Monday 31 May 2021

Bank Holiday sunshine cruising

 Monday May 31 through Blackburn to Wheelton (12 miles, 6 locks)

Another sunny morning saw us start off into Blackburn, soon to stop after the transmission to the propeller became intermittent. Our hydraulic gearbox was clearly short of oil, so John got his overalls on and topped it up. Blackburn still has lots of mills, some in use for industry and some converted into attractive stone housing or offices, Imperial Mill and Daisyfield Mill among them. A wallpaper firm had decorated a telephone box for publicity.

Eanam Wharf had a few boats moored. Reaching the six Blackburn locks, we were helped down all six by a lovely CRT Volunteer and other boat crews,  passing wide beams, Narrowboats and cruisers on the way! It was surprisingly busy.

We stopped for lunch in the sun on the high embankment which crosses the valley, echoing that at Burnley. We overlooked Elwood Park, home of Blackburn Rovers, and the skilful players at the local crown green bowling club.

Continuing out of the city through Mill Hill, Cherry Tree and Feniscowles, loads of the canalside gardens were looking splendid, with both expensive and imaginative patios plus lovely plants, many being finished now during the COVID time many find themselves at home. Also, loads of families and couples have been walking past, enjoying the sun. Liana reckons we have passed at least ten boats travelling today, too.

Apart from the distant hum of the ever present M65, the countryside is lovely from now on. After the boatyard and hire base at Riley Green, the canal leaves the M65 and heads South through peaceful pastures and woods to Wheelton, where we moored between bridges 84 and 83, relaxing on the bank in the late afternoon sun.

Sunday 30 May 2021

Through Burnley and Church on Sunday

 Sunday May 30 on the level to Burnley, Rose Grove, Church and beyond (16 miles, 0 locks, 3 swb)

Today has started sunny and bright, and the forecast for the next few days is lovely! We have twenty miles of the long canal pound between Barrowford and Blackburn locks to travel, so Liana can indulge herself.

First, we do three sides of a square around the centre of Burnley, on a high terrace above the town. From that sixty foot canal wonder embankment across the Calder/Brin valley, from which you can see Turf Moor stadium, home of Burnley FC. Finally Gate Wharf is being refurbished with help from the Heritage Lottery.

Burnley Wharf has been one of our stops before, but current COVID alerts in this area have caused us to avoid crowds hereabouts. Sadly, the pub is shut up and wharf deserted now.

We passed several refurbished stone mills on our way to Gamow Tunnel.

This is about 500 metres long and you can see through, do our dim headlight didn’t matter.

Rose Grove CRT yard had several boats moored up.

Hapton has some well looked after canalside gardens.

We passed NB Katherine in the countryside beyond, the first moving boat today. The views across the valley to the hills beyond are surprisingly lovely, especially in the glorious sunshine we have today.

We moored at Clayton Le Moors for lunch, on some bollards, The comedian Eric Morecambe was a Bevan Boy miner here during WW2, Pearson’s guide tells us.

Saturday 29 May 2021

Goodbyes to Yorkshire and new friends

Saturday May 29 Salterforth to Foulridge Tunnel, Nelson  and past Reedley Marina (10 miles, 7 locks)

After a pleasant meal and drinks last night with Graham and Wendy, we said goodbye to them and NB Down the Hatch again, who have accompanied us since we were near Doncaster. It’s great to get to know new folk, help each other through locks and swing bridges, and laugh together about life’s vicissitudes.

The two miles to Foulridge is green, misty and as beautiful as ever. We passed East Lancs and West Yorkshire Boat Club on the way to the tunnel. Red and Green traffic lights control the one way flow of boats. Westward traffic may pass through the tunnel on the hour for ten minutes. Eastward traffic may pass on the half hour, for ten minutes. 

The tunnel was a bit wet! Emerging from the tunnel twenty minutes later, we weren’t too impressed with the new LED headlight. I will try connecting the full beam too, as dip and side light were not bright enough.

The weather had turned cloudy, dull and spitting a bit with rain as we approached Barrowford locks and reservoir. After using the services by the top lock, we found several friendly and efficient CRT Volunteers who helped us down all seven locks. Many thanks to you all, especially Peter and Julie.

Just past bridge 141D, we passed the winding hole and moored at the plastic Pendleton Council visitor mooring to water up and have lunch.

Because of COVID alerts around here, we decided to continue a few miles through Nelson to a bit of countryside near Reedley Marina. 

Friday 28 May 2021

Wild garlic, cowslips, Rolls Royce and Lancashire sccents

 Friday May 28 the Martin Pool pound, Greenberfield locks and Barnoldswick (6 miles, 3 locks)

The Martin Pool pound winds around the upper Aire valley on a high terrace, with sharp bends, lovely views, pastures, woods strewn with bluebells and wild garlic. We took our time, enjoying the peace of this beautiful countryside.

The Pennine Way goes along the canal at East Martin, where we have moored and visited the Cross Keys pub a couple of times.

Reaching Lancashire, we navigated twists and turns, and ascended the three Greenberfield locks with Down the Hatch again. The CRT lock keeper and oncoming boaters meant we crossed over with a widebeam as we went up the locks quite efficiently. NB DtHa paused at the services just above the top lock.

Passing the two Rolls Royce factories, we moored and visited this rather nice small town, with its stone houses.

 We enjoyed an excellent coffee plus fish & chips and cheese & onion pie meals at Victoria’s cafe in the small town square.

After lunch Liana visited Aldi on our way back to the boat, as a little rain fell.