Back Water

This morning was bright and warm.  For the second day in a row my first job was cleaning up animal droppings – this time hedgehog.

We had a couple of swing bridges to deal with before the Lathom Junction where we joined the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. We were faced immediately with locks and a swing bridge.  Before I’d even started to work out what we needed to do, a lock keeper appeared.  He was very pleasant and patient.  He told us that we would meet quite a variety of different lock hardware on this section of the canal – he wasn’t wrong.

This section of canal is less well used than some of the ones we’ve been on recently. It’s supposed to be possible for two wide-beam narrowboats to pass here – doesn’t look like it to me.

Narrow Overgrown Canal with Swans
There’s Hardly Enough Room to Pass a Family of Swans

Nature is doing its best to take back some control of the canals.  Some of the lock gate arms are metal, but the wooden ones attract bracket fungus.

Lock Gate with Bracket Fungus
Lock Gate with Bracket Fungus

We stopped for the day at a quiet spot knowing that we only have a few miles, one lock and a swing bridge to do before the day after tomorrow.  The weather forecast is threatening a soaking for most of tomorrow, so being able to sit it out will be a boon.

I had my nearly regular Jitsi Meet chat with former colleagues in the afternoon. The retired GITS (GeoSciences IT Support) and some current GITS used to meet for pizza in the days before you know what.  The plus side of the virtual option is that I can still attend from remote locations.

Afterwards I walked down the towpath to see if we should move on from our mooring.  If you go looking by boat, it is very hard to decide against and come back.  On this occasion staying put was the right choice.  On the walk I saw that the towpath was also little used on this section.

Overgrown Towpath
Towpath: Fortunately these are not Nettles

In preparation for the ride on the Ribble, I decided to streamline the boat.  This is more about not having to worry about things flapping about, or falling off the roof.  I completely removed the “pram cover” from the back end of the boat and stowed the various parts inside.

Bartimaeus without Pram Cover
Bartimaeus with Pram Cover and Cratch Cover Stowed

I was surprised at how much clearer the view from the driving position is when the folded cover isn’t there.  It feels like a different boat.

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