Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Farewell to Liverpool.

Life has remained somewhat hectic. After waving Paul and Jane off on Saturday, we had a wander around the city centre. The St John's complex has a tower, with which used to house at the top, a revolving restaurant.  This is now the HQ of Radio City, but the enclosed viewing platform remains open to the public for a small payment.  So up the extremely rapid lift we went.  The views are fantastic and well worth the vertigo.

Back on the ground we wandered the shops.  We did have an agenda, to find something that would enable us to fix the bog!  We have a Thetford cassette toilet. The handle that operates the " flap " snapped off.  For some reason the plastic moulding had failed.  Eventually I located a wooden kitchen device that I thought would do the job!

The meal venue that evening was Jamie's Italian, and very good it was too. This is certainly one vibrant and clean city.

Sunday saw Ali shopping and me checking the boat over for our exit from Liverpool Monday morning.  The prop was clear, as was the water.  You could see through the weed hatch right down to the bottom, including the fish and jellyfish. The bog handle has been bodged, but now works!  In fact it is more robust than the original!  The evening saw us visit Carluccio's, to continue our Italian themed weekend.

Through the weedhatch

Monday morning dawned, Wet... But we had to be off at 9 am to meet the CRT lad's.  Ever the optimist, I saw a hint of blue sky and the rain stopped before we were really moving.  The seven boats leaving gathered below Mann island lock.  All were narrowboats bar one, a fibreglass single handed cruiser.  Guess who we shared with up this and the next five locks! Anyway, we made it without crushing him, thanks mainly to Ali.

Calm leaving our mooring

through the assault course in Albert Dock (where they have had the Wake Boarding)

Wind picking up a bit

Once up the locks and out of the docks we had a pleasant trip out of the city, meeting the CRT lads at the relevant bridges in order that they could work them and get the convoy through. We waved goodbye to them at bridge nine and we all made our way towards Maghull. The system here was for the first boat to work the swing bridge, letting all the others through and so on.  All went well until would you believe it was our turn to work the bridge (15).  These are all electronic, key operated.  When Ali got to the bridge, the control unit was flashing a fault. No amount of prodding would activate it, so a call to CRT saw the lads who had worked us through Liverpool return.  They tried, climbed under, pulled and pushed, all to no avail, so they called out the engineers!  Up to four hours before they would attend, so we all moored up.

Well the engineers arrived just before 7pm, got the bridge operating and waved us all through. After two more swing bridges, the convoy began to disperse as people moored up. By this time, 8.15 ish, it was getting dark, so we moored on the landing of a redundant bridge for the night, knackered!

On Tuesday we were greeted with clear blue sky and no wind. In fact it was hot from the off. We made our way to Burscough, with the intention of attending the services then doing some shopping. It was busy.  We did manage the services, but due to one particular arse, did not stop beyond this and continued on our way. We were told Parbold was busy, so thought we should crack on and moor up early.  When we got to Parbold mid afternoon, it was virtually empty and we had our pick. So moored up and got the chairs out in the sunshine.
The Pennines appearing in the distance

Fabulous reflections

That evening we met with my cousin Ian at the Windmill and had a rather good meal.  So nice to meet up and catch up.  We will endeavour to make it sooner before we meet again.  Cheers Ian. And to Brian, hope Sue is on the mend and we hope to meet you soon.

This morning, ( Wednesday ) we were off early, well for us, at 0830. Our lock free day was over and we had Wigan to tackle.  Some of the locks are quite deep. Sharing with another boat would have been handy, but as we saw only three boats moving all day, not likely. So it proved.  But we had a good system and were soon up the six locks into Wigan, then down the next two and off towards Leigh.  Plank lane lift bridge soon loomed and we were through with no trauma.

Whilst this area is somewhat post industrial, it has been well manicured and is very green. Trees abound as do several large bodies of water, or flashes. This has become a nature haven and we lost count of the Kingfishers we saw en route.
Pennywort spreading 

We are moored on the embankment above Pennington flash.  A beautiful spot.

Tomorrow we hope to hit Manchester....

Miles from Liverpool. 40
Locks 14
Swing/lift bridges 13

and finally .... we have had some lovely sunsets recently

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