Brimslade -> Wolf Hall My first Zander Wotton Rivers -> Brimslade Most visited sites on the internet ABS LP110 Leisure battery for a narrowboat Burbage wharf Mooring in Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire Sunday in Pewsey Measuring the draft Looking for moorings around Wootton River/Clench New button fitted! Milkhouse Water, Wiltshire Now in Pewsey, CRT mooring rules Get into Stonehenge free Flaperon from MH370; no story – 1 month on Skyrim V Connect/’sign in’ to ‘open network’ wifi on Windows 10 My personal Strava movie – 2016 The biggest hacks of 2016 – A year in hacking US vs Bullying China Russian Google and Reddit misdirects skewing Google Analytics First complaint Winter electricity usage Devizes The fight for freedom, Not In My Back Yard Donald Trump – Puppet masters, Parody to victory, and the march to nationalism US Presidential elections 2016 Taking a narrowboat on the Thames Giles Wood – Melksham Bonny Journey List of dead bankers 2016 – conspiracy update Day 38 – Taunton to Exeter Day 37 – Seend Park to Taunton Day 36 – Seend Park to Bradford on Avon Day 49 – Caen Hill Marina to Seend Park Bleeding a BMC 1800 marine engine 3 Reasons you won’t ever tell me 9/11 was not an inside job Day 48 – Caen Hill Locks Day 47 – Devizes – Caen Hill Locks Day 47 – Honey Street to Devizes Day 46 – Great Bedwyn to Honey Street Day 45 – Newbury to Great Bedwyn Day 43 – Theale to Newbury Day 42 – Goring to Theale Day 41 – Oxford to Goring Day 40 – Aynho to Oxford Day 39 – Claydon to Aynho Day 38 – Flecknoe to Claydon Day 37 – Ansty to Flecknoe Day 36 – Alvecote to Ansty Day 35 – Kings Bromley to Alvecote Day 34 – Little Haywood to Kings Bromley News Winter moorings Day 33 – Stone to Little Haywood Day 32 – Kidsgrove to Stone Day 31 – Wheelock to Kidsgrove Cask ale week – Use your mobile to claim free beer Chimney repairs Day 30 – Marston to Wheelock Day 29 – Dunham Massey to Marston Viewranger mapping app Day 28 – Plank Lane to Dunham Massey Day 27 – Crooke to Plank Lane The anti-Blair cometh…. Day 26 – Rufford to Crooke Day 25 – Morecambe to Rufford – 1,000th post eva! Six companies are about to merge into the biggest farm-business oligopoly in history Day 25 – Hawes to Morecambe Day 24 – Durham to Hawes Day 23 – Newcastle to Durham Day 22 – Norham to Newcastle Day 21 – Edinburgh to Norham Day 20 – Dundee to Edinburgh Day 19 – Aberdeen to Dundee Day 18 – Buckie to Aberdeen Day 17 – Inverness to Buckie Day 16 – Helmsdale to Inverness Day 15 – Helmsdale Day 14 – John O’Groats to Helmsdale Inverness and over the border Travelling by train with a bike UNESCO PLACES OF WORSHIP Day 11 – Tarleton to St. Mary’s Marina, Rufford Day 10 – Tarleton lock Day 9 – Crooke to Tarleton Day 8 – Plank Lane to Crooke Day 7 – Grappenhall to Leigh Day 6 – Marston to Grapplington Bonny Journey – Day 5 – Church Minshull to Marston Bonny Journey – Day 4 – Audlem to Church Minshull Bonny Journey – Day 3 – Gnosall to Audlem Bonny Journey – Day 2 – Calf Heath to Gnosall Bonny Journey – Day 1 – Saturday 27th August Cloudflare slowing my site down causing it to timeout VOD: Kayaking the Amazon Boat painting – Day 14 – Painting topcoat Day 9 – Using a needlegun to strip paint Boat painting – Day 7 – Undercoat cabin Boat painting – Day 5 – Topcoating the hull

Day 9 – Crooke to Tarleton

Michael Tyler


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Today saw the introduction of swing bridges to the list of contraptions I need to man and manipulate.

During the course of my journey from Crooke to Tarleton, I had to pass through 9 working and perhaps 3 or more derelict.

Swing bridges on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Finch Mill Swing bridgeFrom what I can make out, these exist way rights of way still exist to cross the canal.

Sometimes they are passed by road, sometimes by tracks, sometimes by paths or seemingly nothing.

But they’re still there, adding something to the countryside I guess. And I have to pass through them. Nearly 10 of them on the course of my journey.

For those on the top of my journey, where I as sailing alone, not in convoy, the moorings were always on the other side.

That meant, once I’d operated the machinery, my boat was not reachable.

All swing gates are the same. In theory it takes 2 people to operate them. One to operate the machinery and push the bridge, and the other to man the boat.

For me, this wasn’t possible. Passing through on my own meant I had to be flexible with my mooring.

I practice, I had to moor the boat to the bridge itself, which would pull it through when I opened.

Then I would drive in through at an angle and jump of the stern, and moor it again, to the swing-bridge whilst I closed the bridge.

Probably took about 20 minutes.

Had to do it 3 times. The last time, I nearly fell in the canal and smashed my knee on the gunwales. Kept me awake. So it’s safe to say, these swing bridges are not my friends.

Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool

Expect to be using your ‘handcuff key’. You will be needed it.

Every lock up to Tarleton on the Ribble has them. They look like this.

BWB Handcuff Key
BWB Handcuff Key

You can pick them up from Canal and River Trust shops.

They cost £5. The girl that I was locking up and down with on the Leeds had one spare which I swopped for a leek.

These things are sometime called ‘water conservation keys’ which is a bit of a misnomer, as swing bridges up here have them on as well.

Believe me, they don’t conserve water. They stop people fiddling with the locks. Which in the middle of no-where, like the swing-bridges, seems nothing more than a remnant of the past than a virtue or asset to the British waterway system.

Still. I suppose it’s ‘traditional’ and it stays.


So… Got stuck behind the duck race in Parbold. Took the opportunity to knock up a sandwich and chat to the people at the CRT, who had a stand right next to where I was moored.

It was a festival…

They don’t usually have ducks racing, they’re not that cruel.

I waited had a tea, when the ducks had all disappeared and the hullabaloo had died down, I cleared my stuff and got underway.

Shortly up the canal, you come to the Rufford branch of the Leeds and Liverpool. This leads all the way up to the Ribble via the Douglas river.

Burscough to Rufford

Shortly outside the Glover’s Swing Bridge in Burscough, I was approach by a woman wanting to double up on the locks.

My locking partners were stopping in Rufford and I planned to do so also, but didn’t like the look of the moorings, so continued on to Tarleton.

After telling them my story, and how I was planning to stay in Rufford because I needed an anti-vandal key, she donate one of hers. I believe she had three. I said thanks. She wanted me to do a good dead for a fellow boater, so we’ll have to see what comes along.

There are two marinas in Rufford, her and her husband were moving their boat to St. Mary’s Marina. They feature in the timelapse video below.

River Douglas old path

River DouglasShortly after Rufford, you enter the old path of the river Douglas. In the 18th Century, this was used as a navigation channel for coal boats passing on to the Ribble.

The Douglas follows a new path to the East.

After negotiating the Town End swing-bridge, my journey is over.

Tomorrow, I have to catch the tide from Tarleton locks and sail onto the River Ribble which will take me onto the Lancashire canal and the final leg of my northward journey.

Map of Day 9

Video – Day 9

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Copyright 2016 Michael Tyler Sailor's Almanac: Further Narrowboat Adventures
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One comment:

  1. Looking good. I know what you mean about swing bridges they are really difficult for a lone boater I never found them very friendly either 🙂 It was nice of that lady to give you a key……I’m sure you’ll have pleanty of opportunity to do a good deed for another boater 🙂 lots of locks today we watched the video….it was good that you had company. Nice countryside too.
    Looks as if the weather is being kind to you…lucky fellow

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