Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Rufford bridge 8A Wednesday 25 April 2018

We were away at twenty to ten trying to keep ahead of the rain, we needn't have bothered as the sun shone all day. The first swing bridge was a proper one with automatic barriers and bleepers and things. From the time the barriers closed it seemed ages until the bridge swung.DSCF0850

We filled with water at Burscough Junction. The Borough Council have erected a very good information board show transport, pubs, shops etc along the canal.DSCF0853

Just inside the junction is a large disused dry dock surrounded by a row of cottages,

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Just before the first lock is a swing footbridge, Diana opened this before filling the lock and a local arrived in a taxi and went ballistic, he had to use the footbridge at the tail of the lock instead and I even think he then walked down the canal, so no further.

We had to turn all the locks including No. 3 as the boat coming out didn't see us, all the rest were completely empty. We were hoping for company going down as the wool boat stuck their bows through the bridge at the junction, but they were only winding.

Parts of this canal remind me very much of Fen Land with the flat fields and raised railway lines.DSCF0857

We passed a bee farm with an array of different coloured bee hives strung out along the bank, they look as if they are made of plastic which I guess is much cheaper than the traditional wooden ones.DSCF0861

In the distance I spotted a dingy with an outboard engine whizzing across the canal.DSCF0863 It turned out to be two chaps surveying the canal, one on the bank and one in the boat. Every 50 Mt the chap in the boat whizzed over to the far bank holding a measuring tape. he would measure the width of the canal and his comrade on the bank, who had been pushing the wheel measure holding the tape reel. Once this was logged the chap on the bank pulled him back to the towpath with the tape while the chap in the boat checked the depth about 5 or 6 times as he came across, the chap on the bank logging it.DSCF0865 They then move on 50 Mt and do it again, extra readings being taken at bridges. This was following dredging to make sure it was all to spec. We offered them a trip down the lock with us to save them dragging the boat round as they didn't look to have a windlass.DSCN2235

As I said yesterday I was having some new experiences with lock gear and today was no exception with vertical worm drive paddle gear locked off with handcuff locks that were so tight I had to get pliers to turn the key, I gave them a dose of WD40.DSCN2233

Wooden levered top paddles that just rotate over the culvert, I think these are called cloughs and very easy and quick to operate.DSCN2234

We stopped at the visitor moorings in Rufford, we actually we stopped just after Rufford Hall and backed up to the visitor moorings so we could visit the Hall. We timed it just right arriving just before 2pm when the talk about the Hall started. DSCN2238The people who work and volunteer for the National Trust seem much better informed and prepared to give information these days, once upon a time they just stood in the corner looking down at you for daring to come into their houses.

A couple of hours later and we were off again in the sunshine, but with a freshening breeze, heading for Tarleton where we planned to spend the night.

After bridge 10 and the old disused lock you actually leave the canal and join the River Douglas, it looks much rural with no tow path meandering as rivers do, again looking very like the FensDSCN2242

but it is not tidal until after Tarleton Lock where most people consider the river starts. The visitor moorings in Tarleton are just through the swing bridge but the winding hole after the bridge is supposedly only big enough for a 55ft boat, well as I didn't spot the hole before the bridge which is bigger we went through the bridge and winded a 57 foot boat in a 55 foot hole with about 3 foot to spare. We moored up to walk to the lock but our way was thwarted by a boat yard with private signs everywhere.DSCF0869

We weren't over impressed with the area even though the moorings are very good so decided to leave and return to bridge 8A and visit the Rufford Arm and had a very enjoyable meal.

Thorough the day the breeze had been freshening and the canal is very exposed, this resulted in us spending probably 10 minutes escaping from the bank after doing Fearns Swing Bridge as the 30 mph wind held us tight against the bank, I couldn't even spring off. we eventually got off and moored just before bridge 8A. If you fancy a meal in the Rufford Arms cross the bridge and the turn into Sparks Lane following it to the end. We walked to the main road and it wasn't pleasant. The main crops the look to be growing round here are potatoes and onions. The potatoes tops have all been sprayed off but the potatoes not lifted, where as the onions seemed to be just laying on the surface.DSCN2241

Today's Journeymap 11 11 miles, 7 locks in 6½ hours

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