Thursday 23 May 2013

Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Foulridge Wharf to Southfield Bridge.

After we left the short term moorings at Foulridge and moved round the corner, we found that the canal bank was low enough to make painting the tumblehomes possible.
They got painted a year ago when we were out of the water at Hawne Basin, but despite our best efforts to avoid the more sticky-out bits of the canal system, tumblehome paint is often the sacrificial pawn in the gentle game of narrow-boating. We’ve decided that if we get the opportunity we’re going to give them a rub down and a fresh coat of paint each year. We just needed a low bank and a day or two without rain, followed by a week of not going anywhere while the paint hardened off.
Of course once you’ve done one side you have to turn it round to do the other, which meant we had a couple of hours boating to the next windy ‘ole. Luckily, no-one had pinched our spot when we got back. Now it’s all shiny again, ready for another year.
We’ve had this idea that if we tilt the boat over towards the bank using ratchet straps, we can go round the other side in the dinghy and put some blacking on the waterline. We’ve got as far as blowing the dinghy up and messing about in the water in it,
and it’s now on the roof awaiting further action.

The Skipton Waterways Festival was on while we were at Foulridge so on the Saturday, along with David and Kate, we went to have a look.
It was very well attended, lots of boats and lots of people. This year’s theme was Cartoon Characters and we thought the amount of effort people had put into decorating their boats was outstanding. There was an illuminated parade of boats on the Sunday evening so we went back again to see. That was brilliant! Strings of LEDs and rope lights everywhere.
On bank holiday Monday we went to the widely advertised Preston Boat Jumble. It was a bit of disappointment really, firstly by not being at Preston, secondly by not having much for narrowboats, and thirdly for costing £3 each to get in and then being smaller than most village car-boot sales. But we did come home with a big bag of string, in which Dave is going to tie interesting knots.

The rest of the week at Foulridge was a bit cold and damp, keeping us indoors doing crafty things, but the following Sunday our fortnight was up, there was a slight break in the weather and we moved up to the 48hr moorings outside the Anchor Inn at Salterforth. We were joined for this monumental one-and-a-half mile journey by Liz, Jim, Charlotte and Chris; all of whom live nearby and are friends of ours from the 2CV club. None of them had visited the boat before, but hopefully, while we’re on their patch, they’ll be regulars. We’ll be counting on their help when we get to Bingley and the three and five rise staircases.

From Salterforth we went over what was once the Lancashire / Yorkshire border and moored up about quarter of a mile before the locks at Greenberfield, just outside Barnoldswick. Over the years the border has shifted back and forth and is currently on the other side of the town. It seems that If you come from Barnoldswick you were either born in Yorkshire or Lancashire, depending on which day of the week it was. We like Barnoldswick; we found two teapots in ten minutes in the charity shops and some delicious pies and sausage rolls in Hutchinson’s Home-made Pie Shop. We’re not entirely sure how to pronounce it though. Apparently, if you’re from Lancashire it’s Barlick,(rhymes with garlic) and if you’re a Yorkshire-man it’s Barnoldswick. What it’s not is Barnoldswick, which is what we were calling it till we met a very nice local lady out walking her dog. The canal is getting noticeably busier now; summer cruisers are out and about and we’re seeing hire boats going past us quite regularly. Greenberfield locks are very pretty and there are always people around. There are some permanent moorings, a sanitary station and a cafĂ© and it’s also where Kennet moors, although at the moment she’s in Bingley.

Something else we’ve noticed since there have been more daylight hours, is how well our solar panels are coping now that we’ve got a new fridge. We can go for a week without running the engine or the genny and still have a green light on our super high-tech battery control and monitoring console. We still need the genny for the spin-drier and the bigger power tools, but for any 240v appliance bellow 400w we just use sunshine and the inverter. That’s all the chargers, the liquidizer, the printer and so forth. Last year we were topping the batteries up every three or four days so it just shows how rubbish our old fridge was. Hindsight is a wonderful thing; when we bought the boat there was a weird smell in the kitchen and it puzzled us for ages. Now we know it was refrigerant that had soaked into the floor and it all makes sense.

After a nearly month on the summit level and week above Greenberfield we moved Legend down the locks,
round a few bends, over the current Lancashire / Yorkshire border and moored up again.
Another one-and-a-half mile monumental expedition. There’s just so much to see round here, we don’t want to miss any of it.

We’re walking whenever we get the opportunity; we’ve Beaten the Bounds round Foulridge, when we dicovered that if you walk across a sheep field with a bag of crisps you become very poular.
We've done some more bits of the Pendle Way and, as it uses a section of the Leeds and Liverpool tow-path just up from where we are, we’ve ventured onto the hallowed ground of the Pennine Way a couple of times.
You meet some very earnest walkers on the Pennine way. Not for them the technical clothing and carbon fibre ski-poles that you see bristling from your average flock of Sunday afternoon tow-path ramblers, no. No, for them it’s all about big rucksacks, corduroy trousers and striding purposefully. The very nice local lady with a dog that we met recommended walking up Weets Hill. “The views are fantastic, on a clear day you can see Blackpool Tower.” The day we chose was far from clear and we couldn’t see very much of anything at all, but it was still a good walk and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
There were lambs in the fields, ducklings on the canal and bluebells in the woods. And we’ve already seen Blackpool Tower.

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