Boatwif Blog

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Improvements, major and minor

Cleddau has had a month-long sojourn at St Mary’s Marina in Rufford. During a flying visit to check on the boat mid-June an earlier curiosity was sated.  En route along the canal to Tarleton on 16th May an inviting-looking place was passed.   This was Rufford Old Hall. It’s the ancestral home of fourteen generations of the Hesketh family. Since 1936 the Hall has been in the hands of the National Trust.   It’s a stunningly beautiful building, much extended and...

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The Brook, the Estuary and the River

Lancaster Canal to Rufford: 15 miles, 10 locks By Wednesday midday Tentatrice and Cleddau were moored in the basin above the Ribble Link triple staircase locks, in readiness for Thursday’s 0930 locking down. What did the locks look like from a more normal perspective? The ascent (on 19th May)  had been carried out backwards on the lock keepers’ instructions. This was to make the lock entry and exit more manageable in the tight spaces at the bottom and top of...

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Given more time…

Lancaster southbound to Preston: 28 miles Saturday started with a surprise: Cleddau’s boating companions out of Liverpool, Shaun and Colin from Silver Fox, materialised in Lancaster. Although still moored outside of the city they had walked in on a preliminary recce. Tales were swapped of respective Ribble Crossing exploits; here is the latest Foxes Afloat vlog, watch it to see them boating on an incoming tide on the River Douglas, on the wide waters of the Ribble Estuary and along...

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Shore Leave …

There’s something quite wonderful about floating about on a boat – few folk would disagree with that.  Not that there can be too much of a good thing, but sometimes a little variety is welcome. From the first ever narrowboat trip decades ago (The Avon Ring: Stratford – Birmingham – Worcester – Tewkesbury – Stratford) the strongest memories remain of the shore leave at the end. Romeo and Juliet in the Swan at Stratford, a first ever Shakespeare for the...

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Being ‘Anoraks’

Hest Bank to Tewitfield: 8 miles, 1 swing bridge The last 8 miles to the Lancaster Canal’s terminus was done in two stages. First from Hest Bank to Carnforth (3¾ miles, I swing bridge) and then, three days later,  the final 4¼ miles from Carnforth to Tewitfield. There have been times in the past when a moorings strategy has been devised. Would it be difficult, Impossible even, to find places to moor when there was a bank holiday weekend ahead...

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The friendliness of folk…

Glasson Top Lock to Hest Bank: 10 miles It’s about a 90 minute cruise between the top lock of the Glasson Branch and the county town of Lancaster. After the remoteness of the canal arm Galgate seemed a veritable hive of activity: visitor moorings, an offside marina,   services, village facilities, a railway line, the A6…There’s an abrupt finish to the busyness and the canal resumes its rural route. In an open area farmers were seen hard at work. There are...

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New waters – Preston to Glasson Top

Preston to Glasson Branch Junction 24¼  miles;  Glasson Branch Junction to Glasson Basin and back: 4½ miles, 12 locks When Cleddau left the top lock to join the Lancaster Canal it was through a field of red sludge,   or so it seemed… Blossom had settled on the water in a thick pinkish brown carpet. As the canal wends its way north gradually the blossom covering thinned. There is other flotsam in the water though, tree branches and reed islands bob about and the...

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The Ribble Link

“Be at the lock for about 9.30.” That was the instruction given by Roger, the relief lock keeper, on Thursday evening. Six boats were booked through on what is called the Ribble Link, that’s the maximum number on any one day.  The crews of Tentatrice and Cleddau had obviously planned to travel together. What would the weather be like – an important consideration to prepare for when going out on open water. The strong easterly winds seemed to have decreased...

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Not without trials and tribulations…

A life afloat will never be without its trials and tribulations. Over the years (over the decades, actually) there have been engine emergencies, electrical issues, water discovered in wrong places, failures of domestic equipment and so on. The boating community, thankfully, is always very supportive of others in trouble. On countless occasions the child’s fishing net kept on the front deck has been deployed to scoop up footballs, dogs’ balls – and once, in 2016, to retrieve a pair of...

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Seen and heard around Liverpool 3

Salthouse Dock, Liverpool to Burscough: 25 miles, 6 locks, 3 Liverpool Link tunnels, 10 swing bridges So much to see, so much to do… During the week moored in Salthouse Dock there were new places visited and others revisited. Many of the museums in the city are operated under the umbrella of National Museums Liverpool.   In these museums the staff wear distinctive turquoise blue shirts which makes them easy to spot; in every location the staff were brimming full...