Take A Deep Breath, It Might Be Your Last! 26th May

Pipe Bridge 116A to Riley Green

Another long day of cruising for us. We’d decided last night that if we woke up earlier than the alarm clock then we’d get up rather than pretend to still be asleep. However we both were very much asleep when the alarm sounded. Breakfast and then we were off.

Windlass locking mechanism

First three swing bridges, all three requiring a handcuff key and windlass. You unlock the spring loaded lock then wind up the leg to release the bridge. It takes quite a bit of time to get everything lined back up to put the leg back down.

No wonder Oleanna wasn’t responsive!

After the second bridge Oleanna had picked up a blade full of urban jellyfish. I held onto Oleanna whilst Mick used the prop mate to clear everything.

I’d not seen these signs before. A chemical works nearby. There was also a sign for towpath users, maybe it says for them to take a deep breath as it might be their last!

Halfway now between Leeds and Liverpool 63 5/8 miles. Originally we’d planned to go from one end to the other this year, spending time in Liverpool again, but plans are there to be changed.

Pylons providing power

Yesterday I’d said the western side of the canal was more industrial, well it is, but you still get great views and plenty of greenery, it is just more inhabited than towards Leeds.

This pound is a long one over 23 miles on the flat. As we got closer to Blackburn buildings increased. Murals near to Calypso brighten up the place, but this considered safe mooring is also filled with Reggae and pigeons. We’ve never paused here, one day we will to have a look round.

Eventually we were at the top of the locks. A boat had just come towards us saying at least half of them would be in our favour as he’d just been down to wind. Shame they all leak and had half emptied themselves. *Last time we came down the flight we’d not noticed a paddle had been left slightly up meaning Oleanna was stuck in one lock whilst we were about to flood the pound below. Today we checked every paddle.

*It has been pointed out to me that this actually happened on NB Lillyanne back in 2016, not Oleanna!

When new bridges were built the locks had to adjust to what space was left

I walked down to the last lock of the flight. Someone was there doing something, one of the local drinkers said the bottom gate was open. Well the booze had definitely affected his eyesight as a chap was stood by a bottom paddle winding it up, the lock was only a few inches away from being full when I arrived. The chap just carried on emptying the lock. I really couldn’t be bothered to argue that the lock was in our favour so therefore he should have waited for us. No comment of ‘Oh sorry I didn’t see you there’! I helped and lifted the other paddle to help things along.

The chap dropped his paddle! The cruiser required both gates to be opened and then closed. We obliged and then headed to the top paddles. There was no sign of him making his way up from his boat, or asking if we’d work the lock for him, or anything. I stood gave him the thumbs up, behind his canopy I couldn’t see him. I was not going to start filling the lock without acknowledgment from him!

Winding hole and services two thirds down the flight

By now I was slightly peeved, so shouted, ‘HELLO! Are you ready?’ ‘Shall I lift the paddle?’ I got a thumbs up and a few stares from a group of walkers who’d stopped to gongoozle. The boat rose up, we opened the gates. Mick stared at the chap until he got a very quiet Thank you.

As we started to work through the lock a small narrowboat arrived, they’d apparently said to the chap in the cruiser to wait for them as they’d easily be able to share. Well if he’d not stolen the lock from us they’d have caught him up and then helped him up the flight.


For the last two days the Wigan Flight, which lays a few days ahead of us, has been unofficially closed due to a couple of pounds having been emptied. We’d been keeping an eye on the Wigan Flight Group on Facebook. This morning one of the local volunteers had posted that the flight was reopen, phew! Someone had made a comment, they were aiming to go down the flight early next week and would post nearer the time. I replied too, we are now teamed up with NB That’s It for the flight next week.

Onwards, checking out each mooring we came to, none looked as good for Tilly as Riley Green would be so we continued onwards. Pulling up after 3pm we were hungry and Tilly was shouting to head off and explore, I didn’t notice the bees nest at the bow! After we’d eaten and with Tilly on board we pulled back giving the bees plenty of comfort space.

6 locks, 15.3 miles, 3 swing bridges, 0 held up, 1 blade full, 1 twonk head, 57 bees, 3 hours shore leave, 1 shorter day tomorrow, hopefully.


2 thoughts on “Take A Deep Breath, It Might Be Your Last! 26th May

  1. Brian and Diana Holt

    We have stopped at Calypso twice now and really enjoyed eating there as well as the good moorings

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