Well, we’re here at Tarleton, waiting to cross the Ribble Link in the morning. We moved on from Parbold on Saturday, stopping for two nights below Moss Lock on the Rufford Branch before heading down here today.
We’ve had fine weather through the day, and a few showers in the evening, but nothing like those that pushed through further south, leaving flooding and damage in their wake. The wind has been brisk, though.
Leaving Parbold on Saturday, past the converted windmill
I do like these parti-coloured hawthorn bushes.
We had no locks to do before we reached the junction with the Rufford Branch, but there were a couple of swing bridges to deal with.
The retired Leeds and Liverpool short boats do make very good house boats…
Approaching the junction with the Rufford Branch
The sharp turn under the bridge takes you almost immediately to Lathom Top Lock, Lock 1 on the branch. There was a cruiser on the lock landing, with the crew just finishing filling the lock, and we were invited to go straight in. Not an invitation to decline!
We finished up sharing the first four locks on the branch before we pulled in and our locking partner continued. It was handy as they were part of a group, some of whom were ahead. If there was nothing coming up they would set the lock they were leaving to fill, so mostly they were ready for us as we arrived.
We even had a walker closing the gates of Moss Lock after we left!
So we had a good run down the first half of the branch.
We had a bit of trouble getting in to the side below Moss Lock, it was quite shallow and the brisk easterly didn’t help. But we did finally get tied up, in the shelter of a small group of bushes. Out of the wind, but every so often a gust would bring a shower of hawthorn blossom into the cratch. I could have started a confetti business, the amount I’ve cleaned up over the last couple of days!
The local frogs have been busy, along the banks the canal is heaving with shoals of tadpoles…
When I took Meg for a walk this morning this chap was singing his little heart out.
Only ten minutes after getting going this morning was Germans Lock, the first of three today.
This one has those unique Leeds and Liverpool clough top ground paddles.
This area of flat, rich agricultural land benefited from the canal into Liverpool. Fresh produce was carried in, night soil was brought out for fertiliser. I bet they grew a few tomatoes…
The locks are a lot shallower as the canal descends the Douglas valley.
Three locks, three swing bridges to do today to take us to the moorings at Tarleton.
Marsh Meadow Swing Bridge
Rufford Lock, and there’s a boat coming up.
That’s us going down, with St Mary’s Marina in the background.
Just look at that sky! With very little wind today it’s felt very warm. Even Mags thought so!
Good length of moorings in Rufford.
We wanted to top up with water and dispose of the rubbish at the services at Spark Bridge, there was a boat already on the wharf and they invited us to pull alongside. Rob and Jane, on The Whippet Express, will be joining us tomorrow on the crossing.
A mile or so below Spark Bridge the canal passes through the remains of Sollom Lock and under Strand Bridge.
From here the navigation follows the original course of the river to Tarleton.
Sollom Lock once marked the limit of the non-tidal Douglas Navigation, but in 1805 was abandoned when the new Tarleton Lock was completed.
While the new lock was being constructed the river was diverted into a new channel to the east, with a lock at Croston Finney. Now that has gone the channel is tidal up to Rufford.
Coming into Tarleton
The visitor moorings are just through the swing bridge, and we secured the last space available.
We’re moored behind The Whippet Express, so Rob, Jane and I, complete with a pair of whippets, walked down to the lock to weigh up the situation.
Panorama looking at below Tarleton Lock.
The Ribble estuary is to the left, upstream to the right is Rufford, Parbold and Wigan.
I was reading up about the industry (mostly ship and boat-building) in the area, and came across this interesting snippet of trivia. Apparently the Duchy of Lancaster (isn’t that part of the Queen’s estates?) pays an allowance to the chapel of Hesketh-with-Beconsall, about a mile downstream from Tarleton, for prayers for mariners on the River Ribble.
At it’s inception in 1535 it was the sum of £2:16:5d. (That’s about £2:82p post decimalisation). I wonder if it’s been adjusted for inflation? I reckon that would be around £8,000 a year. Should buy enough prayers to keep us safe tomorrow, then.
Since Friday – Locks 7, miles 9½