50. Panic! Trying Not To Sink Our Narrowboat on the Ribble Link!

It’s about 9 o’clock Sunday morning and
Silver Fox is behind us. There she is over there. We are just before lock 8, the
Tarleton lock. It’s a lovely little village. Beautiful. We just had a walk up
the lane this morning. As you come off the mooring, just walk up the little
lane to the left-hand side near the swing bridge and it’s just a nice little
village and this weekend there’s been a scarecrow festival. Ah, that was fab!
Frightened me to death walking up this little lane and Batman jumping out at
me. So there’s all these like scarecrows all around the village. They’re all-over aren’t they?
It’s ace! Which were your favourite? Mine was Speedy Gonzales.
Mine was Homer Simpson but it was at this like what is it? Homeopathic. Homeopathic.
So he was called Homer-Pathic Simpson. Ha! It was ace. Love it! Cruella de Vil
as well. Yeah, she was there. And all the little Dalmatians. Yeah, Brilliant! But it
is a good little village if you’re here for a day or two there’s loads of
amenities isn’t there? Yeah, there’s pubs There’s a Co-op,
there’s a fresh butchers, fruit and veg. There’s a lovely little like chocolate
shop-cum-cafe thing – That’s beautiful. We were thinking about coming up a
couple of days before and we’re actually glad we didn’t because there’s not that many
moorings here. There’s probably enough for about six boats – yes that’s right – and
that’s I think how many go down onto the Ribble Link each day, so it is alright but
there’s already two kinda longer-term boats moored up which means there’s only
room for four or five boats at most. So if you’re coming up to do the Ribble Link
there is some brilliant moorings literally like 40 minutes before this
point – yeah, there is – So depending what time you need to get here, you can just
come up that morning because there’s some lovely moorings back towards bridge
10 where the services are. So today, like we just said, we’re going to drop down
onto the River Douglas, that’s for about three and a half miles, then we join
the River Ribble and then we turn left into the brook and then through some
locks and onto the Lancaster. I’m frightened, aren’t you frightened? No no no.
Oh my God. No, this is going to be a fab day! One of the other
YouTubers posted a photograph yesterday of him on the Ribble, and it’s HUGE!
Massive! It’s like our little tiny… well our big 57-foot narrowboat is just gonna look like that.
It’s like absolutely huge! So we’ve got to have… What’ve we got to have?
We’ve got to have our life jackets on, which we’ve got ready. Dillon’s got to have his life jacket.
We’ve got to have our anchor and thirty metres of chain and rope, yeah. It says you’re
supposed to have a flare. CRT recommends it but you don’t actually need it.
Make sure your mobile phone is switched on and charged up, or your VHF radio, and make sure you’ve got the number for the people that you might
need to ring in an emergency, yes, alright. There is a guide from the CRT for the
Ribble. I’m going to put the link to that down below. Right, shall we do it?
I need another cup of coffee first. Come on then, let’s have a coffee before we go. I’ve just had another coffee, I’ve come down to
the river to see how it’s getting on. You can see it’s really low. It’s like two or three
metres lower than it needs to be before we can drop into it from the river lock.
Now the time that we’re due to get on it is just after midday today. That’s when
the tide’s going to be just right for us to get on, get through onto the Ribble,
and off into the brook before we get into the Lancaster. I’m scared. Are you? (Shaun laughing)
Dillon’s scared. Dillon’s not scared, are you? Should we be scared? The fact that we’ve gotta wear
lifejackets means that we should be scared. But we’re still on the canal!
I’m still scared! We’re literally just going in to Tarleton Lock.
We’ve been told to get there for 11 o’clock and it is… 11 o’clock. Pray for us!
(Shaun laughing) Talton lock has got two sets of
tailgates. The gates with the lower beams are the normal canal lock gates that you
use for lowering down onto the river and the other higher gates are there to keep
back unusually high tides. Now the depth of the Douglas can vary. It can be as low
as thirty centimetres at low tide and today it’s one of the highest tides of
the year at seven meters, so that current coming towards us when these lock gates
open is going to be pretty challenging. Now today we’re clear to go, but because
of the strength of the tide we’ve been warned to give the engine some serious
revs once those gates open, otherwise we might get caught by the current and get
into trouble, and as you’ll see that’s exactly what Pat did. He was off! Oh my God, look at the waves!
I wasn’t expecting this! This is mental!
(Shaun laughing) You should see the waves coming over the
bow! Like that! The drains from the locker at the front, the gas locker,
it’s just flooded in there. All the coal’s wet! All the coal and
logs are now wet through. And we’re bombing at about 2,000 revs, are we?
Yeah, 2,000 revs and we’re moving at about what? One mile an hour? Yeah! (Laughing)
About a mile an hour! So I’m panicking because it sounds like…
It smells like the engines burning and the coolant’s like that far from the top
of the expansion tank. But i’m running the hot water because that’s
supposed to like introduce cooler water in and, I don’t know! But I’m doing it
anyway and it doesn’t smell like burning anymore. So hopefully that’s a winner.
Fingers crossed. It’s really settled down.
I think the tides in now, and it’s got wide, hasn’t it? This is like nowhere
near as wide as it’s gonna get. On that side is Hesketh Bank,
and we’re just about halfway between the Tarleton Lock and the entrance to the Ribble. And how long has it taken us?
Four days? Thirty-eight minutes. It’s not too bad, right? I’m gonna put the kettle on. So we’re nearly at the Astland Lamp.
This is where the river comes and it kinda goes round the Astland Lamp onto the Ribble.
We’re probably about 15 minutes away from it. Over that way is… You can just see in the
distance the Pennines, and Preston is few miles that way. If we do turn left
we’ll end up going past Lytham and then out towards the Isle of Man and Ireland.
Blackpool! Blackpool! (Laughing) This is really wide. I’m finding it
scary, Shaun’s fine. Yeah, but then Shaun used to be in the Navy, so he’s going to be
fine with it. (Whispers ‘I’m not!’) This is like really hugely wide.
Very wide! So this is where we join the Ribble, so Astlan’s Lamp they call it is just
ahead of us and we have to go left of the lamp
and then do a right turn round on to the Ribble. If we cut short the lamp
we could get grounded. There’s an old wall that comes out
and you literally would get grounded. You’d hit the wall underneath the water,
so we have to kind of go left and then round. Or just left on to Ireland…! We’re watching out for a sign for
Savick Brook. That’s where we turn left off the Ribble and there’s a sea lock
there and we go up some locks onto the Lancaster. So what we’ve got to do is as
soon as we see this sign there’s something called the 2-mile perch which I think is just
over there… Ah, no. It’s a pigeon (laughing) Perch is a fish, isn’t it?
A Perch is a fish you plank! And then we’ve got to
ring the CRT team… I don’t know why, but we’ll find out when we ring them I guess.
Yes we will. It’s definitely a pigeon. When we get to a certain point we’ve got
to watch out for a green light over there, we can see the green light!
So that means that we can go on to Savick Brook which is where the sea lock is.
Now the instructions are if you don’t see a green light, you don’t enter. You’ve got to
carry on up to Preston. Yeah, you have to go all the way
in to Preston and moor up at Preston Dock. The thing is, even if it’s not your fault
or the CRTs fault and you can’t get into Savick Brook and you end up going
down into Preston, you still have to pay for the mooring there! (laughing)
Cheeky! Cheeky! So we’re about 500 yards away from the green light.
We can see the green light, so we’re just going to go up. The tide is just starting
to turn a little bit I think, isn’t it? Because we were slowing down a little bit.
So we’ve got to go slightly past the turn and then kinda come back around and
then like that. Like a handbrake turn. Like a handbrake turn.
(whispers) It’s not like a handbrake turn. I feel a little bit less scared now.
It’s not so wide. We’ve come off the River Ribble That’s it just back there. We’re now
on the Savick Brook which it just looks like a really
flooded brook. You imagine a brook as being like six foot wide, don’t you? And it
probably is to be honest. When we looked at it on Google Earth it’s just like
this little brook. But it just looks like flooded at the
moment. So we’ve got to keep away from the edges because it is very sandy.
There’s banks and things at the edges. We’ve gotta keep right in the middle and we’re now
heading to sea lock which is lock number 9. Because the tide is still quite high…
That’s a song, wasn’t it? (Singing)
The tide is high but I’m holding on… Because the tide is still quite high the
water level’s too high for the bridges just around the corner, so the boats won’t
get under the bridges till the water levels dropped so we’ve tied up to this jetty and we’re just waiting for the water levels to go down. Off we go again then, and we’re just…
the tides come down just enough and the man from CRT has
told us to get going. The reason we have to wait is because of these bridges.
So if the water level’s too high… Scratches all down the side of the boat, we don’t want
that! So we’re keeping an eye on our Wi-Fi aerial, you can just see it right down at the
bottom of the boat. Just keeping an eye on that. Oh, we’ve got miles enough room
under this bridge. So this Brook seems to be getting shallower and narrower as we
get through it. We’re on our way to lock eight and the level just seems to be
dropping like an inch every minute or two, it’s getting lower and lower and
lower and Shaun’s not going very fast because he’s trying to get around these
tight bends but the slower he goes the faster the water goes down So got a little bit of a wide bit now.
A minute ago we just had this tree trunk completely stuck across the brook. I had
to run along the roof with the pole to try and come forward to break it up and
it got really narrow. I thought we were going to get stuck for a minute and then
all of a sudden it just opens up again like this. So we’re coming along to
another jetty and hopefully, hopefully please the next locks! Don’t turn left! So we’ve just come out of lock eight and
it just seems to be narrowing again. We’re not dragging the bottom or
anything. It is alright. It is just like super narrow. So just after lock seven coming up to
bridge eight, this wooden bridge, and its a golf course surrounding it, and we’ve
actually been warned to beep our horn as we approach this golf course just in
case anybody’s hitting a ball and we’re about. Whack! That would be great, wouldn’t it? Two hundred and fifty quid on You’ve Been Framed! Well, excluding lock nine, the sea lock, we’ve
got three locks down. This is bridge six and then we have got
a lock five, one more like after that, and then we’ve got the staircase. Shaun’s not
looking forward to the staircase because apparently we have to reverse into it,
so I think I’m going to take over the driving and Shaun is gonna video.
Really the driving should get better and the video should get worse.
He’s gonna kill me! The thing I like about this lock, this is
lock five, it just looks so neat and tidy and CRT volunteers have been great today.
They’ve escorted us all the way up. We’re having a great time. So we’re coming up to bridge five. The navigation
really narrows down again here and there’s a big log in the middle of it. (laughing)
That was a bit low. Nearly got myself a grade 2 then! So we’re on the Ribble Navigation then.
We’re between locks five and four. This is a lot better than Savick Brooke was.
I tell you, that was pretty scary! Not as scary is coming onto that like full on
tide as we come out at Tarleton Lock. That was pretty nail-biting! Shaun’s
doing well with the driving, as you can see, and we are behind Pat and Eileen on
narrowboat Dun’Workin’ and we’re heading towards lock four now. So this is the last
single lock before we do the final three staircase up towards the junction with the
Lancaster Canal. This is lock four on the Ribble Navigation. It’s also the deepest
lock that we’ve done so far on the navigation. We’ve got CRT volunteers helping us
out again, and Pat and Eileen have beaten us to the lock. As you pass under bridge two you’ll come
into a pound that looks like it’s a dead end and this is where your helmsman
skills are going to get tested. The final three locks that go up onto the
Lancaster junction are a staircase flight. Now helpfully, they’re manned by the
CRT volunteers so all I need to do is line the boat up and carefully reverse
it into that bottom lock. Now I drew the short straw because Shaun refused to do
it, Pat and Eileen got in there first, so I had the, well, unenviable task of
reversing us from an awkward angle into the lock with about a dozen Gongooglers stood watching me, taking photos, Shaun filming me, the CRT volunteers
watching ,and Pat and Eileen already in there. No pressure then! As you come out of that top lock you’ll
reverse into the basin. Now a little tip here… Try not to get stuck in the corner
like another boat did. He got grounded! There’s a bench on the towpath.
Head straight for that bench and you’ll be able to turn around a lot easier.
Once you’re pointing the right way decide which way you want to go, right
for Preston, or left like we did up the Lancaster. And here we are, we did it!
We got here in one piece. It was touch and go at one bit wasn’t it? Well… well
thanks for that because I was saying that and you’re like no it’s alright.
Just when we came out of the lock. When those lock gates open at Tarleton
onto the Douglas the river is like, the tide is full on coming in and it kind of
funnels and channels through this narrow stretch of the Douglas, so the
lock gates open, and Pat on the boat next to us kind of rams it forward and off he
goes at like half a mile an hour. The wash that his boat is creating is like…
No it’s not! It was like a foot high at least, and I’m panicking running up and
down the centre of the boat “Shaun, we’re sinking!” He was as well (laughing) So tip number one is if
you’re in Tarleton Lock, be the first one out! Yes, because you get the smoother ride. Yeah, you do. Once it opens out it’s not too bad. You still use a lot of revs, don’t you?
We were on like 2,000 revs all the way up to the Ribble which is about
three and a half miles, and the CRT skippers guide is good because it gives you … There’s like, as you’re coming up to Astland Lamp it tells you what to focus
on. There’s like buildings to head for. Not literally into! The Ribble is alright isn’t it? Yeah, it’s just wide, yeah it’s just massive. The estuary is massive but there’s
markers that you just keep between and then Savick Brook, I never want to do
Savick Brook again, and I think we were lucky because there was only two of us.
I know they only allow six, but the day before I think there was seven or the
day before that there was seven boats. You can literally see the water level
falling, just dropping as the tide goes out. And some of the bends are quite
tight. We’ve got a 57 foot boat and I thought some of the bends were
quite tight. If you’ve got a 60 – 62 foot boat I wouldn’t like to do that.
I wish Dun’Workin’ would have gone first. They were behind us, weren’t they.
They did it perfect because they saw all my mistakes. (Laughing) Apart from like the staircase…
As soon as we knew the staircase locks were coming, that you have to reverse in to,
Shaun was like “COLIN!” There were no way I were doing all that with all those
people watching. There were loads. I didn’t realise how many people were stood
up watching until I was editing this and then once you come out the top
you reverse out of the top lock and then you have to turn around and just head
off, and you come out on to the junction. You can either turn left up the
Lancaster, north, or you can turn right and go into Preston. So we’ve heard a lot
of great things and we can’t wait to explore but that’s all for future vlogs.
If you’ve enjoyed the vlog give it a thumbs up for us. Subscribe if you’re not
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we release a new video. Drop any comments or feedback down below, and we will see
you next time. See you later, bye! Have I? Yeah.
Where? See! Bogey check works!
(Laughing) You’ve been criticising me for years,
and the theory has finally proved itself.
Your brain’s leaking…! What? Have you got bogeys on your hand now?
No. Shaun can’t come down here because there’s a big hill there and he don’t want to run down and
hurt his foot. (Shaun laughing) I am proper scared!
I’m not. See, I said pray for me, didn’t I!
(Laughing) He’s done nothing but tell me off this morning.
Because he’s panicking! Call at Blackpool Pier. We’ll miss that one out.
I’m still scared! It is scary as (Beeped out) it really is! I can see Dublin! We’re watching out for a sign for…
(Birds singing sound effect) (Shaun laughing)
A sign for…? Let’s just check my book. We’re watching out for a sign for
Savick Brook. How do you work this thing?
Ey? (Laughing)
There once was a man from Nantucket. All the jetty’s wobbling because Dillon’s walking about. Are you making it all wobble, Dillon? Don’t you dare jump in. Don’t you go in, again. Oh, we’ve got guests. (Laughing) I can hear the ice cream van.
Wooo hooo! Hola! Hola? Hola!
(laughing) That’ll do, won’t it?
Course it will, yeah. I’m holding you!


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