Ribble Link Top Locks to Tarleton
1.75 miles, 10 locks
We woke to sun - such a rare commodity at present. nb Rhapsody had moored behind us last night and Skillosalee, Juno and Annapurna had arrived and rafted up to him this morning.
At 09:30 on the dot two C&RT employees arrived and we were good to go.
We left the boats breasted up and used our bow thruster to swing both boats round so we could reverse in. It was neatly done and we were soon in and on our way down.
Once at the bottom Ken reversed out,
One of which had got herself on the wrong side of the barbed wire fence - we just had to hope she did not fall in.
The tide still had a way to go up
which is just as well as we all needed to get under these two bridges
We were moored on the pontoon with an hour to spare - time for a rest and a sandwich before we got the word that we were good to go. Up to now it had been dry and sunny, but there was a chance of rain, so we donned full waterproof gear.
This, however, is pretty much where my photos stopped - first we got pushed on the mud on the left by the tide (the sandbank is to the right), but thankfully with some heavy reversing Chris did manage to get us off. Ken gallantly waited whilst the two boats behind emerged and were able to get past us. It was a little scary and I am sure would not have happened if Chris had been fully fit. Whilst all this was going on it started to rain. Now I think I said the other day had been so wet that wet was not a wet enough word to describe it. I lied - that was mild! We had thunder, lightning and torrential rain that turned to hail - the type that really bites into the skin as it hits. Monty was bundled down inside and the doors shut and I took over from Chris who had had enough. This photo does not really show the severity of the rain - forget cats and dogs - we had elephants and rhinos!
Sue kindly gave me her photos and this of all of them shows just how wet we were and this was our second soaking as we neared the lock at Tarleton! Do you remember our map book? Almost dry it was and well wrapped up, but no covering was a match for this rain, so it took another soaking!
The rain did stop eventually and we even had a bit of blue sky. The sun made a brief appearance and both cratch covers started to steam!
Chris took over for a few minutes, so I could take a couple of pictures of Cleddau as we travelled along when we were all a little drier
This is us approaching Tarleton lock (it was raining again!) - it was with some relief that we had made it
Once we moored and had removed the many layers of dripping wet clothes, the boat resembled a laundry drying room!
I had worn a buff to keep my neck warm, never thinking for a moment that the rain would be that bad and that the buff would act as wick! My waterproof trousers are usually fine, but they did not withstand the lashing we received today, so there was a lot to take off and dry!
If you want more information on the crossing go and have a look at Sue's blog - The Brook, The Ribble and the Estuary.
Friday 8th June 2019
Tarleton to St Mary's Marina
3.75 miles, 3 swing bridges
We woke to a fine morning and were able to appreciate our mooring - it was just too wet for photos when we arrived.
Monty and I went for a walk along the River Douglas as we had done the morning we went up the link
We gave up when the path narrowed to this!
Which I worked for both boats.
Sue's turn at the next one, but she was having trouble. It then dawned on me that this was the one I failed at when we were on our way north. I got off to see if I could help. You can see what remains of what, I am assuming, were instructions. The normal way to release the bar that secures the bridge (centre front of the photo) is to insert your anti vandal key (yes they are called that on the signs round here), into the hole facing you and twist. The bolt at the end should then release and you can open the gate. The mechanism here has failed and I'm afraid that Sue and I both misinterpreted Ken's advice to "turn the bolt". There is a 'contraption' at the end of the securing bar that has a T shaped bar at the end - it is secured by nuts and bolts. It was the "T-bar" that needed to be twisted not the bolts - a case of Mars and Venus I am afraid!
Ken had to fight the wind to get Cleddau back to the landing stage and at one time Chris had to help gently push him over, but make it he did, tied up and opened the mechanism in a matter of seconds!
The next issue was how to get home? A hire car had been booked, but Chris was in no state to drive for three hours and I have not driven since Feb due to my knee and a three hour drive along a wet motorway is not advisable way to see if it is okay! Thankfully we have children we can call on and our daughter drove up to collect us - almost six hours of driving and over 5 of those in the rain. We did give her lunch in the brasserie - well it was the least we could do! Thankfully as she drove north she noticed an incident on the southbound carriage of the M6 between junctions 23 and 24. It meant we could take a small diversion and not join until junction 23. The motorway was shut for several hours due to an extensive oil spillage after a three vehicle incident. It is quite surreal joining a motorway with no traffic coming from your right! As we progressed south we came across a motorway bridge that had more police vehicles on it than I have ever seen in one place (well apart from when I was in Oxford Street many moons ago and there was an IRA bomb scare) and behind that on the north bound carriageway the traffic had been stopped by yet more police vehicles. We found out later it was due to an incident in the Knutsford Service area where four men on motor bikes had been stabbed. Another long delay we avoided.
We made it safely home and now we are going to take things easy and recover. With the current weather we may well be in the right place.
Stats to the end of part 2 of our summer cruise:
275.5 miles, 162 locks, 21 swing bridge, 6 tunnels, 77 aqueducts and we have passed under motorways on 13 occasions. We have travelled on 8 different waterways, 2 arms and one tidal stretch (twice) and been through 5 counties on the boat and 1 by train.
Where to when we resume? That remains to be seen.