Thursday, 29 May 2008

Epic Voyage

Wow, what a day...! We set off from the marina at about 10am with Alan and Chris on a very warm, sunny day. This was a magical mystery tour for Dave and me, also a big learning curve for us using the locks.
Takey Tezey, with Chris and Alan following behind us, coming out of the marina and onto the canal towards the first lock:
 Captain's Mate (Me):
Captain Dave (him):
I found working the locks was difficult at first. I'd heard so many ways of doing things, and how different some locks are to open. Its all right in theory, but experience means everything!
After four locks and three swing bridges we moored up for lunch, (whilst still on the Rufford Branch). Chris had prepared sandwiches which were very much appreciated!
After half an hour's break we set off again, went through three more locks. (One with a swing bridge that had to be opened at the same time). Then turned left after the bridge that spans the Rufford Branch and out onto the Leeds Liverpool.
Beyond that there were just two swing bridges, and no more locks till we reached our destination. Which meant we could stay together the rest of the way. Two wide beams don’t fit in a lock together, not even a wide lock.

We kept hearing comments from folks like "Am I seeing double?" Or "Haven't I just seen your boat go through this lock?" Confusing but amusing once we'd explained the “sister boat” thing!
We moored up at Parbold around 6pm, just by the old mill (minus its sails). Then walked round the village to stock up on supplies. We found the local chippy too! So we all went and sat on the back of TT2 eating our tea in the evening sunshine, perfect. We were so hungry we couldn't even be assed using plates! Later on Dave and Alan both did some fishing, meanwhile I sat and caught up on some reading.

We both really enjoyed today, it's been great fun and has given us the confidence to tackle the locks on our own. It's great that we've got friends who can provide support and guidance with all this.

Later on Dave was discussing heading back to the marina tomorrow on our own, looks like setting off a day late has buggered up our plans to carry on another day.
Chris and Alan are on their way down to Cheshire. They're spending a week travelling there and back. But unfortunately for us Dave has to go back to work on Monday and we wanted some "chill time" before then.
If we'd gone any further away tomorrow, we would've been under a lot of pressure to get back in time. Ah well, never mind, we've had a great day and gained a lot of experience too…

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