Preston!

Spoiler alert – we made it!  The day started with a chat on the canal side with the other boaters.  There was some discussion about which order we should go in. To be honest I didn’t mind much.  In the end we were third, so we were in the second filling of the lock.

I’d been told to accelerate hard out of the sea lock, but I’d also understood the reason.  The tide was rushing in up the river, and so as soon as our nose got in to the stream it would get taken sharply off to the right.  The best way to reduce the effect is to have 20 tonnes of boat already going the other way. So I smoothly pushed the throttle much further than I ever do on a canal and we drove in to the stream with aplomb.

Some way down we started to catch up with the boats that had gone ahead of us, so I reduced speed a little.  We never quite caught them after that, but we arrived in good time.  A while later the tug towing a narrowboat with a much smaller engine overtook us.

Tug and Narrowboat Overtaking Shane Driving Bartimaeus
Tug and Narrowboat Overtaking Shane Driving Bartimaeus

We were pleased to reach the first major landmark, Astland Lamp.  We kept it on our right, and turned right up the Ribble.

Astland Lamp where the Ribble and the Douglas Meet.
Astland Lamp where the Ribble and the Douglas Meet.

 It seemed quite soon that I could see the green light telling us that we were OK to turn in to Savick Brook – no diversion to the docks – phew! As we passed the 2 Mile Perch, Clare phoned the Link Team.  They confirmed that we were clear to proceed and waved to us reassuringly from their van. 

Shane Driving Bartimaeus in the Ribble Estuary
Shane Driving Bartimaeus in the Ribble Estuary

As we left the Ribble I dropped the engine speed to normal canal levels – what a relief.  Once we’d passed through the sea lock, I switched to electric drive for the rest of the way – bliss. Savick Brook was beautiful, wild and narrow.  We have travelled by canoe on Amazon backwaters that looked more civilised.  Most of the other narrowboats got stuck on one corner or another.  Our bow thrusters kept me out of trouble several times.

View Under a Bridge to a Blind Cornere
Is There Room for 58’6″ of Narrowboat Here?

The final set of locks need to be entered in reverse.  I invited our companion boat to go first so he had a bigger target, and was then able to drive smartly in alongside, using my foot to move the nose of the other boat out of the way.

View into a Lock Ready for Reversing
Reversing a Narrowboat Can Be Daunting Without Bow Thrusters

With the tricky stuff done, we made our way in to Preston.  We moored up and found we were quarter of a mile from the Taboosh Restaurant and Shisha Lounge.  They presented us with a magnificent meal – highly recommended, but don’t order a starter and a main each – it is just far too much!

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