Sunday, August 07, 2016

Farewell Liverpool. It's been good to know you!

The alarm went off at 6:30 on Saturday morning. The sky was a bright blue, and the air was already warm. At 7:45, two other narrowboats hurried out of Salthouse as we reversed out of our birth. NB Gerty was just casting off as we went under the bridge into Albert Dock.

It was clear as soon as we approached Mann Island Lock that our ascent wasn't going to be as quick as our way down had been last week. The two boats ahead of us were waiting for the CRT staff to empty the lock and open the gates to let them in. We were waiting in the middle of the lock, with Gerty behind us and NB T'uther Woman behind them. Waiting was going to be the order of the day.

Waiting at Mann Lock

The Bar Boat behind us as we waited
Coming out of the lock
We waved to the crew of Maximus Brutus as we entered the tunnel beyond the lock. They'll be doing this tomorrow. On we went, through the docks to the The Stanley Dock and the four locks up.

And so it was through the rest of the six locks up to the canal, waiting for the pair of boats ahead to leave the top of the lock, then emptying it, letting Gerty and Kantara in, and re-filling the lock. And the single boat behind us was waiting for us, too. There were only two CRT staff on duty, since all the others had gone on their holidays, so Wendy, from NB Gerty, and I assisted them on the Stanley flight.

Up, and out of the link, turning left onto the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, we soon caught up with the two boats ahead of us. Tied side by side, going very slowly, one of them listing badly to starboard and very low in the water, they hogged the width of the canal and didn't seem to realize that the rest of us would very much have liked to pass them. After a while, they decided to separate, but now they both steered such erratic courses, still apparently oblivious to the three boats behind them, that overtaking was out of the question. They did speed up bit, though.

This stretch of the canal has masses of water lilies growing along the canal on both sides. These, and the rubbish that gets thrown in by the locals, are a constant hazard to boats, threatening to get entangled with their propellers. Robert had to pull Gerty over within about twenty minutes of being on the canal, to remove a lot of plastic bags from her prop. When we got to Litherland, I had to do the same for Kantara.
Lovely old pub in Litherland, in a sad, poor condition
We disposed of our waste at Litherland while the rest of the convoy passed through the swing-bridge and continued their journey. I went to the CRT office there, to ask want the latest news was regarding the Plank Lane swing bridge. We'd had an email from CRT telling us that the bridge had developed a fault, and would be closed to boats until a new component had been fitted. Having to wait for this would set us back possibly several days on our way to Pelsall. The man at the office updated us. The bridge would be manned every day from Sunday until it was fixed. But it would only be manned for an hour or so from 2:00pm each day. We're due to be there on Wednesday, and there's a possibility it'll be back to normal by then.

Leaving Litherland, it wasn't long before we caught up with the rest of the convoy, still dragging along behind the dying boat, whose skipper, possibly very drunk, still wouldn't let anyone past.

It was mid-afternoon when we stopped at Melling, at the spot where we'd moored on our way in to Liverpool. The weather was beautiful, though rather hot and sticky. I took up the weed hatch, and removed yet another bundle of weed and rope from the prop.

We settled down to spend the rest of the afternoon being lazy.

Oh, I've cured the horrible vibration!  One of the several pads of fabric I used around the engine, in my attempt to stop the noise, worked! No more horrible vibration!

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