Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ribble crossing, a proper post.

A bit more detail than yesterday’s brief effort. Although I think I’ll stick to pictures in the main. I took a lot of those so here’s just a selection…

It was at around ten to eleven when we pulled out to head for Tarleton Lock, following Whippet Express.

I’d polished the tiller bar and pins in hounour of the occasion…DSCF3692

Before the boatyard and the lock there’s a narrowing of the channel which used to house an opposing pair of stop-gates. The only evidence is the stone quoins for the heel-posts.

We had about 15 minutes to wait while the preceding pair of boats dropped down onto the river and the lock was refilled for us…DSCF3697

…and then we were off.
The tide is still on the flood so we’re having to push against the incoming water. It’s only hard work for about a mile until the channel widens near Hesketh Bank, but that 20 minutes or so is what catches boats out that have marginal cooling systems.

Long shots behind and ahead as we pass the Douglas Boatyard.DSCF3702


Jammin’ was on a mission, overtaking Whippet Express and then us as I eased off to allow Rob and Jane to catch up.DSCF3710

Apart from geese and the odd tern there wasn’t much bird life to be seen on the saltmarsh. But there were a few very pretty shelducks knocking about.

The mouth of the Douglas widens out as it approached it’s confluence with the Ribble.DSCF3709

Up come Rob and Jane on Whippet Express.DSCF3712

We’ve just been passed by the motor-yacht Mistral heading the other way.DSCF3716

It’s recommended that boats take a long sweep out into the middle of the estuary and around Asland Lamp before heading east up the Ribble. It’s very easy to run aground on the mudflats. Not a problem on a rising tide, but potentially a disaster on the ebb…DSCF3719

The Whippets cut a bit closer to the marker than us…DSCF3722

We’d had a steady cross-wind as we came down the Douglas, but now we turned into it as we headed east. And it was brisk…DSCF3728


It’s about 3½ miles from Asland Lamp to Savick Brook and the Millennium Link. It was fine while the sun was out, but cooler when the occasional cloud passed over. And when a spray of salt water blew over from the bow…

Jammin’ turning into the entrance to Savick BrookDSCF3735

Preston, 2½ miles further upstream.
The nearer steeple to the centre of the picture belongs, I think, to Aston Methodist Church. The tower to it’s left is the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Turning into the brook.

The entrance is between the green and red marker posts.DSCF3743

In comes the Whippets…

The rotating sea lock, Lock 9 on the link, is open to let the boats in, then is closed to maintain a navigable depth up the brook.DSCF3748

Just around the corner above the lock is a holding pontoon for boats to wait on while the tide drops to give sufficient air-draft under the first bridge. We only had a couple of minutes to wait, so held off in the stream rather than breasting up to the other boats.

It was a 9 metre tide and the bridge arch was still dripping water after being submerged.DSCF3752

Crow sculpture up on the bank

From one extreme to another – the lower section of the brook, up to the first lock, is narrow, shallow and winding.DSCF3757

The single locks going up were partially manned; there was a volunteer on a bike who was shuffling between locks helping as much as he could, and some had permanent staff on as well.

There are five single locks to deal with as the brook slowly rises up to the level of the canal, but the final rise is up a triple staircase of around 25 feet. Just to make life interesting, if it hasn’t been already, there’s not enough room in the small basin below the staircase to make the sharp turn into the bottom chamber. So you have to reverse in…

Into the corner…

…and heading backwards towards the lower gates.DSCF3766
We’ve come from under the bridge on the left and are heading for the gates on the right.

We’re in and are followed by Whippet Express.

It’s a bit daunting being this close to the towering upper gates of each chamber…

Cool and refreshing, though.

Boat sculpture at the top.

And that’s it, reversing out into the top basin.DSCF3772

We executed a three-point turn, then turned left under the entrance bridge and out onto the Lancaster Canal.

From Tarleton Lock to the top basin of the link has taken us five hours. But it’s been a great trip. We can only hope for such good weather for our return trip in just under three weeks time.

We pushed on for a couple of miles, pulling in soon after Bridge 23.DSCF3774 

The stern is stuck out a bit in the shallow water, but this is the norm rather than the exception up here.
We stayed put today, had a bit of a lie-in, and I finished a little project I’ve been working on.

New tops on the well-deck lockers.

Locks 8, miles 14


Carol said...

Wow what an exciting trip! Great photos too. Enjoy your cruising on the Lancaster Canal and give Margaret a hug from us. xx

Ade said...

Interesting stuff Geoff, looks like terrific weather up there.
Looks like the brook should of been canalised a bit more! Looks tight and twisty.
Looking forward to more. Trust Mags and Meg are ok.