Saturday, 30 August 2014

A catch up!

Sometimes, there are just not enough hours in the day!  We have been rather busy since our arrival in Liverpool.  What a fantastic city and not just because it is my home town.

Bank holiday Monday was forecast as a washout, and it was. Cold, wet at times, but above all, very windy.  We watched boats crabbing past us and thought, No....  So we sat put, caught up with a few domestic chores and chilled out.  There was little point moving.

Tuesday saw us on our way mid morning.  It was still a tad breezy, but less so than the previous day. We made our way towards Liverpool, for the scheduled meet with the lad's from CRT the next morning. It was a pleasant trip.  The natives were friendly apart from one "lady" driver who objected to Ali closing the barrier in order to operate the swing bridge.  As there were a fair number of such bridges in Maghull, Ali walked the towpath.  This made life a lot easier for me as well, as the wind was still strong and getting off the bank was something of a trial at times.

The canal into Liverpool seems rather cleaner than when we last visited.  Very little litter visible. By mid afternoon we had arrived at the moorings just prior to Hancock's swing bridge and settled in for the day.  Two other boats joined us to await the morning convoy.

Miles 9
Swing bridges 7

On Wednesday morning we were up bright and early and ready for the off.  Several other narrowboats arrived at the moorings, along with two  cruisers,  As they are somewhat quicker, they took the lead when the bridge was swung open by the lads from CRT.  And so we began the journey in. Once again, we were impressed by the cleanliness of the water and the canal environs.  It was very quiet on the towpath though. We were lead narrowboat, which gave us a distinct advantage on the prop foul front. We took it rather steady and apart from the odd plastic bag which was removed with a quick reverse, had no need to visit the weed hatch.

We were soon at the top of the Locks which descend into the docks.  Passage down these was easy thanks to Sid and the CRT team and we were soon making passage through the Link. One difference from last time was that Princess lock is now operated for you, rather than the diy job it was previously. Good job really, as the wind had really got up by this time. By the time we had passed the "Three Graces" and arrived at Mann Island lock, it was blowing a hooley.  We had difficulty holding the boat whilst we awaited the CRT lad's to work us through and all the others in the convoy had the same problems.  Once down the two Canning dock's and Albert dock were negotiated without problems. Well apart from the floating obstacles forming part of the coming weekend events that is. But as we passed under the bridge into Salthouse and the mooring pontoons, the wind really took hold.

My intention was to go into the mooring bow first, for ease in the wind.  It soon became apparent that the boat was heading sideways at some rate of speed.  Plan B came into effect.  Using all the engine power I could muster, I reversed and turned the boat. Our designated mooring was beside an already moored boat. With a lot of engine rev's, more through luck than any skill on my part, I managed to reverse into the mooring without touching the pontoon, or the other boat. As we were securing the boat, Jane and Paul arrived, talk about good timing!

Miles 10
Locks 6
Swing bridges  0 ( As CRT did them!)

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