I’m rewinding because the next few posts are totally out of chronological order having already posted photos of our cruise across the Mersey. Maybe I should rename this part of the odyssey “how we got to Liverpool”….
Rewind to Friday 28th August
Barnoldswick (Lower Park Marina) to Barnoldswick (The Anchor pub)
We’d both taken the day off work so that we could have a flying start to our fortnight on the boat – well, when I say flying, I actually mean not flying! The plan of driving part-way to the boat on Thursday night was swiftly rejected, and an early start on Friday was discarded in favour of a chilled morning at home. In all fairness, packing the car took a bit of time – the back of the car was full of greyhounds (in order of seniority: Ollie, Herbie, Henry and Archie) so our bulky load of stuff for a fortnight’s cruising had to go in the roofbox – we virtually had to sit on the lid to get it closed!
We left at 10.30am and were soon mired in the traffic, not just on the M25, but on every motorway we took – we arrived at Lower Park Marina at 6.30pm – poo! Mind you, that included two service stops and a drama with Ollie, but I’ll let Henry Beanz tell that story in his postcards home!
We had rung the marina on the way up to warn them that we were unlikely to arrive before they left the office, but that we would need to move the boat out tonight. We offered to pay for the mooring over the phone, but they were very relaxed and were happy with our promise to pop in on Saturday to pay! We had been told that they were a very chilled-out operation, but we hadn’t realised quite how much until we’d experienced it!
Although the drive was tedious, we had a super-efficient offload – I dropped Richard, the dogs and the luggage off at the boat, then I took the car round to the Anchor Inn, where we were due to meet an old friend at 7pm. In the meantime, Richard filled our water bottles and the topped up the water tank and cruised the boat round to the pub. He arrived just as I was scouting out the moorings outside the pub. There are services and a CRT car park on the one side of Bridge 151; the pub side of the bridge has rough banks but a useful 48-hour mooring pontoon which would easily fit 2 – 3 boats, though we had it to ourselves. Although the pontoon was “plastic wood” , it was more grippy underfoot than others we’ve been on, so the hounds managed well. However, the pontoon was a little uneven and the steps down were very crooked. Curiously, there were no rings or bollards to tie to – we had to resort to hooking a rope around the legs supporting the pontoon, a bit fiddly but definitely secure.
We all headed off to the pub, our friend Simon had done the legwork and had identified the Anchor as a canalside, dog-friendly pub which served food – result! We were soon tucked up in a little snug with four hounds, Simon and Diane and two of their kids Rachel and Harry. They’ve just got a puppy, whom they didn’t bring, but Harry was a natural with the hounds and Archie Beanz was soon giving him the full schmooze.
We had a pleasant evening, though I confess I was weary and didn’t make the best of the company, which was a shame after so many years apart. The pub served plain but well-cooked food and the staff made the hounds very welcome. A band started up later on; they were good, but so loud that it killed all conversation so we decamped to the boat. We couldn’t offer much hospitality – we’d arrived too late to do any shopping so our friends had a quick tour then headed off.
We unpacked quickly and were soon off to bed – the day hadn’t been quite as we’d imagined, but with a fortnight’s boating ahead of us it didn’t seem so critical.