Wednesday 29th August

OK.  Flowers off roof – check.  Flowers in cabin safely stowed – check.  Scupper covers on – check.  Last will and testament updated – check.  Lifejackets on – check.  Oh no Millie hasn’t got a life jacket maybe I should tie to her a fender!

clip_image002The weather forecast for today was not good and hadn’t been good for days now however when we woke up it wasn’t raining and the wind wasn’t as bad as they had forecast.  We donned all our wet weather gear and headed off to the lock.  There were two boats already in the lock and there was supposed to be a fourth travelling with us but they didn’t turn up.  The lock gates opened and I realized that, in fact, it was nothing like going out onto the Thames!  In front of us was a nice quiet river but we didn’t have time to let it lull us into a false sense of security before it started to widen out.  We could see blue sky to the west of us and hoped that it was coming our way.  It took us about an hour to get to the mouth of the River Douglas and from there we turned east onto the River Ribble and towards Preston.  We were counting down the perch markers when we saw the first boat turn into the Ribble Link.  I was really surprised at how quickly we had got there (about 45 minutes).  I had anticipated four foot high waves – well I am know to exaggerate – and a Force 4 wind but in the end it was a nice, calm crossing. 

The first obstacle as we turned into the Ribble Link is a sandbank which narrowboats have been known to be stranded on for days but Richard steered Mary H beautifully passed it and up to the rotating sea lock.  We had to tie up just the other side of the sea lock for a short while the water level was low enough for us to get under the first bridge.  This was a time for discussing our crossing with the other two boats – but no-one had any horror stories to tell!  The Ribble Link itself is little more than a ditch – well it’s other name is Savick Brook!  There are five locks to neclip_image004gotiate and the very nice C&RT men did them all – I only had to help out on the last one!  The three staircase locks are interesting as you have to go into them backwards as there is nowhere to turn to go in forwards.  At this stage the heavens opened and there was a terrific thunderstorm with lightening ripping at the sky.  The staircase locks are long and deep but we were soon popping up into the top basin where we turned back around and headed off along the Lancaster Canal.  By this time the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful blue which made the canal look so pretty.
clip_image014If you have been reading my blog for some time you will have read that we visited the house and village where I lived in Yorkshire.  Well we were soon in the area where I lived for 4 years before moving to Kirkby Malham.  I had worked it out that Bridge 22 was the one at the bottom of our lane and as we went under it I could see part of the roof of Highfield House J  But more to the point we pulled over and moored up for a cup of tea and I could see the farm where my friend Gillian lived.  But more of all this on our way back down the Lancaster as we are heading straight to Tewitfield (the furthest point of navigation) now before going home for a week on Sunday.  I was sad to leave our lovely temporary mooring place but the lure of going home was greater.  The Lancaster Canal is renowned for being difficult to moor in and Richard kept trying to find somewhere but each time it was too shallow at the side.  We had noticed the vast amount of plastic boats (motor cruisers to non-boaters) and now know why as they are the right shape to get into the side.  We finally found somewhere and Millie was soon outside giving her approval of the Lancaster Canal having slept all day through five different waterways and the excitement of crossing the River Ribble.

Today was weigh day and somehow I managed to lose 1lb – not sure how!

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