I write this as the buds of spring are emerging, the grass is beginning to grow and we are (hopefully) beginning to emerge from Covid lockdown.
My last post was almost a year ago and we have spent most of our time in the marina at Apperley Bridge or in Gallows Bridge Marina and boatyard.
We managed a couple of weeks out cruising down to Thorne nr Doncaster where we were reunited with Ian and Cherryl on Serren Rose with whom we crossed the wash in 2019. We had an enjoyable week with them and were treated to fine weather, they introduced us to Phil and Kate on NB Tansy too, always great to meet more fellow boaters. Returning to the marina we decided to venture upto the summit of the Leeds Liverpool canal and again we were treated to fine weather, getting in lots of fine dales walking.
Whilst out on this cruise I had noted that we had developed a rattle which turned out to be a loose propeller, we had had a similar problem a couple of years earlier and thought this problem had been put to bed. I contacted Aaran at Gallows Bridge to arrange another lift out to investigate.
We left Apperley Bridge in mid November to be lifted out, the problem turned out to be down to the wrong sized taper on the shaft this prevented the nut and washer that hold the prop in position from clamping the prop so we had been relying solely on a key for drive, thankfully this had held out if a little worn.
We had been suffering leakage problems from the drive shaft too so it was decided that the shaft would have to be removed. The lads at Gallows set too to dismantle the tiller assembly that they had refitted 6 months earlier, this is necessary to remove the prop shaft.
On removal the shaft was found to be severely worn.
We took advantage of the boat been out of the water, to apply another coat of blacking to the hull along with a few other jobs we decided to do.
Once back in the water we had to realign the new shaft to the engine, in doing so we discovered a problem with the engine mounts so they had to be replaced too. A heads up to the team at Gallows who are working hard to establish a centre for boat engineering and are thoroughly recommended by us.
Our daughter and her husband are expecting their first child and we had intended to set off early January to try and get down to the Gloucester Sharpness canal in time for early April. Sadly another lockdown arrived so we had to stay put.
Winter rolled into spring and here we are having just left the boatyard at the start of our journey south. We have had to change our plans a dozen times due to canal structural failures and storm damage, as I write this there are no routes open from the north to the south. Canals and Rivers Trust no longer seem to give an estimate of the length of these stoppage and list them all as "until further notice" making planning all but impossible, we are having to make our own estimate of which stoppage may take the longest to resolve, this is a gamble and may mean us having to retrace our steps and go a different way. Our current estimate is that the stoppage most likely to be resolved first is on the River Weaver in Cheshire, this will require us to book a passage along the Manchester Ship Canal from Salford Quays to the Weaver near Runcorn, from here will will go up the Weaver to the Anderton Boat lift where we will join the Trent and Mersey then head south, hopefully having bypassed all the main closures.
A lovely spring morning, if a little cold, greeted us on the commencement of our journey, we are travelling with Tony, Vickie and our new doggy pal Puck, on NB Watchman and look forward to their company en-route.
|Strange sightings at Hirst Wood|
|A very cold but beautiful morning as we leave Riddlesden|
Thursday 8th April - Good news today, we received new of the birth of our first grandchild Beatrix Christiana, we can't wait to get down to the South West so we can finally meet her.
Monday 13th April
Well it looks as if our path is opening up ahead of us but we do need to jump through a few hoops before entering the Manchester Ship Canal, we have to get a certificate of seaworthiness, and we will need to do this before we can book our passage. Once we are granted permission to transit the MSC we will need to book locking on and off the canals, the locking on will need to be booked with the Bridgewater Canal company and locking off with Canals and Rivers Trust.
We have been taking it steady as we are running in all the work done on the boat over the last year.
Our trip so far has taken us through some of the most scenic parts of the network, cruising through Gargrave before ascending the picturesque lock flight at Bank Newton. Above the locks we passed along the twisting route through the glacial drumlins before arriving at Greenberfield locks, raising us upto Barnoldswick.
|The scenery above Gargrave|
The weather has tuned vey cold through the night but warm and sunny during the day, it has presented us with the whole range of elements from wind through hail to snow!
We had an enjoyable weekend up here, taking a stroll over the hills to the east of Barnoldswick accompanied by Puck, the gin clear air provided us with some wonderful views across to the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.
|Two of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks|
We also took the opportunity to catch up with our boating friends Rob and Judith with whom we travelled on our "Great Circle" route in 2016.
|We were treated to frequent sightings|
of this beauty at Barnoldswick
|Snowy fields at Barnoldswick|
|Waiting for Green at Foulridge Tunnel|
Tony and Vickie's boat is 61ft long requiring a bit of careful management through the relatively short locks on this canal, we had developed a good routine going up the locks, leaving Barnoldswick, it was now time to test our going down routine, we managed to navigate the locks at Barrowford, the top two of which are the shortest, thankfully we got through with only a couple of soakings for Vickie. Tony and Lucia got into a good routine and we soon arrived at the bottom of the flight before heading off to Reedley for a couple of nights.
Our next target is to get to Chorley before the weekend to meet up with the MSC surveyor, the outcome of which, will determine our next move.(Fingers and everything crossed).