Friday, 4 June 2010

Hot and sweaty with no complaints

In fact it’s so steamy here my laptop’s turned into a frying pan.
It suddenly struck me yesterday that it may be confusing when I’ve talked about us (not) going up through the locks to the Leeds Liverpool for various reasons. So you might be wondering where the hell it is we DO go.
 
I mean the here and now could be a complete mystery to people who don’t know this area – the Rufford arm does seem to be tucked away a bit. But at least it’s not a canal that resembles a motorway with queues, hire boaters, “boat rage,” nowhere to moor up, when a gap is found it’s nose to tail.
 
I’ve read about these problems loads of times on the blogs and the inconvenience it causes, sometimes it sounds almost like it’s not worth the hassle!
 
Even on the Leeds Liverpool round these here parts there’s none of the above, that’s if you can get on it at all though. Right now it’s not got much water – so yes that could be a somewhat minor problem. Never mind busy canals, it’s dam well disappearing!
 
Anyway, back here on the Rufford canal, just 3 boats have gone past us today so far, the first of which is the same one that came past us yesterday, after doing a 180 turn further up of course…
 
So here’s the route we take, plus a few facts thrown in:
 
Turn right out of St Mary’s marina entrance and there’s 7 locks up to the Leeds Liverpool canal. But turn left and that’s where we go, headed for paradise, without any locks…
 
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We head towards Tarleton, that’s where the BIG deep lock takes boaters out onto the Ribble Link and across the estuary to the Lancaster Canal.
 
We moor up about 2 or 3 miles short of busy Tarleton, in a convenient spot for friends to visit us, even those who live in bricks n’ mortar. There’s a tiny road that goes over this bridge (below) where there’s room for about 5 cars, then a short walk down the towpath.
 
Here it is in the distance, taken from the side hatch this morning…
 
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I’ve mentioned it before, it’s the bridge with a brick wall and a nasty turn. We’ve discovered since our last challenge going through there that it used to be a lock till it was joined to the River Douglas (to prevent flooding).
 
So a section of the River Douglas is actually man made and a mile or 2 of the canal was / is actually a river. I posted some photos of the beautiful “river section” canal just over a week ago. Before I knew anything of the history involved…
 
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And looking the opposite way – this is the direction our boaty pals visit from, through the swing bridge in the distance…
 
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More about the Ribble Link: Before we crossed the estuary into Preston ourselves, we always thought it might make the Rufford canal busier. But because the estuary is tidal, opportunities to go across to the Lancaster canal are limited.
 
The number of boats that can cross at the same time is just 6 and has to be booked weeks in advance. So it’s made no difference to boat traffic here at all, if we occasionally notice 6 boats we don’t recognise headed this way (all within a short distance of each other) we know they’re probably “doing the Link.”
 
We consider ourselves to be very lucky because it’s all so beautiful here and I haven’t even mentioned the great community spirit!
 
Uh oh, there’s a gongoozler’s photo shoot going on outside, just heard “Oh look Take it Easy, must get a photo of that” (CLICK).

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