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Down Under

by wilvir

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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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Leaving Rufford

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1. (r-l) Narrowboats 'Val','Silver Knot', and 'Max Babe'.
2. heading towards the final two locks that will bring us up to the junction with the main Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
3. Junction Bridge.
4. Jim and Helen parting company (until Friday).

We reluctantly made our way off the Rufford Arm of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal yesterday, but not before catching up with some old friends who arrived the previous afternoon and who we hadn't seen since crossing the Ribble Link together four years ago; Steve and Barbara with staffs Peggy and Jack aboard their narrowboat 'Silver Knott' and Ray aboard his narrowboat 'Max Babe'.

We parted company with Jim and Helen at Burscough for a couple of days as they set off to visit a local attraction. We'll rendezvous again on Friday as we wait for them in the tranquillity of Appley Bridge side lock pound. Next week we'll be heading for Wigan, Manchester and the Bridgewater Canal.
31st May 2012, 12:30   comments (0)

Evening All!

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1. 'wilvir' looking glossy after we 'oiled' her paintwork.
2. Twilight approaches.
30th May 2012, 10:39   comments (2)


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1. Four days ago - for warmth.
2. Yesterday - shelter from the 12mph wind.

Three BBQs in four days - a record for us! Great fun.
27th May 2012, 10:14   comments (0)

Driven Away by the Dust.

1. Salt, pepper and Dust anyone?
2. A few days before our arrival these boats were waiting for high tide (a rise of approx 9 metres) to transit the River Ribble link onto the Lancaster Canal. A trip we enjoyed so much four years ago.
3. The seaward entrance to Tarleton Lock with the River Douglas at low tide.
4. Reed mace lining the banks of the River Asland from Tarleton to Sollum.
5. Peaceful solitude.
6. Just perfect.

Although we would liked to have enjoyed another day at Tarleton, we were driven off the moorings by the incessant dust clouds from inconsiderate drivers who ignored the 5 mph speed limit on the unpaved 'road' running alongside, the moorings. I even waved a driver to slow down, who pulled up and asked what the problem was and to my reply said 'I know', and sped off. A Post Office van driver also ignored the speed limit until he came back two minutes later and realised there were people onboard and slowed down, albeit to late. We could taste, smell and even feel the grit between our teeth it was that inhospitable.

It got that bad by mid-morning we hurried to take advantage of the shopping available and cast off to get away from the dust, mooring up again at Sollum, which we had left the previous day.

All-in-all a bit of a shame as Tarleton is worth stopping at just for a great meal from the tandoori takeaway, groceries from the farm shop and fresh meat from the butchers, as well as various other shops that should meet most needs.
26th May 2012, 13:45   comments (1)

A Tarleton 'Wind'

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We cruised the short distance from Sollum to Tarleton on Monday where we winded to moor overnight on the visitor moorings before heading South once more.

The title of this post was more to do with winding (turning) the boat before reaching the tidal lock at the juncture of the canal and tidal river Douglas, not the following!

Due to a number of recommendations from local boaters we were visiting Tarleton to experience, what turned out to be, possibly the best indian takeaway curry I have ever experienced in England, courtesy of Tarleton Tandoori.

Great chef, great staff, great menu, generous portions and sensibly priced. All cooked to your own personal taste right in front of you. Thoroughly recommended.

For more info go to:
26th May 2012, 10:07   comments (1)

A walk to Bank Hall, Bretherton

1. A quiet country lane leading to the estate.
2. The rhododendron lined avenue approaching the hall.
3. Blooming lovely.
4. A glimpse of the hall from the tradesmen entrance.
5. The 'grand plan'.

I set off from the boat the other evening in search of Bank Hall, a local Jacobean Mansion and gardens apparently decaying amongst the trees at Bretherton. After crossing the River Douglas and cutting through fields using an old right of way, I came to a lane leading to a long rhododendron lined avenue and the tradesmen entrance to the hall.

Here a sad and sorry sight met me at a chained and padlocked gate entwined with barbed-wire. Leading up to the mid nineties the mansion had literally been vandalised to the point of destruction. Since then a group has endeavoured to secure funding to restore the mansion and grounds to its former glory. But, as is the way with volunteer vanity projects needing expensive and extensive restoration, time has stood still.

Apart from the scaffolding supporting the buildings crumbling facade it appears to be just an open shell of what once stood there. A Google satellite view of the site shows the extent of the work required.

This project has stood near derelict for too long despite good intentions to save it. Wouldn't it be better to bulldoze this near irrecoverable project and the adjacent concrete outbuilding and replace it with a activity and community youth centre or something else that will be of real benefit to the local area?
The original gatehouse, which once led to the mansion, is testament to what once was, yet stands forlorn, unloved and unkempt, despite 'looking' occupied. A sad indictment of our times.

Thanks to, and for more info go to:
23rd May 2012, 11:37   comments (2)

Sollum and the River Asland

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1. Leaving Rufford in our wake.
2. On our way to Sollum with little 'Val' leading.
3. The windlassies doing their bit.

After leaving the outskirts of Burscough we stopped off at Rufford to restock with coal at St Mary's Marina and fuel for the genny from Ruffords 'Central Garage'. We also spotted a large alder tree overhanging the canal, which had been cut back recently, and as luck would have it, the wood had been left for the taking. So Jim loaded it onto 'Val' and then split it between us when he came alongside; we've plenty of fuel for the stove what with this prolonged chilly spell we're experiencing as we head into summer.

We're now moored just before the L&L; canal reverts to the old course of the River Asland, more recently known as the River Douglas, at Sollum. The 'new' course of the River Douglas, running between the tidal River Ribble and Wigan, cuts through close to the canal here. We'll be passing down this lovely stretch of the old Asland River to Tarleton in the coming days after we've trod water here a while, so to speak.
17th May 2012, 10:51   comments (1)

My 'Country Seat'

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This is a treasured shooting stick my daughter, Emma, gave me as a Christmas present. Very useful whenever I'm out and about with Gunner and want to sit and admire the world around us, with or without binoculars.
16th May 2012, 08:59   comments (3)