Monday, 30 May 2016

Whio Meet Again

Bank Holiday Monday. After three days of peaceful cruising today is something else.
A charming setting with abundant  blossom. This is a long and deep lock with attitude. Much of the lock gear is inoperable and it took us 45 minutes to fill it.  Usually, if conditions are still,  I sit in the channel and wait for Margaret to prepare the lock. Here I moored up and had a cup of coffee. If there had been any bacon on board I may have made a second breakfast.

When the lock was ready, the boat was not. The lock had taken so much water that Gecko was now aground.
At one time an alternative pair of shallow locks had been built to accelerate passage  but these are now defunct.
At Parbold the world seemed to wake up and we found ourselves in the middle of a parade of nine boats all headed our way. This made passage through the swing bridges interesting as the first boat crew would operate the bridge for all of us  and then rejoin the flotilla at the back.

Along the Kennet & Avon Canal there are a string of pillboxes built in WWII for defense from invasion. I did not realise that invading forces were anticipated so far north as to require such preparation along the L&L.
This two-storey pillbox reminded me of another war-related construction.  Whilst seeking out prefabs in Hertfordshire in the 1980s I discovered some two-storey ones which was a surprise to me.
As we progressed boats joined our flotilla: some out for the day, others headed for Liverpool to attend the IWA rally.
When we reached the junction with the Rufford Arm we decided to call it a day and moor up .
This is the route for those wishing to navigate the Lancaster Canal.  The canal joins the River Douglas before its confluence with the Ribble which has to be crossed to enter the Millenium Link on the north side of the river. As soon as you turn into the Rufford Arm you start your descent  to the Douglas valley.

Hopefully with more success than this cruiser.

This  junction shows evidence of being a busy commercial site in the past. This derelict dry dock was large enough to accommodate two Liverpool Long Boats simultaneously.
Maneuvering  such craft  in through the entrance at the far end of this picture must have been quite tricky. Once inside the dock, the first boat in could not leave until the second boat moved.
We picked a spot to moor and started washing the salt off Gecko whilst the Bank Holiday gongoozlers  strolled past with ice creams.

Later in the day we were accosted by Don, a kiwi we know who moors his boat in Aylesbury. He and Val cruise the summer over here then return to New Zealand for the summer over there. In all the activity of extracting ourselves from the flotilla and mooring we had not noticed that their boat Whio was moored 25 yards behind us (the blue boat in this picture) And so we spent a pleasant evening with Don & Val before they set off for Lancaster Canal and Liverpool.
Whio (Blue Duck) at Staglands, Akatarawa, New Zealand.jpg
The WHIO is a blue duck from New Zealand

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