Archive for August, 2016

Tuesday 30th August 2016

Exhausted after a great weekend trading & very tanned we popped to Aldi for a top up of supplies then set off for a close but safe stop above the dreaded Wigan Flight.

We stopped at Ellerbeck Narrowboats for fuel as we were told his price was better than the nearby marina! we also had a pump out & topped up with water.


The owner is really helpful & loves having the business of passing boats unlike some hire companies we’ve come across, he also has the maddest Jack Russell in the universe!

We passed the White Bear Marina, then on out into more open countryside again.


We decided to stop the night opposite Haigh Hall Country Park golf course which is about a mile from Wigan top lock, it was a lovely spot but too much further on is not recommended apparently! Another beautiful evening, tables, chairs, food & drink outside again while we laughed for hours at Bailey cat terrifying every dog that dared to pass! one lady with a Labrador even turned back rather than pass our boat!!

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I have been making myself quite ill with stress worrying about the dreaded Wigan Flight, but tomorrow I will just have to deal with whatever it throws at us!

6 miles   0 Locks    0 Swing Bridges    3 Hours



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Thursday 25th – Monday 31st August 2016

We decided to pop into Chorley Thursday & explore the town before we spend the weekend trading, although the festival doesn’t start until Saturday we decided that as we are here we would have a trial run on the Friday, mainly because the bank at Botany Bay is so silted up & uneven that mooring close is difficult & even we you get as close as possible there are still dangerous holes alongside the boat. We mentioned to the management that they need to speak to CRT & get this sorted if they do a 2nd festival next year & want to attract more trading boats.

Chorley is a pleasant enough market town, you can catch the bus from the road bridge just past Botany Bay Mill. It has all the usual shops plus a great outdoor & indoo market 3 days a week, there is also a collectors\antique market at least once a week.

As in much of Lancashire, the town’s wealth came principally from the cotton industry, although it also became a major market town due to its central location between four other towns. As recently as the 1970s the skyline was dominated by numerous factory chimneys, but most have now been demolished: remnants of the industrial past include Morrison’s chimney and a few other mill buildings, and the streets of terraced houses for mill workers. Chorley is the home of the Chorley cake.


Chorley cakes are flattened, fruit-filled pastry cakes, traditionally associated with the town of Chorley in Lancashire England.

They are a close relative of the more widely known Eccles Cake but have some significant differences. The Chorley cake is significantly less sweet than its Eccles cousin, and is commonly eaten with a light spread of butter on top, and sometimes a slice of Lancashire cheese on the side. A Chorley cake is made using currants, sandwiched between two layers of unsweetened short crust pastry whereas an Eccles Cake uses flaky puff pastry which after baking is normally a deeper brown in colour. The other difference is that the currants in the Eccles Cake are often concentrated together in the middle while in the Chorley and Sad Cake the fruit is usually evenly distributed.

It is not uncommon to see some sugar added to the fruit, or sweeter raisins or sultanas used. These sweeter varieties are sometimes referred to as “snap”. Locals often refer to Chorley Cake as Fly Pie.

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We did our shopping for supplies in Iceland & at the till they offered to deliver, that’ll do for me, so we returned on the bus with our market & charity shop purchases to await our delivery. Just as we got back Jeremy & Rachel arrived by taxi with their supplies from Aldi.

On Friday we set up for trading, there was a car boot sale on too today, we made quite a few sales & told lots of folk about the festival weekend, as they seemed unaware.

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Jeremy & Rachel’s friends Simon & Debbie arrived today too, looking forward to a very sociable weekend.


Good Company


Simon, master chef!


The mill lights up when the sun goes down!


Everyone put their bit in for a fab feast!


Master chef still cooking!

Saturday, Sunday & Monday we traded by day & BBQ’d by night with our new found friends, it was a very hot sunny Bank Holiday & the festival was a great success for Botany Bay & us as traders. Rachel won “Best dressed Boat” with Phoebe Joan decked out with flags, bunting & the flowers we got them from the mill for their anniversary. Part of their prize was a brass plaque celebrating 200 years of the Leeds & Liverpool canal.


We were the only trading boat at the festival, due to the fact it was under advertised too late. It was a great learning curve, we actually took some “proper money” & are now ready for the Leigh festival now in the company of 4 other traders.

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0 Miles    0 Locks    0 Swing Bridges    0 Hours



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Botany Bay & the Canal Festival

Thursday 24th August 2016

We set off around 10am from the peace of Withnell Fold heading for Johnson’s Hill Locks.

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Jeremy was chasing me today for a change, that’ll teach him to say I cruise too slowly!


There are 7 Locks here & all relatively easy & in good condition, it was another scorcher of a day & I need my “Sisco Kid” hat on a Jeremy delighted in calling it.

We both needed water so we stopped at the top lock, we spotted a couple of other boaters that we had seen on our travels recently & realised they were headed to the same place as us.

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As you get closer to Botany Bay you are directly parallel with the M6 motorway & the constant drone of traffic is always in the background.

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Botany Bay loomed ahead along with another building resembling a very modern but huge Church, we later found out that it is the UK head office for the Jehovah Witness’s.


Botany Bay refers to an area on the outskirts of Chorley alongside the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. It was instrumental in transport for the North West of England and was home to several mills during the Industrial Revolution.

During the construction of the Lancaster Canal, Botany Bay played host to the canal workers, and it is believed the name Botany Bay originated from around this time, due to the navvies occupying the area the locals saw it as an area to be avoided, much like the penal colony at Botany Bay Australia. By 1816 The Leeds-Liverpool canal had come to incorporate the Lancaster canal and by this time Botany Bay had become an important loading and unloading area due to its warehouse size and proximity to the canal

Due to the canal Botany Bay became a hub for transport, as early as 1830 services ran from Botany Bay wharf to Manchester, Wigan and Liverpool as well as others. This contributed greatly to Botany Bay’s importance in both the cotton trade and increasing communication in the local area.


There were a few boats here already & markers for the designated area for the trip boats & we had been warned that the bank was very uneven & shallow in places so we managed to pick the best section right in front of the mill complex & carpark for trading over the Bank Holiday weekend.


3.5 Miles    7 Locks     0 Swing Bridges    3.5 hours 


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Sunday 21st August 2016

It was still a bit cloudy & drizzly but warmer,  but we donned our macs gave Phoebe Joan a toot & set off for Blackburn with all the stories of prop fouls & rubbish in out heads!


Just as we were setting off from Side Beet bridge!

Is this the start of things to come, we hadn’t even reached Blackburn yet!

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A lot of evidence of the old working mills & wharves, this area similar to the one we had moored at in Burnley a couple of days earlier. Lots of anti vandal fencing surrounding new industry.

Textile manufacturing in Blackburn dates from the mid-13th century, when wool produced locally by farmers was woven in their homes. Flemish weavers who settled in the area in the 14th century developed the industry. By 1650 the town was known for the manufacture of blue and white “Blackburn checks”, and “Blackburn greys” became famous not long afterwards. By the first half of the 18th century textile manufacture had become Blackburn’s main industry. From the mid-18th to the early 20th century Blackburn evolved from a small market town into “the weaving capital of the world”, and its population increased from less than 5,000 to over 130,000

Suspension of trade with India during the First World War resulted in the expansion of colonial British India’s cotton industry at the expense of Britain’s, and the imposition of an 11% import tariff by the colonial British Government led to a dramatic slump in trade in 1921,  this caused the number of stopped mills to increase to 47, with 43,000 looms lying idle. Two years into the slump, Foundry and Limbrick Mills became the first to close permanently. Not long afterwards, in 1926, the General Strike saw production suspended at half the town’s mills. There was another slump in 1928, and another strike in 1929, 40,000 cotton workers struck for a week and eight mills closed, making 28 closures in six years. By the start of 1930, 50 mills had shut and 21,000 people were unemployed.  A financial crisis in 1931 led to 24,000 unemployed, with 1,000 houses and 166 shops lying empty in the town. A total of 26 mills closed down between 1930 and 1934.

The industry experienced a short post-war boom between 1948 and 50, during which sales increased, industry training methods improved and automatic looms were introduced which allowed a single weaver to control 20 to 25 looms. Loom sheds were rebuilt to house new, larger looms. Despite the post-war boom, the cotton industry continued to decline and only 25% of the town’s population were employed in textiles by 1951; this : this figure had stood at 60% up to the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929.

In 1952 the number of weavers fell from 10,890 to 9,020. By 1955 more cloth was imported from India than was exported and between 1955 and 1958 another 16 mills closed. In 1959, due partly to the re-organisation of the textile industry as a result of the Textiles Act another 17 mills closed. By 1960 there were 30 mills operating in Blackburn.


Albion Mill, closed in 1975, demolished in 2010

Since the 1950s the town has experienced significant levels of migration, particularly from India and Pakistan, and consequently has the third highest proportion of Muslims in England and Wales and the highest in the United Kingdom outside London.

The town seems to be embracing the canal more now as a visitor attraction & improvements are apparent.


Two CRT workboats hogging the entrance to the next lock!


This type of mechanism is used when space at the locks is at a premium & no room for long wooden beams.


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We saw no signs of rubbish, louts or drunks on our way down the locks through the town. The most inconvenient issue was the two workboats making entering one lock very difficult & making it awkward for two boats to moor up for water, hey ho we managed.

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A couple of rather odd sites as we started leaving the town behind!

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Green started to make an appearance again.

We stopped at Cherry Tree for some supplies, although not a brilliant mooring spot as its a bit run down & the side is shallow, it is handy for supplies as the village is right beside the canal along with a small Sainsburys at Bridge 95.

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From Cherry Tree onto Riley Green.


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A colourful yogurt pot at Riley Green & we moored up just by the cows which unbeknown to us were planning the great escape! …………to be continued.

8 Miles    7hrs     6 Locks       0 Swing Bridges


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Wednesday 23rd August 2016

We left Riley Green as the weather started to pick up & the rain eased heading for Withnell Fold.


This is a lovely spot but only room for two 50ft plus boats on the pontoon otherwise the bank is a bit overgrown

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It was a glorious day by now & really hot, both of us had done a load of washing whilst travelling so once we had moored up our two boats looked like a Chinese laundry, it didn’t take long to get it all dry though, then it was time to enjoy the sun &a few glasses of wine in great company yet again.

Even Bailey cat was just chillin’ today!


We had the pleasure of watching Short Boat Ribble pass through as we enjoyed the midsummer sun,

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tomorrow we head for Botany Bay & our first proper canal festival.

2 Miles    0 Locks   0 Swing Bridges   1 Hour

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Friday 19th August 2016

The summer weather had taken a turn for the worst & when we awoke this morning it was pouring with rain, dark & very gloomy, however the trusty weathermen had suggested that it would brighten after lunch, so we all agreed to wait & leave Hapton once the rain eased & it brightened up.


Around 1pm we saw a glimmer of brightness, nb Pheobe Joan has a pram cover so they were ok, we donned our safari hats & showerproof jackets & set off, it brightened up nicely for about 10 minutes, then the heavens opened & the rain didn’t stop!



We came through Clayton le Moors, negotiated 3 swing bridges, there are 4 on the map but  Rileys swing bridge seems to be disused & permanently open.

Half way marker

We passed the Leeds & Liverpool halfway marker at Church.

We were hoping to moor at Rishton but probably because it was pouring with rain & we were the only dafties on the move there were no spaces at Rishton.  What the hell, we were soaked through the showerproof jackets now so we carried on & headed for Side Beet Bridge, this is the recommended safest stopping place before passing through Blackburn, so we had to stop there!


Eventually we arrived at the bridge & there were no moorings, we both managed to get onto a rough section of bank just before the bridge, Jeremy & I walked through the bridge & saw one space nearly big enough for their 50ft boat so we walked back debating on them moving, another boater must have seen us & called down & offered to move along closing the gap & making room for them, this meant we could pull forward in the rougher area enabling us to get on & off without risking broken limbs! Blackburn1

This picture was taken about an hour after we moored up, we settled down with some wine & food, put the heating on to dry the clothes out!

Jeremy & Rachel were at the posh end & we were in the undergrowth & the rain returned!

9.5 miles     o Locks     4 Swing Bridges  3.5 Hours

Saturday 20th August 2016

It rained & it rained. We stayed put & decided to tackle Blackburn on Sunday.

Colin spent the day making more lucky Touchwood key rings & I cooked. I made garlic soup, corned beef hash & red velvet cake, 2 slices of which were taken along to those at the posh end! There was enough corned beef hash for tomorrow aswell as tea today & we may need a quick easy meal tomorrow depending on how Blackburn goes.

It rained all day, only 1 boat came past us all day!


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Friday 19th August 2016

So Burnley wasn’t too bad, we moored the night under the wharf canopy, near The Wharf pub, room for about 4-5 boats, it was very quiet & we had no issues what so ever.



Today we walked into town about 5 mins away to collect some stock & raid the charity shops.  Our travelling new companions had decided they wanted to visit an event at one of the museums with live demonstrations of cloth making but still wanted to head for Blackburn later that day,  we set off about 1pm as we needed to fill up with water at the CRT depot in Rose Grove,  Burnley, who ironically have a card pump out machine but don’t sell the cards!  We had a look at the piles of detritus taken out of the canal during the recent dredging prior to the Blackburn & Burnley canal festivals & the  Leeds & Liverpool Canal 200th anniversary  celebrations flotilla.

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nothing more than a few plastic bags & some weed on the prop, so after this lot being hauled out, fingers crossed we can get through Blackburn unscathed.

Leeds & Liverpool Short Boat Kennet was moored at the CRT Burnley depot, ready to head off for Leeds in a couple of weeks to lead the flotilla.

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It was quite pleasant coming out of Burnley but you can still see many signs of the previous weaving & textile industry all around you.

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We then came to the Gannow Tunnel, a doddle after Foulridge, only 559yds long but beware of a very tight turn when you exit, its easy if there are no oncoming boats, but plenty of widebeams on this canal & that could be a bit tricky.

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It starts to get greener again as you leave Burnley behind.

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We headed for Hapton for the night, the cottage by the towpath had a trig point in the garden.

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It was a lovely evening & we sat out & enjoyed a few drinks with our new friends Jeremy & Rachel,


6 Miles     0 Locks     4 Swing Bridges      2.5hrs







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Monday 22nd August 2016

We had a lovely evening on the Sunday with drinks under the pram cover of Phoebe Joan with Jeremy & Rachel, just as we were thinking about back to our boat for some food about 6 young heifers appeared on the towpath right beside the boat, they were desperate to get back into the field that the others were trying to get out of! Rachel decided to phone the local pub as all local pubs know the local farmers, so that they could be rounded up.


We managed to get back to our boat & hoped the cows would find their way back by the morning, however a sad sight greeted us in the light of a new day, one of the cows had fallen into the canal sometime during the night & was exhausted, the pub had not passed on the message the night before, a couple of farmers appeared with ropes & pulled the tired beast along the row of moored boats. they managed to get it out by the bridge but we are not sure if it survived or not.

The moorings at Riley Green are only 48hrs which is a shame as it’s a delightful there.


The local pub had been recommended by another boater so we decided to give it a try. About 5/6mins walk along the road to the left you will find The Royal Oak.


The menu is wonderful, the service is first class, a great choice of Real Ales but it is not cheap, for us this was a treat as we had not had a proper night out since embarking on our new life back in June!


Rachel & Jeremy enjoying the food.


Delightful Dessert


0 Miles    0 Locks     0 Hours      0 Swing Bridges


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Wednesday 17th August 2016

Up early & wandered down to the locks with the rubbish, couple of 55′ boats going down, very leaky locks & not much space behind when gates open to leave. a bit apprehensive as on the trip so far we have only ascended the locks all the way to the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool & it seems an age since we descended. Unlike some folk, I don’t mind going up but I hate going down in these short locks. We have a tarpaulin skirt around the deck now, protection for the animals but helped my worries about water gushing onto the deck.  We have had so many previous trials with this boat it is taking me a long while to get my confidence with her, but it’s coming.


Just setting off towards Barrowford Top Lock when another boater asks to share the 7 locks with us. Jeremy & Rachel on nb Phoebe Joan, what a lovely couple & they now have two mugs with their boat sign writing on.



They waited for us at Reedley Marina as we planned to stop there but there are no moorings outside the marina & we were told next suitable stop would be Bridge 130b outside The Wharf pub in Burnley after the embankment

ReedleymarinaNot in the plan for today but off we went.



We noticed that we have lost our picturesque scenery & the surrounding areas were a lot more industrialised & a lot of old wharf buildings & rubbish, we hadn’t seen any rubbish really since we started our trip.



We dipped in & out of old mills buildings, industry & green areas again.




Just before the embankment I thought I might be back in Yorkshire again by the name on this new widebeam!


We cruised along the mile long Burnley embankment, not very scenic but the views over Burnley were quite interesting, shops & town centre one side & the old cobbled streets lined with row of houses.





Looking back along the embankment 60ft above the town.


The end of the embankment.


We came across this oddity on the way into Burnley. I have no idea what it is or why it is there!


We moored up behind nb Phoebe Joan on Burnley wharf & have all decided a visit to town & a bit of shopping tomorrow.


9 Miles       7 Locks      0 Swing Bridges      0 Tunnels     5 Hours







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Tuesday 16th August 2016 

Barrowford is lovely but the “towpathers” are mainly joggers or dog walkers so we decided not to trade but to have a day doing something for us & we liked the pretty town so we ventured across the sheep field again, past the pretty flowers , along the river to the Pendle Heritage Centre.

This is the old Toll House at the bridge just before the Heritage centre.

The heritage centre occupies Park Hill, a two-storey former farmhouse which has a 1661 date stone but was developed over an extended period between the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The centre has an 18th-century walled garden and woodland walk, and houses the Pendle Arts Gallery.

Park Hill is an old farmhouse that has been restored using traditional building techniques to provide visitors with an insight on how the house has been developed and adapted from the 15th century.

I found the explanation of the holes in the wall of Park hill fascinating & any of my acquaintances  from Golcar & Holmfirth will probably already know about these as they appear in buildings there.


We walked around the walled garden, picked some of the purple pod peas & enjoyed them as we wandered. We looked at the timber framed barn, a massive barn, the main arches made from a suitably bend log, split in half to form the arch. You can see the stables too.

One thing i did notice in the exhibition was the beautiful handwriting in some of the old documents. I wish I could have handwriting like this & that we still taught good handwriting to kids.


The Pendle Witches

The rest of the exhibition is dedicated to the story of The Pendle Witches. The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history, and some of the best recorded of the 17th century. The twelve accused lived in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire, and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of  witchcraft.   It was a time when witchcraft was not only feared but also fascinated those from common village folk to King  James I  who had been greatly interested in witchcraft even before he took the throne in 1603 The scepticism of the king became reflected in the feelings of unrest about witchcraft among the common people.

It is important to understand the background to the events of these trials. Six of the eleven “witches” on trial came from two rival families, the Demdike family and the Chattox family, both headed by old widows in their 80’s, Elizabeth Southerns known as “Old Demdike”and Anne Whittle “Mother Chattox”.

Old Demdike had been known as a witch for fifty years; it was an accepted part of village life in the 16th century that there were village healers who practised magic and dealt in herbs and medicines. The extent of the spate of witchcraft reported in Pendle at this time perhaps reflected the large amounts of money people could make by posing as witches.

The story began with an altercation between one of the accused, Alizon Device, and a pedlar, John Law.  Alizon, either travelling or begging on the road to Trawden Forest, passed  John Law and asked him for some pins (it is not known whether her intention was to pay for them or whether she was begging). He refused and Alizon cursed him. It was a short while after this that John Law suffered a stroke, for which he blamed Alizon and her powers. When this incident was brought before Justice Nowell, Alizon confessed that she had told the Devil to lame John Law. It was upon further questioning that Alizon accused her grandmother, Old Demdike, and also members of the Chattox family, of witchcraft. The accusations on the Chattox family seem to have been an act of revenge. The families had been feuding for years, perhaps since one of the Chattox family broke into Malkin Tower (the home of the Demdikes) and stole goods to the value of £1 (approximately the equivalent of £100 now). Furthermore, John Device (father of Alizon) blamed the illness that led to his death on Old Chattox, who had threatened to harm his family if they did not pay annually for their protection.

The deaths of four other villagers that had occurred years before the trial were raised and the blame laid on witchcraft performed by Chattox. James Demdike confessed that Alizon had also cursed a local child some time before and Elizabeth, although more reserved in making accusations, confessed her mother had a mark on her body, supposedly where the Devil had sucked her blood, which left her mad. On further questioning both Old Demdike and Chattox confessed to selling their souls.  Also Anne (Chattox’s daughter) was allegedly seen to create clay figures. After hearing this evidence, the judge detained Alizon, Anne, Old Demdike and Old Chattox and waited for trial.



The story would have ended there had it not been for a meeting held at Malkin Tower by James Device (Alizon’s brother), for which he stole a neighbour’s sheep. Those sympathetic to the family attended but word reached the judge who felt compelled to investigate. As a result, a further eight people were summoned for questioning and then trial.

Nine year old Jennet Device was a key supplier of evidence for the Pendle witches’ trial which was allowed under the system from King James; all normal rules of evidence could be suspended for witch trials, someone so young would not have been able to supply key evidence normally. Jennet gave evidence against those who attended the meeting at Malkin Tower but also against her mother, sister and brotherer son John Bulcock, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Gray, and Jennet Preston.  Many of the allegations resulted from accusations that members of the Demdike and Chattox families made against each other, perhaps because they were in competition, both trying to make a living from healing, begging, and extortion.


The trials were held at Lancaster between 17th and 19th August 1612.  Old Demdike never reached trial; the dark, dank dungeon in which they were imprisoned was too much for her to survive & she died there in the arms of her daughter.

After all that we had a coffee in the centre’s coffee shop & wandered back across that sheep field.







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