Tuesday 7 October

The lady from CaRT was back at her desk this morning and we now have a permit to travel along the Liverpool Canal Link into Albert Dock next Sunday.

The water levels hadn’t risen as far as expected, despite all the rain, when the CaRT guy turned up at the lock this morning as someone had left a paddle half open again. He estimated that the levels would have recovered sufficient for us to leave within a couple of hours.

I went off to get milk and bread and this involved crossing the top of the lock we would be heading for later.   There still seemed to be quite a lot of scrap metal in view at the edges of the canal and the water line along the wall suggested the water was still two feet below normal.

IMG_2708   Scrap metal (… and a kingfisher) 

Anyway I returned to the boat about twenty minutes later to find the CaRT guy chatting to the boat moored opposite. A few seconds later he came over to see us and asked if we could make our way to the top of the lock as the level indicator board suggested we would be OK to proceed.

We doubled up in the lock with NB Muckle and the CaRT guy advised that we leave the lock separately and stay in single file and keep in the middle of the channel and take a wide swing to the left as we leave the bridge entrance.

The water level went down in the lock and then the gates opened but when we put the boat into forward, nothing happened.   Neither boat could move. Apparently we were sitting on the mud. The gates closed and the water levels rose again and we reversed out of the lock and moored up again.

After about an hour we were given the thumbs up to have another go and so we both went back into the lock.   To start with, we still couldn’t go forward but strangely we could reverse.   A little bit more throttle and we edged slowly forward and after feeling a slight boat lift we cleared the lock.   Muckle followed behind us.

We headed towards the bridge and the sharp left turn at Wigan Pier with us in the lead. Just as we were about to go under the bridge, the bow of an approaching boat appeared and we had to reverse to allow him through.   It never ceases to amaze that if you are going to meet a boat head on, you invariably meet under a bridge where sight lines are minimal, rather than on a clear stretch of canal.

We made it safely along the shallow mile long stretch to the next lock after which levels were back to normal and apart from the rain, we had an uneventful journey to Parbold, sharing locks with Muckle, where both boats moored up mid afternoon so the two crews could go and get dry.   We moored beside Parbold Bridge in the middle of the very pretty Conservation Area.

IMG_2715  Parbold Bridge

Just after mooring up the heavens really opened and it was nice to be standing in front of the warm stove listening to the rain drum on the boat roof.

Later in the afternoon the sun came out and we took this welcome break in the weather to explore the area on foot.   The ice-cream shop beckoned – I’d heard it was good and after ordering a cone each, we can add our endorsement.

We ordered an Indian take-away in the village for tea and this was superb as well.



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