Judith left us today to compete in The Round The Island Race catching a train from Skipton at 08:26 and arriving back in Poole at 16:25.
Peter and Romy visited SpecSavers, walked up the Springs Branch and bought some pies.
We headed out of Skipton stopping for twenty minutes at the water point.
Then we cruised slowly through Low Snaygill, Low Bradley and Kildwick opening several swing bridges en route. One had electric barriers and an electric release mechanism but required manual effort to open it. This caused a little confusion before we realised we were expected to push.
We moored in Silsden in a quiet spot alongside a relatively new housing development. We were advised that it was better, deeper water near the banks and better TV reception just before bridge 192 but we stayed put.
We had an enjoyable walk through Silsden which is quite an interesting little town with a Beck that runs underground in a few places before running under the canal.
We saw the strange sight of a cat swimming in the canal with the ducks. Neither the cat nor the ducks enjoyed this. Two young girls rescued the cat following instruction from Pat and we phoned the owner. Eventually he turned up but did not appear to offer the girls anything for their efforts – sad. We did not take any pictures of the cat. That would have been unfair as it was obviously in distress. We did not have the same level of sympathy for the monkey that we saw in the water a little later.
We attended to the mundane matters of daily life on iPads, iPods, iPhones and MacBooks and matters of financial import. We sat for some two and a half hours in the Herriott enjoying a second lunch here and the use of their very good wi-fi.
We left our pleasant countryside mooring near Thorlby at around 11:00 and headed into Skipton. There were quite a lot more boats around today and we were quite lucky to find an excellent mooring in Skipton overlooking Eller Beck.
Although it was a bit grey again our wild flowers were always there to cheer us up.
It was a very short walk to the Rhubarb Restaurant at the Herriot Hotel where we had an excellent meal. The “50% off all food at weekday lunchtime” deal made this great value for money. Good food, good service and free wi-fi.
We then had a walk around Skipton which we all thought to be a very attractive place.
Peter was very happy to find himself under the sign of the Woolly Sheep.
Shame he was Forced into the pub again in the evening to get this blog to you but dedication to the cause could not be denied.
We planned to have a good walk today originally thinking we might moor somewhere just after the last of the three locks we still had to negotiate on our way down through Gargrave. This proved to be impossible and we walked along the towpath testing the bottom with Oliver’s pole at frequent intervals. Who did we meet along the way?
A large ledge and shallow sloping sides to the canal forced us to continue to just past bridge 174, the swing bridge near Thorlby. Just before swing bridge 173 we had come across a boat firmly wedged across the canal. A “crash stop” put us in danger of ending up “in the same boat” but we escaped and sorted out “Davro” before continuing on our way.
From here the three youngest members of the crew walked to the trig point at the top of Sharp Haw (357 metres).
Part of the outward journey was along the Dales High Way and was easy to find. The return, which looked quite straightforward, proved to be quite an adventure as paths marked on the map failed to materialise on the ground. Black skies threatened behind us at times but the rain kept away.
We discovered, after travelling for an hour or so this morning that there were some good mooring places after bridge 163, where quite a few boats were already situated. Had we not spent so long seeking deep water the previous evening we could have moored up here overlooking some lovely countryside. It is however a bit exposed. This was a very pretty section of the canal with some great views.
Having been asked by the lock keepers we waited for another boat and descended the locks at Bank Newton with a family from Cambridge who had their own boat at Daventry. One of them turned out to be a friend of a friend of Judith’s. They had decided to hire a boat from “Bear Boat” to avoid the trip up North on their own boat.
We decide to stop at Gargrave and have fish and chips for supper. Although the chippie had a sign saying it was open from 4pm to 7pm it failed to answer the phone and turned out to be closed. So we dined on some excellent pork chops with pepper sauce followed by gooseberry pie made with gooseberries bought on our trip around the village.
We were a bit concerned that we might be going in the wrong direction …
However after a short distance we travelled through the Foulridge Tunnel after a wait of around 20 minutes. We later found that entry from the north is on the hour for 10 minutes and from the south on the half hour.
We had a walk around the reservoir and into the town. Both parts were very enjoyable. Some splendid property around the reservoir and in the town. Everywhere looked well cared for.
Lower Park Marina has a very smart web site – a bit smarter than the reality but it was nevertheless a good place for a pump out, top up the diesel and water, get a new gas bottle and buy a few odds and ends. It is all along the canal side rather than being off the main cut.
We found some ground puddles that were new to us that involved lifting a lever which had to then be closed to allow the gates to close properly.
There was nowhere to moor between the marina and Greenberfield Locks so we decided to go down the locks and into the countryside. There was very little depth of water by the banks until we reached the straight section of the canal after bridge 159. Here we were entertained by a family of swans.
The countryside is still lovely and improving even if the weather is not fantastic.
Apologies to this who, having become addicted to the blog, have been suffering withdrawal symptoms. Internet connections have been really bad and I have had to force myself into a bar and to buy a pint in order to catch up.
24th June became the day for leaving. The UK voted to leave Europe and we have left the detritus of Blackburn far behind us.
There was some heavy rain in the morning and Peter decided this would be an opportune time to replace the water pump. Peace now reigns. Burnley was so very pleasantly different.
We went up several locks with Aussies Alison and Trevor. The lock gates very heavy and some had horizontal handles that we had to walk around on one or two occasions. Romy and Alison struggled with two of them on one gate.
We had a lengthy discussion trying to decide our programme for the rest of the trip fitting in with everything that everyone wanted to do. Once this had been settled we set of at a fair old trot to avoid having to stop in Blackburn. We would whole heartedly recommend this policy to anyone else taking this route. We had a bit of a struggle getting around a workboat stuck mid canal with a duvet wrapped around its prop. “A daily occurrence” they said. The canal was full of detritus; plastic bottles, old doors, a motorbike in one lock ( not actually seen by us) – in fact anything anyone felt like chucking in. The locks gates were heavy and the ground paddles produced water flows that tossed poor Oliver from side to side regardless of what we did to control things. The locks are also quite short and although Oliver is only 60 ft we could only just close the gates with the front fender touching the curved cill.
We finally came to rest after bridge 109 opposite another golf course just before Church.
It had been a lovely sunny day and it was a beautiful evening having finally escaped a part of the canal that seems to have been left to decay. Shame on those responsible for the condition of Blackburn’s canal and its surrounding environment.
We set out a bit late today and at Addlington we had to run the gauntlet of a fishing tournament with about 20 rods lifting and falling across the river like a sequenced run of lifting bridges. No more keep nets to add to the haul.
Heavy rain at midday had cleared by the time we reached Chorley where we planned to do some shopping and use the launderette. Shopping always takes longer than expected and it we just managed to grab clothes from the dryer before the shop closed at 6pm.
We thought we would moor just outside Chorley but moorings were there none – well none we fancied. So we decided to go up the Johnson Hillock Locks locks to Wheelton. There were no moorings at the top of the locks so we carried on until we found a very nice spot opposite the golf course. The water was a bit shallow so we had to moor at a bit of an angle in front of Colin and Rosemary on Eleanor Rose.
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It’s strange to look out of the window and see the geese looking down at you.
There we were nicely positioned for the Wigan Twenty One, just before the first lock at Poolstock, when the pound dropped like a stone.
We were however pleasantly surprised that the pound rose again by 09:40 and we were able to pass through the lock then.
After an arduous 5 hours and twenty minutes we had reached the Wigan Top Lock. So the Wigan 21 actually took us just under 5 hours.
Here we had some more fun. We decided to pick up water and Romy advised the fisherman sitting by the water point that we were going to tie up there and we were sorry but he would have to move. He didn’t and he ignored Pat’s request to move his keep net. The end result was that his keep net became firmly attached to our prop. He lost a keep net. We lost about an hour.
After disentangling ourselves we made cruised on to Haigh Country Park where we moored just opposite the golf course.