Monday, October 26, 2009

We’re Off!! A long day starts us heading South.

After over a month pottering about around Gargrave due to rescheduled doctor’s appointments, we’re finally on the move again. Mags had her final check-up on Friday and was pronounced fit for another 12 months on the boat, so we’re now clear to toddle off. Unfortunately, due to delays up here, Plan A has been shelved. We’ll not be able to get back into the Midlands for Christmas as one of the tasks on the Winter Stoppage Program is Middlewich Big Lock gates. This will keep us north of Middlewich till the end of December. Still, there’re worse places to be…

One other consequence of being held up is that we’ve got to get south of Blackburn this week, or we’ll be stuck on the wrong side of a closure there, as well.

We were planning on moving out on Saturday or Sunday, but the weather was appalling, wet and windy, and Mags has not long got over a heavy cold. So we hung on and had an early start today. Not as early as some though, we were the 4th boat off the moorings, at 08:50.

Leaving Gargrave.
We solo’d Anchor Lock, then caught up with another boat at Scarland Lock. Geoffrey, on NB Scrumble, was on his own, so hooked up with us for the rest of the day to make it easier on the locks.

As there were a lot of hire boats about (½ term hols) there were also plenty of BW guys keeping the traffic flowing through Gargrave and Bank Newton Locks.

BW Mick and Richard.

In Bank Newton Locks
I’m not sure how much further NB Pendle Mist will have got. It’s the boat on the middle right in the picture.

Pendle Mist Smog?
I think it’s got a seriously sick engine. It’s one of Rosewood Narrowboats hire fleet, running out of Blackburn.

We cleared Bank Newton Locks by noon, and said our goodbyes to the lockies for another couple of years, then did the switchback section to East Marton. Our favourite mooring on this canal is along here.

Lovely spot, innit.
Under the Double Arch Bridge at East Marton, then another hour or so to the last locks on the climb up from the River Aire at Leeds.

East Marton

We waited at the bottom of the 3 Greenberfield locks, had a cup of tea while giving a slow hire boat in front a bit of a lead, then went up and out onto the summit level.

Greenberfield Top Lock, 460 feet above sea level
We parted company with Geoffrey here, he stopped to fill with water and will probably overnight here as well.

We’d made arrangements to meet an old workmate of mine at Salterforth, so we pushed on, through the outskirts of Barnoldswick (“Barlick” to the locals) and moored on the VM next to the Anchor Inn at just before 16:00.

There are signs about, and a BW notification, regarding Blue-Green Algae on the summit level. It was here when we last came this way and seems to have got worse in the intervening 2 years.

Blue-Green Algae.

While we’d been stuck at Gargrave I’d investigated methods of improving the performance of our battery charging. I’d got a local garage to repair the alternator that died in June on the Thames (so we’ve now got a spare) but was not happy with having to modify the units used for domestic charging so they could operate the regulator that the boatbuilder (half) fitted. The alternative was investing in Sterling’s Alternator to Battery system, which “fools” both alternators into thinking the batteries still need charge when their own internal regulators are ready to shut down. This ensures a deeper, more thorough charge than would otherwise be the case. Another advantage is that there is no alternator modification required, and in the event of a unit failure the alternator regulators pick up control. So I trawled the web, got one for a good price, and fitted it over last weekend.

Sterling AB12210 Charge Regulator
Does what it says on the tin? Time will tell. Seems to be doing OK at the moment, though. Pretty flashing lights…..

Locks 12, miles 9

Balders, Katya and daughter Milana arrived about 7 and we had a good catch up. We’d not met Katya before, it was a pleasure to finally get to see her and their 18 month old. This was probably our last opportunity, at least for a while. They’re off to Bulgaria next month, starting a new business out there. Good luck, I know you’ve got the spirit between you to make it work.

Balders, Katya and Milana


Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

... running out of Black Burn.

I'm sure there's a joke in there somehwhere.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hey Paul
No pun intended, honest!