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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

From Burscough to.......where????

Monday 30th July Our plan after returning from our rail trip is to go through Manchester, up the Ashton Canal and onto the Peak Forest Canal and on Tuesday 7th to have Carol’s sister Annette & husband Mike (otherwise known as Gadget) join us at Marple Junction. Then over two days lock free cruising to Bugsworth and along the Macclesfield Canal. He’s organised car parking at Marple and were all set BUT suddenly notification came from CRT to say they had got a significant water leak on the Marple Flight, had closed it, but were working hard to resolve the problem.

We started up the freezer and fridge after our trip and got the garden watered.

Tuesday and we re-provisioned and had a farewell All Day Breakfast at Infusions Cafe, boy it was good as was the coffee. 
The happy team at Infusions

Then it was farewell to all as we filled and emptied and set off on a reasonable afternoon, but it got worse.
Leaving Burscough Wharf note horse boat

We joined up with two other boats at our second swing bridge where they were having problems getting it open, though when it eventually opened they had no idea what caused the problem. The other boats stopped at Parbold & we carried on but it started to rain hard. We went up Appley Lock, reversed back into the old lock pass and tied up soaked! We dried off enjoying Olympic competitions.

Wednesday was cool and cloudy most of the day with rain showers and drizzle, what a summer! We cruised through Wigan though lock 88, Pagetfield, was undergoing work by CRT and they told us we would need all paddles up to fill it as there was a big leak and they were going to fetch a boat to try to sort it out.
As we passed the CRT office in Wigan nb Lady had been recovered by the lads, but the front door glass had been smashed, it looked as if it had been broken into. Three locks on as we reached lock 2 on the Leigh Branch I was approached by a gentleman who had found a load of documents and a document case that had been smashed open. I looked at the papers which were very damp from the overnight rain. They were clearly from Lady with drawings for a re-paint, invoices from insurers and Sileby Mill, one of the owners was from Melton Mowbray, not far from our winter base. I gather all the papers and set off back to the offices, leaving Carol on Lily, in the lock, letting it leak empty whilst I hoofed it back. The owner was grateful, his rudder had broken so he had left the boat moored at the lock.....perhaps he should join RCR?

Good deed done we set off to Leigh, arriving in improving weather, except it threw it down as I walked about a mile to get two new domestic alternator belts....yes we had shredded one again, I really thought and hoped we were over that problem. Not only that but there is a small blue wire disconnected from the alternator and we are having trouble getting sensible charge levels. So far this week a meagre 17 miles, 8 locks and 4 swing bridges.

Thursday 2nd August we took coffee in Costa and set off after 11, and after I had polished the starboard side of Lily.
Leaving Leigh Wharf

Bridgewater Canal Weedcutting at Leigh

We stopped to fill with diesel at Bridgewater Marina where I moaned at their 93p price to be moaned back at because they said they barely cover their costs. They also moaned that the diesel boats effectively cheat by not paying a commercial licence costing £2000 pa. I think a lot of this ties in with items I have read in the press about heating fuel supplies being effectively mostly controlled by one company, though they trade under many names.
Rusty water between Worsley & Baron Swing Aqueduct

We cruised on to Sale, but winded above br 36 and reversed the last half mile to Sale and moored up. It was of course Thursday so we treated ourselves to a Wetherspoons Curry at the J.P.Joule, named after the founder of Physics who lived nearby. Peak Forest still closed, alternatives being considered. 13 miles.

Friday and a pretty good day and I polished the port side as well as the brasses. I spoke to Debdale and was advised where the wire needed fixing and as I unbolted the terminal I found the broken link, let’s hope it works. There seems to be an improvement in charge rates but I think there is going to be a big investigation over the winter. Then the news about the peak Forest was they had found the leak at 8pm the night before, done a temporary repair and boats were to be allowed through over limited hours next week with permanent repair work being done outside these hours.
So we bought all the food for our visitors and enjoyed a day of Olympics.

Saturday 4th a bright day with slight showers. Lovely fish shop in Sale sold Carol a tasty dressed crab, I decided on the healthy option of a pizza from Aldi! After coffee in Nero we were away at 11.30, only to be stopped by the Police as we approached Old Trafford. 
Carol charms her bobby

An Olympic football match meant we had to be checked out for bombs. The search officers plus the man on point were all great, and the other officer point man on the city side will have plenty of pictures of Lily to look at!

At Castlefields we filled and emptied and then moved to the bottom of the Rochdale 9, a flight many have told us is hard work.
Rubbish at Sanitary station smelled to high heaven. Why would
you add yours to it when it is obviously not being cleared?
Just round the corner opposite the YHA is this
City Council rubbish and recycling facility!

Well the first lock took 20 minutes to fill it, I didn’t time how long it took to empty it first. 
Burgers etc being cooked canalside,
Carol tried to blag one but failed.
Fortunately there were helpers around to get the gates open

Several locks had water cascading over the top gates but they generally were not too bad, except that many of the ground paddles had no catch piece to hold the paddle post up. I found an empty soft drink bottle and used this to jam it up so I could open the paddle on the other side.

Then we reached the lock after Oxford Road, lock 88 and the bywash was coming out of a 12” pipe at a torrent, water was 2” over the top gates. I got the bottom gate open and the bywash stuck Lily to the wall, so hard so Carol needed full power to get into the lock. Once in I was standing in 2” of water as I lifted to ground paddles but at least the lock filled quickly.
As Lily rose up the next lock we saw the reason for the water torrents as two boats were coming towards us, then we met another one at the next lock, so that explained it all! We cleared the last two locks and turned right into the Ashton, intending to stop for the night in the basin close by where there was supposed to be no access to the outside, except two youths walked across the parapet of the next bridge and dropped down into the moorings. Accordingly we moved on about 100yards further to moor at Paradise Basin with two other boats, one of which looks to be a permanent moorer.

Then I opened my emails to find that “due to a safety issue Marple Locks are closed ufn!!!!”  

Sunday 5th August we turned around and descended to Castlefields, quite an easy trip with several locks set for us, passing 3 boats as we went. Several locks had water flowing over the gates and quite a number have no catch pieces for pawls on the paddle racks for the ground paddles, I improvised. A pleasant day and we enjoyed the Olympics.
Leaving Rochdale bottom lock, water cascades over the top gates.

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