#31 Leeds & Liverpool Canal – West & South. June 2016



Tuesday 14th June 2016      Today we the crew & our trusty steed nb:Black Bart have cruised many miles in the pouring rain swimming the final long stretches of ye olde’ wide lock-free Bridgewater Canal.



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It be late morning and Bartholomew Roberts is transferring our crew from “Duke’s Cut” to The Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Didn’t even notice any bumps or anything as we jumped from one-t’uther. We secure Bart’s lines almost immediately using four mooring pins. This may now become the ‘norm’.

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After tea break a walk to the very close foody cavern is swiftly dealt with. After restocking Bart & lunching on board

we crew of three are off to investigate the town of Leigh. A pleasant place to visit. Not having the splendour of somewhere like say Nantwich, but then most fall short of the such. An unfair comparison we thinks. Bart is calling so we return to look after our Wonderful craft.

Wednesday 15th June      We the crew wake up in Leigh this morning. At least we haven’t unwittingly moved whilst it were dark and scary outside. We crew of two return to town to check a couple of tings out & visit the splendid market for some fine purchases. All without our troublesome pooch in tow, even though she is such a Good Girl. It has been a lovely warm sunny start to the day, but we know there be rain a-coming. At some point later today is likely, apparently. Tis mid afternoon but we decide to trog. maybe not very far, but out int’ country mayhaps. Bart & Lister are ready. Mooring pins extracted from the ground & moving we are. It be starting to rain again. Must have noticed we were preparing ‘for the off’. An unhurried, sedate even, pace is savoured. Fortunately the drizzle doesn’t persist today. We leave Leigh behind only chugging for aboat half an ‘er where we re-berth in a fine position overlooking ……….



Pennington Flash. a 70-hectare (170-acre) lake created at the turn of the 20th century by coal mining subsidence, mainly from Bickershaw Colliery, and flooding.



Half an hour-ish swim. That is our new record. Well Done Bart & Crew. Congratulations. Only one other narrowboat (plus one Topper/Laser or summit else in the lake below) is/are anywhere near Bart. No udders (or cows either) in sight. Skip has the weed hatch assembly off for a check of old prop & a bit of a clean down there below. Ochre stains & silt everywhere. All clean again & re-assembly is sorted. These L&L waters are quite clear & pleasantly warm. Inviting. Fancy a dip anyone ??



Skip has managed to find some wood. Need to start chopping & storing ready for those winter months that will soon be upon us.


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Not sure where on earth these enormous lock gates have been hoiked from.

Now. Where is that chainsaw? Not sure the Bow saw will be enough on it’s own, or either one of the axes. Maybe one of the other saws ??

Thursday 16th June      L-O. Ga’day mate(s) !!  We have a dry cloudy start to this morn. After our ridiculously long extended cruise of ‘ers & ‘ers yesterday. Dusk till dawn. Or were that dawn till dusk. Soo ty-red can-ee remember. Crew finally awake from our twelve or so ‘ers of slumber & are soon ready for some moor waterway manoeuvrings. We are on our way, leaving the delightful Pennington Flash behind. Shortly after our departure we experience a very well timed arrival at Plank Lane Lift Bridge. A co waterwayer happens to be


cruising tuther way, shortly before Bart arrives, so we manage to sneak through after them without having to do anything. Grand.

Black Bart passes through the two long gone Dover locks. The 14′ +  ‘narrows’ hint at their previous existence. Not to be forgotten. two of several locks ‘lost’ due to level changes caused by subsidence from the extensive mining within these vast expansive lands.


Then the RAIN comes down. Oh Boy Does the rain pour !!!   Skip re-soggyfies. It keeps falling from above, eventually reducing to a fine steady drizzle.


Bart Loves combo-bridges of fine stone/brickwork &/or iron/steelwork.

As we bunch of pirates captained by ‘Back Bart’ cruise in a Westerly direction, veering t’a moor North-Westerly tack eventually, there be blackness up there in the sky above. It has stopped damping us down, but Deep, bassy rumblings & crashes are all around us. Darned impressive. Startlingly bright flashes across the sky. Unfortunately, no audio or photographic evidence were captured. Your loss !!  We await t’ oncoming water fall from on high. Somehow it duth not arrive this time. The Leigh Branch of the L&L Canal leads us past numerous waters including Bryn Flash, Ochre Flash, Scotsman’s Flash & Pearson’s Flash. to name but a few.


We eventually arrive at Poolstock locks. Crew of narrowboat departing bottom lock as we arrive have had ‘Fun’, particularly trying to negotiate the pound between the locks. Quite a big pound, travelling roand through a bend. Very Very shallow. Bart is deeper drafted/draughted than most so this might be unpleasant. Skippet sets us ready in bottom lock, slow filling with only ground paddles open and disappears ahead to check tings out. Skip cannot see from on Bart, down inside bottom lock……..  Skippet returns having opened one of top lock’s bottom gates and left the upper ground paddles open to allow water to flow straight through the lock down into the pound from above. The pound between locks is moor than just low. It’s almost like it has been drained. There only be shallow water along the centre ‘trough’. By the time Bart has arisen sufficiently to open bottom lock’s upper gates and attempt a very slow cautious crawl into & through the pound Skippet’s magic trick has worked. Although Skip can see the water level is very low, at least water depth is sufficient to allow Bart to make it through creeping on lowest tick-over possible. The inevitable crunching & getting stuck doesn’t happen. Bart glides from pound into top lock without getting caught. Amazing !!  We is relieved. Top lock is filled & Bart is soon progressing to &

turning at the junction, West along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Main Line. We are quickly at Henhurst Lock, descending & moving into another (fuller) pound. We could not turn North-East at the junction as unfortunately, Bart being 70′ long cannot ascend Wigan’s famous 21 lock flight towards Leeds as they be only of sufficient length to accommodate 62′ long boats. Can cope with 14′ (ft) 4″ (inch) wide boats though. nb:Bartholomew Roberts be of slightly different proportions. Oh Well. Not for another day !!


Difficult winding handle to swing open the lock gate. Unusual design. Not seen this before. Be ‘easier’ to be able to just push/pull the big arm/lever that most lock gates come with. After some H2O acquisitioning


Bart carefully ‘swings’ (or was that ‘swishes’) into a tight 70-ish’ berth for the night. Black Bart & crew have arrived in a delightful town called Wigan.



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Wigan has a proud heritage of links with the canal & the abundance of mills & coal mining it supported. it’s Great to see some of the old mill buildings still proudly standing there for us all to admire.


Some having been been saved, now used for udder tings like the TrencherfieldP1130057

cotton spinning mill & Some haven’t. Yet !!

Friday 17th June      We made it…. Yes. We are moored & rested after a pleasant night in Wigan. Bart has been keeping an eye or two on ye olde ‘istorical dry dock. P1130078

Great to see this like others witnessed in past weeks are still in regular use. Lister is warming one-self up ready for the cruising ‘ers ahead. Two lock keepers arrive. Great timing. They kindly prepare the lock by the dry dock for Bart. Filled, top gates open we move in, descend, bottom gates open,


Bart fluidly progresses under Pottery Road Bridge, turning West (left) at the disputable Wigan Pier.


The original “pier” at Wigan was a coal loading staithe, probably a wooden jetty, where wagons from a nearby colliery were unloaded into waiting barges on the canal. The original wooden pier is believed to have been demolished in 1929, with the iron from the tippler (a mechanism for tipping coal into the barges) being sold as scrap.


Lister & co wave goodbyes to Wigan as we swim on.

Black Bart shall return in a few short weeks. Mayhaps we will too.

The L&L water flows us past Wigan Warriors impressive stadium, onto & down through Pagefield & Ell Meadow locks as outlying commercial & residential dwellings aroand us start to diminish in number. The long gone Crooke Lock still hints at it’s previous existence. Not to be forgotten. Another of the locks ‘lost’ due to level changes due to subsidence caused by the extensive mining in this part of our wonderful world of the islands off the North-West coast of a place some call Europe.


Surroundings change into luscious, green rolling hills of the West Lancashire countryside. The L&L Canal is tracking the River Douglas as we descend the contours of this land.


With the occasional road & rail interruptions.    We descend the one Dean lock still in use. A second channel off to the North side is the watery link to the other now unused lock. The weir/run-off right across the bottom of the lock makes for awkward departure from the lock as one tries to make safe passage. Why do they do that ???  Those canal designers. Eh !! Love-em !!

Two old unused open (Fisher’s & Ranicar’s) swing bridges cantilever off to the side of local narrowings in the canal’s flow.


Finch Mill

(manual) Swing Bridge

hardly delays our efficient crew.

Skippet at her best again.

Handy pontoons aid crew transfer



Thick & Fast. The ‘obstructions’ come at Bart & crew. Ha !!!  We laugh in the face of adversity.   Aaaarrrggh !!!  We cry. Pirates Ya No. So, we may not be ‘literally proficient’ but yow must remember we be pirates of t’ waterways. Not alwais had the bestist of scouling.


Oh Dear !!  I feel a tittle dizzy now. Bit High UP Hear. Need to get back down. Careful Now !!

Appley Deep lock is wide (just like they all be roand ‘ere) & ‘just’ 12′ shallow. Yes 12 feet. 60 Toes. That’s DEEP Man !!  The North fork leads to-two unused (presumably 6′) locks.

P1130135We make safe entry into the Biggy.

Then Bart is on the way down.

Those lock gates are BIG. Wide & Deep

That Cill is BIG. Wide & Deep

The watery leakage coming through

& roand the gates above & behind

Bart be ‘Interesting’.

Skip closes the stern doors as one knows

the apron is going to get VERY WET.


We do not want any (or much) of that water coming through, into the boatman’s cabin. Bart has to back right into that to get the bottom gates open as we be tighter on length than anticipated. Not the most comforting ting. Skip is a tittle concerned willing the gate be swung far enough to allow forward motion ASAP. That’s quickly !!  PLEASE !!!

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Lister revs as old gearbox (not often mentioned but never forgotten) is levered into forward propulsion mode. We is very wet back ‘ere mate, but at least it stayed outside. No-ting inside. Phew !!!

P1130140Bart makes a break for it. Managed to escape without further incident.


Ah, there’s the second of the Appley ‘North’ locks. Bottom lock. Now slowly rotting away. What a shame. Suppose they be surplus to requirements these days. This doubling-up format must have been on all these locks between Wigan & Liverpool ??   Other doublers must have long gone. Not sure.




Parbold has some

lovely looking

architectural delights

& good mooring

positions, it looks,

so will ‘drop a pin’

for this one

on our return journey.

There is only one way in

& one way out of Liverpool

for a narrowboat like our

nb:Bartholomew Roberts.

Crew Will Be Back.


We almost ‘fly’ over the River Douglas which flows underneath the canal. We don’t even get our feet or Bart’s toes wet. Moor aqueducts. Over roads this time(s) before Bart has to pull-over so Skippet can ‘hop’ off

& operate the first electric swing bridge of our L&L experience. Splendidly dealt with. ‘Aplomb’ comes to mind.


We are reviewing tonight’s overnight accommodation. It’s not unusual for the pics shown on these websites to show something much better appointed. It’s only when they have had your money & you arrive days, weeks (even months) later to find, only disappointment. It’s quite nice looking but not near enough to ‘finished’ yet. Probably be OK providing there is no rain tonight. That’s unlikely isn’t it ???

We continue on to try & find summit else better. Hopefully.

The moor sophisticated Glovers Swing Bridge doesn’t slow Bart down for long. Skippet at her best again. How long can she keep this up for. It’s never ending. Faultless. Seamless. skilled. Incredible.  OK  That’s quite enough…….


This bridge (Strangely called Junction Bridge) be an arched ‘entrance’ into the waters of the Rufford Branch. Flowing North, making for the River Douglas, the Ribble Link to Preston & ultimately, the Lancaster Canal. Unfortunately our Bart is too long for this navigation as the Rufford Branch & Ribble link Locks are only 62′ short. Annoying as the Lancaster Canal has 72′ long locks. Work that one out !! !!   Won’t be cruising up there then. Shame !!  If only……..

We is now ticking-over as they say. Many a moored narrowboat or two & the occasional ‘fat’ boat. Otherwise known as a wide beams apparently. Suddenly an extended stretch of available towpath/canal bank appears in front of us. Bart turns ever so slightly & glides in Beautifully. Mooring pins out (four of course). Pins hammered in. Lines secured & Lister quietens down for a peaceful restful period. May stay here for a couple of days. Mayhaps a tittle longer ?? We’ll see.


nb:Black Bart & our crew of three are moored just a few hundred steps short of Burscough. It be very busy here with many visiting boats moored between here & the village and beyond.


Saturday 18th June      Yeh !!  It’s the Weekend !  !!  !!!   Oh !!  Is it ??  Didn’t realise. Sorry aboat that folks ! !!



Fantastic 1894 factory saved. Now flats.

May not be a factory anymore but at least still alive.

 –                    –                    –                    –                    –

Burscough Heritage Weekend is Celebrating 200 years of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal main line travels 127 miles crossing the Pennines, with 91 locks. There be several small branches including the Leigh & Rufford. Principal engineer John Longbotham with assistance from James Brindley (that man again) (until his untimely death in 1772) & Robert Whitworth designed & looked after this mammoth 45 year project. Construction began in 1770. Some sections being first used as early as 1774. The main line from Leeds to Liverpool was finally completed in 1816. The Leigh Branch opened in 1820 & Then locks west of Wigan were extended to suit 72′ long boats in 1822. The Liverpool Canal Link was opened on 25 March 2009 connecting the L&L Canal to Liverpool’s South Docks via Stanley Dock. All Finished. Fab !  !!  !!!




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!!!  !!  !  Fantastic  !  !!  !!!

Sunday 19th June

HAPPY FATHERS DAY   to All those Fabulous Dads Out there !  !!  !!!

Some Great Dads out there. Still with us.

Other Great Dads unfortunately not with us any more.

Still Remembered. Never forgotten. All Dads Loved.

–                    –                    –                    –                    –                    –

Good morning.    Crew of two (+1) enjoy very relaxed start to today’s proceedings, finally arising to eggs (not +1). Missed those lovely softy boiled delights on recent Sunday morns past. Not today. Lovely. Toasty soldiers too. Scrumptiousness served out on the ‘veranda’. Perfeck. A very slow ‘run’ jog almost, trot, canter even, all through today. The clouds have built up. Rain is cast. They be Very Right. Not long before it just pours. Bart protects us. Keep us nice & dry. We ‘enjoy’ an interesting game of Tennis. Some Scot against a fine Canadian server & improved volleyer in the art of lawn tennis of Montenegrin & Serbian descent. Following some pains & near torture the wee Scot rises after early failure & some profound weakness at the start of the second. Suddenly, the buoy comes Good & ‘makes hay’ to win the day. Were a bit ‘hairy’ for a while. Amazing how a few rants & some temper tantrums focus the mind sometimes. A job well done. Five Queen’s Tennis Titles. A Record !! Well Done Sir !!


Fly-boat ‘Ribble’ built by W.J. Yarwood & Sons Ltd. in 1934 cruises by late a’noon.

A Leeds & Liverpool ‘Short Boat’.

We saw her yesterday, moored at Burscough Bridge. Fantastic Barge.P1130216

Obviously winded at the junction & now heading back West. Might see her again as we be following in coming days.

It just gets even better. Watched highlights of England Rugby Union Team beating the Australians in Brisbane by 39-28 to win the first of three Test matches in the land of Oz. Fantastic performance by our ‘buoys’ last Saturday. Then watched the whole match from yesterday in Melbourne where they beat Australia again with a 23-7 victory. Incredible performance. Particularly the English defence during extended periods of the game to keep them wallabies out. First ever series win in Australia by an England Rugby Union Team. Next Saturday – Can they finish the Wallabies off completely with a third win ??   Tis moor than possible. They is a Very Good Team. Risen to No.2 in the world now. Only those pesky Brilliant All Blacks is higher. Maybe them will be next. Who knows……

Monday 20th June     We are still ‘ere near the large village of Burscough. Not in any rush to ‘move along’ yet as we be not too far from ye olde’ town of Liverpool & our berth in Salthouse Dock. Port of Liverpool South Docks. Booked & waiting for our Bart. Tis just over a week away. Slow Down. Slow Down. We chill a tittle moor. Skip checks the weed hatch & clears old prop as there were summit down there when Bart were cruising to Burscough on Friday. Nearly forgot to check it out. Mainly some plastic bags wrapped roand down below. All sorted. Till the next time…..


Skippet is working thow’s usual magic. Continuing with refreshing the coloured diamond design (& de big triangles mate) on the cratch table and cleaning up the support leg ready for some fresh black paint. Said black paint is then administered successfully. All looking lovely again. Was rather wet outside this morn but now we be enjoying the sun which be returned to these ‘ere parts. Tis a Fantastic afternoon continuing through the evening.

Tuesday 21st June      Shall we stay or shall go now ??  Shall we stay or shall we go now ??  Right. That’s it. Stop messing aboat. We are cruising today. Lister is awoken from thow’s slumber. Four mooring pins |Yes, four) retracted from the land & lines free. nb:Black Bart is propelled forward. Slowly of course. Moored boats there be. Every way you turn. We move a wee way to burscough services & fill-er-up amongst udder tings. After a fair old delay Bart & Co are ready to proceed. Just as we are trying to depart Burscough it suddenly gets busy. Typical. Narrowboat passing Bart suddenly realises there be water here. Has to ‘pull-up’ with loads of reverse revs & ‘back-up’ to ‘water-up’. Just, of course when a hire boat is trying to come through the bridge right in front of them, the udder way. All OK now. Black Bart & crew stop treading water & move slowly forward under Burscough bridge & creep by the busy permanent moorings that line this length of the canal.

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Soon we are delayed by only a few minutes by Crabtree electric swing bridge.



Quickly followed by New Lane electric swing bridge. All controlled superbly by Skippet.


Looks great ahead.


Just a tittle moor ‘threatening’ behind. Nothing compared to some past days.


Great Score swing bridge is just hanging there to the side. Forgotten & decaying. Soon after Langley Brook ripples underneath the T&L we are under & through Martin Lane Bridge finding a delightful position only a wee way on, to safely secure Bart for a while.


A short straight between bends. Lovely. Quiet. Green surroundings.


Not long before new artwork adorns the cratch table support leg. Wonderful. There be talent on this ‘ere Bart.

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Looks like we be in for a BAD one tomorrow. Batten down the hatches & all that.

It has to be said. We are ALL SOO Tired. It has Been Such a Long Day.

Wednesday 22nd June      The overcast grey conditions slowly recede although some rain does wet our surroundings sum-wot. Warmer & dryer in the afternoon, Skippet is up to tricks again. Starboard side (towpath side at the moment) wood facias inside of hatches are being lovingly restored to former glories. Flaking, disintegrating varnish is methodically removed, areas smoothed down & preparations are made for the next stage. Flaky rose painting’s border edging red paint is a wee bit poorly in places so receives some TLC.

First coat of antique pine wood dye is applied to the inner panels. Bounty Red Borders have been repainted. Looking so much better already. Thanks Skippet.

An abundance of Lovely reeds opposite our splendid mooring position here.P1130273

There be unusual reflections of strange clouds above in d’ water this evening.

Thursday 23rd June      This morn it be a tittle cloudy, but soon that gorgeous sunny star in the sky is working it’s magic. A most beautiful hot sunny day rolls on by.  Relaxation includes sitting/lying enjoying the sun & reading. Chillin’ too. Almost like being on ‘oliday. Although this not be ‘oliday. This is Wonwol.


Side hatches are now darkened a smite with antique pine varnish & later. Much later, the finishing touch being the magic coat of Epifanes clear varnish. Lovely !!

Brass handles re-secured into position & we are there. Absolutely Fantastic !  !!  !!!


We stay up all night to witness the EU Referendum ‘Results Show’. What a night !! What a morn really !! !!  (officially shared with Friday below). Who’ed of believed it Eh !!!

Friday 24th June      We’ve told you two (three ??) before. Patience is a virtue. Please be calm. Will get here eventually……..  We’re Here.  Well Done. You found us. Just f.y.i. we finally slope off to bed at aboat 9-ish. am that is. Slightly ty-red & saw-eyed now. Just after the PM makes his announcement on the BBC. Make of it what you will. We is now asleep. Crew arise late morning fully ‘re-freshed’. Not sure you can believe such statement. Wet soggy day it has been which dries out sumwot as the afternoon progresses. Ye olde bright star in-da-ski is playing amongst the fluffies floating aroand up there in the blue.  A Wonderful sight to behold. Dawn of a ‘New Day’ in our Wonderful Land.


Just like being back at base camp on our end (nearly anyway) mooring. Te he !!

Saturday 25th June      Well. What will today bring ??


Equus Asinus. Asses to you (& we) (keep your thought to yourself sir & madam). Plural it is, as there be moor than numero uno.


Dry stone walling at it’s best. You may disagree. That is your prerogative.


The very sick Downholland Hall swing bridge


Canoeists. Only two but as they ‘steamed’ past Bart, overtaking us earlier we’ll say we have seen four canoeists today. Most for absolutely ages. Quite surprising.


And queuing boats waiting for Mr. CRT to operate the sick electric Coxhead’s swing bridge for “one & all”. “& all for one”. Strange. Slightly un-nerving, almost. The operator-de-special is scheduled to arriva-del-1400-hrs. Approx.

Crew have been listening to the third & final Rugby Union Test Match between England & Australia in Sidney whilst enroute. The game in coming to a very satisfying end as we come in to moor for a well timed lunch break. Quite cloudy but comfy warm is it our here my friends. & the final whistle is blown by the welsh master of refereeing Mr. Owens. England have won again 44-40. Series – England 3  Australia 0. Well done guys.  FANTASTIC !  !!  !!!   To infinity & beyond…..   Lunch is very tasty too.


CRT chappie dutifully arrives & bridge is swung. Bart leaps the queue (only ’cause invited too). We are NOT rude here on Black Bart. Unless the situation requires us to be of course. When Necessary.  Bart & crew of three are followed by narrowboat & then the two wide beams. One a hotel boat.


Our convoy makes calm chilled progress in/through the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Bell’s Lane & Methodist ‘electric’ (manual push/pull) swing bridges

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are soon followed by Shaw’s totally manual swing bridge where the first wide beam hath caught up with Bart. Skippet closed the bridge as requested by wide beam crew. Oncoming narrowboat ‘dives’ between Bart & wide beam allowing wide beam crew member to hop across his boat to get to towpath so bridge can be re-opened for North bound narrowboat to swim on & then our convoy’s South bound wide beam hotel boat to ‘come-on-thru’. Bart escapes again while everyone else is ‘mucking’ aboat.

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Only three bridges later Maghull Hall fully automatic (hooray !!!) swing bridge doesn’t require to be pushed open or closed. It has to be noted in Bart World history this canal’s waters are very healthy.


Clear with visibility to over a foot deep with water lilies in abundance. Good environment for the likes of swans, ducks, herons, coots, moorhens & others that shall remain nameless (due to unfortunate lack of knowledge).  nb:Black Bart has passed through delightful countryside of multicoloured green for as far as the eye can see. Finally Maghull provided the residential surrounding ‘backdrop’ before the greenery took over again. For only a mile or so.


Bart takes advantage & hammers the mooring pins. Pins. That be a joke really. They be big galvanised steel ‘stakes’. Might come in handy if there be any vampires aroand any time in the future. Both wide beam craft creep by as it be a tittle tight with the floating greens & the mass of reeds. Another common feature of this healthy waterway in which we are privileged to travel.P1130342

Skip is holding thow’s breath as there be horses in the field opposite. Lovely creatures. bit of an animal lover but need to find those piriton tablets just in case. They can cause trouble whatever they is that floats through the air into skip’s nostrils.

Sunday 26th June      Almost up at the crack of dawn today. No time for eggs etc…..   Black Bart & crew are fully aware of the pressing matters. Water taps are rare in these ‘ere parts. We is all running dry. Like being t’ desert. Or was that dessert. Not sure. Soo Hot & Dry We are. Bart is suffering moor then we homo sapiens & K-9. We Need To Find Water !!! Water….. Our lips are cracking just at the thought.P1130346

Cruising Quickly through first (manual) Holmes swing bridge. Wide beams have been hiding just tuther side of bridge. Sneaky. We are now being followed. Within less than an hour we are ‘landing’ to await for Mr. CRT to help again. We lowly boaters are not permitted to operate the fully automated Hancock’s swing bridge. 9.30am & our bridge experts have arrived as promised. Bart allowed wide beams to pass just before ‘holding-up’ for the bridge.


Now our re-conveigned convoy are cruising again,



Black Bart is the last through, thanking our official helpers for their valued assistance.  The canal takes a pronounced deviation to the West & then skirts the edge of the famous Aintree race course


and ‘crouching’ under five moor ‘normal’ fixed bridges.


A lighter sleeker wooden craft competing with the bigger metal ‘monsters’ of the canal. Not sure which end is the fore & which is the stern.


Aboat 45 minutes on, Bart is slowing down making ready to moorP1130380

& wait (patiently). Our ‘tittle helpers’ are ready be-fore us this time. ‘Suddenly’ Netherton swing bridge is opening & the convoy of three are ‘speeding’ up to save those people having to wait too long for their bridge to be the right way. For them.


As we three (crew) (& boats) & the canal now southerly (again) waters that be transporting  us calmly along pass into the Land of Litherland, Rimrose Valley Country Park shadows the West bank of the canal for a pleasant wee whilly. Or was that while. I can never remember. Just a poor old confused ‘Skip’

Moor bridges as is quite usual with these watery passageways we wander.


Mother is keeping the youngsters warm on this dry (so far) but windy day.


Nice old working boat passes Bart coming the other way. Not many craft cruising by us in these waters. Lovely & quiet.


Soon, we are being looked after again with


Litherland CRT chief opening Litherland manual swing bridge for Bart to pass straight through. Two ‘strange’ craft follow through soon after. Don’t k-no-w where they have been hiding. One minute their in front. The next their behind us again. Very Strange. Sum might even call it mildy disconcerting. Spooky !!!


Skippet leaps off & ties Fräulein (or was that fore line ?) (totally confused now ?) (why should you lot be any different) before catching the thrown centre rope to hold Bart in a most awkward of positions. Just enough room for biggies to creep by. Quite cosy.

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We re-fuel the H2O tank & suck-out the black tank emptying with the magic machine. First time with a self-service sucker for over a year. One of the old cards we had still had enough points left on it. And you know “Points Make Prizes”. Fantastic !


Skippet pops into the very local Foody store & Bart relocates slightly, rafting-up to new neighbours. It’s only just over the yard arm but will stay put. We are very close to Liverpool docks now & still it is not Wednesday yet. Good timing. And Good timing again. Bart is safely moored & the forecast rain arrives. And buoy does it arrive. & buoy does it hang aroand. Then fools us into a false sense of security before coming back again. Good night. Sleep Tight……

Monday 27th June      We is rafted up this morn. Just like we was at bed time. Slow start this morn, chatting with our friendly (& very close) neighbours until action. Late morn & Lister is revved-up. Our new friends are off to Liverpool proper & the docks. We have been in contact with CRT to ask if we can cruise to the docks today, two days early. Unfortunately they cannot fit Bart in until the scheduled berth date of Wednesday. Even with the option of an epidural. Oh Well !!!  Worth a try…. Bart’s lines are released & we move backwards to free an exit route for the neighbours. They are off, following two other narrowboats on their way to the docks. Have Fun !!!  Bart creeps forward a few hundred feet (even moor toes) & slots into a nice position towards the southern end of Litherland visitor moorings, just where a lovely dutch barge narrowboat had been until only a few minutes or so ago. We thinks she may be the best we have see. Beautiful lines. True to the lines of a proper ‘big’ dutch barge. They is all gone. We is still ‘ere. Bart, Lister & crew (of three) then have a lazy old day.

Our Roxy is a wonderful girl. Such a Gorgeous Poochy.


Our Bart is Pretty Mighty Fine To0.


Good secure moorings here at Litherland. Ideal stop for passing boaters of all types. Dry & increasingly sunny thru t’ a’noon. By all accounts this reasonable weather is likely to be the best of coming days. By some margin. Oh Joy !!!

Tuesday 28th June      It be a grey day & the rain comes done proper like later.


Kingfishers roand ‘ere are Enormous !!!

Aboat a three foot wing span this ‘monster’. Just be Careful…..

Roxy takes the rest of the crew for a long walk & we manage to find new smoke alarms at a very reasonable price. The not soo old ones have both died. At least we be safe again now.



2005 skyline engraved in road bridge.



Liverpool North Docks are there, almost close enough to touch.

Large foody/drinky place right here by the moorings proves very handy with moor restocking of Bart’s stores. Quartermaster is very happy again. Thank goodness. Then we just sit the rain out for the rest of the day. Joyous. Joyous indeed…..

Wednesday 29th June      Can’t help talking aboat it, but buoy is it wet outside. Yes it is !!  A few checks is made & tings cleaned ready for today’s short but momentous journey. Olde’ Francis is repositioned from Lister’s room to most enjoyable & proud position at the fore. Bart has got to look one’s best. & there be three tunnels to pass through as we negotiate the Liverpool Link. See you all there later…….. It has been raining all morning & the wind speed is up in the high teens. Not ideal for Bart World or associated helmsperson or associated crew. Would likely stay put in these conditions, but we have a date to meet. Salthouse Dock awaits. Lister is warmed up for longer than usual as batteries are lower than normal due to extended period without running or much sun powering through the solar panels. An ‘er later and we extract mooring pins, release lines & Bart is cruising South through the last few miles of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Two other narrowboats passed Bart a short while before enroute from Litherland to the docks. The rain is sumwot incessant. Soggy Skip again.


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We pass many an evidence of factories & wharfs that used to line the canal through these ‘ere famous parts of this land we all live. Fantastic. & it’s stopped raining !!!  Yippeeeeeeee !!!   Will it hold off ??  Only time will tell. Fingers (& those toes) crossed.

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After aboat an ‘er & a half, and 21 bridges, we are passing under bridge C & slowing down ready for a sharp turn to the West (right).


Just roand the corner and we is rafted-up to our fellow narrowboaters. We have a wonder to the locks & think aboat the coming part of our journey for today. Are we excited. Yes. Are we a tittle apprehensive. Yes, we are a tittle. That wind causes some concern. Even stronger right here on the West coast.


Black Bart has cruised West to Scarisbrick & then South to Liverpool from Leigh at the waters meeting/Junction with the Bridgewater Canal to the Liverpool Canal link, swimming 42 miles of the ‘swinging’ Leeds & Liverpool Canal, gliding over Glaze Brook, Hey Brook, the River Douglas, Deans Lane, Culvert Lane, the River Tawd, Eller Brook, Langley’s Brook, Sandy Brook, Halsall (?) Brook, Cheshire Lines Brook, Maghull Brook, the River Alt, Brasenose Road & Bank Hall using 15 strange channels called aqueducts, creeping through a few cuttings, sailing along a few embankments, passing under 92 ‘fixed’ bridges, crawling under 1 lift bridge & swishing by 18 swing bridges.

2 thoughts on “#31 Leeds & Liverpool Canal – West & South. June 2016

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