About Us

My photo
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.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Could the day get any worse!

Thursday 30th

Another early start and another day when we could have stayed in bed for an extra hour.

Leaving Crooke

 All our good intentions went straight out the window when having left Crooke at 6.30am to try and complete the Wigan flight before lunch, Ian found the first lock (Ell Meadow) padlocked! It was fortuitous then, that the C&RT person who snapped the padlock shut forgot to push the anti vandal lock pin back into it's housing. So we came up on one paddle, bit slow but at least we were now back on track. How very wrong we were because arriving at the second lock (Pagefield) outside the DW stadium, found that too had padlocks on the the locks. Time was now 7.15am and we assumed, quite rightly, that one of C&RT bods would turn up around 8am. And turn up he did to a barrage of questions from us. "Why no notices posted on the locks and why wasn't it on the stoppage list?" He answered, "The two locks have to be locked from 8am to 8pm every night to conserve water and has been for the last two years." "It's on our website, you know". Ahh... but what of those that have no computers (and there are still quite a few of the older generation) they would have no idea that these gates are locked between those times. And if one doesn't make a special effort to check on C&RT Leeds & Liverpool site (not stoppages) one would also never know.  Notices need to be put up on the gates and also on notice boards by the facilities. One chap was stuck above the lock having arrived by 8.30pm last night. His destination today, the Marina on the Rufford Branch to be there by 3pm. He doesn't now think he will make it in time. He was fuming and said a letter of complaint would be sent to head office. In a way I felt sorry for the C&RT guy. He was only doing his job after all although he did agree that some sort of notice should have been in place.

The boat moored above the lock arrived too late.

Thinking our travels would now go according to plan we did the first of the Wigan flight locks. Then above the second, Henhurst lock, a C&RT work boat adrift across the canal. Ian left me in the lock to go and retrieve it only to discover the stern rope was nowhere to be seen. So how to secure??? First he had to try and bring it back to the side. Easier said then done. The pole was needed to push it round and then somehow it needed securing. The rope was wound round the bow cleat, wrapped round a bollard and then the end tied to the steps inside the boat. Not ideal but would have to do. So another long delay ensued and it wasn't until 9.45am that we reached the third lock on the flight.

Third lock in the Wigan flight and Nb Aslan moored waiting for a boat.
Then our luck changed. The boat seen in the above photo (Aslan) joined us to tackle the flight. Only 45ft to our 57ft we didn't think we could tie together. After having done the first lock singly and discovering that Kathy had never done broad locks before and was genuinely unhappy at the thought, I improvised by attaching our centre rope to their hand rail and securing our stern rope to their stern dolly. This worked a treat, helped immensely by having most of the locks with us. Although some low pounds made part of the going slow, we eventually arrived at the top at 1.40pm. In all, the flight took us over 5 1/4 hours although only 4 hours from where we were joined by Kathy and John.

John and Ian struggling with the bottom gate on lock 75

Free from each other Aslan heads for the facilities.
 Not wanting to go much further stopping we stopped by the golf course, and after a quick explore of the surroundings the rain set in again. Looks like we are in for another wet and damp night.

 And the wildlife seen today, (also a bit of a fly theme on my wildlife blog)

Caught this morning on it's web between our Buckby cans. Good meal for this spider.

On the Golf course


Kelvin and Rachael said...

That's a shame! We must have just missed you guys yesterday as we moved from Leigh to Parbold, I was keeping an eye out for FS. Perhaps later on as we head for Leeds.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Look forward to meeting you both. We are having a slowish meander up to Leeds so maybe our paths will cross.

Blog Archive