Monday, 27 July 2015

Plugging the Gap

We had intended to make a trip back to the services at Sparks Bridge on the Rufford Branch firstly to coincide with the waste tank needing emptying but also to enjoy a couple of weeks in a more rural and quieter setting. This was not to be. Earlier in the last week the power of social media brought to our attention a slight flaw in our plan.  A hole had appeared and the water had drained away. A boater posted photos on Facebook of their home sitting on the bottom at a rather jaunty angle. It was in one of the long pounds between locks a short way from where it joins the main line so anyone below here was now isolated. Shortly after we had an update from the Canal and River Trust altering us of a stoppage likely to last until the end of August. (Also they had put in a temporary dam and refloated the stranded boats). OK, plan B. With a break in the relentless rain of the past couple of weeks forecast, the prospect of another busy Saturday outside the pub at Crooke made up our minds. We decided to head off in that direction anyway. We won't be able to last until then of course before we pump out but we have a couple of options. One is to head to the marina at Scarisbrick (they have a reputation for being uncooperative) or to head back past Crooke to Plank Lane at Leigh (there is currently a stoppage there too but that's another story...) We'll just make it up as we go along.

A sunny if slightly windy day, we stopped after the first lock to top up with water then pointed the boat towards Appley Bridge

Rounding the curves that snake their way towards the swing bridge

Appley deep lock

Going down, the noise of the water leaking through is louder than you may think

The bow nestles itself into the corner of the gates as the flow of water from the emptying lock pulls the boat forwards

Beautifully green this tree lined section where we once saw a turtle in the water (where's my camera when you need it?!). I look for it every time

I have recently been at the helm a bit more often as I have gained confidence to take the boat through the locks. I am really enjoying it and am now reluctant to relinquish the tiller,  the only downside being I can't take as many photos. Mr F obliged me this one. He will have to get practicing with the camera and I will have to let him steer once in a while!

After a couple of hours or so we are moored up and off to the pub but not before a visit from a tightrope walking moorhen

He was really very good, his huge feet seemed more of a help than a hindrance

Once aboard he had a little look round

I would have given him some of the wildfowl food I keep on board but there is an army of ducks here (canal side ice-cream parlour is a popular spot) and they will terrorise you if they think there is a meal to be had so unfortunately he had to do without

Reluctant to leave he actually made about three more visits along the rope onto the stern

Using his wings to balance, we were quite enthralled with his acrobatics - these are the little things that are commonplace on the water but are always special moments to cherish.

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