THE Slowest. 13th September

The Shooting Range to Pollington Visitor Moorings

Mr Blue Sky heading towards Knottingley

Boats started coming past as we had our morning cuppa in bed with the Saturday newspaper. The second one deserved a photo, NB Mr Blue Sky, I just managed to get a picture as they disappeared out of view. This was the boat we’d shared the Rochdale locks into Manchester with last year, but the crew would have no idea who we were, Clare and Graeme being from New Zealand and most definitely not on board today. We waved anyway.

Gun fire started at 9am, we intended to move once breakfast had been consumed, no shore leave for Tilly this morning.

Covers rolled up and chains extricated from around the beam on the bank we were just about to push off when an alarm sounded! Hang on! The engine was over heating, after only about ten minutes. This is what had happened on the Thames last year when Mick and Paul (Waterway Routes) were moving Oleanna from the Kennet and Avon back onto the Oxford Canal. At least this time there was no need to deploy the anchor.

Engine off, ropes passed round the beam, time to open up the engine bay to see what was happening.

Topping up with water

The filler cap of the header tank was removed, the level in the tank was low, the temperature reading just below 100 when it normally sits at 80. Two plastic milk bottles were retrieved from the recycling and filled up, 8 pints of water required to be able to see the level again, a good glug of antifreeze was also added. Engine turned on, temperature back down.

The join below the white tape was loose

Before the engine board was lowered Mick checked the pipe that connects to the calorifier. Last time this happened an RCR chap found this to be very loose, tightened it up thinking that the problem was solved. Well on that occasion it wasn’t the main problem. Today spanners came out from the tool box and did the tightening, hopefully this time we’ll not have a load of gunk in the tank. Mick is considering having a proper look over winter, drain the system down to check that the problem from last year hasn’t recurred. At least this time we’re not trying to punch upstream against rising waters.


We pushed off winding a short distance ahead where the canal is a few feet wider. Several boats had come past that we knew had been moored at Pollington yesterday so we were likely to find space for ourselves.

Maybe there’s a match on

Sure enough there was plenty of room, only one boat left and another at the water point topping up their tank. We took the end mooring nearest the tap and Mick took our hose across to stake our claim as being next. The couple sat by the tap hoped we weren’t in a rush as it was a very slow tap. No problem.

Definitely a match

They had a dog, so despite Tilly thinking it was her right to strut her stuff on the towpath she was kept in. The washing machine was set going, a breeze and sunshine the perfect day to dry washing. We waited for the tap and waited.

Ribblesdale Blue Goats Cheese and Garlic Yarg, yum!

Lunchtime we were now wondering if the boat ahead were actually filling as we’d been here for over an hour already. We had lunch, time for that treat cheese to help while away the time. Eventually they disconnected their hose and pushed off. Our second hose was needed to reach the tap from our mooring and as Mick turned the tap the flow was completely underwhelming. Those who complain about the tap at Hillmorton have seen nothing! The trickle took around two hours to fill our tank, good job we weren’t aiming to go anywhere else today.

Yummy cheese

Tilly headed straight off to the drain that runs alongide the moorings. In the past she has ended up on the wrong side of this and had difficulty in returning, necessitating the mad cat woman walking all the way up to the swing bridge to find a suitable crossing place, which earlier in the day had been full of dogs! Luckily today this course of action was not required.

Time to do some jobs. The bubbles of paint on the stern, which I’d started to sort last year, then re-fertaned when we were near Saltaire, needed another scrape and more fertan applying. This time I’m determined to get further with it, but having a freshly painted stern means you can’t cruise anywhere and you have to be careful of white paws treading in the sticky paint.

I must get further than just priming it this time!

Next I had a go at polishing out some scratches on the cabin side. At a troublesome swing bridge on the Leeds Liverpool in the wind Oleanna had got caught against some branches, which left a good mark. Blue scratch cover has helped a little, but it is still visible.

Next the blue paint came out. The tin needing a good stir. I always like the first few turns of a stick bringing the pigment up to the top and the swirls it makes, just a shame it then takes ten times longer to be convinced that pigment is evenly distributed through the medium. A few chips of paint were touched in where there was still the underlying coats of paint visible. A couple of bad ones on the bow.

Boats came and went as the afternoon got wonderfully warm, not a cloud in the sky.

Just starting to set

The stern deck was rinsed off with the hope of getting a coat of primer on once Tilly had returned, very late in the day for paint, but hopefully it would be alright.

Despite there being quite a breeze we decided to go ahead with having a barbecue. Whilst in Doncaster we’d popped into the fish market and bought a couple of very generous salmon steaks. A comment on the blog from Marilyn a few days ago regarding the quantity of ginger we’d received and what I could use it for encouraged me to have a go.

Salmon, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and soy sauce

Each Salmon steak was laid on some foil, a thumbs worth of ginger and a small clove of garlic were grated over them, a light sprinkle of sugar, a glug of soy sauce and a small one of lemon juice. They were then wrapped up and left waiting to be cooked.

Sweetcorn for starters, then the salmon and some veg and haloumi kebabs. Our restaurant grade charcoal still pumping out plenty of heat long after everything was cooked and consumed. The sun gently going down behind the swing bridge below the lock.

A lovely evening only slightly marred by the midges arriving, so we beat a hasty retreat indoors and closed all the windows.


Verdict on the salmon. Very very tasty. Thank you Marilyn for the inspiration, this will definitely be added to the repertoire.

0 locks, 1.37 miles, 1 wind, 8 pints, 1 tightened joint, 2 hours to fill, 18 fishermen, 2 loads washing, 1 stern scraped, sanded , fertaned, primed, 4 scrapes, 2 chips, 2 very tasty chunky salmon steaks, 2 corn on the cobs, 4 veg haloumi kebabs, 1 stunning evening, 6, 1 pooped cat, 0.5 internet coverage.