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Thursday 11th August 2016

The wind was still blowing a hooley & the rain was lashing, the Great British summer in all its glory, so we decided to have a day making soup & baking scones.

Newbie single hander Jayne moored behind us asked if she could travel up Greenfield locks with us tomorrow. of course will enjoy the company.

Friday 12th August 2016

It was still blowing a gales but was dry so we had some breakfast, gave Jill a knock both secured cats inside & set off.

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The canal is very windy on this stretch & with the strength of the wind it was quite hard going, only lost it a bit at one bridge which was a very tight turn going into the wind, then the 3 Greenfield locks. unexpectedly there was a volunteer lock keeper on duty, we think it was maybe because of the hire boat incident a couple of days before. He was a cheery chap & told me to hug the towpath between locks 1 & 2 to avoid being caught by the wind.

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the tight turn into a bridge where the wind caught us.

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We completed the locks & said cheerio to Jill as she headed off in front of us, we wanted to stop at Barnoldswick to get a few supplies in so we moored up just before Lower Park Marina. We walked back to Long Ing Bridge which is just a short walk to the co-op & other shops.

Near the county border with North Yorkshire, it is just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Barnoldswick is the highest town on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, lying on the summit level of the canal between Barrowford Locks to the south west and Greenberfield Locks just north east of the town.

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We walked back to Long Ing Bridge which is just a short walk to the co-op & other shops.  The Dolphin Fish & Chip shop was open so on the way back we popped for some chips…….don’t bother, the worst yet. Very greasy & very overcooked.

Barnoldswick, with 12 letters, is one of the longest place names in the UK which doesn’t  repeat any letters. Only Buckfastleigh,  Buslingthorpe West Yorkshire and Buslingthorpe Lincolnshire are longer, each have 13 letters.

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Lower Park Marina

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Looking back at boats lined up at Lower Park Marina

Barnoldswick used to be a major cotton producing town, now it is the home base for Silent Night Beds who had the longest running strike by workers from 1985-1987.   Rolls Royce is also a major employer in the town, the model number of many Rolls Royce jet engines start with the initials RB  which stands for Rolls Barnoldswick, as Rolls Royce Aero design centre was  in Barnoldswick.

We set off again hoping to get a mooring at Salterforth outside the pub to trade for the weekend.

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Lovely spot but too high for me & the animals.

A lot more narrow stretches & tight bends then we happen upon the pub, private moorings before the bridge & only two moorings under the bridge adjacent to pub car park, both taken, nowhere else close suitable for trading. Oh, well we carry on & find a lovely spot about 1/2 mile on but unfortunately once moored up it was too high  & dangerous for the animals, so we upped pins & found a better spot  Hatters Bridge just past the private boat club,

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moored up then the boat was surrounded by hundreds of wasps…….oooops must of blocked a nest in the bank, moved just under the bridge & finally moored up for the day with a fab view over the Dales.

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From here the towpath provides a picturesque walk back to Barnoldswick or forwards to Foulridge.

3.5 Miles    3 Locks      0 Swing Bridges     2.5hrs

 

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July 2012

7th July & a weekend trip to the marina stopping Friday night at the Travel Inn at Huddefield North, which sits right on the banks of the River Colne & the water level was very high due to the recent downpours of this horrendous summers weather.

Good nights sleep as always in a Travel Inn, just like the ad says, thanks Lenny! we set off for Salithwaite to have another look at the Fish & Chip shop. our heads have been buzzing since the last trip with ideas & possibilities. Met with the owner again & struck a deal agreeing to pay holding deposit on Monday when back in Scotland. this is it we are doing it! These premises apparently have a chipping machine that produces Crinkle Cut Chips, I’ve never seen that in a Fish & Chip shop before!

If we can produce this as a take away I’ll be very happy, better get Colin booked up on a Fish Fryers course!

Had a look at the possible house available for rent in the village seems ok, not up to our usual standard but have been spoilt in Scotland for space & rural aspect of property.

It has an enclosed yard area for the dogs so we will know they are safe & not locked inside when we are working at the shop, plenty of space inside too, we can make it home. Contacted agents to say we want to go ahead.   Here comes mega amounts of form filling & outlay just to rent a home!.

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Sunday 15th April 2012

Chuch Minshull viewpoint to Aqueduct Marina.

This is the last day of our very mixed Easter holiday week.  The weather has been mixed, rain, heavy rain, really heavy rain, ice balls, hail stones, sunshine but not much wind apart from after Lochaber had the chilli con carnie!  The wildlife has given us glimpses of baby ducklings, nesting swans, numerous seemingly unafraid herons & the highlight of the week our first sighting of a kingfisher!

It flew alongside the boat for a few hundred yards darting in & out of the canal bank, beautiful shimmering colours, finally it posed just for us! Here he/she is…..

Emotionally our week has given us some respite from work but has challenged our boating skills with the near failure of the 2nd drive plate & the loss of reverse gear on the home straight. I thought that a  narrowboaters life was supposed to be relaxed & unstressed! I think the stress was actually caused not so much by the mechanical components failures but by the fact that we thought last year this problem had been resolved. I will detail things a bit more on the page dealing specifically with the drive plate issues once the promised replacement gear box  has been fitted & everything is working correctly.

I’ve had a hearty boaters breakfast. The sun is shining, the wind is minimal, the canal is relatively still, it is 10am & I have one shot at getting this 57ft of steel with no reverse gear into her mooring BN3 at Aqueduct Marina, here we go…….

We pulled her around & in through the entrance, then a small amount of forward power so I had some steering, hold your breath & hope the wind doesn’t gust, so far so good, one of the lads from the marina was at the end of our jetty waiting for Lochaber to throw the rope once I had the bow close enough & turning, at times like this never listen to anyone who says you don’t need a Bow Thruster, it has been a life saver for us the past two days & I say that unashamedly!! Power is right off & we are gliding in bow turned just enough, throw that rope, shes’ in, now guys just stop her completely before the bow reaches the opposite jetty, Yes! we made it. Sighs of relief.

I need a few minutes to get my nerves sorted, the heron on one of the boats opposite our stern who had been watching the carry on certainly helped me calm down.

So, I hope you have enjoyed my first proper boating week blog & the journey we have shared with you.

Today 1.5miles 3 bridges, o locks, 30 minutes, 1 marina

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Aqueduct Marina

Friday 17th February 2012

Well, we made it this weekend, arrived at Aqueduct marina around 2.30pm, after stopping at Uplands Marina in Northwich to pick up a very handy piece of steel work Nick Bancroft of NB Marine Services had made for us. As you can see from the inside pics of That’s D’riculous on the Buying a narrowboat page nothing really divides the kitchen area off from the main area of the boat, that seems fine but when in use we found that any splashes from the cooker top were settling on the woodburner! Not great, so Nick had a simple stainless steel angled plate made for us to stop this & it actually masks any cooking pots as well, we like it & think it was well worth having it made to measure.

The weather was overcast when we arrived but dry so we set about storing the logs & coal away, making up the fire & plugged in the new heated blanket to air the bed. Now, that blanket was money WELL spent the bed was toastie & completely aired by 10pm & seemed to hold much of that warmth all night. That all done we put sausages in the oven & opened the wine! So glad just to be afloat again!

Saturday 18th February 2012

Awoke to the boat rocking gently in the strengthening wind & rain tapping on the roof, tea & toast & back to bed with that great new blanket switched on & a catch up with fellow #boatsthattweet. Blue skies above the low clouds, maybe it will break soon.we had an unexpected visitor as a good boatie brunch was being made.

This Aqueduct Marina’s dog in residence Jack & he belongs to marina owner Robert Parton. I got a paw shake in return for half a sausage….bless!  A few more cups of tea downed the rain has stopped & the sun was out, time to take our other dog (Caley the Spaniel) for a walk. Half way along the towpath  the sky darkened & the hailstones rained down on us! a couple of all-weather boaters on the move, by the time we got back to the marina it had passed & the sun was out again, time for a piece of delicious cake & a cappuccino in The Galley coffee shop.

“A dogs life”, this boating lark!

View of the marina from The Galley Coffee shop

So, this is my first blog entry from the boat on the new laptop which will accompany us when we move aboard. I think it is as good as previous blogs from the home computer, but need more practice to find my way around this one & get competent without a mouse!

Sunday 19th February 2012

The weather was pretty awful most of Sunday, we had heard the hail stones during the night & awoke to a very icy walkway & brrrrrr it was cold, nothing for it but to make tea & toast & return to the all-encompassing warmth of the wonderful new blanket!! This is becoming a habit! A quick catch up with #boatsthattweet & the chance for me to tell you a little story.

Charlies’ Story

Charlie is Aqueducts’ resident swan, he was made known to us when we first arrived last year by Robert’s young son who was very sad because Charlie didn’t have a friend! Apparently Charlie was always on his own, he is  very friendly it’s almost as if he gets to know his boaters & always comes to greet you when you arrive even if it is, like us, sometimes 11.30pm & in the dark….Charlie still appears to say “hello”. Now, you might say, that could be any old swan, No! we know its Charlies cos’ he has a broken beak!

We wondered if it was because of Charlies broken beak he didn’t have a mate, but I don’t suppose swans are that vain really!

During the summer of 2011 Charlie appeared to have a lady friend but she had cygnets in tow & although he tolerated her he wasn’t keen on the young ones, however she stuck around, the youngsters have gone their own way & Charlie seems to be “all loved up” We are all so pleased this “swan song” has a happy ending!

The Marina was so still after the storm on Saturday night the water was like glass. It was beautiful & unusually peaceful.

Time for the usual coffee & scones in The Gally before we start the long trek back to Scotland.

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Friday 10th February 2012

Well I am one mad cookie…..did the met office get it wrong or what, we could have driven down to our nb, snow didn’t materialise as they said, temperatures didn’t drop as much as they said….GUTTED!” May go to Falkirk Wheel instead just to see some nb’s.

I bought an electric overblanket today for That’s D’riculous well for us really for when we go down during the cold winter months, because we are not on board continually she it very, very, very cold when we turn up at about 11pm on a Friday night & without waking the whole marina there is not much we can do to warm her or the bed up apart from pop the central heating on for a while but we are always well tired from the journey so sitting around too long isn’t an option. a hot water bottle doesn’t seem to have much effect in the bed either. The box says the blanket cost 1p per night to run (Hmm….) & even without a shoreline we should be ok with our 3kw inverter.

I have been thinking today about the sad story I have been reading on Tom & Jans blog site for nbWaiouru, the supposed boat builder concerned Ben Harp should have his head hung in shame for what he has done to these people. They wanted to leave New Zealand & come to retire here and continue after numerous trips exploring our canal system permanently. There is a link to their blog on the right hand side of this page, it is well worth a read. I wish them the very best of luck in moving things forward & eventually getting the boat sorted out.

The damaged nb Waiouru

Saturday 11th February 2012 

We have decided that because we hadn’t managed to get down to Aqueduct Marina to join in the 3rd anniversary celebrations that we would go to have a look at the Falkirk Wheel, nr Stirling. As boaters now we should have already been due to the fact that until we become liveaboard we are still based in Scotland. The weather was not as good as I would have liked but it was 4c & I think most of the boaters in England are still in sub zero temperatures. Although we did find ice on the Union canal although it looks as if it is cracked & broken it was actually really thick & solid. The ice was very clear rather than opaque as the english canal photos seem to show.

There were not many narrowboats moored in the basin, mainly the hire fleet tucked away for the winter.

The locks on the Union canal above the Falkirk Wheel are so new looking compared to some we have seen down south, they look to new & unused & the mechanism for operating the lock gates was new to us, has anybody seen this type of operation on the english canals? We are assuming that you use your BW key & turn a knob & “hey presto” job done rather than all that winding of stiff cogs with a windlass.

We noticed a nice Scottish touch for mooring at the top of the Wheel, the mooring cleats had a Celtic design on them!

There are lots more photos on the PAGE headed Scotland’s’ Canals (plus the skating swans!)

Thursday 16th February 2012

I haven’t posted much since last weekend as it has just been the monotonous daily grind, this year is going to be really hard waiting to start getting ready to liveaboard our nb.  A couple of people on Twitter have said “why wait?”, “why don’t you do it now?” well the reason is pictured below,  his name is Wally & he is a 9 1/2 year old Newfoundland. He has been my close companion for all that time & has been with me through some very rough & tough times. He was the inspiration for me to get back on my feet after breaking my leg & hip at the same time! No, I wasn’t drunk! surgeon said if I had been I probably wouldn’t have broken them just badly bruised myself! Anyway, this beautiful boy is in the autumn of his life & currently has an ulcerated corn on one of his large pads which apparently will never heal & is too big to be operated on as he would loose 40% of the pad & healing may not occur properly with 385kg pushing down on it .  If it was at all viable we would make the move & take him with us but the style of our nb makes it impossible for him to get in & out of the cabin easily, plus the fact he’s not keen on narrow spaces! So as much as his loss will be one of the hardest days of my life, I feel that knowing my life will completely change is the only way I will be able to get over it.  I have already asked our vet about having his ashes so at least he come on our travels with us!!

Wally is off the see his favorite friend Jeremy this weekend at the local Kennels as we really, really need to get down to the boat & chill out, the weather has broken, the ice is melting & we have nb withdrawal.

So my next blog post will be done for the first time from That’s D’riculous. See you then. 

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Please let me give you some history to bring things up to date.  January 2012

We have spent the past year & a half falling in love with the canals & its people, most of that time has been learning how to handle a narrowboat properly & courteously, making the most of limited space & learning the etiquette of the canal world. During the next 12 months we are preparing to pack up our rented home, we have already sold our house & move on board fulltime. Since joining the boating community on Twitter we feel closer & more a part of the life style will be embarking on, therefore we think it is time to start our own boaters blog!

Our first nb was a 30yr old 42ft Cruiser style Minden boat called Tin Lizzie. We purchased her in August 2010, explored quite a bit of the Trent & Mersey & we loved her! Now we were hooked!

Moored just south of Rugeley on T & M by Lochaber & Cornish

We both bought & sold Tin Lizzie via New & Used Boat Sales based at Mercia Marina. They were very helpful when we first looked at Tin Lizzie & although we were doubtful of an older boat as a first investment we were assured by Doug, who is not a salesman as such more of a mine of information & recognised face within the boating community (who does all the practical & important things at New & Used), that she was a good solid nb from a sought after builder, Minden & that when we came to resell her we would not have a problem. Every time we visited Mercia Marina Doug was always around with friendly help & advice for the novices! He taught us a lot & we won’t forget that easily. I hope when we become liveaboard & start moving around more that we can go back & say hello.

As you can see she is alot more traditional inside than the new investment, traditional seems a lot cosier somehow.

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug was right when we decided to put Tin Lizzie back on the market in May 2011 they hadn’t even got the photo in the ad before we had a buyer!! I hope we pass her & her new owners sometime as I would love to see how she is fairing, although we now have a new build the older nb’s have far more character & soundness about them, although the tech side is not so good.

We explored a fair bit of the Trent & Mersey with Tin Lizzie & I have put some of our favorite photos on this page.

Below are a couple of pictures of Mercia Marina which I believe is one of the biggest in the country now. It is also the base for the Shakespeare Hire Fleet.

 

 

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