So we had planned to get to Tarleton on the Rufford Arm of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal where Heather lives for Christmas. So what, if we're 5 months late. This part of the canal leads onto the River Douglas which leads to the River Ribble through a sea lock, which looks pretty scary as the boats have to go against the tide. Maybe when we got a good bit of boating under our belts we may give it a go. This part of Lancashire is similar to East Anglia, as it's reclaimed land, very flat with drainage dykes. Heather actually lives in Hesketh Bank and the 'bank' is a short walk from her house. Over the last couple of years that Heather, Jason and their family have lived here we've walked along this stretch of the canal many a time and are able to direct all the boaters unfamiliar to the area where the amities are. It seems pretty weird walking home from Heather's house with no sense of dread of having to negotiate the glorious M6.
There have just been three days of boats crossing the River Douglas and River Ribble to access the Lancaster Canal. The crossings are only possible when the tides are at a certain height and the weather is favourable. You need to book the passage with CRT who operate the lock for you. In addition you need an anchor, which we've not got yet. However, we've both just had rather handsome tax rebates, so I guess the top of our spend list is an anchor, 4 metres of chain and at least 18 metres of rope. If you should break down on the River Ribble and the anchor fails next stop is north America or if you're lucky Ireland or the Isle of Man!!!! The mooring here was full when the boats were arriving for the second departure day, so we invited a boat to double moor with us and then we realised it was one of our boat's elder sisters 'Destiny' '151'.We took the three grandchildren out to 'their' bank and watched the boats heading up the river. Now for the next 3 days there are boats heading back here.
It's been so lovely to see the family every day and meet Nikita from school. Magnus is having his first sleepover on Wednesday. Luckily, we have a larger than usual water tank which still has >1/4 in it. That's thanks to Heather letting us use her washing machine as there aren't any water taps on this stretch.
We are booked to go to the IWA festival mid June so have another couple of weeks to kill before we head to Liverpool. As the canal goes under some major roads with swing bridges on it's way to Liverpool the CRT operate them and only allow passage twice a day so we are booked in for Wednesday 8th June at 13.00. It's all a short drive from Heather & Jason's. The festival is to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal opening. So I'm planning to make some black and white bunting to represent the two main commodities transported on the canal, coal and cotton. I need to sort out the material before we get too far from Tarleton as I've given Jason my sewing machine, which I'll need to borrow.
As we left Appley Deep Lock we saw President, the heritage steam narrow boat & it's butty Kildare. They had been to an event at Liverpool
We had hoped to moor at Parbold on our journey to Tarleton, however, there wasn't any spaces so we carried on and moored beside The Ring'o Bells pub, Lathom. There's a big slip way there which is where the 'night soil' from Liverpool was unloaded as manure for the fields. A little muck spreading is pretty awful, but several barges each night of this must've left quite an odour haze over the area. The soil does look amazing though. We found an excellent farm shop which sells all local meet and vegetables. They sell unusual cuts of beef and steak, needless to say, we probably could have done a fortnight's shopping with what we spent in there, but it really was worth it.