Sunday, 27 March 2016

sign sealed and delivered

Hi everyone
Not long after I posted the last instalment I received a phone call to tell us that the lock and the navigation was now open, however that was about 16.00hrs so there was no point in moving as it would soon be getting dark. So 07.00 the following morning both boats were ready to go I must admit this next few miles filled me with great trepidation having been told all the horror stories of the floods I really was expecting trouble.
On leaving Leeds the first lock takes you down onto the river this is were the devastation caused by the floods starts to show, the trees lining the banks show debris up to 12ft/15ft. waals along the tow path had been washed away many boats were left high and dry and others left to a worse fate approaching Knostrop lock were the dredgers were still hard at it all my frustration from the past two weeks ebbed from me and I was left with admiration for the guys (and Gals) who were really doing there best to get things back to normal "what ever that is" I may have had a rough and frustrating trip but we are still alive and the boat is still in one piece.
We reached Castleford by lunch sorted out all we were taking off the boat walked up the road got the hire car (van) loaded all our gear for the next six weeks, had a good few hours talking over the work to be done. with Shane and his crew, I feel confident in leaving Buggerlugs in their capable hands. We left early the next morning sad to be leaving our home behind but I shall be going up every week to keep an eye on things

Thanks for listening to my rants it has been frustrating at times

But here we are now on our surrogate boat we are settled in and will be very comfortable on her

God Bless all 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

So Near yet so Far

Saturday 19th March

Last night whilst mooring up we were informed that passage beyond Leeds would not be possible until at Wends next week. This morning I awoke with a very heart knowing after all the stoppages beak downs and irritations even through all the effort put in by all we were not going to get there on time.
However from here in Leeds we are only 4 hours away from our objective, if we would have been allowed to continue we would have made it. So even though we will not make it I consider conquering everything that was thrown at us with stoppages, fouling props, water shortages, and the ineptitude of the CRT to keep us informed of what's going on then I consider we have wonderfully well.
Arriving here at 12.00 gave Kath and John enough time to pack bags and catch a train back to Lancashire John is having an op on his foot and we wish him all the best with that job and our thanks go out again to both of them for the gracious help in getting up here.
Mike and his are staying here in Leeds with us and waiting to travel down to Castleford with us were we will split they then go south to Doncaster.
So Folks that's it we won the Battle but not the war we will now wait until Wednesday for the opening of knolstrop lock this because of dredging and repair work from the Boxing day floods when a number of boats were lost, so we cannot complain we are still afloat and the damage has to be repaired.
As I have said CRT knew this work was going on and according to the work gangs we have spoken to say that CRT were informed and if CRT had passed the correct info to us we could have saved ourselves a great deal of heart ache and returned to our home mooring until the route was clear. However they didn't and here we are only hours away from our goal at lease we now get a few days off.

God Bless every one

Buggerlugs in Leeds

Clerk of Works

Friday 18th  March

After last night removing the Duvet from the prop we all had a good nights rest and set off this morning with the intent desire to get to Leeds it was going to be a push but something we all considered achievable. 07.30 was first parade then O745 POL 08.00hrs main parade all present and correct so off we set only to get as far as Shipply to discover that the Dock Lane Swing bridge was under construction having had the old one removed and a beautiful automatic one put in to replace. As I had checked all the web site for all the relevant  stoppages I was quite surprised to encounter this little lot I spoke to the foreman on site and was then rebuked by the rest of the crew for blaming this poor unfortunate British workman who'e sole intent that day was to tickle the brige to death by stroking it with a soft broom. hk would be having had words with them CRT office in Leeds and the same words with Wigan I was informed that the work would be completed and they would open the bridge for us as soon as possible Well my words of encouragement must have worked as the mad with the brush decided to start chastising the bridge with the brush and really kicking up a dust storm The foreman got another set of papers under his arm and a sharper pencil two others left the confines of the rest home (Cabin) still clutching their bacon butties and proceed granted with only one hand each (as the other was clutching the aforesaid butty. After 30mins we were informed that the bridge was now ready and everything was working BUT it had to pass the safety check and the Clerk of works was on his way. Now I do not know about your experiences with Clerk of works but those who have dealings with them will understand how much gloom this brought on the proceedings . Now he arrived in his spanking new HV jacket, super white hard hat, sparkly safety boots a wad of paper and the obligatory sharp pencil. Like a cock in the hen roost he strutted his stuff for a further 45 mins when he was sure that everyone in the surrounding area  had seen what a wonderful powerful man he was he walked over to me as I had stood their all the time making quite sure that he new that there was at least one person who was not impressed by his rig out, his wad of paper or his bloody sharp pencil, He said "Right sir I have done the inspection as laid down by reg ??and REG?? and I deem the bridge ready for purpose"  and what purpose would that be I ask " Well he said to allow ventricular and pedestrian traffic over the bridge and water traffic under the bridge" I said "Well woopy Bloody Doo Just the bloody thing and test your theory for untill a boat goes under it or a car over we will never bloody know this whole performance had now eaten 3hrs into our very tight time scale so we wrote of any aspirations of Leeds tonight  We decided on a secondary course of action that was to moor at Rodley were the mooring are along side the Rodley Arms good mooring Good ale Noreen had made a curry that was fantastic, a couple of red some good old crack and a good night sleep
That was friday Tomorrow we might just get to Leeds ?????????

Thursday, 17 March 2016

almost there

Hi Folks

"Its been a funny old Day" I do not know where to start,  lets start with the weather its been a really grand day, The morning started bright but cold in fact not that far off freezing However as the day progressed the sun broke through and the heat transformed us. from Skipton to Bingley there are 17 swing bridges which we flew up John did advance party and had the bridges ready for us then the girls took over, As a crew they worked perfectly as a team and we were in Bingley in record time.
I will state some facts here, Any boater coming this far needs to invest in a wet suit. the water coming in over the cills of all the b
Bingley five rise and the three below are: without swearing awful they leak and shower the occupants of a 60 ft with a constant avalanche of water I have two bilge pumps that only just kept pace with the flow of water entering the through the decking plates, I had to close all doors and being a trad does not leave a lot of room for manoeuvres I was hit by a cascade  of water equivalent to 6 hose pipes. to make matters worse a 50ft cannot exit without having to back into the opposite corning causing an angle acute enough to get the bow out from the lock gate as you are performing this operation you are being subject to a maelstrom of water, I accept that locks are not the most technical of machines however I am sure that if the tradesmen of the 1800 could make a lock gate that does not leak WHY can,t we with today's technology do  the same?????

After leaving the bingley three rise we thought we were on a winner and we may get at least three hours in front of our schedule BUT entering the next lock Bugger lugs must have started to feel the cold and wrapped a DUVET around her prop maybe to protect her from the winter night as I do not agree with such frivolity It took three of us three hours to remove the bloody Duvet If I ever find the cretin who throughs whole king size duvets in the canal I swear they will alsobe keeping my prop dry.

As it is we are  still ahead of schedule but we could now be further, lets see what tomorrow will bring, that's one thing about boating you could never get boared ???

Big Al

Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Weds 16 March

Awoke this morning to the distant call on the Curlew and pheasant what a nice way to wake up, However as I first stepped outside I realised why the were calling so loud the were shouting "stay in bed its bloody freezing"   and by Gum they were right coldest morning so far (we are now in Yorkshire it would be foolish to expect anything else. Arrived in Skipton at 13.00 we even found a decent mooring , Noreen and Kath managed to get to Morrisons. John arrived from his hospital appointment so we three lads shot off to the Narrowboat PUB for a few warmers into the bank then met the girls at Busy Lizzies for a fish super on the who quite a good day

Tomorrow we set off for Leeds should be there by sat and Castleford on Sunday that's the PLAN

God Bless everyone


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

objective reached


Like every day so far we set off this morning with an objective in mind but unlike other days today we reach our objective we  also crossed over the boarder into Yorkshire as they are also in the EU we were allowed through without customs check but we were inspected for any illegal emigrants they tried to imprison Kath as she is from Westhoughton but I explained that she was our au pair and they were happy with that.
We are moored on the open moor just below Bank Newton locks as I was mooring the boat I was greeted by the call of a Curlew which I find most haunting it sounds so melancholy anyway we are now settled down for the night watching Casualty and then Happy Valley so as you can see we are well settled in for the night
As everything went well today and according to plan then I have little to report Tomorrow we will make Skipton were John will be joining us ready for the big push into Leeds as things stand that should sat so only one day behind which with all the delays we have had does not sound that bad
God Bless


Monday, 14 March 2016

pics of the trip to date

some pics of the trip so far

Reaching the Sumit

Just a prety picture

Veiw of Wigan left Behind

inconsiderate people using the canal as their own 
rubbish tip

What inconsider boaters do by not locking a lock down one boat comming down the Wigan flight after dark and leaving gate and paddles open cause 6 pounds to empty over night. Do we have to revert to a booking system for using locks to catch the  culprits or should we just shoot on sight??????????

on a happier note just look at the gentle glide on an very early spring day

Conquering Wigan

Sunday 13 March
Yesterday was a day of delights firstly we conquered the Wigan Flight it only took us 25 hours that has to be a record. the first 19 locks we ran through the we hit a stone wall in the fact we ran out of water, As I explained to the crew I am good but that Good' Even I cannot move a boat without water not even God could that
having left a mooring at  07.00  or around here before Sparrow Fart. but it was not long before were at a stand still as the above pound was void of water . they said they would sort it out and we would be able to reach the top by 16.00 At 19.00   still sat in a almost empty pound I realised that CRT an I were working on separate time zones.
So at 07.00 the following morning we were given the all clear to complete the ascent of the Wigan Flight after reaching the summit filling up with water and saying our good byes we were off again. Here I must give a special thanks to Peter one of the CRT Volunteers who's valiant efforts to keep us moving were appreciated his steadfastness, determination and loyalty are to be praised and recommended he even turned out on sunday morning his day off to make sure we reached the summit
Thank you Peter.
From the summit to Riley Green was quite uneventful, when we set out on this quest I thought I would be reporting on bad weather and Arctic conditions but the trip from up to Riley green was done in glorious weather. which of course brought the dog walkers, cyclists, walkers and every one else who like the canals out the tow path was packed. The locks were also awash with Gongoozelers, Us boater you know we love to entertain.
Monday 14 March
 After a almost perfect overnight at the Boat Yard at Riley green we had an early start as I calculated that this would be one of the hardest and longest days, the day started in freezing temp and strong winds plus  the fact that you travel through Blackburn, Accrinton, Burnley, Nelson and Colne, These town are synonymous with the industrial revolution and still remains one of the canals great heritage corridors However the above named towns and the CRT seem to have forgotten that fact as the canal is awful our two boats travelling together had a combined total of 5 grounding two of which required a tow six stoppages to untangle fouled props both boats having to play slalom with floating chairs sofa's building debris and household waist
the consequence of all this was we did not make our intended night stop and are still 4 hrs behind our schedule I know in boating that 4 hours is nothing and you have no real cause for complaint I just need to complain it makes me feel better
anyone who has never done this trip would be very angree to see such neglect and would be to busy sorting out problems of navigation instead of steeping themselves it this fantastic heritage and marvelling at the fantastic views
our stop over tonight is at the Gallows Wharf (pub) were Mike and I have just celebrated today achievements with a tow well earned pints (each)
Tomorrow should make our travelling companions happy as we will be entering Yorkshire

Night God Bless
Big Al

Saturday, 12 March 2016


Well by now I thought we would be at Johnson Hillock but No We are still on the Wigan Flight.. Started this morning at 08.00 did the first ten in record time and then hit a stone wall as we had ran out of water all the pounds above us were empty all because at 22.00 last night a boat came down and left all the paddles open draining the pounds. i must give credit to the Cat volunteers who made a valiant effort to get water down but at 18.00 hrs we realised that we were not going any further today So That now puts us five days into the trip and three days behind schedule. Frustration is the by word at the moment we are in true boaters spirit and making a party of it with three boats butties up in a pound and making the best of a bad deal.
I said last night how much I hate Wigan and today has done nothing to enhance my feeling towards the place.
Speak tomorrow
big Al

Friday, 11 March 2016

Thursday 11th 

Well what a wasted day we have been sat around all day as the Wigan flight was closed until 16.00 and as it normally takes 3 hours We decided to start first thing tomorrow. However this canal life takes some turns Today we have come across lots of people that we have known along the canal and known in past jobs or  in my case Mike who has been waiting to go up the flight for 6 days he has his 75 year old mother with him so he is singe handed and was very relieved when we said tag along with us talking to him I found out he was ex job served in the marines and new me when I was at the jungle training school in Belize. I can never understand what a small world this is we meet all these people but I never meet the ones who owe me money????? Today was one of those days when everyone wanted to stop and talk which is great when you have nothing else to do we have met some lovely people today boaters and none boaters.
Tomorrow as I  said we are starting at sparrow fart and not stopping until we get to Johnson's Hillock 16 miles and 28 locks possibley  the heaviest day of the trip (planned) as you have noted anything can happen on the cut . We have been told that as tomorrow is the first day of the locks being open and we are the first boats up there are lots of volunteer lock-keepers on duty so we are hoping for a great run.
watch this space
God Bless

Thursday, 10 March 2016


Thuresday 10th 

Today was quite a late start a we only had a few miles to go an two locks. We cruised into Wigan about 12.00 and moored below Henhurst lock. Yesterday I had an email from CRT answerewing my question about the stoppage on the Wigan flight which was it would be open "on or before the 11th so Noreen and I decided we would walk up and find out for ourselves lock 85 the first in the set seemed fine except for the tonns of rubbish I will have to watch the prop going through there the pound above had plenty of water but what worried me was I could see on the next lock a very large generatore climbing the lock rise came an almighty shock the pound was EMPTY. we aproahed the workforce with trepidation as being lunch time they were other wise engaged I aproached the gag and in a light hearted matter which is my ilk I ask " Anychance of bringing my boat through here tomorrow and the unanimous reply was "no xxxxxxxxxxxx chance mate nor next week iether being a little dimayed and not wanting to spend the rest of the day in the nick I decided to walk away and leave Noreen to get the finer details from the forman these were that they had finnished this job but before they could complete it they had to go and do another one further up the flight. to enable you to get to bet I will conense the following three hours. After some great efford we managed to find the new CRT Office which believe me is not easy to find here after some long and heated words we managed to get some sense out of some one it appears that when they say open on the 11th that means 24.00hrs midnight Now make me an old fuddy duddy but 24.00hrs or midnight on the 11th is actually the 12th as you cannot negotiate the locks after dark.
We now are told that even though the locks are repaired and job done it has to be handed over to the water crew who will ensure that the locks have water in them Now as we need water to navigate, it is my humbel opinion that without water the navigation is closed. I put all this to the person who enters stoppages on the internet and pointed out that he shoulkd not say the navigation ios open unless it has water in it????
Now we are told haveing made thge CRT talk to the contractors that it will be ready for navigation by 16.00 Tomorrow now as it takes roughly three hours to climb this flight we would be finnishing at top lock in the dark so we will not be starting the climb untill sparrow fart sat being three days into our quest we are already one day behind
Also in Wigan at the moment there are no water points the one that was at the CRT office has gone because CRT have moved so we have also lost the secure mooings and the water point at Henhurst lock the tap has been removed
I have said it before and will keep on saying it untill something gets sorted Wigan has the most fantastic canal heritage but it is  the worst kept and maintained in the country it is a disgrace CRT and Wigan Council should hang ther heads in shame .
Hopefully Sat we will get out of here.

God Bless
Big Al

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

eee edding up North Lass inth winta

Daily notes on our trip up North

Tuesday 8th March (Our wedding Anniversary 47th )

10. 30 this morning we left our moorings in Ruford under a metal grey sky the cloud formation looked very foreboding. My forecast proved better than the BBCs they said we would have slight patchy rain we Had freezing drizzle, as Peter Kay says “its that light rain that soaks you through” but with a song in our heart and a spring in our step we ventured forward.
Completing the seven lock of the Rufford canal into Burscough with a crew of 4 is a simple enough and we completed it with no incidents or mishaps passing just one other boat who were on there way to Tarlton from Scarisbrick for a little cruise so here at least it looks as if the cruising season may have started??
We have moored overnight in Parbold, as tomorrow looks to be an awful days with gale force winds and heavy rain so we may sit it out. I am still awaiting news of the Wigan flight as they are fitting new gates the completion date is the 11th which is Friday so there is no rush as that only two days away.
Its was good to be out on the cut today the Ducks are mating and nest building there is plenty of Pussy Willow about some say that is a sign of snow to come others say it’s the harbinger of spring and a good summer only time will tell and lets face you take what comes, no sense in worrying about things you have no control over.
Prepare for it yes but then accept it. That’s boating and the richer for it.

Wednesday 9th
At 07.30 Removing the button from the bedroom window only confirmed what the pitter-patter on the roof was telling me IT was raining, though after making the brew and getting dressed the weather was not as bad as the previous day and it felt a little warmer. Before setting off we had to do a little shopping number 1 on the list was some cream for my back (long storey) As we were only doing two locks two swing bridges and a few miles stopping over night at Crooke we were in no rush to get going. The cruise to Crooke was uneventful and didn’t   pass one other moving boat. The sun really tried to day and it made that murkey grey colour that is impossible to reproduce in a painting or at least it is for me. From Parbold to Crooke involves travelling along the Douglas Valley spring summer and autumn it must be one of the prettiest canals in the country today we saw deer, pied wood pecker and the usual array of canal side wild life, but in the gloomy grey light with the sun trying to break through it had a very eerie effect with the over hanging trees reaching down their branches as if to engulf and capture the boat. Though today was easy it was also bloody cold I9 am still thawing out.
I have had a reply from CRT and it looks as though the wigan flight and Blackburn are open so we will pick our crew up on Friday morning  at Sparrow fart,
For all those who travel this far north and are us to popping in to the CRT office then don’t as it has moved CRT are keeping it quiet so we cannot find them??? They are now across the canal. We their move we have lost the secure mooring that was outside the office. As nothing has been published or announced I shall be using it tomorrow see what happens I will let you. As a secure mooring in the middle of Wigan is vital and something we cannot afford to loose..
AND did you know that  pumpout cards are now £16.25 I for one will not be buying anymore I will continue going into Marinas I always thought that they were  expensive but 16.25 is a rip off I imagine it will really upset the Continuous Cruisers

Sunday, 6 March 2016

the time as come

Hi the time has come Tue we set off or the wild side of Castleford we have passports ready for crossing the border into Yorkshire that happens as we come out of the Foulridge tunnel, Then we start looking out for those Yorkshire Pirates . We have given ourselves  ten days to get there but with the weather and stoppages who knows. We have never cruised this far north this early in the year it will be strange to cruise with the canal almost to ourselves because only us and Continuous cruisers will be about, I cannot see anyone else being out this early in the season and if they are they must be as mad as us.
I am going to try and keep a diary to record what its like to cruise this time of year and post it daily  on the blog lets hope I can keep it up???
Getting buggerlugs ready for this little trip as been a bit of a rush, one of those trips that you can see in the future with plenty of time to prepare, then all of a sudden its tomorrow and your Off with nothing done.
In a few weeks time I will be able to publish pics of the all new sparkley Buggerlugs

God Bless