Sunday 31 July 2011

Riley Green to Church on Sunday

Hi all,

I was up at 7am again this morning as I find the piece at this time in the morningon the cut so relaxing before the rest of the day unfolds. Back home we are on the go all the time so being able to sit in the well deck and do nowt with no distractions is so refreshing, I could certainly get used to this.  

We decided we would make for Blackburn and stop for lunch so Catherine could visit the church we passed on the way down here.  Whilst looking for a spot we found what looked like an old wharf and as there was already a boat on it we though we'd stop there.

Better yet it turned out to be a Jamaican wine bar called the Wharf, serving lunches!  As we were moored right outside the patio we thought why not and I have to say the food was excellent.  So much so we stayed a little while and some of the crew decided to take a little rest as well

It took a while but we eventually managed to get them back on board and headed on towards Church seeing a novel extension to this craft on the way.  Turns out the owner keeps his motorbike and side car in the trailer bit.

We have to say this stretch of the canal is not at it's best and quite frankly between here and the other side of Burnley is a floating rubbish tip so one wanders if one made the right decision to continue, that said the stretch East of Burnley towards Skipton is a delight.  We found a reasonable section outside Church for the evening and hope the motorbikes scrambling will end later tonight and if so we will stay put and enjoy a meal of Gammon cooked in Cola with Mange Tout and new potatoes.

Well the motorbikes have gone now and you can hear a pin drop so alls well.  Sounds like the weather is going to change tomorrow so we'll see what happens as rain is forcast for our eara.  Still can't complain,  we have had great weather so far and the tans are comming along nicely. 

Till tomorrow bye for now.

Saturday 30 July 2011

Chickened out and left the flight behind

I took a walk along the top locks at Wigan last night to check out the top locks but a rather unruly crowd of lads started throwing beer bottles after me and that put me off staying the night, especially as two of them followed me back to the boat.  Without stopping I alerted our crew and we took off up the cut to get some distance between us.

  I doubt the lads would have done anything but I was not prepared to take the risk so, instead, we had a lovely quiet night in an idyllic wooded area outside town.

This morning dawned with glorious clear sky and the sun already with some heat in it at 7am.  The forecast was for 20degress and sun so we decided not to descend the flight as we had already winded last night.  Instead we took a leisurely saunter back to Riley Green as the thought of another meal in the Royal Oak sounded just the ticket.

With the sun beating own the wooded areas brought much relief in the shade

One cannot help but wander about warm summers evenings by candle light in this lovely little den by the waterside

We soon found ourselves back to Johnson Hilllock Lock and this time I got a shot of that bar in the garden I spoke of  before

The house with the bar is in the middle of the picture, just in the far corner of it's garden

I've simply got to have me one of these!  Even the bar-b-q is to hand as well
 We made our way up the locks one by one but Chris started to feel ill with a headache.  I realised she was dehydrating so at the top of the locks she took herself to bed with a cool grass of water and recovered by the time we Reach Riley Green.  It was hard work in the heat so the decision not to descend Wigan locks was definitely the right one
Alan and Catherine manage the boat out into the middle pound
After waiting below the top lock for a wide beam boat with a wedding breakfast taking place on board we made the top lock at 2pm.  At the top lock a boat pulled in that has made me question our choice of colours for AmyJo.  Magpie pulled up behind us and she looked absolutely fantastic.
The two tone Greys complemented each other beautifully and has made both Chris and I think again,  we simply fell in love with the colour scheme and the simple artwork.

So now its off to the Royal Oak and another great meal in store.  We are both going to have to visit weighwatchers several times when we get back home that's for sure!

Friday 29 July 2011

Riley Green to Wigan Top Lock 29th JUly

After posting last night we took a walk and turned left as we left the cut.  After 5 minutes walk we came to the Royal Oak Pub.  I have to say if you are ever in this neck of the woods you simply must stop for a meal here.  Representing excellent value fo money it is one of the best meals we have had for a long time together with attentive and friendly staff - a must do if travelling this leg.

This morning we rose early and were underway at 8:30am.  We simply cannot get over how quite the cut is for the height of the season.  During the whole trip today we passed only 3 moving boats and whilst expcting a queue for moorings at Wigan top lock only two boats were moored up there.  Maybe the water shortages are putting folk off coming this way.

On the way here we locked down the lovely Johnston Hilllock locks at Heapey to emerge in a pound where the houses, whilst small, were beautifully manicured with one having a sun terrace at the water's edge complete with fully stocked bar, pumps and optics and all.

We then stopped for lunch outside the Bottany Bay Shoppong Mill and had some lunch

We eventually arrived at Wigan Top lock at 4pm but unfortunately it was to late to decend then.  If we do so it will not leave us time to get home so, with regret we'll have to mke do with walking down them before we start our jouney back to Silsten in the morning

For now we'll spend the night here before heading back

Thursday 28 July 2011

Rishton to Riley Green

Hi folks
Today dawned with the sun and lovely temperatures.  It was Alan and Katherine's turn to manage the boat today and their helming improving with every minute.  After getting a few groceriesand the Daily Express in the local Co-op we left Rishton at 9am and headed for the locks in Blackburn.  After the detritus in Burlney, Blackburn was quite a surprise.  The canal and tow path were well kept with only the occasional graffiti. Just before the locks we stopped to pick up some extra shopping in a canalside Asda.  Looking at the mooring you would not think we were in the middle of Blackburn.

The locks in Blackburn were not in good condition and some of the gate paddles were slipping gears or were are tagged out of order.  Whilst this slowed our pace we still made good time through the city .  Catherine discovered she could stand on the boat roof and lasso the central bollards,   After two locks she became quite deft at  it.  Progress was not helped by the two idiots in Stargaser that had rammed us last night and now were ahead of us, leaving a paddle open whilst descending the 3rd lock flooding the British Waterways building and nearly emptying the pound

Slowly we left Blackburn behind and passed through a stretch of canal that reminded me of parts of the river Thames with lovely waterside gardens and leafy stretches andthrough here we even managed bacon, sausage, mushroom and onion batches underway.

We are now moored just Wigan side of Bridge 91a at Riley Green and looking forward to trying out the local pub for a meal, recommended by several people along the way here.  Hopefully all being well we hope to make Wigan top lock tomorrow and traverse them on Saturday.  Trouble is we have to turn back on Saturday so it's going to be a grueling day going down and then up them.  Still it will be well worth it.  I doubt we'll ever get a chance again for some time.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Intenet connection problem but a great cruise

Having manage my first ever blog on the cut we moved Isla's Drum out from Skipton.  All went well until I tried to update the blog that evening and low and behold we could not get a connection.  Three days later moored up in Rishton and finally I get a connection!

Skipton to Bank Newton locks 24th July
I have to say the Leeds Liverpool canal at this stretch is absolutely wonderful.  The serenity of the cut soon sooths life's stresses in under a mile.  Isla's Drum is performing as one would expect a hire boat to perform and I have to say she is well maintained too.

Not A Soul in sight and so quiet no wonder live aboards love this life
Gargrave was an absolute delight and lunch in the local pub was well worth every penny. 
Probably the most photographed shop in Gargrave.  Those of you who have travelled this route will most likely tried their sweets!
We then carried on to Bank Newton but stopped a time was getting on.  As we pulled alongside the words of an old boater came to me.  If you are in a hurry don't go by canal boat so we stayed the night

Bank Newton to Barnoldswick 25th July

Alan and Kathrine working Bank Newton Lock though Katherine looks like she may just watch
Allo up there!  Chris keeping a close watch as Alan enters the lock

First two done, 5 to go
8am saw us working Bank Newton Locks.  Just after the locks the canal takes on the form of an alpine road with it's own versions of hair pin bends so tight its as well only 60ft boats can use this section of the cut or they would never get round.  Isla'sDrum only just got round and at a creep of speed at that.  At East Marton and the now famous twin arched bridge we found a delightful spot to moor for lunch just past the bridge in a shady wooded area. 

We then moved on to Barnoldswick a rather quaint town but did not appeal as the youths abounded, however we did find a spot further along the cut resulting in a pleasant night stop over.

One thing that has struck me whilst cruising is the attitude of people walking the tow path, young and old alike, most gave a cheery wave and hello, even engaging a conversation with us, often giving uncolicited advise on best mooring spots and where to eat.  If any of you do get to read this we thank you.

Barnoldswick to Reedley 26th July
We have been really lucky with the weather so far and the only rain was over night.  All of us are getting a great tan that would rival that obtained from the Cosa Del Sol.  We decided to take daily turns at the helm and it was Alan and Katherine's turn to work the boat whilst Chris and I worked the swing bridges and locks.  As this was Katherines first Narowboat trip she took to it like ducjk to water and Alan managed the Foulridge tunnel without mishap.

Reedley to Rishton 27th JulyToday with no locks to contend with we covered a lot of ground ad traversed the Weaver's Traingle at Burnley.  The Burnley embnkment whilst imposing on the town dos not let you see just how high it is until Tescos hoves into view near the Rishton end but you will not be disapointed. 

The cut along this section is like most inner city sections and is abundant with mans detritus, in fact at one point we had to slow to allow a childs plastic pedal car to cross our bows and avoid it being caught up in the prop.  Amusing to see this 3 foot toy wobble across the cut as we passed it, one could almost wish Toad would appear at the wheel and get a move on, but alas the only passenger was a malard to lazy to swim. 

Once past Burnley the you pass under a bridge on a tight bend and suddenly, without warning, you are back in the countryside high above the valley with stunning views only to realise you have traversed the valley in almost a big circle.

Clayton le Moors and Church swim by at a bling of an eye even going at a cedate 3mph but you may well miss them as you will be spending much time freeing rubbish from the prop. An one point as we moored at Rishton Alan managed to untagnle a complete keep net from the prop shaft.

One surprise as we rounded one corner with stunning views across the valeswho was mored on the tow path?  K2.

Unfortunately we saw no sign of her owners save a glimps through the window.  So ow having caught up on our travels we are settling down in Riston to have a Beef stew cooked by Alan.  As I type a thump from behind herralded the arrival of another boat, Stargazer, whos crew seem to think it was funny until I took their license number and showed them the mooring ring our mooring warp had ripped out of the pontoon, their smiles soon vanished then.

So thats it for now, hope to post again tomorrow after getting through Blackburn and Chorley.  Hope everyone is well and enjoying the weather

Saturday 23 July 2011

On the Leeds Liverpool at Skipton

At long last our holiday has arrived and we have travelled from Silsten to Skipton for the evening on our first night.  Isl'a Drum is a good boat if a little cramped but she swims OK and is in good condition for a hire boat.

Ils'a Drum moored at Skipton just up stream of bridge 177    
Whilst on our way we waited for this bride to have her wedding photo taken on the swing bridge we wanted to pass through.  We waited patiently as we did ot have the heart to ruin her day and the sun was shining at he setting idilic.

 So now it's a meal of Mexican mince and a bottle of white the off to explore Skipton for the evening and look at the work boat moored in the arm.

Monday 18 July 2011

Advise needed

Hi All,
Hope the rain has not dampened your spirits too much.  Who have thought we are in the middle of summer eh?

Can I ask for a little advise please?  I need some help on mobile Internet for our holiday trip.  I know some of you use mobile Internet dongles and wondered where it is best placed on the boat to pick up a signal.  I've seen some in plastic bottles under the cratch cover but Isla's Drum wont have a cover so that is out.  I want to blog whilst on holiday so wondered what your experiences are in solving the dongle position problem. 

How long a USB lead can it cope with?  I'll be using a pay as you go Vodaphone USB mobile internet dongle which work well enough at home but in a steel boat I do know there are problems.

Friday 15 July 2011

Time for a makeover

I was trying to get used to the new blogger format (which I absolutely hate)  and realised our blog may be very slow to load for those of you on mobile internet connections.  So with that in mind we have changed to a much simppler layout that we hope loads quicker for you.

Oh and hopefully the comments form works better too

Saturday 9 July 2011

All Quite on the Western Front

Hi Folks,
   Well its been a quiet couple of weeks with not much going on.  We had another viewing today but I doubt much will come of it.  I did however use up my christmas gift from Amy and Joanne that consisted of a 15 minute helicopter ride over Chester

Preparing for take off

Take Off

Chester City Centre and the River Dee

Our Sailing Club with juniors out in toppers

So now we are looking forward to our two weeks on the Leeds Liverpool in two weeks time.  We plan to pick up "Isla's Drum" from Silsten boats near Skipton but are unsure which way to go.    Trouble is do we head East towards Leeds or West towards Liverpool?  Any suggestions from those of you who have done the trip please?  I guess we'll only get as far as Wigan and then have to turn back If we head West or Leeds and back if we head East.  Sadly I doubt we'd have time to do the circular route.