Saturday, 23 March 2013

Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Whittle-le-Woods to Whin's Bridge.

It all got a bit farcical with our gennie. On Tuesday it was mended and dispatched back to us. On Wednesday, due to a “misunderstanding with the courier” it turned up back at Genpower. Their MD must have used several choice phrases before sending a very apologetic email ensuring us it really would be with us on Friday. It finally arrived at David & Kate’s house at about 3pm; just in time for us to pick it up on the way to Kate’s birthday weekend in North Yorkshire. It’s now safely installed in the well deck in its own little cupboard with a big hefty chain and padlock securing it to the boat. So far it’s started on the key, so it looks like it’s staying. While all this has been going on we’ve been charging our batteries with a 1kw two-stroke gennie that Wiltz was good enough to lend us. It sounds like a Lambretta when it fires up and it’s a bit on the noisy side, but it has been a blessing this last two weeks and has meant we’ve not had to run the engine on tick-over, which does it no good whatsoever and takes about an hour of hard graft to it to recover and stop smoking.

The aforementioned party took place in a big old farmhouse near Aysgarth falls called The Rookery  At any time over the four days there were between eight and thirteen of us in residence with no phone signal, no wi-fi, no post and just a mountain of food and drink to keep us company. We had to indulge in the almost forgotten art of entertaining ourselves and it was lovely.
Thank you, dear friends, for inviting us; it will be fondly remembered for many years.

When we got back our fourteen days were up so went up the Johnson Hillock locks,
had one night between the top two, one night on the 48hr moorings outside the Top Lock pub, then moved up to a quiet little spot at Whin’s Bridge.

Nearest post code is PR6 8HN Click here, then zoom out. (We're where the footpath crosses the cut, not where the "A" is.)

Monday, 4 March 2013

Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Whittle-le-Woods

Our good friend Karma has been smiling at us again and has put us in a terrific walking area just as it has become dry enough to get out there and enjoy it. Whilst this fabulous weather continues we’re determined to get our boots on every day and make the most of it. So far this week we’ve totted up about 45 miles, several of which have been of the up-and-down variety; bit of a shock for a couple of tow-path dwellers. Still, we don’t seem to have suffered any permanent damage – quite the reverse in fact - and we thought it would be nice to share with you, Dear Reader, some of the beautiful Lancashire scenery that we’ve had to put up with.
Good news on the gennie front; it’s on its way back with assurances from Genpower’s General Manager, no less, that all is now well, and that it will give us years of trouble free service. If that turns out to be the case we’ll be chuffed to little mint balls.

We’re going to start putting post codes on the blog entries so you can see where we are on Google Earth or, more precisely, you can see what where we are looked like four years ago.

Legend is at Whittle Springs PR6 8AB


Friday, 1 March 2013

Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Adlington to Whittle-le-Woods.

The saga continues. After several phone calls, Genpower agreed that we should send the Hyundai back for either a refund or a replacement. Dave & Kate obliged us by letting us use their address for the collection so on Sunday we went over there for the afternoon and left a big box in their hallway. UPS duly arrived on Monday morning and took it away and their on-line tracking says it was Returned to Supplier on Wednesday. We’re now back to waiting for Genpower to return our phone calls, a situation that we know from experience calls for endless patience and dogged determination.

We’ve moved on again; after a week at Adlington we fancied a change of scenery so we went about five miles up the cut to Whittle-le-Woods,
at the bottom of the Johnsons Hillock flight. The weather has certainly been on our side and we’ve been taking advantage of it. The West Pennine Moors are just the other side of the motorway so we’ve been out walking at every possible opportunity. We’ve been round reservoirs; there are eight which feed into the Rivington treatment works and we’ve walked round most of them.
We’ve climbed up hills; at the top of Rivington Pike you can see for miles,
and there are acres of terraced gardens in the woods below.
We’ve ambled through wooded valleys and pretty villages and reminded ourselves just how beautiful this country of ours is.
We had a day walking round Chorley, the nearest town, and we think it’s a lovely place. There are three country parks surrounding it and we managed to join them together in an 11 mile loop,
and just happened to go past the world famous Fredrick’s Ice-Cream Parlour on the way back to the boat.
Well it would have been rude not to.

We also went for a walk along the Walton Summit Branch; a mile or so of un-navigable waterway which leaves the Leeds & Liverpool where we’re moored and ends at a bridge in Whittle-le-Woods.
It doesn’t look much now but this was the route to Preston and Lancaster and, together with the nine miles from Wigan top lock, the main line of the Lancaster Canal which was incorporated into the L&L. There’s a monument at the end made of locally produced mill-stones, and a plaque describing how they were sent around the world, the journey starting with a canal boat.
Lancashire in the early spring is full of promise of things to come with little packages of bright green shoots ready to burst out everywhere you look. There are snowdrops and crocuses and daffodils and lambs and we feel very good about life. The last couple of days we’ve started off with ice on the canal, but after a full day of sunshine it’s been warm enough to sit out in the well deck with a cup of tea, before coming back inside and lighting the fire as the sun goes down.

We can’t really say that it’s been difficult this winter, or that it has presented us with much in the way of hardship. Just recently we have found ourselves bereft of free firewood and having to use coal, but only because we didn’t bother to stop and collect it when the opportunity arose. If that is the extent of our difficulties you won’t hear us complaining.