We woke to blue skies and decided to start our journey down the Rufford branch. We knew that NB Oleanna wasn’t far behind us and we texted to see if they were ready to do the branch today. A phone call confirmed that they weren’t sure whether they’d be travelling today so we set off alone.
At the top of the locks we spotted a narrowboat two locks ahead and Storm went down to let them know we were following. They waited for us and we shared the remaining five locks with them. There wasn’t a lot of lock landing on some of the locks and dropping off and picking up crew took slightly longer than normal.
NB Enbee were experienced Ribble Linkers and they advised that we fill up with fuel before leaving the Branch as diesel is hard to come by on the Lancaster and, if available, is very expensive.
We’d been concerned that if we filled up with diesel we would struggle with our draught which is close to the limit for the Lancaster Canal. Apparently the only time this is an issue is at the sea lock off the Savick Brook but as we are entering on a high tide, we were advised we wouldn’t have a problem. The diesel at St Mary’s Marina was some of the cheapest we’ve seen at 59p/litre so we filled up.
Just after leaving the Marina we spotted good mooring in Rufford so we stopped for lunch and in the afternoon visited Rufford Old Hall, a National Trust property, once the home of the Hesketh family. This is a medieval timber-framed mansion with Jacobean extensions. The Hesketh family tended to marry well, and spent their inherited money on living life to the full. They finally sold it to the NT in 1936.
On our walk back to the boat we took a short detour to go and view the River Douglas which becomes navigable four miles north from us and down which we will be travelling on Wednesday. When we filled up with diesel we were given advice on how to tackle the River as we will be fighting the incoming tide to begin with.
A widebeam had followed us down the locks and they were moored behind us. We passed the time of day with them and discovered that they live not far from us and had lots of shared interests. By the time we got back to the boat it was getting quite late so we decided not to move on today and enjoy a gin and tonic on the back deck before dinner.