Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Call of Nature

As lovely as it has been in Parbold it was time to move, primarily to head to the services but wholly for the pleasure of it. Seven locks and a few swing bridges make for an interesting journey and the blustery wind made a blue sky, fluffy clouds day into a rather cold one. It's great to be outdoors, to feel the sun on your face and to flex your muscles winding the lock gear and heaving gates. It is a good workout and gives me plenty of photo opportunities. I have now mastered the art of locking with a camera and zoom lens slung across my back. Luckily for us the Canal and River Trust Volunteers were on hand at the top of the Rufford Branch to help us through the first two locks giving us a good start. We didn't pass any boats although they did say there had been half a dozen going down that day. As this is the way to get  onto the Ribble Link, accessing the Lancaster Canal that was previously isolated, there was obviously a lot of boaters heading down to make the crossing.

Always a pleasing sight - a volunteer at a lock!

Left to our own devices we were solo travellers through the next five

This railway bridge with archways to either side for the towpaths is a beautiful structure

Yes, I did lie on the floor to get this shot

Another nicely designed bridge below, Mr F was using it to shelter from the relentless cross wind and giving me a head start to the next lock so he could sail straight in

The amusingly named Chicken Lock had new gates and the run off completely rebuilt over the winter

This nest has been used every year since we have been boating

Our overnight stop on the visitor moorings near to Rufford Old Hall.

The following morning I walked up to the swing bridge enjoying this tree lined stretch. CRT have been improving the towpath and creating a soft edge to the bank with these special coir rolls pre planted with aquatic plants in an attempt to encourage water voles which are in decline

Mervyn passing through the remains of a bridge at the back of the Rufford Old Hall where the ghost of a man has allegedly been seen floating above the canal. All I can say is that the pub is just round the corner and the beer is good..... 

The pair of swans further down had hatched their signets, I think I counted seven but they kept moving!

There is a abandoned lock here and immediately after the winding (or turning) hole

Back through the lock and the swans parading their brood

We had got grounded briefly at the swing bridge landing on the way to the winding hole as there is a long shallow ledge. Pole, reverse, pole at the front, pole at the back, reverse etc.... We nearly got caught up on it before so we should have remembered.... so I hopped off the boat in the disused lock and walked down so I could open it without Mr F having to stop again. Note to selves for next time.

The offending swing bridge above

It wasn't far to the services so I stayed off the boat and took the opportunity to take some more photos including from up on the road bridge which afforded a fabulous view

Home for the week, after topping up the water and pumping out the waste tank, then walking back to collect vehicles... I was ready for a snooze!

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