Narrowboat News - Edition 9

Narrowboat News - Edition 9

We’ve made it to Tarleton on schedule. Tomorrow is our Ribble Link booking, we should setting off around 0745 (2 hours before high tide) to catch the tide correctly. First we buck the tide on the River Douglas, that looks little more than a stream currently, then take a right turn and get to the big river Ribble going with the tide… we’ll see.

The Rufford branch off the L&L canal has been interesting in it’s isolation and flatness. Every lock (all wide beam and very heavy) seems to use a different combination of winding gear. The fields on either side are very damp looking and we’ve identified a huge field of leeks, in which in the far distance one solitary person appeared to be picking leeks and putting them in a row of boxes. He appears to have a job for life.

Another field was full of tall leafy twigs, this I suspect to be a willow crop. There have been a lot of my favourite birds, lapwings - their daredevil aerial acrobats, the very large wings, their peewit call and if you are lucky enough the sound of their wings - well worth Googling a video if you can.

We spent two nights in Fettlers Wharf marina in Rufford, to refuel, and catch up with washing. It was a bit disconcerting as we entered the tiny marina entrance to see about 6 or 8 floating houses! Apparently the barges on which they float were brought down the canal branch (max dimensions for this canal 62’ x 12’) and into the marina. Then the equivalent of a mini home built on top. There is no way they could leave the marina in tact. One wonders what the terms of their mooring agreements might be.

It was very much a residential marina, people living on their boats (many of them wide beam boats) and not moving far afield. The marina evidently offers a pump out sewage service to it’s clients with large holding tanks - the project of having to leave your berth on a big wide boat (with very restricted room) just to pump out would be a 2 weekly nightmare.

To provide the service the marina has a Dihatsu truck with a tank on the bank - I have never smelt a more rank, stinking vehicle. I doubt you would ever need to lock or remove the keys!

The tackling of the washing was a concerted campaign as competition for the use of the two machines in a marina is usually intense. The vagaries of unknown washing machines and how many coins they eat before you can get them to work is always a gamble. It takes a while to get to know their foibles. Luckily the full day we spent there was partly sunny which helped with the final stages of airing.

Smells are very much part of the canal experience, the Llangollen was particularly lovely with fragrant agricultural smells, something much nastier was going on outside Wigan, I shudder to think of the source of the distinctly rotting meaty smells.

Until we reach the other side, farewell!


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