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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

First a rant......and then a horrible side of nature.

Wednesday 25th

Yuk!!! No one would find it pleasant to have their hands covered in dog poo but that is exactly what happened to Ian this morning. We were ready for the off and Ian went to untie the bow rope. Feeding the rope back through the loop of the pin he suddenly discovered the rope was covered in it. So I say Please, Please to those inconsiderate dog owners PICK IT UP!!!!  It's bad enough stepping in it and waking it through the boat (bet those dog owners would be the first to complain if they walked in it) but to have it on your rope, pins and then over hands.......Well enough said!

Looks like like gates. Seen as we left the mooring.
 We were a tad early for Plank Lane Lift Bridge, our book showed it open from 8am but not any more... so we had to add another amendment to our old Nicholson book. For a start, no bridge keeper to operate it and the opening and closing times were all wrong. We arrived a bit after 9am thinking we could go through, secured FS and went in search of the bridge keeper. Then we read the sign. No longer manned and not to be operated before 9.30am. Understandable I suppose, as those  trying to get to work during rush hour would not appreciate being stopped by a narrowboat. Once 9.30 arrived Ian took great delight in closing the barriers to stop the traffic.

Did you know there used to be a lock called Dover lock between Plank Lane bridge and Wigan.  Those travelling along this route thinks its just a narrow section but look closely and the gate recesses can be clearly seen. Two locks were on this route but due to mining subsidence they were no longer needed.

Dover lock No 1

Love these bollards.
  Our plan was not to do the two Poolstock locks today but stop at another nature reserve, the Wigan Flashes. We still have loads of time to get to Eldonian Village and this place was asking to be visited so by 11am we stopped after Moss bridge. Only boat moored but had plenty of company.

They are not all from one pair of geese

Then I went in search of Kingfishers. A local mentioned seeing them by Ochre Flash, pointed me in the direction and told not to deviate off the path until I came to a wall. 15 minutes later and with a fast walking pace I still hadn't found it. Then another local walking with his dog told me I was in the wrong place and needed to be back at the canal. He offers to show me and another 15 minutes later, on a different route and at an even faster pace (I struggled to keep up) I ended up at the same place from where I started from! The moral to this tale, don't always take what the locals say as gospel.

Scotsman's Flash
 Anyway back at FS I stopped for lunch and Google Earthed the area. Two people had put photos of bird hides not 100 yds from where I asked the second local for directions. So off I goes again. This time I did see the Kingfishers and at the Ochre Flash told to me by the first local, but they were to far away for me to photograph. Then I witnessed a sight that shocked me.

A Canada goose family trying desperately to get away from a Swan. The male Goose was trying his darnedest to distract the Swan. Unfortunately it didn't work and, in the hurry to get her gosling's away and into the reeds, one was separated and no matter what the Goose did the Swan was out to get it. I witnessed the vicious killing of the gosling and the desperate attempt after the Swan had left of the male Goose to revive it. I have no idea what has happened to the rest of the family. I feel they will all go the same way if the parents don't get them away from this Flash. I will apologise now to those that find these photos shocking. Maybe best not to view them if you get upset easily.

The family

Chased in the reeds

The unlucky gosling trying to be protected by dad

Swan heading for the Gosling

Dad still trying to stop the attack

Dad trying to get it to move.

And the Swan still after him.
 Having seen this I had no heart in continuing and returned to FS. The drizzle started reflecting my mood and have decided not to stay here for another day but move off tomorrow.

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