Well,we’re back here in Mansfield now,at the caravan,counting the days till we can get back on the canals again,the next time with our own boat Chyandour.Our holiday over the last two weeks has gone way past any of our expectations,we’ve met many very lovely people who we hope to keep in touch with in the future.There’s been Sheila and John on their own boat, WaterRatz, with Rekha,Angela and Scotty,their friends,on our first week,and Shaun and Lorraine on a hire boat from Hapton Valley,on our second week,and there has been lots of others who’s names we didn’t get but who have also added to a great holiday.
After leaving Gargrave last Tuesday we gently meandered our way along the Leeds & Liverpool canal and bumped into,not literally,a widebeam boat from the same company as the one we had hired our boat from.Obviously the crew were going to be people with good taste and so it turned out,Shaun and Lorraine and their dogs,Archie and Monty,proved to be great company.Their boat was wider than ours,hence the name,and so we were unable to share the locks but we managed to achieve a compromise.Our passage through the first few locks was assisted by Lorraine and her trusty windlass and then Lisa was able to return the favour later in the day.Our boat Ruby,was a narrowboat with the usual narrowboat width of 6ft 10inch.On the wider canals like the L&L it’s possible to have boats up to double that width,and Vintage,their boat,was 10ft wide,comfortable,but not a “go anywhere boat” like ours.A windlass is used to wind,as in wine not win, the paddles on the locks,opening and closing the paddles is what lets the water into and out of the locks,simples.
We Moored overnight in East Marton again on Tuesday and then left there before lunch the next day.We left late ‘cos it was raining,and so,suitably attired in waterproofs,we set off believing that the weather would improve.Our intention was just to get to Foulridge Wharf some 6 and a half miles away with only three locks in between.The three locks were done in quite persistent rain and then we stopped for water and a snack after the top one.
The left picture has us moored beyond the Water Point at the top of the Greenberfield Locks having a cuppa.On the right is the view down to the 2nd of the 3 locks as we waited for Vintage to catch up,and then,as we helped them through the last lock,the rain got heavier,executive decisions were made,and we all decided to continue as we couldn’t get any wetter.Wrong!!!!! I have seen heavy rain,mostly from the comfort of shelter,but I can’t recall being out in it,this was torrential,a fantastic experience that I couldn’t photograph and still have a workable camera afterwards.The rain was running off the boat roof like a waterfall,and the waterproofs just couldn’t cope.The rain did stop though,and we cruised gently into our mooring for the night in warm sunshine,the forecast being right but somewhat late.Just off the wharf at Foulridge there is a Limekiln that was built in the late 1700s to supply lime for the construction of the canal and it looks as though it could be used again today with the minimum of effort,just a couple of firelighters would have it up and running in no time.A great night was had by all in the New Inn at Foulridge,where we enjoyed good food and drink and I would recommend it anytime.
Top left is a view as we approached Foulridge Wharf,it shows just how the weather had changed in less than an hour.The top right and bottom left are of the Lime Kiln just off the wharf and bottom right is the north portal of the Foulridge Tunnel as we waited for the lights to change,Lisa looking out from the stern of Ruby.
Thursday would be the last full day of our holiday,Ruby and Vintage having to be back at base on Friday morning.Our first objective on Thursday was Foulridge Tunnel which has traffic lights and is timed so that north bound boats enter after the half hour and before twenty too the hour.It takes twenty minutes to cruise the mile through the tunnel and then south bound boats go through after the hour and before ten past.We went through at eleven and got to the Barrowford locks an hour later,seven locks in relatively quick succession and not easy.They are all due some TLC as we found out at the sixth one,where we found Canal & River Trust men repairing one of the gates that had it’s balance beam broken off.The balance beam makes it possible for just one person to open the heavy gates,without it it would be impossible to move the gate,this one had rotted through.It’s just one of those things we encounter on our travels around a 200 year old system that doesn’t have enough money spent on it,and probably never has done from the very first day it opened.Your intrepid adventurers got through though,with the help of the C&RT guys and Lisa and Lorraine with a windlass each, we then made our steady way to Reedley Marina and a couple of well earned pints in the cafe/bar to round off a great holiday with some great people.
Above is a couple of pictures of the interior of Ruby,she was a comfortable home for the two weeks of our holiday.On the right is the bedroom and on the left we have a view through the lounge into the galley.
On Friday morning,after emptying Ruby into the boot of our car,we said our farewells and set off for Trent Lock and our first look at Chyandour for two weeks.Quite a difference,she was in the covered dock and Mick and John had been busy sanding and painting,making the most of the good weather they had enjoyed while we were away.The roof is cream,which will help reflect the sun and stop our home becoming too hot inside,the cabin sides are a lovely shade of Midnight Blue and all the paintwork gleams.On the inside of Chyandour we could see where the lads had been busy fitting the appliances in the galley and building the wardrobes and cupboards in the bedroom.Everything looks amazing and is on course to be ready for our launch date on the 12th of October.We called on Jan Deucher while we were there so that we could finalise our requirements for the sign writing.The sketches and ideas that Jan has are just what we want,the end result is going to be brilliant so watch this space.
Here are a few pictures of Chyandour as she was on Friday moored in the covered dock,her new paint like a mirror.Mick and John are doing a fantastic job,she really will look a picture when she is finished.
Trent Lock also has another attraction for us at the moment and so,after having got in everyone else’s way,we went to see our friends Janice and Dai on their boat Jandai.After being welcomed at the door by Foxy their dog Janice made us one of the finest cups of tea I have ever tasted and her homemade Peach Flan is to die for.We enjoyed a few hours chattering and then we just had to tear ourselves away and get back here to Mansfield,feeling that we really had had a very memorable holiday.
That’s all for this week folks,we are off to see Chyandour tomorrow afternoon and we are going to pick a carpet for the lounge and bedroom on our way.We are going to try and get the insurance and licence sorted as well,so tomorrow will be a busy day.All the other little bits and pieces can now start coming together too,ready for our launch day,Lisa’s going on a shopping spree,it’s getting exciting now.Take care everyone,we will be back again next week with all the latest news.