Sunday, 31 May 2015

Respite near Barnoldswick.

Since last posting, we have continued to ascend. Our one abiding memory is just how cold it has been. It is nearly June, but feels more like March. The strong winds have not helped. It has not rained too much during the day, but never warmed up enough to drive the chill from our bones.

Our last visit up here was in 2012, an awful summer. We had hoped that this time it would have been kinder, but thus far... And the forecast well into next week is not looking good, so we may be doing some short hops and hunkering down to sit out the worst!

Half way between Liverpool and Leeds

We have now left the old industrial towns of Lancashire behind us. You could count on one hand the number of boats actually moving, we saw in any day and there are very few with moorings. This must tell one that it is either unsafe or somewhat unpleasant to moor in these areas. The towpaths have been very quiet, so no youths have we seen, too bloody cold for them! The locks we have encountered thus far have all been in good order and because we have remained in company with Sue and Quentin, w e have tackled them with consummate ease.

Since leaving Riley Green, we made the long plod into, through and out of Blackburn. The six locks here were again in good order and we even managed to fill with water and empty the loo at the services amidst them without to much difficulty, despite the design of the landing hindering ease. Top of the locks and lunch followed by an Asda shop saw us away. I must admit, the canal environs of Blackburn were much improved from our last visit. The banksides were litter free and tidy, although the water held many a plastic bag. But at Rishton!!! The residents use the canal as a dump, evident from litter tumbling down the banks on the offside, obviously thrown over garden fences. It was awful, and we were glad to get out and moor up in the relative peace , well ok, some motorway and rail noise, just before Church.

Rishton rubbish

Evidence of just how bad the canal is came the next morning, when after a few hundred yards I had to stop and clear the prop of plastic rubbish.

So onward to Burnley.  Another post industrial town that has somewhat turned its back on the canal. Again, it was the rubbish in the canal that struck us the most, even though for a large part it is suspended above the town on an embankment.  The cold continued, but we ploughed on, eventually mooring just past Reedley Marina.

Yesterday, we were making our final ascent up the seven Barrowford locks. Again these were in good order and the area tidy and almost rural, overlooking the feeder reservoir. Then it was into Foulridge tunnel, which operates a traffic light system for passage. This is a broad tunnel, but we are truly in Wide beam territory now. Exiting the portal, we entered sunlight and a different world. Now rural, with fantastic views of the edge of the Dales.

It was time to bid farewell to N.B.Twizzle. They were continuing on, whilst we had arranged to stop shortly before Barnoldswick, to meet up with George and Kath of N.B. Syrus, who have a beautiful mooring here. Kindly, we have been allowed to moor on a pontoon, with water and power on tap! Luxury.  We are sitting tight Friday and hoping for a weather window on Saturday in order to move on. But looking at the forecast, we will not be going far!

32.5 miles
15 broad locks
2199 yds of tunnel
3 swing bridges.

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