Monday, 10 August 2015

Leeds & Liverpool.

Hi all,
This week we are moored on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Wigan and Skipton near Bridge 135, just past Reedley Marina which is North of Burnley. Since our last blog we have had an amazing time and it's not been possible for me to post a blog for a couple of weeks. Our last blog was from Wigan and we moved away from there the next day when the first of the Poolstock Locks was opened and operated by CRT. It was closed because a bicycle had got wedged in the Ground Paddle and made it almost inoperable. The lock was manned by CRT staff just to allow boats through each morning and we were one of the first through with Tadpole 2 on Tuesday. The next few days were spent preparing ourselves for our next adventure which was to be a holiday in Las Vegas with our Children and Grandchildren, nine of us to be exact. One of our son's was getting married out there and we were hoping to combine the wedding with a holiday of a lifetime and it turned out to be an absolutely fabulous time. We flew out of Manchester Airport Terminal 2 on Sunday lunchtime with Virgin Atlantic for the ten hour flight which, with the time difference, would have us landing at Las Vegas McCarren International around three o'clock in the afternoon local time.
The Virgin Atlantic A340-600 " Miss Behavin " that took us to Las Vegas and back. Great flight both ways.
Our hotel, The Tropicana. Our room was where the black oblong is to the right of centre. It's nowhere near the largest of the hotels in Vegas. Nicely air conditioned inside, step outside and it was like opening the oven door, lovely.
The view from our room window at four in the morning. Couldn't sleep well the first night 'cos there was so much to see.
Inside the Foyer in Caesars Palace. The interior of this hotel, like most of the hotels, was awesome.
Inside the Venetian. Real Gondolas on real water right through the hotel.
The fountains that are set to music in front of Caesars Palace, but really they are in front of The Bellagio. Still amazing though.
The last picture from Vegas, all nine of us in front of the sign. We had a wonderful time, saw so much that we just couldn't fit everything in and I for one would go back and do it all again.
On our return from Las Vegas last Monday we were so shattered after our overnight flight that we stayed on our mooring at Bridgewater Marina for an extra day to recover. While there we discovered that Pete and Val on Tadpole 2 had gone to Castlefield in Manchester and, due to a collapsed building closing the Bridgewater Canal, had been unable to get back to Boothstown to meet up with us to continue on to Leeds. This meant they would have to make their own way to Leeds, via the Rochdale Canal, and we would be on our own on the Leeds and Liverpool. So, the next morning, we set off from the marina to Leigh, where we could re stock the fridge and pick up a parcel from the Post Office and then make our way back along the Leigh Branch  towards Wigan again. This time we would be turning right at Wigan Junction and heading towards Leeds up the twenty one locks of the Wigan Flight, a flight we haven't done before but have heard so much about, little of it good.
Anyway, we then got another surprise, Rob and Suzie off the good ship Swamp Frogs phoned and, to cut a long story short, told us that they were moored above the Wigan Flight and would be there at the bottom, Windlasses at the ready, to help us up on Wednesday morning. We arrived at Lock 85 at eight thirty and there, setting the lock for us was Rob and Suzie, who we hadn't seen since before we set off for Liverpool at the end of June. After much hugging and kissing, me and Rob were only hugging, we set off up the flight, with just a short pause before Lock 84 while we waited for another boat that was heading up so they could share the locks with us. This boat was NB Jubilee, crewed by the lovely John and Jan, who also set about working the locks, John on his bike Lockwheeling, as a result, the trip up the flight was relatively easy, just a bit slow, we had another boat ahead of us and that meant emptying each lock before we could enter. At the top, after the last lock, we were all invited aboard NB Jubilee for a drink before saying our farewells and making our separate ways to Adlington, where we all intended to moor for the night. As it turned out, Swamp Frogs and ourselves stayed in Adlington because I needed another parcel, this duly arrived on Friday thanks to the wonderful Poste Restante service operated by the Post Office, which enables us boaters to get mail etc. delivered to any Post Office in the country.
Sunset over Scotsman's Flash where we moored on Tuesday night. An omen for the following day perhaps?
Working our way up the Wigan Flight. Lisa and Rob on the gates, John and Suzie up ahead and Jan and I on the tillers. It all worked well.
On Saturday morning Swamp Frogs and ourselves left Adlington and made our steady way to Riley Green some nine and a half miles and seven locks further Westwards and nearer Leeds, where we enjoyed a drink in the Boatyard Inn. We left Riley Green yesterday morning, having made no real decision on where we would moor for the night, other than somewhere in the countryside and we journeyed further Westwards along the L&L, through the heart of Blackburn, and found a lovely place just outside Rishton, overlooking the Dunkenhalgh estate. From there we set off early this morning and cruised through Burnley and over the awesome Burnley Embankment to our present mooring where we may stay for a day or two, who knows.
On our way up Johnson's Hill Locks. Two lovely ladies, Lisa and Suzie working the gates, Rob and I on the tillers. If you need to know, both Rob and I get off the boats to help when the water level rises.
An interesting sculpture as we climbed the six Blackburn Locks. This one would possibly look good in Lycra, unlike some.

The view off Burnley Embankment. All the Chimney Pots are the same colour on the Terraces of houses.
 Well, that's all for this week I'm afraid, we're now right back up to date. Since our last blog we have gone through 39 Locks and cruised an amazing 10,065 Miles, most of that was by air to Las Vegas, that gives us a Grand Total of 1,240 Locks and 2,145 Miles since we set off on our travels back in October 2012. Take care everyone.

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