Post archive

Pub review, The Ship at Haskayne

Seeing as we have started to contribute reviews to Trip Advisor we thought we may as well load them onto here as well. So here goes.

A J W Lees pub, called in for lunch as we where cruising The Wool Boat to Lydiate. Nice friendly welcome from Sue.

Service was good food average. Good job we didn’t want fish on a Friday as the fishmonger hadn’t been by 12.00 hrs.

Once again the pie was stew with a pie today thenJ

So sandwiches, prawn which was ok, and hot roast beef which was very nice. House wine ok and a pint of “Boatman’s” bitter was ok as well.

All in all a average experience, but yet another Leeds and Liverpool canal side pub with the majority of the old pictures of canals on the walls being midlands narrow canals.

Overall rating...Average

the Ship Inn Haskayne 28.4.17

Whitby Day 7 , last day away..

Whitby day 7 Tuesday 17.1.17

Another dull day, light rain for much of it, again...

We had a final wander around town today.

Only left the cottage late morning and for dinner once again tried Whitby fish and chips. Went to the Magpie...hmm we can’t decide if it’s the beef dripping that they use for frying over here in Yorkshire but we prefer the fish and chips back over in Lancashire. We did find a new sort of fish on the menu that Colin was going to try, Woof. But they didn’t have any available.

After dinner we went and had a look around the Whitby museum in Pannett park.

Unfortunately the costume gallery was shut, now weather there would have been anything about ganseys in there we don’t know. The museum is very old fashioned with lots of stuffed birds and animals, plenty of jet and lumps of potash rock, models of ships etc but nothing we could find bout ganseys. When we asked the young lady on the ticket and information desk if they had any information she looked at us as though we were speaking a foreign language. She appeared to have never heard of a gansey! She did say that there was a lady we could contact who may be able to tell us what is in the collections, the museum registrar but she is on holiday at the moment.

We had a look around a curios shop called Lavender’s run by a lady who used to keep her own sheep. There are all sorts of stuff in there from Goth related stuff old comics and a selection of books.

Here we found a book that can help us explain to people when they ask do we sell ganseys made from oiled wool.

The book is one of a series called “Textile Manufacturing Manuals” and this one is “The Manufacture of Woollen and Worsted yarns” by J.W.Radcliffe, published by Emmott & Co Ltd of Manchester and London in 1913! A whole chapter (5 pages) on oils and oiling. Well worth the 3 quid we paid.

So now it’s back to running our floating yarn shop, with a couple of stops on the way home to pick up supplies of yarn from J c Bretts in Bingley and West Yorkshire Spinners in Keighley.

Would we go back to Whitby? Yes there is plenty we didn’t do, and would we go back to that cottage? Yes again but maybe a bit later in the year when the weather may be a bit warmer and the steam trains are running on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  

Carole and Capt Col 18.1.17

Whitby day 6 16.117

Whitby day 6 Monday 16.1.17

Another dull day, light rain for much of it..

I went out in the truck up the coast towards Saltburn looking for freight trains on the lie to the Boulby potash mine to take pictures of. Because of the weather it was more of a reccy than anything for future trips.

Carole spent the day at the cottage knitting and had a wader round town....not buying anything.

For the railway enthusiasts amongst you..

Crag Hall, east of Skinningrove Monday 16.1.17.

12.51 66514 6F24, 12.28 from Boulby Potash mine to South Bank Tees Dock. Loaded.

13.56 66551 6F33 12.22 Middlesbrough to Boulby Potash mine. Empties

14.17 60091 6N40 the 13.26 Tees Yard to Skinningrove British steel plant, loaded with steel.

60091 at Crags Hall

Whitby day 5

Whitby day 5 Sunday 15th January 2017,

No train trips trains running on Sundays to and from Whitby until April (?).

So a wander around town again, the weather wasn’t great, dull and over cast with showers and one or two sunny spells.

The temperature recording for the temperature blanket was 3 C at about 09.00hrs.

Colin went out early for this weeks Non League Paper, obtained from Station News, though not a good report with Southport loosing to Whealdstone in the F A Trophy yesterday.

A easier day today, we didn’t venture out until about 11, for supplies from the Co-op and having returned them to the cottage we set off to find dinner. Looked at the Dolphin, but nothing we fancied there, so up Church Street  to the Duke of York which was very acceptable, at least they were not just doing a Sunday roast which a lot of pubs do on a Sunday.

After dinner it was the 199 steps up to the Abbey, and yes we counted them..

The Abbey is looked after by English Heritage and Carole seems to remember last time she was here in about 1987 it was free entry. Today they wanted £7.90 each....we didn’t bother and followed the signs around the walls to The Whitby Brewery, established in some farm out buildings. They also have a micro pub on site, so a nice half of Whitby Jet and Whitby Whaler.

We didn’t come back down the 199 but down Caedoms Trod, not quite as steep. It also led to the “Endeavour”  a pub named after the ship Captain Cook sailed to Australia. On a Sunday afternoon local folk musicians have a session of playing Irish music in the pub, so a nice couple of hours with a couple of glasses of wine and Marstons Pedigree ale, listening to the music..we didn’t do a lot more today -)

Capt Col 16.1.17

Whitby Harbour in January

Whitby day 4 Train trip to Middleborough

Whitby day 4   14.1.17

Train trip to Middleborough

As we hadn’t come on the train we needed to have a ride on one. The North Yorkshire moors isn’t running at present, so it was down to Northern.

Caught the first of the 4 trains a day from  Whitby to Middlesbrough for the 90 minute ride up the Esk valley and over the moors to Teesside.

Left Whitby at 08.45, on a DMU, 156 463. The first surprise of the day was how much it cost us...we have a 2 together railcard which knocks off about 30 % so it cost us £9.20 for the both of us for a day return!

The second surprise was the reversal at Battersby, to do the last 20 minutes into Middlesbrough.

It was a lovely trip though, with quite a lot of snow on the fields, but the sun was out all the way.

Middlesbrough was’s not often we go for a brew to warm us up but we did this morning, in coffee Nero.

Middlesbrough seems to have been redeveloped as 3 major shopping centres and not a lot else, though Carole, having neglected to bring her knitting with her felt the need to find some yarn and needles. We did find “Wool King” but no disrespect the yarn was mainly lower end acrylic which Carole didn’t fancy. She bought a book to read instead.

As with a lot of redeveloped towns we struggled to find a pub for dinner, this was after we had been and had a look at the Transporter Bridge which was resplendent in it’s blue paint against a clear blue sky.

Middlesbrough Transporter bridge

We did find some where to eat, out toward the football ground, a place called The Middlesbrough Pharma bar and grill. A good place, cheap light dinner, Corn beef hash and Cottage pie for a fiver a piece. In a old converted building with cast iron pillars..different but really good.

Back on the 14.04 train, same unit and then a pint in the micro pub on the Station at Whitby before soup and butties from the co-op for tea.

Colin Wareing 15.1.17

Whitby day 3 13.1.17

Whitby day 3 Friday 13.1.16

10 years today we got wed...and no regrets

Started the day by being woke up by a DRS 37 rumbling past the cottage at just after 7...the plan was to go out and take a picture of it in the station, but I didn’t quite make it before it set off back to York, just caught a glimpse as it departed, looked like a good pic as it was covered in snow! It presumably was a route learner for the driver.

Yes a bit of a surprise to wake up to snow, but it didn’t last too long, though it remained cold all day, with sweeping sleet showers. We only got as far as The Angel Hotel, a Weatherspoons, for dinner.

It was ok, but the lad behind the bar told us they where shutting at 15.00hrs in anticipation of the storm surge about 16.00hrs.

A bit of a wander round the western side of Whitby after dinner, went in to the Whitby Whole Food shop where Deb from “Proper gansey” works, but she wasn’t in when we visited. We then went onto find the yarn shop “Bobbins” on Skinner Street. A good yarny chat with the lady in there, and Carole bought some twinkly yarn that she will use for a piece of bunting for the top of the boat.

Carole in Bobbins Whitby

I went out to the New Quay area as the tide and wind was at it’s highest around 16.00hrs and took some pictures as the sea spilled over the harbour wall.  Apparently not as bad as 3 years ago but still closed the road and a few businesses had the flood defences in place.

Up loaded a couple to Alamy live news.

Anniversary meal out tonight at “Marine” where Carole had her half a lobster, me cod and chips which tasted fresher than the place on Wednesday evening, but Carole didn’t think the lobster was quite up to the standard of the one she had in Bridlington a few years ago.

Colin Wareing 14.1.16

Whitby day 2 12.1.17

Whitby day 2 12.1.17

Woke to a bright but cool start, a bit of ice on the puddles. But it soon went dull and so didn’t warm up too much.

A wander over to the east side of the River Esk this morning. This seems to be the area where the majority of Whitby Jet shops are. Carole spotted a necklace with a silver lobster, the body being from jet. It was in one of the first shops we looked in and as often happens we ended up back there to purchase from Simpson’s Jet of Whitby.

We had a walk towards the east pier up Henrietta Street and though we’ve heard of these places that are dead in the winter because they are all holiday cottages we’ve never really experienced it before. That quiet and empty, felt very odd.

Stumbled across the Abbey Wharf Market and the lovely “Whitby Crafts” shop run by a lovely lady, Michele Stewart. She sells a good range of J C Brett’s yarn so we had a good chat with her about what sells and doesn’t. Carole bought a craft ruler and some kilt pins for stitch holders.

We then went into the Whitby “Books for less” shop not really expecting to find anything too local. Surprise Surprise we came out with a copy of “The Textile History of Whitby 1700 – 1914” by Viveka Hansan. The cover price reckoned to be £90 but in here was £29.99. It is a lovely book and has a good chapter about Whitby ganseys.

Dropped off our shopping at the cottage before dinner in “The Pier” before a wander along the west pier, it was getting cool by then.

A major disappointment was that the Frank Sutcliffe shop is shut until February was hoping to buy some copies of his photographs.

There was possibility of a high tide and onshore easterly winds along the east coast tonight so the Environment Agency have issued a Flood warning for Whitby harbour and the River Esk for Friday the 13th of January 2017.

Their Incident Command Unit has been at the harbour side on New Quay Road informing people of what could happen.

Staff from the Environment Agency where explaining to members of the public what may happen and what they should do to be prepared if the area floods.

E A incident command unit at Whitby

I took some picture’s and uploaded them to the news feed on Alamy.

Sand ags being delivered to Whitby

We didn’t fancy Fish again for tea tonight so had a pizza in Mouterys in Grape Lane which was very nice.

Let’s see what happens overnight.

Colin Wareing Whitby 13.1.16

Whitby Day one, 11.1.17

Whitby Day one, 11.1.17

We’re here, arrived about 14.30 having left Burscough about 08.40 coming across the breezy Pennines through Crosshills, stopping for some curd tarts from Wilds the bakers.

Then round Harrogate, through Knaresborough, round York, towards Scarborough before turning off at Malton and over the moors to Whitby.

Found Clickety Clack cottage. A fairly new build on the site of sidings and signal box just out side the station.

When for a wander around town once we had got organized, a pint in The George, then later tea in Trenchers, which was ok, big portions!

A nice pint of Whitby Jet in the Station before turning in for the night.

Colin Wareing 12.1.17.

How much does it cost to own and use a narrowboat on the English canals?

How much does it cost to own and use a narrowboat on the English canals?

This year’s stats 2016 for the narrow boat Emma Maye”

One of the reoccurring questions is how much does it cost to have a narrow boat.

We have a 57ft narrowboat that we spend quite a bit of time on throughout the year and so thought this may be of interest and useful.

We pay the Canal and River trust for a licence to navigate their waters cost £897.53

We have a on line mooring near Burscough on the Leeds and Liverpool canal which costs £1065.79

The boat spent 171 nights on the mooring during the year, thus costing £6.32 per night.

We have to insure the boat, and because we are roving traders it costs more than a boat that is only used for leisure purposes Our boat is insured with Colliridge and partners and costs £512.18

We have a solid fuel range aboard to keep us warm and buy solid fuel from other roving traders on coal boats or canal side boat yards, we have bought 1030kg this year of the types Excel, Glow and Red and spent £404.80p thus costing us 39.3p a kg.

The boat has a diesel engine that powers us along and we also run to provide us with electricity, the diesel again coming from other roving traders on coal boats or canal side boat yards, we have bought 467 litres and spent £315.94 so costing us 67.6p a litre. As we are roving traders we don’t pay the extra propulsion tax.

We have a gas fired hob for cooking and brewing up on and this year we have bought 3 x13kg bottles of Calor propane spending £70.50, though one is the spare one we’ve not started to use yet.

We also paid River and canal rescue £112, but thankfully didn’t need to call them out.

We did spend £379.84 on maintenance, oil, filters fitting of new gear box and general odds and ends.

As for travelling the main trip over the summer was to Skipton and back. This years was 200 years since the Leeds and Liverpool canal was opened and so we stayed on it with the intention of joining in some of the celebration events, of which we did a few.

We also had a few trips out to Lydiate and Parbold approx 300 miles.

So not too many locks this year. 120.

Basic costs

Licence   £897.53

Mooring £1065.79

Insurance £512.18

Diesel £315.94

Solid fuel £404.80p

Gas £70.50

Rcr rescue £112

Maintenance £379.84

Total spent for the year £3758.59p or £72.28p a week.

Colin Wareing 31.12.16

Weather report for Burscough Wharf 10.45 28.12.16

Weather report for Burscough Wharf 10.45 28.12.16

Following a frosty a start, It’s once again nice and bright with the sun out but it’s a bit cool.

We are open today until 3.

Picture taken as we cruised to turn around at the top of The Rufford arm of the canal this morning.

Capt Col 28.12.16

Cw 1973 4 Trees Dec 2016

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 9, Part way to Parbold

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 9

Day 8 Was new mattress day and Carole’s knit and natter in the Farmers Arms .

We had to have the mattress made especially for the bed on Emma Maye. We measured up the length and width ok, but didn’t factor in the depth...all mattress don’t seem to be the same depth! The new one seems about twice as deep as the old one....going to take some getting used to, so we didn’t sleep too well last night!

Day 9, we’ve done a bit of boating, as we are on the way to Parbold  to be open tomorrow and Sunday. By the time we had got organized, done the loo and water, shopping and got a new gas bottle and some more solid fuel from the Burscough Chandlery it was nearly dinner time.

Dinner was taken at The Ship Inn  at the top of the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. A nice burger and Lancashire cheese toasty, a pint of the ships special bitter and a glass of red wine.

Then through a couple of swing bridges, Wheat Lane and Spencer’s before mooring for tonight, with about 30 min cruise into Parbold on Saturday morning.

Capt Col 9.12.16 

Emma Maye on her evening mooring 9.12.16

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 7 Walk to Bamber Bridge

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 7

Day 7 Today we had a day off before what hopefully will be a busy weekend.

So we went for a walk from the Guild wheel in Preston. We parked on Broadgate and walked alongside the River Ribble under the railway bridge and alongside Millar Park then up onto a public footpath over the former railway line towards Bamber Bridge.

We walked further than we had planned, but had a nice dinner in “The Withy Arms ” in Bamber Bridge. They had their own W A bitter on from the Ribble brewery.

We walked back mainly alongside the same route, not realising until we looked at old maps that we had passed three railway junctions. We turned off and walked back along the tramway that had been built by the Lancaster canal company to fill the gap between the two ends of the canal that never got built, they ran out of money.

Back over the Ribble on the tramway bridge.

A nice walk, of about 7 miles..

Capt Col 7.12.16 

Slate Grey Lancashire The Ribble at Preston

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 5 37099 at Southport

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 5

Day 5 Not a lot of Christmassy work today.

Annual review with the accountant, which went ok, still too much yarn stock J

The highlight of the day was a trip to Southport railway station late this evening.

The reason was a visit by 37099 on a rail infrastructure monitoring train.

37 099 has been bought out of preservation by Colas rail for use on Network rail infrastructure monitoring trains. 

The locomotive was unveiled in its new colas livery and named “Merl Evans” at Derby on Friday the 2nd of December 2016.

“Merl Evans” was the model railway company “Bachmann” s Head of Research and Development who sadly passed away on the 16th August 2016.

One of the locomotives first jobs in its new colours was the 18.56 infrastructure monitoring train, 3Q85, from Derby to Southport on the Merseyside coast the 5th December 2016.

Here the locomotive stands at the end of the line from Wigan, under the roof over platform six of Southport Chapel street station at 22.40 before commencing its return journey as far as Crewe.

The occasion brought out another 8 fellow railway photographers om what was quite a cold night, but the loco sounded good.

Capt Col 6.12.16 

37 099 at Southport

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 4 at Burscough wharf

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 4

Day 4 Today we have been back open near Burscough Wharf in the village, though it was a bit quiet

The day started of frosty and thus a skim of ice on the water and for the first time in a long while I’ve been welcomed by a gang of fishermen. It was a match day and they appreciated us ice breaking for them. “There’s now’t wrong with boaters what ever they say” or “eh up Santa has Christmas come early for us?”

We spent more than we took, on 5 20kg bags of “Glow” solid fuel for the range from The Burscough Chandlery for £7.50 a bag.

Also got chance to work on some pictures of yarn and a recently completed scarf Carole has for sale.

 Capt Col 4.12.16 

James C Bretts Marble MC44

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 3 On The Bank

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 3

Day 3 Today we had been “on the bank” as we spent most of the day talking and displaying Carole's gansey’s in The Stanley Club in Burscough at The Images of Burscough Exhibition. Gansey’s, patterns and Colin's Burscough Christmas cards and his "Burscough and Beyond calendar 2017" where available.

We had a good day, creating quite a bit of interest in the gansey’s with the possibility of eventually being able to photograph an old local working boatman’s gansey, if he can find it in the loft.

We did a good bit of explaining what the Burscough Heritage group is about and receiving some thanks for what we had already done for the history and heritage of the village.

Michael’s main exhibition of over 600 images of old Burscough created a good deal of interest.

We sold some more of Colin’s calendars for 2017, they are now going quite well.

Capt Col 3.12.16 


Carole knitting at The Stanley

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 2 Wharf and a new model

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 2

Day 2 Today we have been open outside Burscough Wharf today from 10 -3, not to many people about but we did help out with a ladies Christmas presents with a couple of pairs of West Yorkshire Spinners socks.

The Wool Boat open at Burscough Wharf

I got chance to pop into the recently opened traditional sweet shop on The Wharf for some Rhubarb and Custard sweets. I found a new model as well for Carole’s knitwear. Brenda was quite happy to model the Fairground scarf that is now available from us for £30 plus p and p, or of course come and collect from the boat.

Colin and Carole's countdown to Christmas day 3, Sat 3rd Dec will find us talking and displaying Carole's gansey’s in The Stanley Club in Burscough at The Images of Burscough Exhibition. Gansey’s, patterns and Colin's Burscough Christmas cards and his "Burscough and Beyond calendar 2017" will be available.

But before that it’s a pint of “Tea Kettle” stout from the Tring brewery while watching Macclesfield Town trying to beat Oxford United in the F.A. cup...

Capt Col 2.12.16 






Brenda modelling the Fairground scarf



















Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 1

Colin and Carole’s countdown to Christmas 2016 day 1

It’s December so we can now start thinking about Christmas...

Day 1 we have Tinsellated Carole’s hand knitted bunting on The Wool Boat to hopefully attract a bit of attention for all the lovely yarns, hand knitted garments, Christmas cards and calendars that we have available now.

We have been open outside The Slipway on Crabtree Lane near Burscough today while Carole was knit and nattering in the Farmers Arms just a bit further down the canal. They are not over happy at The Farmers as the Canal and River Trust have decided to move the control pedestal for the New Lane swing bridge, so the road past the pub that runs up to the bridge is closed at the bridge for the next few the run up to Christmas. It also means that we can’t really get to the mooring outside The Farmers to be open as we can’t turn around!

We are now back on our moorings and ready to cruise into Burscough in the morning to be open on day 2 of the countdown in the village from 10-3.

Capt Col 1.12.16  

Tinsellated Knitted bunting on The Wool Boat

The search for the non league paper and a bit more

The search for the non league paper and a bit more...... Sunday 31.7.16.

At Barrowford on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

Shared on my blog and the internet for the information of fellow non-league boaters, though may hopefully be of use to normal boaters as well, and contains my own observations and thoughts and some of my personal feelings...

A while since I’ve done one of these but the new football season is about to start and we are on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which we’ve not been on since 2009.

We decided we would stay on “our” canal this year seeing as it is 200 years ago that it was finally opened throughout.  We had got caught up in helping to organize part of the Burscough Heritage weekend back in June, so only started travelling after that had taken place.

We are now moored below the Barrowford flight of locks and so today was a walk down into Barrowford along the Colne Road.

It was a again a lovely bright morning, with no boat movement’s this early in the morning, but there again compared to being on the narrow canals there is hardly any traffic.

Lock 49 0n the L and L

In the middle of Barrowford is a park and on the main Gisburn road is “Park News” where I got this week’s copy of the non league paper.

And in Barrowford on the other side of the road is The Bankers Draft is a relatively new real ale bar in the Lancashire town of Barrowford which of course wasn’t open at 07.30 but it was later..

As the name suggests the building was formally a branch of the Nat West but before Chris the landlady opened it as a real ale bar about 18 months ago it was used as a fabric shop, a office and a toy shop.






Now it is a nice bright bar, with 5 hand pumps with a good selection of beers. We tried a porter, a titanic bitter and a citrus brew, all very nice in a bar with no piped music, so good for conversation. There is also a good selection of wines and bottled beers. There are what could be called limited hours, so check on

Well worth the walk down, and then of course back up, to the canal.

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye 31.7.16.

Emma Maye on the bottom at Blackburn

Emma Maye on the bottom at Blackburn


The narrow boat Emma Maye, aka The Wool Boat, the world’s only floating yarn and wool shop wasn’t floating too well today in Blackburn.



We were on the way up the locks through Blackburn on the Leeds and Liverpool canal towards Eanam Wharf for this weekend’s canal festival.


We had stopped for water in the pound between locks 56 and 55. Friends that had gone up yesterday reported problems with lack of water in the pound above lock 54.

A couple of wide beam boats had gone up today in front of us and had problems with shutting a gate at the tail of lock 54, which didn’t help the situation. Eventually whatever was stopping the gate was freed but in the mean time we ended up at quite an angle!


But with the help of Martina and John, mates from the narrow boat "Burnt Oak" and other people from the festival we got to Eanam Wharf and are now setting up for the weekend. 


For what's going on at the festival ...

Up the Wigan 21.

Up the Wigan 21. 6.7.16 

We have set off on our summer cruise for this year and because it is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Leeds and Liverpool canal in 1816 we are retracing our steps from when we started our floating enterprise in 2009 and cruising towards Skipton.

Today we have passed through the Wigan flight of 22 locks raising us above 200 feet up the hill on the east side of Wigan.

We had arranged to go up with friends who have their own narrow boat. Martina and John are owners and liveaboard boaters on “Burnt Oak”. Their daughter Ada and her boyfriend Dale where also along to help.

We breasted up the two boats. This means we tied them together at the bow and stern so they in effect became one vessel. This meant we only needed one steerer, John doing the first half of the flight while I did the second half.

We had a pleasant passage with every one helping work the locks, and only a couple of minor irritations, one being a pound a bit short of water and another with a boat that was coming down the flight and had got  rope around his prop

He was suggesting he stayed in a lock while he sorted it out, but was told in no uncertain terms that wasn’t a good idea..

Up at the top fro 13.00, a burger and a pint in The Kirkless Hall pub for dinner then loo and water before moving a mile or so towards Adlington to the first metal pilling to moor for a couple of days.

Capt Col 6.7.16

Land Rover in the cut at The Slipway 25.6.16

On the evening of the 25th of Junne 2015 a Land Rover driver decided to try some high jinks fun at the Slipway oub near Burscough in West Lancashire by driving the vehicle down the concrete slipway into the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
Unfortunately the driver didn't realise that the concret slipway ended not far below water level and the canal bed was a good bit lower than the concrete
The Landrover slipped in to far and he couldn't drive it out again, and no it didn't float.

He was eventually recued by being pulled out by a Range Rover, but it provided a bit of excitment for the locals on a Saturday evening visit to the pub.

Just a pity this didn't happen on the following Monday, was more fun than watching England loose to Iceland.

Last day of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge station 25.6.16

Last day of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge station 25.6.16

Cw1776 Last day at Burscough Bridge Statiion 

Well that’s it then, at 16.00hrs today Phil Green was due to finish his last shift at the Burscough Bridge interchange ticket office and lock up for the final time. 

It all started back in November 2014 when some one noticed in Lancashire county council meeting minutes from 6.11.14 the following..

“County Information centres

 LCC staffing only at locations where income levels mean they cover costs through ticket sales. This would equate to provision at Carnforth, Clitheroe, Nelson and Preston with the withdrawal of facilities at Burscough and Burnley. Facilities at Burnley and Burscough would be withdrawn with the loss of information and ticketing provision at each location”

This was one of the council’s ideas for saving money in the tough economic times. 

The problem, was that the staff where employed by the Lancashire county council and not the train company, so cut’s had to be made

Some local people didn’t like the idea of losing what they considered to be a great asset and a valuable resource for Burscough and the area, a lot of this feeling being because of the enthusiasm and service provided by the staff who worked there.

So the battle commenced, I started writing up what I knew was happening on my blog, The local U3A started a petition, collecting hundreds of signatures, the parish council through Tess Reddington, the parish clerk got involved though she at times struggled to get information from the county council. The Ormskirk, Preston & Southport travellers’ association threw their campaigning weight behind the issue. Letters and e-mail’s went off to LCC Councillor David Borrow, and County Councillor for West Lancashire West, Cynthia Dereli.

Our M.P Rosie Cooper was asked to see what she could achieve.

And all this time the staff at the ticket office where unsure when or if their jobs would go. At one stage redundancy notices where given to them only for these to be withdrawn within a couple of weeks of the proposed date when they would have taken effect.

There was a glimmer of hope when Cynthia Dereli suggested that the library could be moved into the building, but this hasn’t and isn’t likely to happen following the consultation that rejected the proposal.

Then another glimmer of hope arrived when the train operating company was re-franchised but the new operator doesn’t seem interested in funding the staff.

So we now have a situation where the staff have gone, Deb, the lady, when I was talking to her the other week was looking forwards to a break after working shifts, while Phil has taken another job with Lancashire County Council, and I’m not sure what the other lad has done.

The building, opened in November 2005 is still owned by the Lancashire County Council who it seems are hoping for some one to occupy it, presumably paying a market rent.

There has been talk of a community involvement, with a group or a number of groups taking on responsibility for the building, again possibly paying some sort of rent which could go some way to re- establishing a ticket office.

The Burscough Heritage Group of which I’m part have been approached with the thought of establishing a heritage centre, but have declined the idea, all of us being volunteers, with not enough of us to take on a major commitment.

I will admit as things have gone on I got totally despondent with the situation and lack of information we could glean from the County Council in the early part of this year and maybe didn’t do as much as I could, but by then it seems the decision had been taken and we where going to loose the facility what ever we did, and we have.  


All views my own, Colin Wareing 25.6.16.

Mark tumble’s in.

Mark tumble’s in.

An interesting end to the day yesterday. We had just started to enjoy a beer with some members of the Mersey motorboat club who are having a bit of a rally here in Parbold.

Then there is splash from the far side of the canal. 

If you know the canal at Parbold you’ll no the tow path coming from the Wigan direction changes the side of the canal at the bridge near the windmill. There is no warning this is going to happen and people only realise once they have gone past the ramp up on to the road bridge. 

A cyclist, Mark, cycling back towards Liverpool, didn’t realise where he was meant to go, anchored on and fell into the canal. Some one helped him out, and he was dried off to by a Mersey motor boat club towel. 

He didn’t look too good, despite a cup of tea.

As it happens we have the pick up with us, and I’d only had half my beer, so bike in the back of the truck and a ride to Old Roan. His wife was a bit surprised for him to come home by pick up J.

He ended up being checked out at A and E and we’ve had a txt message to say he has multiple cracked ribs.

So if you’re cycling through Parbold from Wigan along the tow path, just be careful.

Feel free to share on cycling forums or where ever to warn people.

Capt Col on The Wool Boat.

Are we a tourist attraction?

Are we a tourist attraction?

We have run our floating business for seven years and have a mooring on the Leeds and Liverpool canal near Burscough in West Lancashire.  We trade all year round, going travelling during the summer while trading in local villages along the canal when the weather allows over winter.

We of course try to do as much publicity for ourselves as we can, and it seems we have been noticed. Yesterday the general manager of the nearby Martin Mere Wetland Trust Centre came to the boat, saying he’d been asked to seek us out to give us a invitation to a meeting at the Centre in a couple of weeks to discuss driving the visitor economy in Burscough. This meeting is being organized by the centre and the Burscough Parish council with an agenda that includes speakers from the West Lancashire Borough Council.

We are flattered that at least some people are realising that we are an attraction, tourist or other wise and so will be going along. We will be promoting the positive effects of encouraging floating traders to come and moor in the village.

This follows on quite neatly from a chat I had in the Railway pub in Parbold last weekend with Dave Reid the chap that is organizing the 2nd Parbold street festival in the village on the weekend of 3rd and 4th of September.

The conversation went along to him saying he would love it if we could be there with The Wool Boat, as he is planning a art and crafts area alongside the canal and we’d fit in great.

I expressed my view that we consider ourselves, and other roving traders, to be a attraction at boat rallies and events like he is organizing, and to that end it annoys us that because we are trading we are asked for more money to attended than a leisure boat.

Don’t get me wrong we’re quite happy to pay a reasonable rally fee as we can understand the need for insurance, advertising etc, but as we know we will attract people to the event why should we pay more? Dave agreed and said that there would be no charge for turning up and trading at Parbold for that weekend. Unfortunately we plan to be further up the L and L until mid October, but there is an opportunity there for other roving traders, if you would like to get in touch with him he would be quite happy to hear from you.

Subsequent Message received from Dave..

Hi Col,
We spoke in the Railway on Sunday.
The Parbold Street Festival of Arts and Music is taking place on 3rd and 4th September.
You said that you would be somewhere over Leeds at the time.
If you could pass the message on that this is FREE to all canal traders, I would be grateful.
I hope that your busy itinerary will, one day, match up with ours.
Please follow us at Parbold Street Festival.


Carole and Colin on The Wool Boat.

Voluntary work forThe H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project

Voluntary work.

As some of you may know for the last few years I’ve been involved in The Burscough Heritage group and more recently with The H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project, mainly as communication and press officer’s

It has given me chance to practice my photography and writing skills and hope fully do some good for the village of Burscough and the canal. 

Recently there has been a AGM of each group and I’ve been re-elected into the position of press and history section organizer for the Burscough Heritage Group and also press officer for the H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project. 

Yesterday, the 23.11.15 as part of BBC radio Lancashire’s coverage of Lancashire week Sally Naden and Brett Davidson from the radio station presented their morning show from the chandlery in the Old Stables on Mill Lane in Burscough, where the H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project are based, so I was on hand with the camera.

So here are some pictures from the morning, and more information about the project can be found on the Facebook page at

Colin 24.11.15

Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.







Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviews Carolyn Ross about being a single handed boater live on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.

The occasion was the first of the radio station’s outside broadcasts for Lancashire Week 2015 and the show was hosted by the H and R Ainscoughs Barge Restoration project.

The H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project is a charity based in the Chandlery at the Old Stables that aims to research, record and remember the Ainscoughs Flour Mill, at Burscough and its associated canal boats.

The charity has under its care, and is in the process of restoring two of the fleet canal barges that used to carry imported grain from the docks in Liverpool to the mill at Burscough.

Image Cw 1540 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations

Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.












Image Cw 1541 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations


Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviewing Mark Parkinson and John Webster about life on and around the canal’s of Burscough on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.


Mark and John both come from long lines of boating families.


The occasion was the first of the radio station’s outside broadcasts for Lancashire Week 2015 and the show was hosted by the H and R Ainscoughs Barge Restoration project.



Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.















Cw 1542 Mark Parkinson and Sally Naden H and R 23.11.15.

Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviews Mark Parkinson about living on a canal boat live on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.


“How old are you Mark?”

“Twenty Seven”

“And how long have you lived on the boats Mark?”

“err… 27 years”



Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.
















Cw 1543 Sally Naden and Sandra Nolan H and R 23.11.15.


Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire interviews Sandra Nolan live on the radio at the Old Stables in Mill Lane, Burscough, Lancashire.


Sandra is the secretary of The H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project which is a charity based in the Chandlery at the Old Stables with aims to research, record and remember the Ainscoughs Flour Mill, at Burscough and its associated canal boats.





Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.



















Cw 1544 Brett Davidson, Sally Naden and John Bradshaw H and R 23.11.15.


Brett Davidson and Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire have been interviewing John Bradshaw at

the Old Stables in Mill Lane Burscough.


John used to drive lorries delivering from and to Ainscoughs flour mill in Burscough village, and was recounting what life was like back then to the listeners of Radio Lancashire.



Sally Naden and Carolyn Ross at H and R 23.11.15.





















Cw 1545 Derek Bent, Brett, Sally and Sandra H and R 23.11.15.


Derek Bent with Brett Davidson and Sally Naden of BBC Radio Lancashire and Sandra Nolan of The H and R Ainscoughs Barge restoration project which had hosted the morning programme at the Old Stables in Mill Lane Burscough.


Derek is president of The H and R Ainscough’s Barge restoration project which is a charity based in the Chandlery at the Old Stables with aims to research, record and remember the Ainscoughs Flour Mill, at Burscough and its associated canal boats whilst Sandra is the secretary.


Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure, update 23.11.15

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure, update 23.11.15

I've just sent this to Danielle Thompson at The Champion who had asked what else we could do?

Good morning Danielle

I’ve not had too much reaction over the weekend to the possible closure of the Burscough Bridge interchange ticket office.

May be people think it’s a done deal?

I suspect that if that is the case then once it becomes official people may take a interest again, probably when it’s too late?

Back in December 2014

County Councillor for West Lancashire West, Cynthia Dereli, said:  (in a press release circulated to the local press)

“I fully support those local residents who have been petitioning to retain Burscough Train Station’s ticket office. To protect its future we have to ensure that it remains viable and that means finding additional community uses for the building.”

I’ve had no response from councillor Dereli over the weekend, will she be there to vote at the Lancashire County Council budget meeting on the 26th on November?

The responses I’ve had where from Tess Reddington on Thursday the 19th, the Burscough Parish council clerk,

“Just to say we have nothing more to add yet – When I have asked key staff at county I have been directed to the proposed corporate strategy document which sets out 34 neighbourhood areas/hubs which provides a model for future service provision.    I would agree with your summary – I haven’t seen anything specific yet. 



And from Alan Fantom the chairman of OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston & Southport travellers’ association)

“OPSTA is also pursuing this matter .. considers it a major issue ... and if satisfaction is not given will be campaigning vigorously and pursuing other options'. Also you can make reference to OPSTA being in the midst of its passenger survey and counts which is showing how much the service is used from Bridge and its importance”

And there was a question on a Facebook forum, so the decision will be taken on Thursday then? 

Will just have to see what happens on Thursday. 

Best Regards

Colin Wareing

Burscough Bridge Ticket office to Close? LCC budget proposal

Burscough Bridge Ticket office to Close? LCC budget proposal

As many of you will have seen in the media Lancashire County Council has published its latest budget proposals which I suspect will determine the future of the Burscough Bridge interchange ticket office.

This is the link to the report on the LCC web page

I’ve read through it and can’t see any specific mention of our ticket office, unlike the Buses, Museums and the Knott End ferry so I suspect it comes under the general reduction of staff.

I had a word with Phil in the ticket office on Tuesday the day after these proposals where published, he thinks that they will be shut sometime in March next year.

The proposals are still to be discussed or is that rubber stamped? at a LCC cabinet meeting on 26th November,  

Maybe we still have a bit of time to try and influence the decision?

Can we still do anything?

Within the proposal are cuts in the library services, which at one time was considered a option of moving the Burscough library from Mill Lane into the vacant café area at the interchange, but I suspect that won’t happen now, indeed will the library in Burscough survive?

I’ve sent a copy of this to all the politicians, councillors and campaigning people that I’ve had contact with over the last year about this issue, will see what comes back. 


Blog posting November 19th 2015

The search for the non league paper at Tewkesbury Gloucestershire

The search for the non league paper Sunday 16.8.15.

Not a great start to the season At Tewkesbury Gloucestershire

A bit different this week, we are staying in The Bell Inn in Tewkesbury. For the first time in 17 years Southport are away at Cheltenham.

We chose Tewkesbury because we found a place to stay that was in our price range and there is boating interest, Tewkesbury being where the River Avon locks down in to the River Severn.

We had travelled down in the truck on Friday through the heavy rain, thankfully we chose to travel down the “old” roads, avoiding the M6 and M5, as unfortunately again there was a accident near Spaghetti junction.  We had a few floods to go through, but got down to Tewkesbury for about 2 o’clock.

This gave us time to have a wander around the town, finding the Avon River Trusts information point, will we ever get to bring “Emma Maye” down here? maybe. There were a couple of boats moored on the Avon that had taken a winter mooring for last winter in Burscough, so we know it’s possible to get here.

Tewkesbury  is looking really colourful with all the flags flying along the streets that are replica’s of flags flown at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 the penultimate battle in the war of the roses, just a bit confusing, for a Lancastrian, seeing the Red Lancashire Rose display in such close proximity with the white one of Yorkshire.













Had a good tea in The Nottingham Arms with “Proper Job” on one of the hand pumps which was nice, it don’t appear up north that often.

Saturday dawned bright and warm, and rather than take the truck into Cheltenham with the associated parking problems, we caught the no 41 bus into town.  I can last remember being in Cheltenham for a mates wedding, 15 odd years ago so it was a pleasant surprise to revisit and feel how light and airy the city is, probably because they have not built any high buildings.

A walk out to the ground after dinner, a couple of pint’s in the club, a £1 to get it, but the beer was reasonably priced.

Cheltenham town











Southport started ok, but Cheltenham where the stronger team, they really should have gone in at half time ahead, but they made up for it in the second half, beating us 3-0.

Sunday morning was again nice and so it wasn’t too much of a walk into the middle of town, for the non-league paper from the One stop convince store on Church Street. This opens at 6 am so nice and handy though it wasn’t quite as early as that when I got there.

One stop shop Tewksbury











So if your down on the Avon on your boat and are looking for the paper there should be no problems, and if you are a supporter of a team that is going to play Cheltenham then we would recommend a stay in Tewkesbury, and Emma the boss at The Bell now knows what a non-league paper is, so could probably get one delivered to your room door

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper only 3 points off the top

The search for the non league paper Sunday 9.8.15.

Only 3 points away from top of the league.

At Bollington on the Macclesfield canal.

At the moment there is not too much of a search for the paper as we are back on the Macclesfield canal and in Bollington where we were 2 months ago.

So back up from the aqueduct to Chadwick’s the independent newsagent.

The Macclesfield canal passes through Bollington in Cheshire. The area is quite hilly so there are a couple of embankments that  carry the canal across the valleys and to span the road towards Pott Shrigley there is the large stone built bridge, which carries the canal 60ft up in the air.

Well the new football season has kicked off, and we went back to Southport yesterday for the first game, Southport v Eastleigh who had travelled up from the south coast near Southampton. 

It was worth them making the trip as they won 0-4...but hey it’s early days and being positive Southport didn’t play too badly against one of the teams the bookies are tipping to win the league. The score line may have been a bit flattering to Eastleigh, may be it would have been different if Southport hadn’t had a player sent off.

But let’s be positive we are only 3 points off the top of the table..

Bollington Aqueduct

The search for the non league paper Sunday

The search for the non league paper Sunday 26.7.15.

Along walk, but still had to go back to Whaley Bridge

At Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest canal.

Not a lot to do with football today, or boating for that matter. I decided to walk up the Peak Forest tramway trail to Chinley this morning. I’d seen a newsagent there as we had passed through on the road. It was a pleasant enough walk along the route of the tramway that used to bring limestone down from the quarries to Bugsworth basin, but alas the newsagent in Chinley doesn’t get it in.

I did find these two interesting characters outside the local conservative club.  

Scarecrows outside the C and B Con club











Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

Library to move to the station? Consultation now open.

Library to move to the station? Consultation now open.  24.7.15

One of the ideas to preserve the ticket and information office at Burscough Bridge interchange is to relocate the library from it’s present building on Mill Lane into the part of the interchange building that was previously used as a community cafe.

The Lancashire County Council are now asking for everyone’s views on this, through a consultation that ends on the 7th August.

The following is the document with the 4 questions that we are being asked to consider, along with a explanation as to what are seen as the advantages of the move.

The Burscough Bridge premises are central located

The building is modern and accessible for all members of the community

There is free car parking at the proposed site along with secure cycle storage.

The document then goes on...

We would be grateful if you would send us your response to the questions below:

Do you feel this move would be beneficial for the local community and for you personally? If so please tell us why.

If you are in favour of the relocation, please tell us why. If you are not in favour then please let us have your reasons for this.

What facilities do you feel are needed in your library?

Do you feel that the current opening hours are sufficient?

Burscough Bridge travel interchange presently provides both train and bus information and tickets. How important do you feel it is to retain this service?

We are happy to receive your responses either by post or e-mail by the 7th August 2015,

Contact details are as follows,

E mail address

Postal address Skelmersdale Library, Southway, Skelmersdale WN8 6NL.

Personally I don’t really know what to make of this.

On one hand if it is the only way to retain the ticket office then that will have to be done, but as I’m not a regular user of the library I wonder what advantage, other than being in a modern light building with better access...I don’t really think the car parking is a great advantage as the station car park tends to soon fill up, rightly, with rail users cars. Hmm I’ll have to think about this for a few days.....

Library Consultation

The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 19.7.15.

At Disley on the Peak Forest canal.

Shared on the friendly narrow boaters for the information of fellow non-league boaters, though may hopefully be of use to normal boaters as well, though could contain some of my personal feelings...

Better this week.

Disley, in Cheshire is up hill from The Peak Forest canal where ever you moor, it’s a bit shallow at the edges along this stretch in places, but we managed to get in on the Whaley Bridge side of bridge 26.

Disley has a good selection of pub’s, a bakery, good butchers and green grocers. There is a co-op and also an independent newsagents, Fountain News, yes you’ve guessed it, near The Fountain. The co-op only opens at 7, but if I can I’ll use the independent, who was well into sorting out the papers for delivery by 06.45 when I got there.

I had walked up via Hollinwood Lane and then walked back along the Buxton Road, the A6. Beside’s going for the paper one of the other things that I like about the search is wandering through unfamiliar towns and villages when they are quite and the only people about are us early risers for the papers or to walk the dog. You have time to look, and discover little things that you would probably miss when you are watching for traffic, pushchair’s etc.

Found another pub on the A6 that is either being renovated, or being turned into some other use. But at the moment the smoke room and parlour windows are still there with the etching in place.

Crescent inn Parlour window












A bit further on after the Albert is the White Lion on the corner of Red House Lane. We had been in for a couple of pint’s last night and asked the obvious question, “Why is there a Zebra painted on the outside of the White Lion?”

“Well how many White Lion pubs are there in the country? But there is only one with a zebra painted on it, so gets us noticed”

Southport played their 3rd friendly, against Wigan at Haig Ave and lost again 0-2, though I knew the result from the internet before picking up the paper from Fountain News. There are a couple of reasons I like to get the non-league paper, one being  to get a good overall picture of the gossip form the non league football world, sat there with a brew, instead of searching all over the net,  and I’m also a firm believer in supporting enterprises like this in the slack period, when it’s not the football season, so they are still there during the season.

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper, not impressed..

The search for the non league paper Sunday 12.7.15.

At High Lane on the Macclesfield canal.

Not impressed...

High Lane may be blessed with some good pub’s a fair selection of takeaways, a chocolate shop and a deli/bakery, BUT not impressed with the Spar shop...the chap in there couldn’t quite understand my request for the non league paper, and thus I ended up jumping in the truck and driving a way down the A6 towards Hazel Grove until I found another Spar shop within a BP garage, and got my copy of this week’s paper.

A6 Hazel Grove













The friendly season as started, with Southport losing 2-1 away at Marine, though as is normal there was lots of trialist’s which has got to be done, but I like to know who I’m watching..

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper, Marple

The search for the non league paper Sunday 5.7.15.

At Marple on the Macclesfield canal.

Moored back in Marple so the non-league paper from Martin’s newsagent in the middle of town.

The town is on the foothills of the peak district, so if the mist clears there are excellent views down in to Manchester.

Church Road Marple


















So this season’s  National League fixtures are out, and a good one for us is Southport’s first away game  at Macclesfield on Tuesday 11th August, we’ll be able to walk to this one..

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper Bugsworth

The search for the non league paper Sunday 28.6.15.

Another damp one this morning.

At Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest canal.












I knew I’d have to walk back into Whaley Bridge for today’s paper.

We had walked into and out of Whaley a few times along the towpath, so I was getting a bit fed up of that walk. A look on the map indicated a road that seemed a good alternative cutting across from basin to basin.

What I didn’t take into account where the contour lines! It was quite a climb over the hill up Silk Hill road and it rained...Got the paper from the co-op and then walked back along the canal towpath.

Fancy your lad, or even yourself following in David Fitzpatrick’s footsteps, who was playing for Southport F C last season and made it into the England C squad. Notice up in the co-op New Mills F C are looking for youth team players, David played for New Mills before coming to Southport.

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper Sunday 21.6.15.

The search for the non league paper Sunday 21.6.15.

A short one today.

Whaley Bridge canal basin











At Whaley Bridge on the Peak Forest canal.

One of the shortest walks yet, about 200 yards from the boat around the basin, up canal street to the high street and another Martin’s newsagents.

The big local non league news The Buxton Advertizer featuring a two page interview with ex Liverpool and England play Phil Neal is the Buxton Legend’s V Liverpool Legend’s as a fund raiser on July 19th. Looks like it could be a interesting game.

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper and classic cars.

The search for the non league paper Sunday 14.6.15.

The paper and classic cars.

At Marple on the Macclesfield canal.

Didn’t think we’d have a problem today finding the non-league paper, being not far from Stockport, and so it proved, with a Martin’s newsagent in the middle of town.

Good to see that Southport f.c. have signed up Andy Coughlin the England “C” keeper for next season.

Carole came for a walk to find the paper this morning and on the way back we came across the start of the Hare and Hounds classic vehicle Peaks and dales run that started in Marple and will end 80 miles away in Buxton.

Classic cars at Marple










Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye 14.6.15

Up hill or down hill? The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 7.6.15.

Up hill or down hill?

At Bollington on the Macclesfield canal.

The last time, about five years ago there were two newsagents in Bollington, one up the hill from the canal, and one down. Today there is one newsagents, Chadwick’s that is up the hill, and the other one has shut. However on the site of a former paper mill down the hill is a relatively new Co-op. This wasn’t here five years ago.

So the choice was still, up or down the hill?

Support the local independent is always the first choice and it proved good for this week’s paper, though they did have one in co-op where we had to go for the bread and milk anyway.     

Chadwicks Newsagents Bollington












Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper at Gurnett, Macclesfield

The search for the non league paper Sunday 31.5.15.

At Gurnett aqueduct on the Macclesfield canal.

A wet walk this morning, but at least I’d a good idea where I was going from previous Southport f c visits to the Moss Rose, home of Macclesfield town .

So off down the steps from the towpath to walk past “Ye Olde Kings Head” pub. We had a nice pint of Bass in there last night. The pub has just reopened, a week last Friday, after being shut for a few years, which is nice to see after the amount of boarded up or demolished pubs we have seen recently.

Then down the hill of Byron Lane, before crossing the railway to turn left towards the ground.

The co-op’s lights where glowing in the morning gloom just along from the ground and this week’s non league paper waited on the shelf for me.

Walked on past the ground and further up the road to regain the canal at bridge 45, the New Leek road bridge and then back along the towpath. May be this would have been the easier way to have walked there and back?

This week’s congratulations go to F C United of Manchester on the opening of their new ground, after only about 10 years in existence, how long before they actually play at Old Trafford? 

Co op at Maccelsfield Town











Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper At Congleton Wharf

The search for the non league paper Sunday 24.5.15.

At Congleton Wharf on the Macclesfield canal.

Why is a convince store not open before 08.00hrs? Not very convenient? Meant I had to walk back up canal lane twice to the Spar shop to the east of the mooring. But they did have a copy of the paper.

It’s now the time of the year when there are not many games to be reported on and so some people may wonder why it’s worth the bother of searching out the paper? Well there is usually some news items of interest, player transfers, news from other clubs etc, but I am also a firm believer in the use it or lose it way of thinking, and I want the paper to be there next season, so I’ll continue to seek it out where ever we are.

Talking of use it or lose it, may be that’s what happened to the Moss Inn the pub that used to be opposite the Spar shop?

We had a pint or two in there last time we where moored in Congleton, but there is no chance now.

The remains of the Moss Inn Congleton











All that remains of The Moss Inn.

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye 24.5.15

The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 17.5.15.

At Scholar Green near Bridge 87 Kent Green Bridge on the Macclesfield canal.

Cinderhill Lane Scholar Green

 We moved about 4 miles on the canal though Red Bull  near Kidsgrove over the week even though it would be only about 2 miles to walk..

So this morning it was a walk back down the towpath for a few yards then through the stone wall and a rural stroll down Cinderhill lane, to the co-op in Scholar Green.  As you would expect the co-op is useful for the supplies and after digging through the League paper, The Farmers Guardian and the rugby papers to find this week’s the non-league paper...

And this week’s congratulations go to Bristol Rovers for making a immediate return to the league after beating Grimsby at Wembley in the play off final this afternoon, just felt sorry for former Southport players Scott Brown and Toto..

Capt Col narrow boat Emma Maye

The search for the non league paper Sunday 10.5.15.

The search for the non league paper Sunday 10.5.15.

At Rode Heath near Bridge 140 on the Trent and Mersey canal.

We still have the truck with us, so not much of a search, a quick ride into Alsager, and found the spend and save shop, which though being much more than a newsagent, more a convince store had the paper.

Spend and save in Alsager

So it’s congratulations to Guiseley and Boreham Wood for making it into the Conference for next season via the play offs, see you next season. 

There is quite a useful village shop here in Rode Heath, which is also the newspaper shop. It’s good for bread and basic supplies but not good for the non-league paper...

The search for the non league paper Sunday Rode Heath

South Road Newsagent Crewe

 The search for the non league paper Sunday 3.5.15.

 At Rode Heath near Bridge 140 on the Trent

 and Mersey canal.

 There is quite a useful village shop here in Rode Heath,  

 which is also the newspaper shop. It’s good for bread 

 and basic supplies but not good for the non-league



 So because we have the truck with us I was able to repay

 the kindness of Debbie who owns South Street

 Newsagents opposite Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty road

 round in Crewe, who brought me last week’s paper, I

 took a ride into Crewe and got this weeks copy from 


The search for the non league paper

The search for the non league paper Sunday 26.4.15.

At Wheelock on the Trent and Mersey canal.

We arrived in Wheelock on Saturday morning. There is small convince store here, sells the usual small village shop range of stuff, bread, tin’s beer and wine, and newspapers.

However when I went in and asked if they usually got a non league paper on a Sunday, the chap said not. He was prepared to order it in if I wanted it every week, but not for a one off...

So it looked like a walk into Sandbach on Sunday morning.

But..during Saturday a lady, Debbie, came to purchase some yarn from us on The Wool Boat and happened to mention she had been at work in a newsagent in Crewe this morning. She hadn’t enough money with her for the yarn she wanted so was coming back today.

“Would you mind bringing me a copy of the non league paper?”

No problem, as long as you can wait until the afternoon when I finish work?

So about 14.00 Debbie who works in the South Street Newsagents opposite Crewe Alexandra’s

Gresty road ground in Crewe, returned with this week’s Non league paper, and got her yarn.

Thanks Debbie.

Sarah Henshaw from Waterways World visits The Wool Boat

Today we had a visitor to The Wool Boat. The lady in question, who brought her mum with her, was Sarah Henshaw who was recently appointed assistant editor at Waterways World magazine.
Sarah is in the process of researching for article in the June issue of the magazine about Ganseys on the inland waterways, so she came to pick Carole’s brains about what we have find out from our research into northwest ganseys.
We look forwards to seeing the article.
Colin Wareing Monday 20.4.15.

Sarah Henshaw

The hunt for the non-league paper, Lymm Cheshire

The hunt for the non-league paper, Sunday 19.4.15.

Lymm, Cheshire, The Bridgewater Canal.

Phew, after a 2-2 draw with Grimsby yesterday Southport F.C. are safe in the Conference for another season, unless Alfreton happen to beat Bristol Rovers next Saturday by 0-8....

Anyway the Sainsbury’s near the cross in Lymm opens at 7.00 but,

Me “Have you got non-league paper?”

The lady doing the papers  “A what?”

“A non-league paper”

“No sorry never heard of one of them”

Good job the Shell garage on Higher Lane had about four copies. A bit of a walk but at least I knew about it from previous visit’s.

But what has happened to Lymm? It looked like a bomb site this morning, litter, take away bags  pop cans etc, every where, broken bottles, some one had been sick a couple of times up the hill on the way up to Higher Lane...

Capt Col Lymm 19.4.15

Day two and three summer cruise 2015 15/16.4.15

We’re off, Day two and three summer cruise 2015 15/16.4.15

Crooke, The Leeds and Liverpool canal, to Little Bollington  8 locks, 26 miles!

Away from Crooke after a very peaceful night, and as we set off  “Wykyver” came around the corner so we worked through Wigan with them as far as the junction of the Leigh branch. They were carrying on up the rest of the Wigan flight.

It was nice to see boats moored along side of the towpath in Wigan near the CaRT offices. At one time very few boats would have stayed on the towpath side in Wigan over night, may be the canal is being reclaimed from the vandals.

We worked down the two locks at Pool stock with Arkholme no 2 , and Chris the lady from it worked Plank Lane lift bridge for us.

We moored in a new place for us, over looking Pennington Flash.

Gave me chance to cut up some firewood.

Another peaceful night, and then away down the Leigh branch through Leigh and onto The Bridgewater canal.

Deep and wide so chance to give “Emma Maye” a good blast.

Over the Manchester ship canal on “the tank”, Barton Aqueduct, then a stop at Trafford Park for a couple of hours to have dinner in the Trafford centre, with a visit to HMV for Cd’s by Bella Hardy, the Un thanks and Sea sick SteveJ.

A couple more hours through Sale and Altrincham before mooring on the embankment overlooking the river Bolin.

Tomorrow we won’t move..

Colin 16.4.15

We’re off, Day one summer cruise 14.4.15

We’re off, Day one summer cruise 2015 14.4.15

Mooring to Crooke, The Leeds and Liverpool canal, 3 swing bridges, 2 locks.

At last we have set off for the summer.

After shopping in Burscough, taking some more of “Lazy Kate’s” hand spun and dyed yarn on board for selling, parcelling up and posting Carole’s latest completed order, it was dinner chip’s for a butty from Burscough Bar. Then after getting a couple of bags of coal from the chandlery in Burscough we set off...

It was a lovely warm spring day; we even got to the stage of taking our jumpers off, very nice.

We waited for a boat to finish going up Appley deep lock, and by then another boat “Wykyver” had arrived so we went together. The name of this boat apparently came from the lady on board’s grandparent’s farm.

After the pair of us working up Dean Lock under the M6 aqueduct we stooped at Crooke and filled “Emma Maye’s” diesel tank up from Derek Bent on “Ambush”,  80lts at 71p a lt.

Moored opposite “Ambush” and went for a pint in the Crooke Hall in before tea.

Waiting fro Dean lock 14.4.15

The weekly search for the non-league paper.

The weekly search for the non-league paper.

Travelling around the country by canal is great but can throw up some problems, and one is where to get the paper on a Sunday morning?

Not too bad when we are on home mooring in Burscough, but once we are in this morning Sunday the 5.4.15.

We are moored at Halsall on the Leeds and Liverpool canal in West Lancashire, only a few miles from home....

Halsall is a small village so there are not many facilities, however along the Lydiate to Southport road, the A5147 there is the Halsall garage, which also sells a range of essential groceries and the papers, including the NLP, so happy bunny..

Access from the canal is either from bridge 26 Hulme’s Bridge or 25 Halsall Warehouse Bridge and it opens at 7.00 on Sundays.

Capt Col The Wool Boat Sunday 5.4.15

New Interpretation Board unveiled in Burscough.


New Interpretation Board unveiled in Burscough.


Another of my "jobs" as acting press officer for The Burscough Heritage Group, and this was from yesterday.


Tom spencer and Allan Bullen unveil interperation
























Over the last few months the Burscough Heritage group have been working on producing a new interpretation board depicting some of the history of Burscough.

The group secured funding for the project from Burscough Parish Council, with the board being designed by members of the project group with the help of Gordon Emery a historian from Chester who has help these types of project to fulfilment for other groups in the Cheshire and Lancashire area.


The board was constructed by David Carter at Woodstock signs in Longton and was installed in Smithy Walk on Wednesday the 25th of March 2015.


On Friday the 27th   March 2015 at 10.30 pm Burscough Parish Council chairman Councillor Allan Bullen, here on the right, and Tom Spencer, on the left, Chairman of the Burscough Heritage group untie the red ribbon around the board to officially make it available for public viewing.


Tom thanked everyone who had been involved in the enterprise with special acknowledgment to Sandra Nolan who started the project, while Councillor Bullen remarked how glad he was to see the Heritage Group continuing to thrive having been established since 2010.


Next up for the heritage group, “Boat Families on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, a illustrated talk by Bill Huyton of the Ormskirk and District family history society, at /the Blue Mallard Monday 13th April.


Colin Wareing Acting Press officer for the Burscough Heritage Group.

Phone no 07931 356204


Burscough ticket office..thing’s are moving on again...

Burscough ticket office..thing’s are moving on again...

It has been reported in this week’s West Lancashire Champion newspaper “Burscough Bridge Interchange plan is just the ticket”

It appears that Lancashire County Council are now giving serious consideration to Councillor Cynthia Dereli’s idea of relocating the library to the building and thus should help with the financial possibility of retain the ticket office. 

I’ve also heard that there are a couple more parties interested in the possibility of using the building, it’s just a pity that Lancashire County Council hadn’t been able to find someone or organization to use the extra space in the building before we got to this stage. There has been talk around the village for the last few years of people showing an interest in renting the old cafe but struggling to get any sort of response from the council. 

Anyhow it’s all about what happens next and can the general public carry on supporting the idea of finding a use for the rest of the building whilst retaining the ticket office.

Maybe the combined campaigning of everyone who has been involved has taken some of the Lancashire County Councillors a bit by surprise because as we know this all started from a proposal buried deep in a consultation document.

It seems that we have about a year to reverse the decision to shut the ticket office, so maybe we need to carry on asking the questions of our politician’s, especially for the next few weeks in the run up to the election, though I must say that Rosie Cooper our M P has been asking questions on my behalf, with a reply arriving the other day from Claire Perry M P Under secretary of State, Department of Transport who focuses on the re-letting of the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises “and passengers will be at the heart of them”

I wonder if David Burrow’s the Lancashire CC leader is now whishing he hadn’t supported the possibility of shutting the ticket office at Burscough Bridge, especially now that a report has been produced that could see the Southport to Wigan line electrified by 2024, surely it would be better with a proactive ticket office staff as we have now so everybody, from the travelling public, the train operator and the country’s economy benefits from increased train usage?

Colin Wareing 26.3.15

Burscough ticket office what now..

Blog posting, 21.3.15

Burscough ticket office what now..

Well it has been confirmed by the Burscough Bridge ticket office staff that following Lancashire County Councils setting of the budget that the ticket office will close on the 30th March 2016.

So is that the end of it?

Possibly but possibly not.

There are still a lot of people interested in retaining the ticket office facility in some form or another, from the Parish Council, local people, another few letters have appeared in the local press, and OPSTA.

Generally the feeling can be summed up as

'The parish council doesn’t seem to happy with the lack of answers it has been getting to it’s questions of the county council and is making the strongest representation it can to get a response  to it’s questions and OPSTA is also pursuing answers as to what can be done.

Maybe we should be getting in touch with George Osborne the Chancellor of the Exchequer as he is keen on promoting the Northern Powerhouse., naming one of Northern’s “new” electric trains yesterday “Northern Powerhouse” at Manchester Piccadilly.

One interesting think I was told the other day is that the station building is built on Network Rail land, and part of the agreement of it being there is that there has to be a ticket office in the building. Don’t know if it’s a fact but if it is does no ticket office equal no building?

Colin 21.3.15

Add your content here!

A week in Nailsworth day 2

 Sunday the 1st March 2015

We had another good wander around the town of Nailsworth again this morning,  using the maps and walk guides, from the Tourist information.

It was a nice crisp sunny morning and the traffic not to bad around town, though a broken down car on the main roundabout in the middle of town wasn’t helping. It got a bit chaotic at times, but the fella who recovered the car was very cool and did a grand job.

Rescueing broken down car in Nailsworth













Some nice old mills and stone buildings, and the Town hall are very impressive.

We ended up eating in the cottage today, obtaining supplies from the Morrison’s supermarket.

We think we are a bit early n the year for all the cafe’s to feel it’s worth opNailsworth town hallening on a Sunday.















It rained quite hard this afternoon, glad we didn’t go out again, Carole watched the rugby and I worked on images.  

Colin 2.3.15










A week in Nailsworth day 1

We drove down in the truck on, Friday the 27th Feb.

We’re staying in Pump cottage on Watledge Road. The cottage is very nice, but the heating system leaves a bit to be desired, we’ve had to call out he plumber, but he needs a new bit.  He may be able to get on Monday.

In the mean time we had a wander around Nailsworth on Saturday morning, visiting the monthly farmers market, from where we obtained a loaf of rustic bread, and some nice cheese, and the Nailsworth Town information office where we got maps and walk guides, very helpful.  

Not being able to get away from yarn shops we went in to “Mother Goose Handycrafts ” on Market Street. The couple of ladies, Steffi Stern and Tilly who run the place where very nice and welcoming, and they had even heard of the Wool Boat. Tilly and Steffi at Mother Goose Nailsworth










Dinner in The Britannia on Cossack square. It was nice, having had a make-over since last time we were here, though we thought at £13 for pie and boiled potatoes it was a bit overpriced.

Then up the hill via a lift from some chap looking for the ground of Forest Green Rovers. Southport started really well and where 0-1 up within 4 minutes. It didn’t last. We lost 5-3.  

Hopefully the week will get better....

The Ainscough Mill job

The Ainscough Mill job

In the village where we moor is a former corn mill in the process of being redeveloped into apartments.

 The mill dates from 1850’s but stopped production in the 1960’s and the building fell into decline.

The mill stands alongside the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and the Ainscough’s used the canal to carry imported American grain from Liverpool docks to this and its sister mill at Parbold. In the 1930’s the company had a fleet of barges built especially for this job.

Over the last couple of years Persimmon Homes have been redeveloping the building, the mill yard and the former sidings area of Burscough junction railway station with new houses and converting the mill building into apartments.

They recently opened the show apartment for the mill in what used to be the engine and boiler house.

Through one of my other voluntary roles, as press officer for the H and R Barge restoration project that is working to preserve and restore two of the Ainscough’s barges, I was asked if I could provide some images for use in the show apartment.

The interior designer, Eileen Wilcox of Eileen Wilcox Interiors did the work on the show apartments and seemed impressed by my images, so she had them printed out and framed up and has used them in a display on the stairs up to the show apartment.

All the images are in the Burscough  or Canals  galley here and if you would like copies of them please feel free to get in touch. I can provide these as prints or electronic images that you can then print up to the size required. They were done to 8 x 6 inches for display at the mill.

Colin 22.2.15













Pictures on the walls of the stair's up to the 2nd flour apartment in the "Engine house" Ainscough's Mill.

Images supplied

Cw 144 Bingley 5 rise locks.

Cw 223 L and L Fly boat Ribble.

Cw 228 Boat and Burscough Mill.

Cw 233 Burscough mile post.

Cw 238 Frosty morning at the top of the Rufford Branch.

Cw 240 Burscough Mill.

Cw 468 Leeds and Liverpool in Burscough frozen and snowed up.

Cw 470 Top of Rufford branch and Burscough mill in snow.

Cw 579 Narrowboats in Salthouse dock and Liver building.

Cw 810 Burscough mill at dusk.

Cw 937a nb Snowgoose moored on L and L.

Cw 945 Four wide working boats at Burscough Wharf.

Cw 947 Ambush and Viktoria leaving Dean lock.

Cw 1139 Mist under railway canal bridge.




Burscough Station blog posting No 11, What happens next?

Burscough Station blog posting No 11, What happens next? 13.2.15 

Hi all

Has anyone heard if the campaign to retain the funding for the ticket office had any effect on the LCC budget meeting yesterday?

And what we need to do next, if anything?


the Ormskirk, Preston & Southport travellers’ association

established 1981, affiliated with Railfuture, and Campaign For Better Transport

web site - 

Have highlighted the issue in their latest magazine. 

Burscough Bridge under threat

The future of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge is under review and although a

final decision is not made it seems quite clear the default position is it will close

unless the case is made otherwise.

To give some clarification, a Lancashire County Councillor went on record, “At last

year's Budget Council ... further savings of £70 million spread over 2015/2018 were

also agreed. The savings from Burscough ticket office were agreed (then) and are

due to come in 2015/16. We need to go through a period of consultation before a

change is implemented and the Council has to make huge savings and any ideas on

how to do that without closing services are of great assistance”.

There has been a strong objection from the local Burscough community (see Colin

Wareing’s blog and

Councillor Cynthia Dereli is actively looking for ways of keeping the service going.

While sympathising with LCC and the budget /cost pressures it faces, OPSTA

naturally opposes closure – its true worth is obvious - and will be raising the matter

at February’s community rail partnership meeting. We will work constructively with

all parties on ideas and proposals to secure the future of a manned station.

In the meantime you can support this campaign by going to Burscough Bridge

station and signing the petition.

Colin 13.2.15


Burscough Heritage group’s history meeting 9.2.15 Harry Hague's

Burscough Heritage group’s history meeting 9.2.15. 


For the last 4 years we have been involved in the up’s and down’s of The Burscough Heritage group, a not for profit group of people from the Burscough area whose aim is to preserve and make available to the wider world some of the history and heritage of the village.

I have been and still are the press officer for the group.

Last night the group organized a historical talk in The Blue Mallard restaurant at Burscough Wharf about Hague’s transport of Lathom, locally just Harry Hague’s.

The evening was a great event and we even had a real old lorry outside.

If you would like more information about the Burscough Heritage Group please feel free to e-mail which is the e-mail account I keep an eye on for the group.

The picture is 

Harry Hauges lorry

Former Harry Hague’s Atkinson lorry parked outside Burscough Wharf on the evening of 9th February 2015.

The lorry is persevered in the Bill Hunter collection at Holmeswood.

The lorry was at Burscough wharf to support a talk given by David L Rimmer, the onetime lead mechanic at Hague Transport of Lathom, and organised by the Burscough Heritage Group at the Blue Mallard.  

Colin Wareing 10.2.15

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office No 10

Blog posting no 10 25th January 2015.Following my last posting I’ve had a bit more information 

E-mail correspondence with Councillor David Burrow

From David on 21st January

At last year's budget council savings of about £70 million were agreed for 2014/15 and futher savings of £70 million spread over 2015/2018 were also agreeed. The savings from Burscough ticket office are due to come in in 2015/16 and were agreed at last years Budget Council. LCC is currently consulting on further savings of over £150 million spread over the next three years.

We need to go through a period of consultation before a change is implemented and Coun Dereli has been very active in looking for ways of keeping the service going but also making the saving - the poroposed library move should be seen in that context. The Council has to make huge savings and any ideas on how to do that without closing servicws are of great assisitance to the council,

From me 22.1.15
Good morning David
Thank you for your reply
Now I just need to clarify,
"The savings from Burscough ticket office are due to come in in 2015/16 and were agreed at last years Budget Council. LCC is currently consulting on further savings of over £150 million spread over the next three years."

Does that mean that despit the recent consultaition that the decsion about the Burscough Bridge ticket office has already been taken and agreed by the council and will take effect at some date in 2015/16?

Best regards
Colin Wareing

From David 23.1.15


Not exactly.

 Last year's Budget Council agreed a number of savings in future years but in many cases a further formal consultation is required. As a result of the consultation the proposals may be amended and could in some cases be reversed. The point I wanted to make was that a decision in principle has already been made – whereas in respect of the £150 million plus mentioned in your second paragraph, the council has yet to make a decision. 


Received this from Phil at the station on the 22nd January

Just to say that at Burscough Bridge we are carrying on for the next week with collecting names on the petition. The Public Consultation on the budget ends on the 4th February and then it goes to Full Council on the 12th February.

So it seems to me that we have still time to influence what happens, though if  you have any ideas for the usage of the building they would be appreciated by the council.

Colin Wareing 25.1.15

Where now? For Burscough Bridge ticket office

Blog posting no 9 20th January 2015. 

Where now? 

I must admit I’m at a bit of a loss now as to where to go with the issue of the possible closure of the ticket office at Burscough Bridge?

At some time the Lancashire County Council will hold their budget meeting and then decide what will happen, can we do anything else in the mean time?

According to the local papers the council have relented on the idea of cutting bus subsidies, so what about this issue?

As far as I’m aware That Julie Gudgeon of The U3A at Burscough are still working on their petition,

Cynthia Dereli has suggested that the library is moved into the interchange building to help offset costs.

It has also been suggested the Northern Rail are possibly not that interested as their franchise is up for renewal with in the next year or so, and they may not be running our trains after that. 

Alan Fantom of OPSTA has suggested that it may be a idea for the interested parties to get together to decide what we can do, anyone up for it?

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any idea what we can do.

Colin Wareing 20.1.15

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? Blog posting no 8 1st January 2015.

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? 

Blog posting no 8 1st January 2015. 

When I got involved in this issue my aim was to raise awareness of the LCC budget consultation process and to encourage as many people as possible to put their views forwards.

I like to think I’ve played a small part in doing that, and there has been some more information, publicity and ideas that have come out over the Christmas period, but the question now is what happens now? Is there anything more I can now do to influence the decision makers of the budget of the council? 

I was asked by Julie Gudgeon to take some photo’s at the station on the 20th of December of the U3A petition and distribute them to the local press which I dully did, which was published in the West Lancashire Champion on the 24th Dec and on the Ormskirk Q local website.

My original information I sent with the photo was….

 Petition Party at Burscough Br station 20.12.14

Image Cw 1247 Petition party at Burscough Bridge Ticket office.

On 20.12 2014 Julie Gudgeon ,centre, and Cllr Ruth Melling, right, of the Burscough U3A met with Paul Greenhall, the prospective conservative parliamentary candidate for West Lancashire, at the ticket office at Burscough Bridge interchange, to highlight the threat of withdrawal of this facility due to budget cuts at Lancashire County Council. Julie and Ruth are organising a petition that up to now has collected over 300 signatures objecting to the possibility of losing the staff from the station.

The petition, which is available to sign at the ticket office  will be presented to the County Council before the final decision is taken on this issue, which could include a relocation of Burscough library from Mill lane to the station to make it more viable.

The interchange is a modern building that was opened in 2005, the building of it being partly funded by the county council, who have provided the funding to employ the staff in the ticket office.

 Lancashire County Council, are now in the process of a budget review, and have proposed to withdraw the funding, which is not a popular decision with residents of the Burscough area who appreciate the facility of not just ticket buying but also the information service supplied by the staff. 

Which Danielle Thompson from the paper expanded on to produce the piece that got published.

I have had a interesting e-mail from Alan Fantom, the chair of OPSTA including,

The matter will be discussed, at my request, at the West of Lancs Community Rail Partnership meeting in January. While WoLCRP is not the decision maker on this matter it was instrumental in getting the station up and running in the first place. Thus this could be an effective channel for us to work through.”

Cynthia Dereli, County Councillor for West Lancashire West, also put out a press release with a interesting idea, which again was published in the Champion, on the 31.12.14

“I fully support those local residents who have been petitioning to retain Burscough Train Station’s ticket office. To protect its future we have to ensure that it remains viable and that means finding additional community uses for the building.

“Some months ago I asked the County Council to look into conducting a feasibility study to explore the potential of transferring Burscough Library to the station building. Such a move would help to both secure the future of our local ticket office and develop a central and easily accessible Library of a similar size to the existing one.

“We are still at a very early stage and progression depends on the outcome of the study but I would be keen to hear the thoughts of local residents in the meantime who I would also encourage to sign the local petition to help protect the future of our ticket office and station building.”

Cabinet member for Libraries at Lancashire County Council, Marcus Johnstone, said:

“I’m happy to look into the possibility of this transfer and a feasibility study is now underway to see if it would be a sensible and beneficial move for the local community.

“The Labour Group is committed to supporting quality Library provision for Lancashire and, even if we weren’t facing unprecedented cuts to our annual budget from the Government, it would be absolutely right to ensure that we were making the best and most efficient use of our public buildings.”  

Colin Wareing 1.1.15

Well thats it then

Well that’s it then, the winners of Strictly and the apprentice have been announced, we are back on our mooring at Crabtree Lane, the tree is up, all 15inch of it and we are taking some time out.

Boat sized Christmas Tree

 Carole has completed all her orders for Christmas, my  

  Christmas cards are selling well in Burscough Bridge  Post office, could do to sell a few more 2015 calendars, if you want one get in touch, or go and see Graham’s the grocers or Annie B’s in the village.

We are next planning to be open outside the Farmers Arm’s on the 8th Jan but if you do need anything, please feel free to give us a ring and we’ll sort you out....

Meanwhile we’re wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and hopefully we’ll see you somewhere on t’cut next year...

Carole and Capt Col Monday 22.12.14

Burscough Bridge ticket office to close ? no 8 19.12.14

Blog up date no 8 19.12.14

Hi all received a e-mail from Northern in response to my question to Jane, the station manager  for Burscough bridge, Doesn’t seem to positive, not quoted it all as it is of course only intended for me..

Julie from the U3A has been organizing the local petition and has organized a photo shoot at the station tomorrow morning, Sat the 20th at 09.30 and I’m sure she would appreciated as much support as possible.

Question and Reply from Northern rail

Question sent 9.12.14

To Jane, Station Manager Burscough Bridge.


Good morning Jane


As station manager of the Burscough Bridge interchange on the Southport to Wigan line I want to ask what your and Northern Rails views are on the proposal from Lancashire county council to remove funding for the staff at the ticket office at Burscough Bridge?


I among quite a few other local people think the staff there provide an excellent service in selling tickets for Northern, providing real time train information and the loss of staff would be of great detriment to the village of Burscough and presumably the amount of revenue earned from ticket sales for Northern?


The general public have chance to comment on the proposal on the Lancashire County Council website and I have been encouraging people to do so via my blog and through social media and would welcome your comments.


Best Regards

Colin Wareing


The reply came back on from Neil Hebden at Northern, and part of it is below,  the 18.12.14 and there didn’t seem to be any great interest from Northern to take the issue on...

“Obviously it will be disappointing to lose this facility but this is LCCs decision that has been brought about by the county's austerity cuts”


Burscough Bridge ticket sales. Blog posting no 7

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 7     14th December 2014.

Burscough Bridge ticket sales.

Now I’m not a stato, so my conclusions are open to question, however..

The Office of Rail Regulation publishes an annual report on station usage in the country, which gives a estimate of station usage based on ticket sales at each station.

The information is freely available on the internet at

As Lancashire County Council are proposing withdrawing funding from Burscough Bridge, whilst continuing to fund offices at Carnforth, Clitheroe and Nelson I have extracted the following, these are figures for entry into the station, so assume these are ticket sales. They do also provide a estimate of total usage, ie entry and exits, but as there is really no checking system at Burscough, it seems to me that the entries are the relevant ones.

                                            Year 2012-13                           Year 2013 -14                    + or -

Burscough Bridge                  105421                                      109795                          + 4374

Carnforth                                98235                                      103295                           + 5060

Clitheroe                               175911                                    159718                            - 16193

Nelson                                 69547                                         73384                             + 3837

Draw your own conclusions…mine would say that Burscough is selling it’s fair share of tickets, and maybe some of the other interchanges/ticket offices that Lancashire County Council is subsidizing need looking at in more detail.

Colin Wareing 14.12.14

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? No 6

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 6   12th December 2014.

Received from Lancashire County council, some answers

Dear Mr Wareing,

Thank you for your email dated 03/12/14 to Councillor Borrow and the County Treasurer, Ms Kilpatrick, regarding the Budget Consultation and in particular your queries relating to Burscough CIC.  I am replying on their behalf to your request for additional information and our response is as follows:

1 How much of the £80k is Burscough’s share? 

The saving achieved as a result of the withdrawal of services at the Burscough CIC is £50k.

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales?

The café has been closed for some time and whilst there has been occasional interest in the area in the past, none of this has come to fruition.

3 How many people use the facility? 

We do not hold figures on the actual number of people who use the facility.

4 Could the Parish council help with funding? 

The Parish Council are aware of the proposals but we have not been approached with an offer of funding. 

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

At this stage, it is felt unlikely that additional funding would be provided 

6 How do people without internet access make their views known? 

Anyone without internet access can write to the main County Hall address (see below), for the attention of the County Treasurer and marked 'budget – have your say'.  This will ensure that it is fed through to the correct people for consideration. 

Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Park 

Senior Finance Business Partner

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 5   11th December 2014. 

Had a letter form Rosie Cooper

Saying she would pass my concerns to the attention of Steve Browne, Executive Director for the Environment, Lancashire County Council and asked that this matter is investigated.

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? no 4

Movemeber train at Burscough bridge

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 4 9th December 2014.

Some interesting responses to questions, but no real answers yet.............

Just hope everyone gets to respond to the consultation as well, here..

From the radio the other day it was reported that our M P for West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper, asked the Prime Minister David Cameron about a train station for Skelmersdale, Hmm what about Burscough?

I’ll ask.

Just had a Twitter message from Rosie Cooper, (9.12.14)

Rosie Cooper MP@rosie4westlancs 29s29 seconds ago

@ColinWareing1 Good morning Colin, yes I have received your email and have signed off appropriate letters this morning. Will keep in touch

I have asked (3.12.14) the Lancashire County councillor David Burrows and the County Treasurer the following, await replies.

Dear Councillor Burrows and County Treasurer Ms Kilpatrick,

I see that you presented to Lancashire County Council the Money Matters – The Financial Strategy for 2015/16 to 2017/18 on Thursday 6th November which is now open to public consultation and this is why I’m contacting you.

From this document I see there is a proposal to close the ticket office at Burscough Bridge Interchange in West Lancashire.

As a resident of Burscough and frequent user of the interchange I would like to respond to the consultation, but feel I would like some more information so as not to produce a negative response.

I see the proposal would save £80k by closing both Burscough and Burnley, and while understanding the need to reduce budgets at the moment could you answer the following or direct me to some one else who could provide the answers to enable a positive response to the consultation?

1 how much of the £80k is Burscough’s share?

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales?

3 how many people use the facility?

4 Could the Parish council help with funding?

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

6 how do people without internet access make their views known?

I had a positive response from Michelle Blair on behalf of The Burscough Action Group, who also pointed out the importance of local people getting involved in the Burscough Parish Council’s Local plan initiative. 

The reply came back on 4.12.14

Reply on the 4th December from David Burrow

Thank you for your email about savings options for the County Council. I will get back to you as soon as I have the detailed information you request. 

David Borrow

Northern Rail

Burscough Bridge ticket office to close?

To Jane Station Manager Burscough Bridge on 10.12.14 

Good morning Jane

As station manager of the Burscough Bridge interchange on the Southport to Wigan line I want to ask what your and Northern Rails views are on the proposal from Lancashire county council to remove funding for the staff at the ticket office at Burscough Bridge?

I among quite a few other local people think the staff there provide an excellent service in selling tickets for Northern, providing real time train information and the loss of staff would be of great detriment to the village of Burscough and presumably the amount of revenue earned from ticket sales for Northern?

The general public have chance to comment on the proposal on the Lancashire County Council website and I have been encouraging people to do so via my blog and through social media and would welcome your comments.

Best Regards

Colin Wareing 

Auto reply….from Northern

Dear Customer

Customer Relations

Case Reference: NR/410326

Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train company serving communities across the north of England.

We aim to respond within 20 working days.

In the meantime we can confirm receipt of your feedback/enquiry.

If you are claiming compensation for delay or disruption to your journey we need your home address, details of where you were travelling from and to, and copies of relevant travel documentation. If you are making a complaint about a Northern station, we need the station name and the time and date of the incident. If it is a complaint about a member of staff, we need the time, date and location of the incident, and a name and/or description would be helpful. In all instances, please immediately reply directly to this email making sure the case reference number is in the subject heading.

Kind regards
Customer Relations Officer

Burscough U3A

Julie from the Burscough U3A has started a petition, of which there should be a copy at the station now for you to sign in support of trying to get the station staff retained.

She is intending, to present it to the LCC member, Cynthia Dereli, Not sure about when it will be presented, as the matter is still under discussion.

To Alan Fantom at OPSTA and reply 


I am away at present but will give you a fuller reply on my return. We had heard a rumour but nothing more. We will campaign and work to find ways to ensure this does not happen. 



From: Colin and Caroles Creations <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Monday, 1 December 2014, 16:02
Subject: Burscough Bridge ticket office to close?

Dear Mr Fantom

Could I ask your and OPSTA's opinion on the possibility of the ticket office and Burscough Bridge Interchange being closed?

Do you think it will actually happen?

I have tried to send this via the OPSTA website, but wasn't sure if it went?

I’m not happy about the possible loss of this facility but feel that not too many people know about it and that they can comment on it via the Lancashire county council website.

I have put a blog posting on our website, at

With details and links to the consultation, though not many people read our blog, so I’m intending to post it around Face book etc, and if there are any other links to your on line presence that you would like highlighting I can do this, as I feel there is a need to get the people of Burscough aware of what we may loose.

Best regards

Colin Wareing, Capt of The Wool Boat phone 07931 356204

Local Press

I have also sent a piece to the Ormskirk Advertizer, The West Lancashire Champion and to Roger Baxhall at Ormskirk Q local, so hopefully they will give the issue some more exposure.

Colin 10.12.14

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure? No 3

Burscough Bridge Travel inter change ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 3 4th December 2014.

Wow what a fantastic response to the posting on Facebook, mainly via the “Images of Burscough” page, and the info is being spread via Twitter as well.

Just hope everyone gets to respond to the consultation as well, here..

From the radio yesterday it was reported that our M P for West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper, asked the Prime Minister David Cameron about a train station for Skelmersdale, Hmm what about Burscough?

I’ll ask.

I have asked (3.12.14) the Lancashire County councillor David Burrows and the County Treasurer the following, await replies.

Dear Councillor Burrows and County Treasurer Ms Kilpatrick,

I see that you presented to Lancashire County Council the Money Matters – The Financial Strategy for 2015/16 to 2017/18 on Thursday 6th November which is now open to public consultation and this is why I’m contacting you.

From this document I see there is a proposal to close the ticket office at Burscough Bridge Interchange in West Lancashire.

As a resident of Burscough and frequent user of the interchange I would like to respond to the consultation, but feel I would like some more information so as not to produce a negative response.

I see the proposal would save £80k by closing both Burscough and Burnley, and while understanding the need to reduce budgets at the moment could you answer the following or direct me to some one else who could provide the answers to enable a positive response to the consultation?

1 how much of the £80k is Burscough’s share?

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales?

3 how many people use the facility?

4 Could the Parish council help with funding?

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

6 how do people without internet access make their views known?

Capt Col 4.12.14.

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure? No 2

Burscough Bridge interchange

Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure?

Blog posting no 2 2.12.14.

I have been getting in contact with people and organizations that I think may be interested.

I did ring Lancashire county councillor Cynthia Dereli on 26th Nov.

She agreed that the whole situation needs looking at, there is a building there that is underused but maybe the way the train ticketing and information could be delivered in a more efficient way.

Yesterday the 1.12.14 I sent a e-mail out to people I thought may be interested.

Sent this out via e-mail on 1.12.14 to 

Tess Reddington Clerk to Burscough Parish Council

Ormskirk Preston and Southport travellers Association, (OPSTA)

Burscough U3A

The Burscough Action Group

Tess Reddington forwarded the e-mail to all the Parish councillors but also pointed out in the same proposals from the Lancashire county council there is the possibility of withdrawal of support subsidies for local bus services. 

I await replies…. 


Could I ask your opinion on the possibility of the ticket office and Burscough Bridge Interchange being closed?

Do you think it will actually happen?

I’m not happy about the possible loss of this facility but feel that not too many people know about it and that they can comment on it via the Lancashire county council website.

I have put a blog posting on our website, at

With details and links to the consultation, though not many people read our blog, so I’m intending to post it around Face book etc, and if there are any other links to your on line presence that you would like highlighting I can do this, as I feel there is a need to get the people of Burscough aware of what we may loose.

Best regards

Colin Wareing, Capt of The Wool Boat phone 07931 356204

The Festive Saint Nicholas Explorer and Cleveland Potter Rail tour.


The Festive Saint Nicholas Explorer and Cleveland Potter Rail tour.

Saw preserved class 40 diesel no 345 haul this Compass rail tour from Southport to York and then on to Saltburn in Cleveland.

Class 40 345 at Burscough Bridge

When did we last have a class 40 along the Southport line? This one is preserved by the Class 40 Preservation Society, and is based on The East Lancashire Railway, though it is of course certified to run on the mainline.

The rolling stock for the train was provided by West coast railways in Carnforth who also provided one of their elderly class 47 (47 804) diesel’s to provide the pull back assistant on the branch lines.

The tour left Southport at 08.32 and picked up at Burscough Bridge at 08.46, Parbold, and Wigan Wallgate and station’s to Manchester.  The tour then crossed the misty Pennines through Rochdale, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, arriving in York 12.10.

Passengers had the option then of a visit to the city of York or continuing on to Teeside through Middlesbrough to Saltburn. Class 40 345 at Burscough Bridge












Just a quick turn round there of about 10 minutes,

and then back to York

Class 40 345 at Burscough Bridge












for a 2 hour break via Darlington.

Time for some tea and a pint in The Tap on the station, before the trip home in the darkness to arrive back in Burscough at just after 22.00hrs.

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure?

Burscough Bridge Travel interchange ticket office under threat of closure?

Not a lot to do with wool or canals but something I feel needs a bit of publicity, as we use it quite a bit when we need to get back to base, and it's a great asset to Burscough and the surrounding area,

Burscough is in quite good situation train travel wise with rails running north, south. east and west, with two stations in the village.

Burscough Bridge station is on the Southport to Wigan and onwards to Manchester line.

In Monday 21st November 2005 a new station building was opened on the Southport direction platform, known as The Burscough Bridge Travel Interchange, as it provides connectivity between the trains and local bus services.

The funds for the building came from various sources including Northern Rail, the train operator and Lancashire County Council.

The council have been funding the employment of the ticket office staff, which are two full time and one part time.

The interchange seems well used and the person to person contact between ticket office staff and passengers is well appreciated.  

However in these times of government cut backs Lancashire County council have proposed that the interchange ticket office be closed, along with one in Burnley. This will result in a saving of £80k a year.

It appears that these two have been selected from “Carnforth, Clitheroe,

Nelson and Preston with the withdrawal of facilities at Burscough and Burnley.

Facilities at Burnley and Burscough would be withdrawn with the loss of

information and ticketing provision at each location” because the revenue from ticket sales doesn’t cover the cost of staffing

At the moment there is a public consultation underway, initially via the council website.

The following is the draft resolution from a Lancashire county council meeting on 6th Nov 2014.

And if you follow it through to appendix A

Then you need page 79

Your chance to put your views are here.

The problem I have at the moment is that not too many people are aware of this, and the consultation ends on the 15th Dec, and if the council don’t know how people feel we could loose the ticket office, and it may be a big job to get it back.

There are still lots of questions, and what I’ve learnt up to now is that some people seem to be taking a interest, I asked if there was any one doing anything.

It appears that the local U3A has a petition going,

Roger Bell, local Parish councillor (01704 897491) and member of the OPSTA, Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Association is interested,  

But maybe the first person to contact is Cynthia Dereli  (01704 895247) who is the Lancashire county councillor for West Lancashire West, which covers Burscough

This is Cynthia’s web page on the council website 

I don’t really want to fill in the on line form YET without being able to offer some constructive ideas, but I feel I need some answers to questions first, as I think you only get one chance to fill it in.

1 how much of the £80k is Burscough’s share?

2 Could the café be re let to provide some income to offset ticket sales

3 how many people use the facility

4 Could the Parish council help with funding

5 Would Northern rail be prepared to help with funding, to offset the fall in ticket revenue that could result in closure?

6 how do people without internet acess make thier views known?

And that’s just for a start..

Colin Wareing 27.11.14

The Farmers Arms to Maghull.

The Farmers Arms to Maghull.

Friday 14.11.14


Haskayne cutting in the Autumn









Following yesterday’s rain and wind, once the weather had blown it’s self out this morning we set off from the mooring outside the Farmers Arms about 10.30.

The day turned into a lovely autumn day as we cruised through the flat fertile lands of West Lancashire, with blue sky’s , a flat calm canal and wonderful leaf colours in the woods before Scarisbrick and in the cutting at Halsall where the first sod of the Leeds and Liverpool canal was cut back in the 1700’s.


We stopped for dinner at The Ship inn at Haskayne. The pub had been refurbished since we last visited, and is now a JW Lees pub. We had a grand dinner of sandwiches, Carole having Brie and red onion chutney, with beef and onion for me.  The Lees bitter was very nice as well...

We think we will be making a return visit when we are on the way back to Burscough on Monday.

Emma Maye moored outside The Ship Inn at Haskayne

On through the always open  to canal traffic, Downholland Hall swing bridge before stopping to work through Coxhead’s  swing bridge, no 20. This is electric powered now, worked with a CaRT  service station key. Carole amused by “if key stuck in lock WD40 usually does the trick C.R.T” written on the control panel in felt tip.

Downholland Hall Swing bridge

We turned at the winding hole in the middle of the Mersey Motor Boat Club mooring’s at Lydiate and then dragged “Emma Maye” back away towards the Bells Lane swing bridge. We didn’t want to moor too near the bridge, a bit near the pub for a Friday evening. We did moor, then realised that we had moored opposite the only boat on the mooring that anyone appeared to be staying on tonight. We know what we would have thought if someone had moored opposite our mooring when there was plenty of empty bank space along this length. So we moved about 100 yard nearer the bridge.

After tea we walked up to The New Running Horses , for a few pints with my lad, Glen and his partner. Another pub that has been refurbished since we were last in it in May 2103. Can’t  remember them having much cask ale on last time, but this time there were four casks on the hand pulls. We settled on Handsome Devil from Thwaites a very nice dark bitter.  Not disappointed, so a good night was had with a bit of live music after a good few hours cruising on the Leeds and Liverpool.

Capt Col, Maghull 15.11.14

Another interesting day as a roving yarn trader

Another interesting day as a roving yarn trader

Saturday 8th November 2014

We had been moored about a mile outside the West Lancashire village of Parbold on the Leeds and Liverpool canal last night, so a short cruise this morning in to the village where there are plenty of moorings.

The weather not great, more showers than sunshine, but we still had a few customers. Managed to provide a customer with some local spun yarn from Lazy Kate that he wanted for a relation in Switzerland.

We have never particularly advertised that we do a postal delivery service, the cost of the postage for bulky yarn can be expensive and we’ve always felt that yarn is a tactile thing so should be handled before people buy....unless they know what they are buying. And we’ve never really got our heads around Pay Pal.  However today we got a Facebook message from Claire in Stone. She had bought some Aran off us back in August and need some more.

Job sorted, paid by Pay Pal and will be in the post for her on Monday, glad to be of service, and the more we do it the better we’ll get.

A interesting conversation then followed with a chap of the name of Paul. He’d often seen us in the village, where he now lives, and had now got round to calling. His family used to own woollen mills in Bolton and Stoke. He now has the remaining stocks of yarn that he has no further use for and wondered if we would be interested in it to knit up or sell? We have arranged to go for a look in a couple of week’s this space.

We had got a bit low on diesel, last filled up at Wheaton Ashton on the Shropshire Union in August, so arranged with Derek Bent from Ambush to bring us 50 lts, which he did, not only us that can provide a good service then. We’ll fill up next time he’s down with the boat.

Then shutting time, so a couple of pint’s in The Railway to start the celebrations of Carole’s birthday, always nice to go in there for a pint of Pedigree and a friendly landlord who asks how’s The Wool Boat?

The only fly in the ointment was Southport F.C not beating Dagenham and Redbridge in the F.A cup, which means a replay a week on Tuesday, which we won’t be able to go to as we have a long standing appointment to give a “Woolly Wanderings on the Waterways” talk in Aughton, we’ll just have to hope they win and are in the 2nd round.

Capt Col, Sunday 9/11/14   

Yarn pick up trip to Yorkshire.

Yarn pick up trip to Yorkshire.

Wednesday 22nd October 2014


Colin is busy packing up Burscough Christmas cards, which are now available from The Wool Boat and Burscough Bridge Post office. 3 other designs available, price is £1.50 each. But today is a bit of a day "off" as we are having a trip out to Yorkshire for a yarn restocking session following the Burscough Fibre fest.....yummy, means we can buy some curd tarts:-)



We're back from't Yorkshire, with some replacement yarn's for what we had sold, Woodlander L9, some cotton on, and 2 new twinkle's a lovely Jade Green and a Sea Blue ( as requested by Max:-)). We have also picked up some 6.5mm x 35cm needles as requested. Oh yes Colin got his curd tarts from the corner bakery in Bingley. On the way home we stopped off in Trawden had a nice relaxed dinner in The Trawden Arms followed by a bit of a walk in the Wycoller Country park. It was a bit damp and misty, so we'll have to go for a return visit.

Ready now for being open again outside The Slipway on Crabtree Lane near Burscough and back at Burscough Wharf on Sat and Sunday.

Carole’s latest creation

2.10.14 Carole’s latest creationCaroles latest creation

A modern Gansey hand knitted by Carole Wareing from Colin and Carole's Creations.

The pattern was designed by Carole and is her modern interpretation of the Ganseys worn by working boat men on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

This particular garment is now on its way to a customer in Australia who ordered it following the screening of Sir Tony Robinsons t.v programme “Walking through History” on which he came across Carole sitting knitting on the back of “Emma Maye” last autumn.

 It was hand knitted on two needles.

The pattern is available to purchase from The Wool Boat or is available as a digital down load from for £2.

The yarn used for this particular Gansey is from J C Bretts from their “Legacy” range and is in pure wool in Navy Blue, shade no Q12, the yarn also being available from The Wool Boat.

Garment 178 Navy Blue Gansey

Image no 1124

Proud owners of a Bridgewater Trading Permit

1.10.14. Proud owners of a Bridgewater Trading Permit

We had just moored on The Bridgewater canal at Daresbury on Tuesday afternoon when a very nice chap in a shirt and tie, with a brief case came wandering along.

“You do know you can’t trade on The Bridgewater? “

Turns out the chap was Mike Web, from Peel Holdings who own and run the Bridgewater Canal.

He explained that there is no reciprocal agreement between them and the Canal and River Trust for trading, only navigating. We had advertised that we are in Lymm this coming weekend, and didn’t really want to alter our plans.

“So how do we go about getting a trading licence for The Bridgewater?”

“Ring my office in the morning, and we can take payment over the phone and e-mail you a permit”

“How much will it cost?”

“£60 for the year or part of it, the year running from 1st April to 31st March”

So we are now proud owners of The Bridgewater Low level trading permit no 14, though there is not any indication or request that we display it any where, suppose just as long as we are in the system that’s fine.

Wonder if we can get CaRT to negotiate for a reciprocal agreement?

Deep in the Potteries

We are deep in the Potteries at the moment. We’ve been moored at Westport Lake for a couple of days, and are now going to cruise to Etruria for the weekend.
This is where there is a old restored steam driven bone and flint mill, which is working and open this weekend, along with a classic vehicle rally on Sunday. So something for the non yarn buying boys and men?
We did moor up to visit the Middleport pottery on the way, this is the one that Prince Charles has been involved in supporting, and it was interesting.
We will be open at Etruria on Sat and Sunday, from 10 until at least 4.
Hope to see you there

Well worth the stop at Middleport pottery. We've been inside a bottle kiln! Now moored at Etruria, outside the industrial museum, next to the restored working boat "Lindsay" which will be used on Sunday to give rides along the canal. Oh aye we've had a pint in The Shoulder of Mutton on Sun Street, one of our favourite places for a pint when we are here.The Wool Boat outside MiddlePort Pottery

Job stopped near Middleport Pottery

9.9.14 Job stopped near Middleport Pottery

We had a bit of a do as we passed Middleport pottery on the 9th September 2014. A bit of a crunch and grind and “Emma Maye” came to a stop.

After a lot of pulling and hack sawing tangled wire down the weed hatch we finally got a rope on it and pulled, and kept pulling until we ended up with the remains of a wire fence panel and a push bike! We caused quite a bit of interest with some of the fella’s from the pottery, at one time we where all thinking of attaching the rope to their forklift truck to try to pull the fence off. After we had got it off, we deposited it in the weeds along side the path and informed the local Canal and River Trust people, asking them to come and move it before someone decided to throw it back in. The lads from the pottery told us a few days later that they CaRT had shifted it.

 stuff pulled from the prop at Middle portThis is what we pulled out.

A leaky aqueduct

On our way back from Parbold last weekend we stopped for a couple of days near Spencer's bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

We went for a walk up to The Red Lion in Newburgh for dinner, which was very pleasant.

The worry was what we saw after coming down the steps off the tow path at Culvert Lane...there was a lot of water pouring out of the side of the wall of the aqueduct, so we took a pic, and sent it to CaRT at Wigan. It'll be interesting to see what response we get.



Helping to be CaRT's eyes and ears on the ground, we where moored near Culvert Lane Aqueduct ( bridge 37b according to Nicholson's) on the Leeds and Liverpool in West Lancashire yesterday.

We went for a walk up to the Red Lion in Newburgh and noticed quite a lot of water flowing from the masonry of the aqueduct. We don't know if it has got worse recently, as we noticed the clay bung in the water on the side of the canal?


Competition or Choice?

Thursday 30.5.14

I don't know, you go away for a month, Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West, and we get back to Burscough and there is more choice of yarns. Sewing Susie has opened a shop on Burscough Wharf. She is selling clothes, a range of materials for sewing along with patterns, and knitting yarn!  We went and introduced ourselves this morning, pretence to see what she has in stock. Not a lot to compete with us, quite a bit of Debbie Bliss and some Robin yarns. Burscough will soon be the crafting capital of the north west, with at least four sewing suppliers/dress makers and now two yarn stores.

Queen Mary 2 day eight, Friday 23rd May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day eight, Friday 23rd May 2014

Southampton West docks





I didn’t sleep too well tonight, mainly because we had to be up early, so Carole decided to put her alarm on her phone. The trouble was that her phone had never got a connection while we were in the states, but decide to “wake up” at about 1.30 this morning when it got a signal from France!

So didn’t go back to sleep too much, waiting for the proper alarm, which of course I didn’t need.

So out on our balcony for about 05.00hrs as we started to see land for the first time for a week.

A dull morning, but a fascinating last few miles up Southampton Water.

 I’ve never arrived in a big port before, with docks, tug’s, big ships and ferries, with below us lines of colourful tractors, cars, lorries and machinery lined up ready for export.

We had docked by the time we sat down for breakfast, and had to be out of our stateroom by 8.00. Our luggage had gone already, and then disembarkation was a controlled and very calm affair, with certain decks going at certain times. We where some of the last off, waiting in the Britannia restaurant until 09.45, which gave me time to be taking pictures.

We had had our passports checked by immigration on board the ship earlier in the week, so it was just like walking off a train...into typical English weather, pouring rain, after all it’s a May Bank Holiday weekend.

Colin Wareing, Back in Burscough 26.5.14

Image no Cw 1060 Southampton Western Docks

Queen Mary 2 day seven, Thursday 22nd May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day seven, Thursday 22nd May 2014

Dr Stephen Payne

At Sea

Brighter, sea calmer, the wind had dropped a bit overnight.

Even though we had breakfast on a separate table, just the two of us as normal, we where near enough the next couple to be able to chat. They lived in Arizona, on the outskirts of Phoenix but where originally from Rochdale. They emigrated 30 years ago to the states, living and working in New York before settling in Arizona. They go back from time to time to see family, which is what they are doing now. It was nice chatting to them about the differences they have found between the mill towns of the Pennines and the desert of the Arizona.

 I did go back to listen Dr Stephen Payne OBE.  He was better today, probably because he was talking about his baby, the Queen Mary 2.

He told us how he had come to be the man who designed this ship, and how it is, well in his opinion the best ocean liner there has been and is. It has been superseded in size by bigger cruise ships, but all the way through we have been told there is a difference between a cruise ship and a transatlantic liner.

He answered one of my question’s as too how thick the steel work is, compared to a narrow boat.

The base plates on narrow boats are normally 10mm thick, and the hull sides 6-8mm. The Queen Mary 2 hull sides are up to 38mm thick, whilst most cruise ships are about 18mm. I don’t suppose they need as thick bottoms on these as they aren’t constantly scraping on the canal bed.  

The way this ship’s hull is designed, to a vey sharp point at the bow, with a bulbous bit sticking out in front of the bow at water level all aid it being able to keep going through rough sea’s, along with the stabilizers that are stuck out from the side help to keep it very stable. It is driven by 4 large diesel engines, that produce enough power to power a city the size of Southampton.  These in turn power four eclectic motors, each the weight of a jumbo aircraft, that turn the propellers. Two of these motors are able to swivel, so this provides the tiller or rudder.

Navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 4 hours away from entering the English channel.  We had speed up to about 27 knots per hour, to get nearer the coast to allow the coastguard helicopter to come and airlift a sick lady off the ship.  We’ve done 530 miles in the last 24 hours, but now where slowing down to make sure we got into Southampton on time in the morning. The last time we had to put our clocks forwards another hour so we are now back on time with England, so no jet lag.

We had a last look around the bookshop, where they also sell acrylic knitting yarn for $7.95 per 100 gram, along with pattern books, but they didn’t appear to sell needles. We asked, and they normally do, but they were out of stock at the moment.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 21.5.14

Image 1059 Dr Stephen Payne

Queen Mary 2 day six, Wednesday 21st May 2014

Where's the tiller

Queen Mary 2 day six, Wednesday 21st May 2014

At Sea

Cloudy, sea rougher, the wind had got up overnight, to force 7.

This morning I went to a lecture in the Illuminations theatre by Navel architect & Historian Dr Stephen Payne OBE. I thought the lecture was about this ship, the Queen Mary 2, but in actual fact it was about the QE2, which used to be the Cunard flagship, but was retired a few years ago and sold to the Arabs It was quite interesting, with a lot more people than I thought would have attended. But he’s a bit dry and there didn’t appear to be much chance to ask questions.  Will I go to tomorrows about the QM2? 

We saw another ship, way off, but with the telephoto lens it was possible to make it out to be a large container ship going in the same direction as us, but a bit slower.

 Navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 500 miles west/southwest of Fast net and we are doing 22.7 knots per hour. We’ve done 524 miles in the last 24 hours, having done 2386 miles since we left New York. They also told us that we had to put our clocks forwards another hour to take in the time difference, so we are on 23 hour days.

Dinner today was with 4 American’s. One older lady who is a regular traveller on the liners, a old lawyer from South Carolina who we struggled to understand, and a professor in psychology,  from a collage in Ohio who was travelling with one of his pupil’s who had just graduated, in we think sports psychology.  They are off to London and then Europe. The lad soon disappeared but his professor was interesting to talk to, and ended up showing us a “secret” on one of the many wall decoration panels, that included a “Homer Simpson”. 

Carole bought herself another New York T shirt.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 21.5.14

Image Cw 1058 Where’s the tiller.

Queen Mary 2 day five, Tuesday 20th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day five, Tuesday 20th May 2014

At Sea

Brighter day, sunny spells, sea calmer.

Carole had a book to return to the library today, and I went for a wander into the viewing area behind the bridge. Interesting, watching people work. The crew got a bit excited because they had spotted some whale blow’s. Of more interest was the first other ship we had seen since leaving port.

I also had a wander around the deck, a bit blowy on one side, and not many people about higher up, but plenty doing the deck walk.

Dinner time, for which were sociable again. Today’s dinner table was better, a couple of Irish Americans, who were interested in our boat. “Oh you are the lady from The Wool Boat!  We’ve heard all about you!” ......... from one of the knit and natter group.

The bridge gives us a navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 400 miles from the Azores, and we are doing 23 knots per hour. We’ve done 520 miles in the last 24 hours, having done 1836 miles since we left New York. They also told us that we had to put our clocks forwards another hour to take in the time difference, so we are on 23 hour days.

It is amazing to look out to sea and think of how explorers in the years gone by would set off without a clue what they were going to find, or indeed if they were ever going to find anything and would they come home?

Golden Lion again tonight after tea, didn’t win the trivia quiz of course, even with help from a couple from Worksop.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 20.5.14

Queen Mary 2 day four, Monday 19th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day four, Monday 19th May 2014

At Sea

Grey day, with odd sunny spell.

The days are falling into a routine of a separate breakfast, so we don’t have to be sociable, then a bit of a wander, or computing.

It’s then dinner time, for which we can be sociable a bit. However today’s round the table was with four Germans who were quite happy to ignore us and chatter away in German....oh well can’t win ‘em all.

The dinner takes a couple of hours, then a couple more hours working on the computer and it’s time to get changed into jacket and posh jeans ready for tea. After a couple of pint’s back in the Golden Lion and it’s showers and bed.

The bridge gives us a navigation update at midday, and today’s said that we where about 420 miles from Cape Ray off Newfoundland, there was 1600ft of water under the keel, and we are doing 22 knots per hour. We’ve done 530 miles in the last 24 hours, having done 1343 miles since we left New York.

Because it’s the 10th Anniversary cruise of the Queen Mary 2 when we got back to our room there was a copy of a book all about the last 10 years of the ship. It is actually a book produced by “Haynes” the car manual book, of which there is copies for sale in the book shop on the ship, which I considered buying, glad we didn’t now.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 20.5.14

Queen Mary 2 day three, Sunday 18th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day three, Sunday 18th May 2014

At Sea

Having slept well again, waking about 8.00 we had a proper breakfast with proper sit down service, bacon and eggs.

Now worked out there is about 1 staff member to 2 possible passengers, if the boat is full. This appears to be one of the most multicultural work force I’ve seen. Wonder if there are racial tensions? Don’t suppose Cunard would stand for much of it. The lad who severed us asked what coloured toast we wanted, white or like him? I’ll leave you to guess, but could a white chap have got away with asking if we wanted white toast or black? Hmm think not.

Still not seen any other ships.

Dinner was in the Britannia restaurant, again, roast pork.  We where sociable again, on a table with six other people. A couple of American’s from Maryland and a Dutch family, well a couple who were taking one of the sets of parents home to Holland. The couple lived on a boat in Panama, having left Holland for a quieter life once they retired. Theirs was a 60ft sailboat they moored in a old fort on one side of the panama canal. We of course got talking practicalities, of cooking, and supplies, though they don’t tend to have a heating problem with it being so warm. And eventually the talk got around to toilets, as it does with boaters.

Carole at the stitch and knit, in the grand lobby this afternoon, making new friends.

Could I get away with going to the formal dinner tonight without a tie? Looking through the window’s the other night we thought I could. So on with my “president” collarless shirt, and the waistcoat with the new pocket watch from the Grand Canyon railway and away we went. Carole looked nice in her dress and the shawl Max had crocheted.

Most of the men had formal black suits and ties on , but no one stopped us when we were going into the cocktail reception, with Capt Kevin Oprey, though we choose not to meet him personally, just in case we didn’t get in. Carole sat us with a couple of Germans, who didn’t seem to have much English, but only for a few minutes. At least we could get a beer. The Captain then introduced himself and the management team of the ship. Because this is the tenth anniversary cruise the original Captain is on board along with Dr Stephen Payne, who designed the ship.

Formalities over, with a nice relaxed speech from the Captain, then a nice tea again before getting our average score of 10 out of 20 in the trivia quiz in the Golden Lion bar before bed.

Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 19.5.14

Queen Mary 2 day two, Saturday 17th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day two, Saturday 17th May 2014

At Sea

Went to the buffet for breakfast. Oh what a disappointment. I thought we were going to get waited on as in a hotel. This was more like a works canteen. Not impressed.

Then a bit of an explore, though it’ll take us a while to find our way around, and remember which is the best stairway to use to get back to room 4.091.

I spent a good bit of time just watching the sea roll by. The noise of the engines are not loud, just the odd rumble and the wind on the balcony is quite warm. The sea seems fairly calm, but it’s hard to work out the height of the waves with no reference points. I think on deck 4 we are about 50 foot from the sea, and nothing is coming anywhere near our balcony except a bit of spray. We’ve not seen any other ships since leaving port, and just the occasional sea bird.

Sometimes the sun breaks through but we’re not seeing much blue sky.

We found we are able to have dinner in the Britannia restaurant, a proper sit down and be waited on affair. We can sit on a table for two or be communal and sit on a table of eight, which we did.

A lot of the passengers are older folk than us, that’s ok, and as expected, and thankfully not many children aboard. The table today consisted of 2 Australians on the way to travel the fjords of Norway, a single American lady coming over to England to visit Cornwall, a Swedish lady on her way home and another American mother and daughter.  

A pleasant lunch, everyone introduced themselves and a good bit of chat about where people where going and coming from.

Tonight we were back in the buffet for a canteen tea, because we thought we couldn’t get into the formal eating as I’m not going to be wearing a tie.

Had a couple of pints of Old Speckled Hen on draft in The Golden Lion before taking one back up to our room.


Colin Wareing, Queen Mary 2 mid Atlantic, 19.5.14

Queen Mary 2 day one, Friday 16th May 2014

Queen Mary 2 day one, Friday 16th May 2014.

Leaving New York.

We had seen the ship in Liverpool last May when we were in Salthouse Dock on “Emma Maye” so the ship held no real “aaahhw” factor for us.

We signed out of The Marcel at Gramecy hotel about 11.30 after having breakfast in the Lyric dinner again.

A yellow taxi took us to the cruise terminal, with a driver of Pakistani origin? He didn’t really seem to have the “knowledge” as the London cabbies have to prove, in that he didn’t really know where he was going...good job one of his fellow countrymen in another cab pulled up alongside at some lights.

Over the Brooklyn bridge and round to the cruise terminal, we abandoned the cab and walked the last 100 yards, past the queue of cars and taxis having paid him his $30 plus $5 tip.

The terminal reckons to have won all sorts of awards   didn’t quite see why, just a big shed.  The checking in was a lot less ardours than at the airport, still had to go through a security screening and x ray of bags, but no taking off of shoes and belts. We where then given our room card, which we where to use throughout the voyage.

We spent about a hour sat waiting for our boarding no, 33 to be called, during which time I was told I couldn’t take pictures in this area...oopps to late! Up the ramp and onboard through a hole in the side of the hull, no gunwhale here to step over. Now was the “aaawwhh” moment with the grandeur and not knowing where we were going. Plenty of staff to guide us to room 4.091 on the fourth deck, on the starboard side, the right hand side looking towards the bow.

The room is ok, a lot like a corporate hotel room, 2 single beds pushed together, plenty of wardrobe space, a desk, telly, sofa, and bathroom with shower. Because of the fluctuation in the exchange rate of the dollar/pound while we where booking we end up with a balcony room for the price we were originally going to pay for a inside cabin.  

We had some dinner from the Kings Court buffet and then awaited departure, hoping to be on the balcony as we left New York. However we had to wait for a couple of late arriving passengers, then a navigation computer was playing up, the ship being held against the quayside by a couple of tugs. We had arranged to have tea at the early, 18.00hrs sitting, so we were eating as we hoo. The last thing we saw of New York was a green marker buoy receding in to the mist......

Colin Wareing, mid Atlantic Sunday 18.5.14.

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 9

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 9

New York. Monday 12th to Friday 16th May 2014.

Horns, car horns, the overriding backdrop to New York, but traffic doesn’t move any faster the harder they push the button!

What was the fella next me on the plane from Phoenix to New York eating? it certainly was the most un- appetizing smell we’ve smelt in a long, long time.

The lady car driver who drove us from the Indigo in Scottsdale was great, told us how she couldn’t consider living anywhere else, where it may get cold. What a contrast to the car driver from dial 7 in New York. Because of the time zone’s we arrived late, about 23.15 into Newark. He picked us ok then hardly said a word until dropping us outside the Marcel at Garmancey on 3rd Avenue and 24th Street and then sort of demanded the fare and a tip...

A boutique this means small rooms then, and a rabbit warren, got to remember to turn right then left and left again from the elevator to room 206.

Though New York claims to be the city that never sleeps we are nicely surprised by the way 3rd ave went quite about midnight until the car horns started about 6.00, so we slept well for the 4 nights.

The pavements got a bit hard, but the best way to experience anywhere is to walk, and the 1st place was the lyric dinner for breakfast at last a hot cup of tea.

We walked, to ground zero, which is now a building site, so didn’t really feel the overwhelming outrage I’d have thought. The memorial museum was about to be opened by President Obama on the Wednesday, and it’ll be good to have some lasting indication of what went on on 9/11. Did they choose that date because the emergency phone no in the US is 911?

One Trade centre New York


















We had a walk along the promenade of Manhattan Islandexplored the possibility of the free ferry to Staten Island. We found plenty of places to drink and eat, bars most of which did food. Found one that is the base for the New York supporters club of Manchester City, with one of the waiters telling us the team had been in with the Premier league championship cup.

The weather was warm enough for no jackets, which meant we got caught out by the rain one day.

P S Fabrics New YorkWe found a yarn store, well a haberdashery store on Broadway, most unexpected, with quite a bit of Acrylic stuff for sale, plus materials, buttons...
















Watched the ballerina and the mega bubble blowing man in Central park, of which we didn’t walk round it all, but walked back through Times Square. On the edge of dark, so the neon worked ok.

Ballerina Central Park










Just a taster of the place, but we’ll be back, we reckon about 4 days is long enough in a city for us, unless we can go by canal...

Colin Wareing at sea on the Queen Mary 2 May 2014.

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 8 Scottsdale Arizona. 9th to 12th May 2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 8 Scottsdale Arizona. 9th to 12th May 2014

We moved on on Friday the 9th of May, getting the Arizona shuttle back to Flagstaff and from there on to Scottsdale, a district of Phoenix.

The trip from Flagstaff to Phoenix was on a Greyhound bus. We had booked this when we where in Flagstaff, and had picked up our tickets from the bus station before going to Williams. Thus we knew we didn’t want to drag cases along the street as the bus station is quite a way out of the main part of Flagstaff in the sawmill district. So a taxi job.

Greyhound bus in Flagstaff











At the bus station in plenty of time to catch the 13.30 bus to Phoenix. We soon left the pines and mountains behind, though it was nearly down hill all the way, dropping from an altitude of about 7000 feet in flagstaff down to about 1500 ft in Scottsdale, where we stayed in Phoenix.  A pleasant enough ride, to arrive on the desert floor where Phoenix has developed by spreading out and not building upwards, again taxi to the hotel Indigo, with the taxi driver having to stop to inspect a bush along the way!

It’s a lot warmer here than up in Flagstaff, people do our trip in reverse at weekends, to get away from the heat, with the place nearly shutting down in July and August.

As we are only here for the weekend it wasn’t worth investigating the public transport system, so we stayed in and around Scottsdale. This reckons to be the posh end of Phoenix, but they are still building some of it. It was warm enough to sit on the bar balcony of an evening.

There is the “old town” of which some reckons to date back to the 1880’s, but now a lot of it is touristy, and there is some new build to look like old. We found some interesting places to look around, from the Rusty Spur saloon, with live country music on a Sunday afternoon to some modern bars, and at last a canal! But not as we know it. I’d be surprised if it’s ever seen a boat, as they have all been built to carry irrigation water either for crops or to be processed for drinking.

There is some interesting art work dotted about the place, we thought we found some old lock gates, assembled into a work of art, but alas they where just giant gates, locks not being needed on these canals. There is a whole series connected together around the Phoenix area. As well as transporting water they are also used as hydro eclectic generating plants, so claim to be working canals.

Canal in Scottsdale Arizona



















On Sunday afternoon we had a few hours relaxing n the park, Carole reading and me wandering taking photo’s. There is a “Love” art installation here and I think I’ve taken the picture of the trip. A young girl taking photo’s on her mobile of her mum and aunt? posing on the artwork. Wonder what you think?

LOVE Sculpture in Scottsdale













Colin Wareing Williams Arizona May 2014.

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 7 Williams and the Grand Canyon

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 7

Williams Arizona. 5th to 9th May 2014

We’re on Holiday, so while I’m doing some blogging we’re also having some fun, so at times the blogging has to wait...

So a bit of a catching up session.

The reason for coming to Williams was to ride the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

We moved from Flagstaff to Williams on the Arizona Shuttle, a mini bus service that runs between the two towns the Grand Canyon and to Phoenix as well. As with most things today, booked via the internet, it worked well for us. We had to get back to the Amtrak station in Flagstaff to catch it, a taxi ride.

Then about a 35 minute ride along Interstate 40 and we where dropped outside the lobby of the Grand Canyon Railway hotel. The whole thing comes as a package, two nights accommodation, dinner and breakfast and a return trip on the train.

Williams was the last town on “the mother road” route 66 that was by passed by the interstate. That was back in 1984. We haven’t travelled much of the 66, but this small town sure lives up to the image of old memorabilia, T shirts and souvenirs, we likened it to a Blackpool or Matlock Bath in the desert!

Main Street, Route 66 Williams Arizona

The railway is like a preserved railway in England, but more of a tourist attraction than a volunteer manned operation. The railway was abandoned by the Sante Fe in the 1970’s and bought by a couple of people from Phoenix. They rebuilt it, and while it does use old “preserved” rolling stock all the staff are employees. There are a few steam engines, though not used every day, and our day wasn’t one of them. But of course that doesn’t worry me.

The train left at 09.30 following a Wild West shoot out staged by cowboys on one end of the platform. There is a coach attendant in each car and we got Kathy with a K...she never seemed to shut up! It’s ok telling us the information we needed to no about tour buses long part of the canyon rim, but we didn’t really need the trivia quiz on the way back down later.

Grand Canyon Railway

The Canyon is quite a magnificent sight, that big though it seemed not quite real. The bus ride stopped at a couple of places, to view and take pictures, as long as you didn’t get blown away.

The Grand Canyon Arizona


We had chance for a quick look around the tourist shops and a bite to eat before the ride back down to Williams through the rock canyons and across the desert, only to be “held up by the outlaw cowboys” before getting back into town.

We then relaxed for a couple of days, doing a bit of train watching, though only a few BSNF trains through here on the line to and from Phoenix. We bought some souviners and it snowed! Not a lot but enough to keep up our record of it snowing in the “warm” places we chose to visit, as it did in Morocco a few years ago.

Capt Col 10.5.2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 6

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 6

Flagstaff Arizona.Carole and Michele's yarn bombing in Flagstaff

We got more to grips with the bus system today, so made it easier coming and going from town.

More wandering around town this afternoon, after I’d had a bit of a walk around the hotel area trying to find some trains to take photos of, which I failed to do...It’s very hard to work out any sort of pattern to the traffic through Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is probably ok for about a 3 or 4 day stop over unless there is something specific you are coming to town for.

We were in town this evening for the First Friday Art walk, which certainly brought people into town.

We had found Michele and Carole’s Yarn bombing outside the Criollo Latin Kitchen in downtown Flagstaff. The theme for the art installation around the cafe was based on bicycles, and the yarn squares where fixed around the bike racks outside the cafe. Carole was made up to be involved. Unfortunately the cafe was so busy it would have been a hours wait for tea, so we had a quick look in the back yard, where we could have had stand up food, and there was a fiddle band on. We really wanted a sit down tea so ended up in the Collins Irish pub. There was another fiddle band on in there playing Irish inspired music.

All the girls that wait on in there had a T shirt or a vest on with a logo on the back that said “ Collins Girl”, not quite the correct spelling, and officially only for staff, but we managed to obtain one for Carole to wear

Capt Col now in Williams Arizona 7.5.2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 5 Flagstaff

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 5

Flagstaff Arizona.

We arrived late in the evening in Flagstaff, a bit tired after the long train journey from Chicago.

We rang the hotel from the payphone on the train station. The hotel arranged to send us a taxi, which was good. Checked in, room no 508, then went and got some supplies from the nearby Walmart.

The following morning we set off walking into town. The hotel is about 2 miles out in the Woodlands Village area. We have since discovered the local bus service that we can use all day for $2.50 each.

Downtown Flagstaff is nice, not too big to get lost in, with plenty of independent shops. Some are selling “Route 66” memorabilia, some tat, some tasteful. Others are selling native Indian items, and there are a good few art galleries. One of the first stops was to the tourist info at the train station, which is where we found out about the buses.

The train station is on a main Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad freight route with plenty of trains, a lot are double stack containers, but also a good few mixed freights, plus auto racks and piggyback lorry trailer trains. Most are hauled by at least 2 locomotives, with some as many as five, plus maybe a couple more on the rear.

Cw 1012 BNSF freight train at FlagstaffAt 14.25 on Thursday 1.5.14 a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe mixed freight train passes through the station at Flagstaff in Arizona USA. The train was believed to be running from Bel Air in Maryland to Barstow in California. The locos are BNSF 6927, 6605 and CREX 1331.

This morning’s trip out, on the bus, was to beyond down town to a newer area around fourth street.

We went out to visit Michele at Purl in the Pines this morning on N 4th Street, and where made most welcome. She has a great selection of yarns, with Carole increasing her stash just a bit.
Michele was working on stitching together square’s of knitting and crocheting ready for a yarn bombing at the Criollo Latin Kitchen in downtown Flagstaff tomorrow evening as part of the First Friday Art Walk. Carole had a go at helping her with the stitching so we are going to have a look at the finished project on Friday evening.

Cw 1009 Carole and Michele at Purl in the Pines

Capt Col Flagstaff Arizona 4.5.2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 3 Chicago

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 3

Sunday, another day, another yarn shop.

We’ll it gives us a focus for the day.

This one, Loopy Yarns, was again a walking job, we’ve walked more in the last three days than we have for ages.

Loopy Yarns

We walked back through down town Chicago, under the "L" a couple of times to junction of Polk and Dearborn streets. This shop had come highly recommended by the Windy City Fibre Folk group on Ravelry so it would be interesting.

The shop opens from 1-5 on a Sunday and without the week days crowds the walking was easy, we got there well before opening time.

Dearborn station

The shop is in a newish unit built into the frontage of the old Dearborn station , which saw it’s last train in 1971 according to the Time Out Chicago guide we are using,  we had to get a railway in somewhere J.

We had brunch across the way in “Hackneys”, again good food and this time not too much, eggs and biscuits, in reality a scrambled egg, but a bit more liquid, with spices and some sausage, the biscuits being bread baps as far as I’m concerned. This left some room for some good old apple pie and cream and ice cream.

Again we got a nice warm welcome from Vicky the owner, of Loopy Yarns, with interest in The Wool Boat from staff and customers.  Carole bought a pattern book this time. It will be interesting o see if yarn prices are different outside of the city’s.

Would we walk back, or catch the bus? Still a nice day so we walked, a bit of a chance for some street photography, and once again no need for going out for tea, we still had plenty of nibbles to eat up from the day before.

Writing this sat in the Metro deli Bar and Cafe in the Union station in Chicago as time ticks down to our first ride on “Amtrack”

Capt Col Chicago 28.4.14

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 2 Chicago

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 2

Saturday, yesterday saw us taking a ride out of Chicago on the Metra line from Union Station to Northbrook IL.

Why you might ask?

Firstly it was a ride for me on a train, and secondly to visit a yarn store.

The train was a double deck one that ran on the Metra Milwaukee District North Line from Chicago to Fox Lake. The Metra system consist of 11 lines radiating out from Chicago to the suburbs and into Indiana. This is a “heavy” rail system as distinct from the “L” in Chicago which is the electric system than runs out to the inner suburbs and around the famous “loop” that runs over the roads in the city centre.

We got a weekend rail pass, which if we’d had more time would be great value for money at $7 each and you can travel as much as you like for the weekend.

The trip to Northbrook took about 45 minutes, showing the city up as not really woken into spring yet, with the trees only just coming into bud, and despite the sun the wind was cold.

We found “Three Bags full” the knitting studio on Cherry Lane quite easily and where made very welcome by Lynette, the owner, and her staff. It is quite a large shop, with a good range of skeins of yarn, including some of J.C. Bretts. 

The American shops seem to sell most of their yarn in skeins and then have a ball winding machine to wind it for the customer.Carole the Wool Boat and Lynette Three Bags full

Above Carole and Lynette from Three bags Full chatting about running a yarn store

There was plenty of interest in our small operation, from staff and customers alike, with Carole buying some yarn and needles to get going on a scarf. No problems taking pictures, but we think that maybe we had done “We’ll keep you in stitches” a disservice yesterday when commenting on prices of yarn. The price over here seems to be generally about 3 times more than we charge for similar quality.

We asked for a recommendation for somewhere to eat and was directed across the street to “Georgies V’s” which was as good as the recommendation, but portions again way to big.

I bought a copy of a book from the nearby “Book bin” “The Complete Book of North American Railroading” which while it can’t be totally complete looks like giving me a good overview.  

We then had a couple of pint’s in the Landmark Inn in Northbrook whilst we waited for the train back to Chicago. If it wasn’t for the wind the deck here would be a great place to train watch with a pint. As it was I had to keep popping out with the camera, and took my first proper train pic of the trip,  Canadian Pacific no 9656 on the head of a long double stack container train, passing the water tower at Northbrook.

C P loco 9656 passes through Northbrook IL

Capt Col Chicago Sunday 27th April 2014

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 1

Woolly Wanderings around the Wild West 2014 no 1

Well we’re here in downtown Chicago having flown from Manchester a couple of days ago. A nice flight on American airlines, on the 10.40 flight, which wasn’t full so room to stretch out.

Taxi into town from O’Hare, on a lovely spring afternoon, but it went colder later on. We’re staying at the Four Points by Sheraton on N Rush Street.  A pleasant enough corporate place.  

There has been lots of eating and drinking going on, had to find a place for breakfast yesterday, ending up in a branch of The Corner Bakery on St Clair and Erie street. Can’t say we were impressed, having farmers scrambled eggs, but seemed a bit cold, for being freshly prepared.

Then a wander off to find “We’ll Keep You in Stitches” a local yarn shop on East Oak street.  It took us a while to spot it, being 4 floors up and in amongst the Prada and Jimmy Choo shops. We were welcomed by the owner, who lets us wander at will. Interesting place, with interesting prices.  She sells DY yarns like we do, but her prices are about $30 for what we sell for £9.95! maybe our prices should go up??

Carole buying in "We'll keep you in stitches"

We went back in the city to find a dinner that we had fond memories of from last time we where here 7-8 years back, but as they say “don’t go back”, it didn’t look as nice, so we didn’t use it.

Found some piling work going on on the Chicago river, but with bigger tackle than the Canal and River Trust use at home.

Nearby we found a bar, The Public House on North State Street. We took advice from Chuck Kennedy and his Chicago white socks monkey, sat at the bar about beer. Originally from Australia we had a good hours chatting and laughing with him and his mate, Jason Long, originally from New Mexico, claims he grew up on a Indian reservation and gave us some contacts for when we get down that way.

So we’re off to explore the Lake Michigan lake front today with a promise of good weather.

Trade show at the NEC

Trade show at the NEC


We’ve been to the N E C today to the 39th Craft Hobby and stitch international trade show.


This was our 3rd or 4th visit and we noticed a lot more fabrics about this year, perhaps due to the interest caused by the Sewing Bee programmes.

There was also cake making equipment for the bakers.


We have ordered a new selection of buttons. and found some interesting new yarns.


News from J.C Bretts our main supplier…

We where told by J C Bretts that they are discontinuing their pure merino range to be replaced by the Jenny Watson merino, which has softer colours. So if you need any of the original merino please get in touch and we'll tell you what we have left, and what we may still be able to order in if we’re quick.


J.C. Bretts have also launched a new range, called "Legacy " of 100% Superwash Wool in a range of 14 shades including a navy blue pure wool, which will be great for the Ganseys.


They have also increased the range of shades on the Marble Chunky and Cotton on .

We haven’t space aboard “Emma Maye” for loads more stock, but of course we are quite happy to order shades in you may want.


Another new range is of 12 colours is Aztec Aran that contains 10% alpaca, looks good.


Beyond Bretts we had a good talk to Laura from WoolyKnit  who produce a range of interesting yarns from pure British fleeces from Blue Faced Leicester, Jacobs, and more 

The range extends from 4 ply to Aran, and includes natural colours and dyed yarns.


They work from a mill on the banks of the Huddersfield narrow canal at Diggle, so may be a trip up there on “Emma Maye” to pick some up?


Well worth the trip, and will be putting all the details of the new buttons on our website once they arrive.


Carole and Capt Col, in The Down Inn  near Bridgenorth in Shropshire for the night. 18.2.2014

Woolly wanderings in Edinburgh

Woolly wanderings in Edinburgh.


We are better known for woolly wanderings around the inland waterways on our narrowboat Emma Maye, aka The Wool Boat.

However the weekend before Christmas 2013 found us up in the Scottish capital, having been invited to Carole’s nephews wedding.

Travelling up the day before we had some time to fill before the main event on the Saturday morning. We decided to go for a wander away from Prince’s street and whilst looking for a bookshop or two to browse round, we came across a couple of interesting yarn retailers we think are worth sharing with you.

K1 knitting boutique Edinburgh 

 On the opposite side of Princes's gardens from the main street is the older  

 part of the city, the Grassmarket area leading up towards the castle. There

 we came across “K1 Yarns” knitting boutique at 89 West Bow.  


 Katharine Walker one of the co owners of the shop which is situated in a    

 lovely old stone building told us how they are now specializing in Scottish

 produced yarns, as she is finding that yarn tourists are made up to find local



 The website is And they have a blog at



              A bit further round in the shadow of the castle on Castle Terrace is the Edinburgh Kate Sharp spinner and knitter

 farmer’s market held every week.


 Here we got chatting to Kate Sharp, of Kate Sharp Knitwear.

 Kate stands the market regularly selling yarn and hand knitted 

 items created from her own flock of sheep she farms near 

 Humbie in East Lothian.

 Most of the yarn she uses are in the natural shades, so some 

 nice  shades ranging from blacks to grey’s, fawns and whites.

 Kate’s contact e-mail is or give her a

 ring on 07789887291 to make sure she’s going to be there when  you are.


Well worth braving the cold rainy weather for and the wedding was a grand affair as well!

Quick response by CaRT


Quick response by CaRT


I sent this by e-mail to CaRT in Wigan on Thursday 28th Nov


"We've just moored on the 24hr visitor mooring outside The Slipway near bridge no 32 on the L and L and there is a deep hole in the grass bank behind the concrete wash wall that my leg went down it up to the knee!

I think it could do with filling in before some one falls down it good style.."


By Friday 29th Nov the holed had been filled in, no need for orange plastic fencing and “BW are aware” tape as it used to be, Well done Mark and his team.

Roving the northern rails, day 4 8th November 2013.


Roving the northern rails, day 4 8th November 2013.




A lovely day round Hull.

We had slept better than we expected at the Gilson. Even though on a main road it was quiet enough.

We knew the breakfast was a continental one, and basic it was, just toast, jam, cereals or fruit, but at the price we paid we weren’t complaining.


The main reason to coming to Hull was to visit “The art of the Gansey” exhibition at the Maritime museum. This was the touring version of the Moray Firth Gansey Project , and we where impressed by the collection of gansies and the possibility of seeing all the various patterns in the real life.

We would have liked the chance to purchase copies of some of the patterns.


The film that was shown about the trawling industry and the herring girls was well worth a watch, and the songs to go with the show, recorded by “Spare Hands”, who it seems are a local hull folk group, wonder if we’ll be able to get a copy on cd?.


The frock type knitted dress by Alison Casserly  impressed us.


We had about a hour in there meeting “Green bicycle girl” from Ravelry, who had made the trip up from London for the day.


River gansey quote 


 There was also a display panael about “River Ganseys” which 

 may have given us some clues about our North West Gansey

 project. “My mother…never used a pattern. No one did. They all

 made it up as they went along – ropes and cables and knots

 and diamonds: all kinds of patterns”  from a Life on the Humber,

 Keeling to shipbuilding by Harry Fetcher, (Faber & Faber, 1975.)






A wander along the promenade, spotting a narrowboat in the marina amongst all the plastic seagoing boats. It seems that not only do we have problems with locks on the canals, the sea lock wasn’t working into the marina wasn’t working too well, with the fitter trying to get the gates to open while a couple of policemen sat there in their inflatable dinghy waiting to be let through.


Dinner was in The Flag and Lion, a old pub with a choice of about 10 cask ales, and some grand fish and chips. Recommended.


Hull is bidding to become a city of culture for next year, the idea we struggled with as there are no independent book shops? 

A bit of museum viewing and then for tea out to “Bait” a fish restaurant that opened earlier this year, apparently only the 2nd fish restaurant in the city?

It was ok, but nothing to want us to hurry back..

Roving the northern rails, day 2 6th November 2013.


Roving the northern rails, day 2 6th November 2013.


Day in and around Whitehaven.


Today was the reason for coming to Whitehaven.


To revisit the Florence Mine near Egremont.


Egremont is a twenty minute bus ride, stage coach no 30 from Whitehaven. There is a bus stop just outside the Corner house b and b so very handy. A bit around the house’s past the West Cumberland Hospital, then through Egremont and dropped us just on the other side near the mine.


When we got there the art centre was all locked up, it’s meant to be open 10-4 but is as flexible as our opening hours! They are mainly volunteers that run the place and after about 10 min Jill turned up to unlock and let her mate in who was also waiting. 

It seems it was a good job we got there on a Wednesday. This is the day that the 4 ladies turn up to process the iron ore from the mine into “Egremont Red” paint that they sell to raise funds.


When we where up here in June for Woolfest we fund the mine and fell in love with a set of 3 bowls. They where part of an exhibition to promote the paint. Made from recycled magazines, and painted inside with “Egremont Red” by the artist Rachel from Pixie creations. So we bought them not thinking how we would get them homeJ.


When the exhibition ended we where able to have our bowls, but didn’t want to risk having them sent in the post….


So here we where getting treated to a brew and a show around the process of making paint from iron ore while Jill found our bowls. We thought we may have been disappointed having not seen them for a while, but we found them as good as we remembered. We are well pleased with them.


The 3 bowls from Florence mine



Back to Whitehaven, and a wander round the town and harbour. Struggled to find a pub that did food at dinner time, eventually coming across The Vine, which did us a good butty though no cask ale.


Then a look around The Beacon , learning of Whitehaven’s history.

Interesting to find that the town had retained it’s Georgian town houses, which are grand to look at, because they couldn’t afford to knock them down and rebuild.


Tonight’s evening meal was at the Casa Romana in Queen Street. It was good, especially because the meals where just nice portions, so not over facing, would go back again.  

Roving the northern rails, day 3 7th November 2013.


Roving the northern rails, day 3 7th November 2013.


Whitehaven to Hull.


A long days travelling.


Awaken again by our wide awake hosts about 6.45 am.


A nice breakfast and a good chat about advertising our respective businesses. Lisa and Dave at The Corner House have been open for about 3 year’s and have decided, as we have, that it’s not really worth paying for advertising. Social networking and word of mouth is working ok for us both.

We had the Derwent room, which for a double bed was a bit small, but comfortable, the shower in the wet room is like something from Star wars, and needs care not to flood the place!

We’d recommend the place for a good overnight or a couple of days stay.


We left about 9.30 and walked back through Whitehaven to the railway station to catch the 10.28 to Carlisle. Quite a few people boarded here. This was the 1st train of the day after 9.30 which means that is the 1st that off peak tickets can be used on. Everyone got on the train, just. It seemed odd that it was only a single car train. Is this poor diagramming of units or what?


 A interesting run along the coast through Workington and Maryport before a  

 change at Carlisle into another northern train, for the trip across country 

 through the Tyne valley to Newcastle.


 The autumn colours where good, with the showers kept producing rainbows.


 Then on to the East coast mail line, onto the “proper” train forming the 14.25 

 from Newcastle to London Kings cross. It was standing in the platform so we

 boarded about 20 min before departure. This enabled us to get a good seat

 to enjoy the trip. I even had a go at using the laptop and keeping a eye on

 our progress with the realtimes website. Interesting but not as much as 

 watching the country fly by.


 The last train of the day was back to a 2 car Northern unit forming the 16.12  

 from York to Hull.


It was dark by the time we got to Hull, but the Gilson Hotel is just around the corner from the station so handy enough. Corporate but a big room and good shower. The “Admiral of the Humber  was the handy choice for tonight’s tea, where I gave away at least 3 of our flyers due to me wearing my stripey jumper.   

Roving the northern rails, day 1

Roving the northern rails, day 1 5th November 2013.


We are doing a bit of a Michael Portillo, we have got our Bradshaw’s and a North country 4 in 8  rail rover.


We are setting off having booked accommodation in three places and there is a reason for going to all three.


Today we left Burscough Jct, at 10.40, changed in Preston, to a train that took us along the Cumbrian coast around to Barrow in Furness. Another change at Barrow to a train to Corkickle.


That was our destination for today, it is the station just before Whitehaven, and was handier than going on to Whitehaven station for the b and b at The Corner house where we are staying for the 1st two nights of our trip.


We arrived about 3pm, having had a very pleasant trip, the trains being well used but not over crowded, with no problems getting seats. A nice picnic on the 11.58 from Preston, and then some lovely views out over the Irish sea as we journeyed through Grange over Sands’ Bootle and Drigg.

Quite a few people got on at Sellafield, supposing it had just been the shift change at the nuclear reprocessing plant.


along the cumbrian coast












Having dropped off our bags at the b and b we went for a wander into Whitehaven. 

Carole found herself a new ring at a independent jewellers which she has been after for a while, and is made up with.

Because we where tired, and couldn’t be bothered searching round we ended up in The Branstry Arch for a pint and our tea.

It is a Weatherspoon’s that used to be a laundry then a bus depot, and is named after the bridge that used to stand here that carried a mineral railway to carry coal to the harbour.


So to bed…


For the railway people, 10.40 Burscough Jct to Preston 142028 Northern

                                      11.59 Preston to Barrow 185138, Trans Pennine

                                      13.31 Barrow to Corkickle 156479 Northern


Capt Col in Whitehaven 5.11.13



Will he get lucky?

Will he get lucky?


As we moored The Wool Boat up just north of Middlewich this afternoon I fell into the usual conversation with a chap walking a dog along the towpath.


Where do you get your wool from?


What sorts do you have?


How much is it?


How much stock do you have?


Then he says “My wife loves knitting, do you think if I take her some wool I may get lucky tonight?”, but not quite in them words…


Well you can only try!


“Ok I’ll be back in a while, just walking the dog, put me £10 worth together and make it purple”


20 minutes later he comes back and we’ve got six balls of purple acrylic loveliness in a bag.


So off he goes, and we shout to him, “if it works txt us a smiley”


We await the txt!


This is an absolutely true tale from the canal towpath.


Carole and Capt Col The Wool Boat 26.9.13

25.9.13 Moored at Clive Green near Winsford.

25.9.13 Moored at Clive Green near Winsford.


What a grubby morning, we woke to a heavy mist and rain, so had to decide if we wanted to move.

We had arrived here just before dinner time yesterday, in lovely sunshine having moved from Church Minshull, a distance of about 3 ½ miles.


Cw 778 View from the Galley 25.9.13 Clive Green












Having previously moored here, we already had a good idea of a pub to walk to about 20 minutes away.

The Brighton Belle near Winsford railway station, though why it should be called the Brighton Belle here who knows.

It is now part of The Hungry Horse chain, and so we had a good do for a reasonable price, and also picked up a dozen free range eggs from one of the houses we passed, for the price of £1.50.


This mooring is quite near the West Coast Main Line, and so I had a chance to do some picky taking after we had walked back from dinner, but if you’re not keen on trains you may call it a bit noisy.


So we decided not to move today, Carole working on new hat designs and I’ve been working on raising awareness for the 2nd Burscough Fibre Festival that we have organized for when we get back on the 20th October.

I’ve been printing out flyers, and letters to the groups we have given our “Woolly Wanderings on the Waterways talks to. Just need posting now.

Also up loaded details to the Where can we go to web site.


Tomorrow will see us having to work a bit to get through Middlewich.


Capt Col moored near Clive Green on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal

A wet Sunday near Whitchurch

A wet Sunday near Whitchurch


We’re moored near the end of the Whitchurch arm on the Llangollen canal on a wet and windy Sunday the 15th September.

Also getting a bit cool, so we have lit “Stanley” our solid fuel range on Emma Maye. Good job we found some cut down trees a couple of weeks ago, don’t think there are many coal boats that come up the Llangollen.

At least we haven’t got to move today, but the hire boaters are still cruising past us, though not many people about buying yarn.

So time to do some website updating including as below a bit of poetry.


So off now to start working on my Burscough calendar for 2014.


The darkest quietest mooring.


A night as black as pitch

The air full of rain and mist

Not a light to be seen

Not a sound from a farm, factory or wind turbine,

Road, train or plane.


The darkest quietest place we’ve ever moored


Will we tell you where?


A bit of a clue

Between Bridges 53 and 52

But tell you more?

We don’t think so

If we did next time someone will be there


Probably you



Capt Col The Wool Boat

Moored near Val Hill between Frankton Jct and Ellesmere.

Tuesday 10.9.13.


Moored near Val Hill between Frankton Jct and Ellesmere.


On us way home now, but now we are back in the open, having come back out of the mountains and hills of Wales, with us being from the flat plains of West Lancashire we appreciate the light, big skys and the chance to get a telly picture.


We did a survey the other nearly a month a go when 70 boats passed us during the day 45 of them being hire boats the remaining 25 appearing to be private owners boats.

Yesterday we where moored near St Martins Moor and repeated the survey, this time coming up with 43 hire boats passing us, and 13 private boats, plus the hotel pair, Duke and Duchess.

So the job seems to be slowing down a bit.

So where we mad to come up the Llangollen in August?


We don’t think we where, it wasn’t as bad/busy as we thought it was going to be.

We didn’t have to queue for any length of time for locks, we didn’t have any problems mooring anywhere we wanted to.

There are plenty of 48 hour moorings, with rings, that have been provided by the Shropshire Union Canal society, and beyond that a lot of the length of the canal is steel piled and so with the use of a set of mooring chains there was no issues, in fact a lot of the 48hr moorings where not being used by any one, as we are the only ones on this one tonight.


The only real problem is the lack of a good pub along the length from Whitchurch to Ellesmere,

And we had only one time when we had to have a word with a, couple of private boaters, who came back to their boat at Trevor and started the engine at 20.45. As normal if they had come and said we have flat batteries we’re going to give it ¾ hour and we’ll knock it off at 21.30 that would have been ok. But they where not that considerate, so how did we know what time it was going on until? After a couple of words they eventually turned it off in a bit of a huff at 21.20, having tried to convince us that is 9 to 9 around Burton where they normally moor????


No we didn’t go all the way to the end, but we have still enjoyed ourselves, and we would say if you are not in a rush to do the whole lot in a week, then don’t be put off it, you’ll probably find some nice people, hirers and private boaters, and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?


So off back to Burscough until the next time…


Capt Col, nb Emma Maye moored near Val Hill 10.9.13

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 6

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 6


Sunday 1.9.13.


Moored in the basin at Trevor


We’ve been here over the weekend, moored beyond the Anglo Welsh hire base.

It’s a very quiet mooring, and we are amazed there is no time restriction on it, so we could be here for 14 days.

We had last weekend at Chirk Bank sampling the Bridge Inn which is well worth it, good ale, Bank’s and a guest, and friendly people, the last pub in England, will it be the first when we pass on the way back. They don’t do food on a Monday evening, but all the locals turn up with some sort of chesses, or cooked meats, and crackers and biscuits, which all gets shared by anyone who is in the pub! A great idea. 

The canal has now got busier with hire boats, but no real problems, the things that pass at a rate of knots are the local day boats.

We’re not going as far as Llangollen this time, but as a tip we talked to sue in the CaRT info place here, and she suggested the best time, ie the least busy is on a Saturday morning, and the busiest is on Tuesday and Wednesday when all the hire boats get here from further west.

So now it’s turn around time, back over Telford’s “Stream in the sky” and start heading back towards Burscough.


Other things going on, Carole is busy working on orders, having just completed one of two children’s cardigans she was asked to create by a lady on a hire boat last weekend, we have had a piece in the local paper, the Wrexham Leader  about our floating shop, I had a piece published in Septembers “Towpath Talk ” about a canal festival back up in Scarisbrick in July just before we set off.

We have also taken a advert in the October “Lets Knit” magazine, mainly because they have produced a booklet of Christmas knits, and one of them is knitted from J.C.Bretts yarn. Has it been worth it? We’ve not had anyone come and say they have seen it….

All busy stuff, the only problem I’ve had is that the railway line from Wrexham to Shrewsbury, which run’s over a couple of grand viaducts hereabout’s has been closed all week for engineering work, hopefully I’ll get some pic’s next week before we leave the area.




Capt Col nb Emma Maye at Trevor Sunday the 1st Sept 2013  

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 5

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 5


Wednesday 21.8.13.


Moored near The Jack Mytton near bridge 11, Hindford


We left Ellesmere on Monday morning, after doing chores in town, finding the little pet shop general store on the wharf road very useful.

Did the loo and water at the top of the arm, very slow tap to fill the tank.

Moored a bit further on for dinner, and had our first hit from a hireboat/shareboat, what are the old Canal time boats classed as? Anyway don’t know if it was the chap’s first go on a boat on “Barrel of Ale” but his throttle control was a bit awry.


Moved on after dinner and moored on the nearly empty 48 hour mooring at the top of the Montgomery.

On Tuesday we walked the 4 odd mile’s down the Mont to the Queens Head pub for dinner.

The canal seems to have grown more green than it was the last time we where down here.

The locks are probably the best kept flight on the system. But what you don’t realise from cruising the canal is the amount of work that had been done with the gabions(?) and stone to reconstruct today’s towpath.


We had got a bit fed up of the constant helicopters overhead, from a local training facility? By this morning so have moved on to The Jack Mytton, which we will be sampling this evening.   


Capt Col nb Emma Maye at Hindford Wednesday the 21st August 2013  


The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 4

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 4


Sunday 18.8.13.


Moored on the Ellesmere arm.


Well what a wash out yesterday was, the Saturday. It rained and rained, with bits of sun. We are overlooking a cricket field and they tried playing match yesterday, and they kept taking off the covers, playing for a few balls and then having to run and put the covers on again, wonder if they played to a result?


To answer the question of is it busy on the Llangollen in August we did a totally unscientific survey on Thursday the 15th while moored at Platt Bridge. Between 08.00 and about 18.30 70 boats passed us, of which, only from our observations, we didn’t stop them and ask them, 45 where hire boats and 25 appeared to be privately owned. Is this the normal level of traffic for August? We may try it again further along the canal as reports from other people say it’s busier the near Llangollen you are.


The Tesco’s here at the end of the arm is handy, but you wonder how many people just use it as a supplies stop and now don’t go into the town?   

The two butchers are still there as is the newsagent, and the deli, so even if Tesco hadn’t replaced the old dairy the supplies would stay be good. At least there is recycling for the glass and tins in the Tesco car park.


For the knitters there are two supplies of yarn in the town, one is a clothing and cookshop, on the high street which as a bit of J C Bretts in…but they are charging more than us, and the other one is near the end of the canal arm on Wharf road, a strange mixture of a yarn shop and the tourist information???

We went in and introduced ourselves to the lady running it, she didn’t seem impressed that we where here for the weekend end, so if you do go in tell her The Wool Boat sent you!


Emma Maye at Ellsmere












Capt Col at Ellesmere Sunday the 18th August 2013  

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 2

The Llangollen in August, are we mad? Part 2


Sunday 11.8.13.


We have been moored in Wrenbury for the weekend, having come up from between bridges 12 and 13 on the Llangollen. It’s still not overly busy. When we worked through the Baddiley three locks the amount of boat traffic was just right to be leaving gates open for on coming boats while having gates left open for us to enter the locks, so happy days, and just the couple of lift bridges to do, which even though we’d not passed through any for a while we hadn’t forgotten what to do.


Just a warning to any boaters thinking of mooring along this length, the first straight bit on the Grindley Brook side of the electrified lift bridge, there is a wasp’s nest in the towpath, which we’ll report to CaRT on Monday, dodn’t know if they’ll do anything, but at least they’d know.


Wrenbury, the village store is about a 10 min walk from the canal, passed the Dusty Miller and The Cotton Arms pubs. The shop is ok for basic supplies, Beer, wine, Bread, milk, papers etc with some fresh fruit and veg. Doubles up as a newsagent and post office.

When we where last here, we favoured the Dusty Miller over the Cotton Arms, as the Cotton Arms seemed to be at the upper end of the scale for charging for food, but things seem to be the other way around now.

We tried them both for a pint, and I must say that the “Trooper” in the Dusty Miller wasn’t as nice as the pint of it I’d had in the Leigh Arms at Acton Bridge earlier in the trip.


So it was The Cotton Arms for tea on Saturday evening.
They have quite a big camp site behind the pub, and we where lucky to be squeezed in on a table, that was reserved for 8.00. We where glad we did get in as the game pie, a proper pie, was lovely and so was the pork fillet apparently.

Beer was a choice of four casks, I was on the Otter, whilst Carole was on wine by the glass, we thought they where a bit expensive for house wine.


We had a good trading day on Saturday, and Carole taking an order for a couple of jumpers, whilst we sold a bit of yarn.

The football season kicked off for Southport F.C. in the conference on Saturday and it was a good result, beating on of the favourites for the title, Luton 1-0 at what will always be Haig Ave, even if it is now due to sponsorship being called The Merseyrail Community stadium.


Capt Col nb Emma Maye, aka The Wool Boat, Wrenbury 11.8.13

The Llangollen in August Are we mad?

The Llangollen in August Are we mad?


Thursday 8.8.13.


Having left our home moorings in Burscough three weeks ago we are now moored between bridges 12 and 13 on the Llangollen canal. Are we mad to be here in August?

This is reckoned to be one of the most popular canals on the system, especially for hire boaters and a lot of other boaters tend to stay away from it in summer. So we shall see.

At the moment we are moored on a 48 hour visitor mooring, having arrived yesterday, and we are the only boat to have used it in the last 2 days!, and it’s one of the quietest and darkest moorings we have been on for ages, it’s great!


We came up through Hurleston locks yesterday morning, after we had waited at the bottom for about a hour while some CaRT men did some repairs to the bottom gates on lock two which where leaking badly. Chatting with a couple of boat crews that where also waiting, one a hire boat and the other a boat that the crew had borrowed for a week. No one was in any panic to be going anywhere.

While we where waiting I thought I’d have a fish with the magnet for any dropped windlasses, didn’t find any but as the locks where being refilled one of the CaRT men walked down to tell me I shouldn’t have been fishing with the magnet as it was against the bye laws!  He even quoted a reference no at me, something like rule 41 section d

I was amazed, never having heard of this before, thought it was a regular pastime for boaters?

So I did check later on and yes there is a British Waterways bye law from 1965 that prohibits anyone “Dredging for coal or any other rubbish from the canal without permission from the board”

What will we do if we ever drop our boat keys in? Get CaRT to come and find them for us?


I’ve had another photo published, this time in The Non League Paper, a weekly paper about non-league football. The pic was of Northwich Victoria’s ground being demolished alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal. The story was that the ground was only built in 2005.


Today’s news is that there has been a baby boom, which is good, as Carole has been busy creating baby garments.


Starting listening to Radio Shropshire now, I do like listening to local radio, but hope we’ll be able to keep it going and not have to listen to radio Wales.

Moored at Anderton

Capt Cols blog 26.7.2013


We are now moored at Anderton for the weekend.

Anderton is near Northwich in Cheshire and the site of the world famous Anderton boat lift, which carries boats between the Trent and Mersey canal and the river Weaver, the delights of which we are yet to experience.

We left Burscough a couple of weeks ago and have travelled along the Bridgewater canal with stops in Manchester, Little Bollington, Lymm and Daresbury, over looking the West Coast railway line.

The weather has been cracking, the best spell of weather we have had for the last 7 years which fits in with us last going to Llangollen which is where we are heading now.

So it’s been shorts all the way.


We have done some selling as well but have also been busy creating.

Carole has just finished a little blue babies cardigan, that is a order, but this baby is only due in November, so if we sell it can easily be replaced before then.


Once we came off the Bridgewater we had a couple of days near bridge 211 on the Trent and Mersey canal. This was about 200 yards past the site of last year’s major breech. Give the Canal and River Trust their due, they have made a grand job of reinstating the canal and the view is lovely, across the weaver valley.  They have put few mooring rings in, enough for about 5 boats, but we knew we would want to run the genny so didn’t want to disturb people, so we moved on.


There was just enough mooring by bridge 211 for one boat, so suited us, and I found a good viewing point over looking the valley with a good photo op of the railway over Dutton Viaduct, so had a couple of early morning sessions with the camera. Got a few useable shots that a may end up going to magazines.


While in Lymm a lady came along with a sheep’s fleece. She, Fiona, is the Conservation Officer for the Lancashire and Merseyside Wildlife trust who manage the Seaforth Nature reserve on Merseyside. To control the grass they have a flock of Hebridian sheep which have just been sheared. So they have about 50 fleeces they don’t know what to do with, so did we want any for spinning? Not really as we don’t spin. But we said we would put the word around. Which we have done, on Facebook, and I have started to have a go at playing with twitter as well.


I have also done the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, “Creations Chronicle” which we send out via e-mail, so if you’d like a copy drop us a message and we’ll put you on the list.


Well that will do for now, lets hope the weather stays good for some selling over the weekend.


Capt Col The Wool Boat at Anderton, 29.7.2013

Moored near Little Bollington, Bridgewater Canal

Capt Col’s Blog 17.7.13 Moored near Little Bollington



We’ll we are off on our summer cruise, and at the moment the summer is really a summer! The shorts have been out every day since we left Burscough just a week ago.

We have had a few days in Manchester at Castlefield.

It was a bit noisy on the Friday and Saturday night with lots of people knocking about the bars until the early morning.

So we just had to have a bit of beer ourselves to help us sleep, but paying £3.85 for pints of cask ale was getting a bit silly.

We did take the chance to take the train out to Stalybridge to visit the world famous station buffet which is licensed and does a good range of cask beer. We have had it on our “to do list” for a while, and we where not disappointed.

We left Manchester yesterday and cruised 12 miles to Little Bollington in Cheshire in fantastic sunshine, with a stop in Sale for supplies. As we passed waters meet, where the Leigh arm of the Bridgewater leaves the main line, a lady on a boat going the other way shouted “Oh The Wool Boat, I’ve been reading about you in a crochet magazine, so proves my press releases are working. Having thought about it though, mainline of the Bridgewater was the canal from Worsley to Castlefield, as built be the Duke of Ergeton and engineered by Brindley.

We had a pint from The Railway in Sale with our butties for dinner and was glad to pay only £5.20 for the 2 pints. Talking to the landlord, who had just taken the pub over the day before he is hoping to be able to drop his price’s after a meeting with his accountant, but won’t be able to get down to the £2 a pint that some of the chain pubs are charging for lager.

We had a walk to the Little Heath farm shop for salad stuff, and the service was excellent as normal, well worth the walk or the stop near Dunham School Bridge.

We’ll stay here for another day, and then we are hoping to get a mooring in Lymm for the weekend to be open for the knitters of the town.


Moored near Little Bollington, Capt Col 17.7.13.


The View from the galley 17.7.2013    Early morning on the Bridgewater canal near Little Bollington 

  in Cheshire, as the sun has come up and  raises mist from the

 water. This was the view from the galley of Emma Maye,

  aka The Wool Boat on 17.7.2013,

20th May out of Liverpool

 20th May out of Liverpool.

 Day 12 of our trip into Liverpool.


After another peaceful night in Salthouse dock in Liverpool it was time to be leaving.


We where due to be at the Mann Island Lock in Canning half tide lock at 09.00. There where six boats going out today, Howard and his mate where first to move, off at about 08.20. I watched them from the road come around into the Mann Island lock landing, realising there was only room for two boats to wait there until the canal and river trust staff arrived at 09.00 to work the lock. “Buttons 3” and “Dolly peg” then left Salthouse dock at about 08.40, and spent 20 odd minutes floating around in the Canning dock. Pete from the nb “Grace” who was going out with us and I waited until we saw the CaRT lads arrive and start locking Howard through. We then slowly made our way through the Albert dock, around to the Mann island lock, arriving just as Buttons No3 and Dolly Peg where leaving the lock, perfect timing.

The weather was dull and cool, but nowhere near as windy as when we came in, so a different journey back along the Liverpool Link canal, taking our time and savouring the views of the three graces and the old docks.

All the lockie’s today where CaRT staff, as they don’t really get many volunteers on a Monday, but it all went as smoothly as the trip in. It was slightly quicker on the way out, maybe because there was a boat less?

We stopped and did the loo’s at Litherland again, and so again ended up last in the convoy that had a quick break at Nertherton Swing bridge, while waiting for the CaRT lads to arrive to work it for us.  


Again the part of the canal that had the most rubbish in it was the section from Litherland to Old Roan, but thankfully we didn’t get anything caught that stopped us. We did pull the remains of a few plastic bags off the prop later. We moored back at bridge 10 Holmes swing bridge, the rest of the convoy kept going but we had done enough for the day.


So was it worth it? Would we go into Liverpool again?


Well it was worth it for the experience of being in the iconic city, going through the old north docks before they get redeveloped, and as we do when we are in a city we tend to eat out and drink too much with all the choice’s.

The mooring was a lot quieter than we expected, and the electric and water to all the pontoons was great. You would have to be really unlucky to actually have to buy a card for the electric, there was about 3 kw hours on our’s when we arrived and we used about 1 of them. One thing to be aware of is that the water is only on about every fourth pontoon, so you may need a long hose to get to your tank. 


The only real downside’s?  The trip from Holmes swing bridge into and out of the docks, for us was a long day especially with the wind on the way in,  we did as many miles on these days as we would do in a week.

The lack of a free elsan point in the docks was frustrating and the feeling because you have to book your passage that the freedom to come and go wasn’t there, so we don’t think it will be on our cruising plan every year, maybe again in about 5 years.


But the best thing of all was the boaters we went in and out with whom where a great group of people, and that’s what makes boating so special, thanks to you all.


Capt Col moored near Lydiate ,17.00 21st May 2013


View from the galley 19.5.2013


    View from the galley 19.5.2013, a Liverpool tour

    bus passes by Salthouse dock on Wapping in 


In Liverpool

191h May In Liverpool.

 Day 10 of our trip into Liverpool.


We have now been moored in Salthouse Dock in Liverpool since Wednesday, and it’s now Sunday morning.

We have had a good start to exploring Liverpool, but we’re not going to get it all done by a long way.

We’ve been to both the Maritime Museum , and the Museum of Liverpool . We found the museum of Liverpool to be the most interesting; of course the trouble now is that there are things in museums that we remember from our earlier days!

While we where in both of them we asked about “Ganseys ” as part of our research to try to find Gansey patterns of the north west coast of the country. The lady in the museum of Liverpool said they didn’t have any archives, and there was nothing on display. There are archives in the maritime museum, and they where open to the public on Thursday afternoon. However we where disappointed again, especially with the chap behind the enquiry desk who didn’t seem interested in helping at all! So we have got no further with this one.


We where also impressed by The Caravan Gallery , that was outside the Museum of Liverpool, with a bigger exhibition inside the museum


We have seen the Queen Mary 2 which was docked at the cruise liner terminal for a turn round day. She certainly drew the crowds to look at her. She was one of four ships turning around in Liverpool over the last 4 days.


We have had some nice meals out, and been to a few of the 125 pubs that are on the Camra map of Liverpool, finding The Roscoe Head and The Baltic Fleet to be the best ones up to now.


We where open for yarn sales yesterday and today. We hadn’t checked out the mooring situation properly before we had arrived and it’s not really ideal for encouraging people to come down on to the pontoons to visit us, so we haven’t gone banana’s in promoting our presence.

We had a couple of customers yesterday, so will see what today brings.

Another slight problem is the famous yellow duwk tours that run around the city and then come down the slipway into the dock, causing a wave that gives “Emma Maye” a bit of a rocking!


Capt Col Salthouse Dock, Liverpool, 10.00 19th May 2013


         Emma Maye Dwarfed by just about everything around Salthouse 





















View from the galley 17.5.2013       The View from the galley of Salthouse dock surrounded by 

       Albert dock and the big wheel 

15th May, sixth day of trip into Liverpool

151h May To Liverpool, Day 6

The sixth day of our trip into Liverpool.


Holmes Swing bridge near Melling to Salthouse Dock, Liverpool 16 miles 3 swing bridges, 6 locks


After another peaceful night woke to wind and rain. Why couldn’t it have been like yesterday?


But go we had to, along with the other 3 boats that had moored here overnight. By the time we had got to Hancock’s swing bridge, and worked through it, as it was operated by the CaRT man there was 7 boats in the convoy.

The wind and rain continued as we passed through Litherland and Bootle.

There was quite a bit of rubbish in parts of the canal, especially around bridge holes, plenty of firewood, plastic bottles, the odd sofa. A couple of the deeper draughted boats had to stop to clear their props. We used the technique of gliding through the rubbish in the bridge holes, and so we made it all the way without problems. A quick stop at the services at Litherland to empty the loo and get rid of the rubbish. It’s a pity the visitor moorings here are not used, but being in the urban area you can maybe understand why. There is a newish large Tesco here, maybe they could have been encouraged to provide secure visitor moorings?


We would have been better to have our dinner on this last section of open canal as we travelled as from leaving Melling at 08.00 it was 14.30 before we finished in the docks.


By the time we got to the top of the Stanley lock flight the sun had come out, but still windy.

We where told that if it had been just a bit more windy we would have over nighted in Eldonian village as it would have been to wild to do the Liverpool Link Canal. We where last to arrive at the top of the locks, so went down by ourselves, everybody else going down as pair’s. The locks are worked by a CaRT chap and 3 volunteers who did a great job.

Ask them for Camra map to the Liverpool pubs…’s worth having.


Got wet again under the railway viaduct over lock 3, lockies said it never stops dripping water under here….it was more than drips!


Then out through Stanley dock and the first of the waves, we don’t normally do rivers never mind big open spaces like this! Once under the road bridge, out into the interconnected old docks. I could have sworn they said turn sharp left just after the road bridge, but the entrance to the new canal channel was another 100 yards further out towards the Mersey.

The wind was blowing across us and then behind us in the new channel, and 1 started to enjoy it now, but it all passed so quickly. Followed the buoy markers to the new lock 5, which was set for me, so straight in.

Carole walked with the lockie from here across the Pier head to the mann island lock, while I went under the 3 tunnels.

As I came out of the last one the wind was blowing hard, and the lock landing was full of boats.

One of the other boats had got a tyre around his prop in Mann Island Lock so had held up the locking through process. So the reason for the que. I was directed around the moored boats to join Jemma Abagail in the lock entrance. The tyre was removed and so on out into and through, Canning dock, the Albert dock and into Salthouse dock. Howard from “Compass Rose” grabbed a rope and helped us reverse into the S4 pontoon, after a spin around.


While we where coming over the pier head section the daughter was out taking pictures, which are now on Facebook under the Wool Boat


Nearly everyone who we have talked to that has been into Liverpool says it is great, may be because of the journey, I loved it, Carole found it a bit daunting because of the wind….

Impressions of being in the dock and the trip back out next week, once we have done it


Now off to explore Liverpool.


Capt Col Salthouse Dock, Liverpool, 16th May 2013

13th and 14th May, dys 4 and 5 of trip to Liverpool

141h May To Liverpool, Day 5

The fifth day of our trip into Liverpool.


 Bells Lane, Maghull to Holmes Swing bridge near Melling 3 miles 4 swing Bridges


Didn’t move yesterday, from near the New Running Horses in Maghull.

Day off after the weekend.


Windy but sunny, so after dinner walked into Maghull for some shopping.

Handy square of shops with a few banks, a couple of butchers, a home bargains and a couple of the chain bakers, Greggs and pound bakery. Also a post office and a Morrison’s super market.


Gave a young lady a bit of a shock as we where sat on the boat with the back doors shut in the middle of the afternoon, and we presume she thought no one was on board. Just wanted to sit on the boat to remind her of being on her granddad’s wide beam boat he used to moor here abouts. She nearly jumped out of her skin when I opened the doors to find out what was going on.


Cruised through Maghull this morning, doing the 4 Swing bridges in the company of “Compass Rose” a narrowboat that is also going into Liverpool tomorrow. They stopped to use the laundrette in Maghull, while we carried on to moor near bridge 10, Holmes swing bridge. We had talked to other boaters that had been into Liverpool before and they recommended here and not bridge 9, as they had had stones thrown at the boats there.

As at 16.15 there are us and 3 other boats moored here.

We walked up through New house farm and had a wander round Melling, buying ½ a dozen free range eggs from the old school house, leaving a £1 in the honesty box, before having a pint in “The Bootle Arms”, a Marston’s pub.


Don’t suppose we’ll do a lot more today, relaxing ready for the final push into Liverpool tomorrow.


Capt Col,  near Melling


The view from the galley 14.5.13     New house farm, we are now moving into more horse and pony country than sheep farming..








Carole outside The Bootle Arms Melling


    Carole consults the bus timetable outside the Bootle Arms in Melling on

 Merseyside. She has no intention of going anywhere by bus as ahe had arrived 

 in  Melling on the narrowboat "Emma Maye", also known as The Wool Boat.
 We had walkied up to the village of Melling from the canal and had a pint in the 


12th May 2013, 3rd day of trip to Liverpool

121h May To Liverpool, Day 3

The third day of our trip into Liverpool.


 Bells Lane, Maghull


Didn’t move today, it rained all day as well, until the evening.


Did go into The New Running Horses for our tea tonight with family who live around here.


It was a good value meal, but because it was late in the weekend, they had sold out of some items on the menu, but the mixed grill was great.


We usually listen to Radio Lancashire when we are around are home mooring, but one of the delights of being out and about is other local radio stations, so now we are listening to Radio Merseyside. They have just carried a interview with a girl who is helping to organise a yarn bombing of The Bluecoat in Liverpool as part of Liverpool light night this coming Friday, something else to look forwards too.


Capt Col, in Maghull

11.5.2013, 2nd day of trip into Liverpool

11th May To Liverpool, Day 2

The second day of our trip into Liverpool.


Haskayne to Bells Lane, Maghull 3 Miles 1 swing bridge.


Away from The Ship about 08.00, in the rain again, but at least it’s brought the green out in the flat countryside this part of the canal passes through. 


After passing through Coxheads swing bridge, not holding any traffic up at that time of the day, we arrived in Maghull about 09.30. This was after we had turned at the winding hole in the middle of the Mersey Motor Boat Club moorings and then reversed to moor about 20 yards away from the bridge landing of the Bells Lane swing bridge.

Why had we reversed?

The last time we where here in a boat, umpteen years ago, we where advised not to moor on the towpath side, and was kindly offered a mooring on the Mersey Motor Boat Club mooring.

So the plan was to boat back out beyond Lydiate for Saturday night.

However we where pleasantly surprised by the fact that not one of the boats on the MMBC had any protection over their windows, and the local towpath walkers where very friendly.

Just a couple of boats passed through the swing bridge during the day, one of which was nb ”Grace” which is going into Liverpool on Sunday, a few days before us. 

We had a couple of customers during the afternoon, one who was a lady in a wheelchair, pushed along the tow path by her husband, who appreciated us being able to bring our yarn samples out to her in our display baskets.

As we where packing up after a few hours trading the weather, which had brightened up turned black again, so we decided we would stay where we where tonight and see how we got on…and we had a very peaceful night.  


Capt Col 12.5.13


Cw 572 The View from the galley 11.5.2013



10th May 2013, to Liverpool day 1

10th May To Liverpool, Day 1


The first day of our trip into Liverpool.


Burscough to Haskayne 7 Miles 2 swing bridges


The Liverpool link that connects the end of the Leeds and Liverpool canal to the Albert and Salthouse docks opened in 2009. When it first opened it was only open in summer, and up to now we have always been away travelling in the summers.

So this year we decided to do what is on our door step.

We had to book our passage down through the Stanley dock and in to Salthouse dock with the Canal and River trust, as their lads help us in and out. So we are booked to go in on Wednesday 15th and out again on Monday 20th.

Everyone who we have talked to who has been in to the city already has said it is great.


But we still have to be doing some trading, so we are stopping in Maghull this weekend, and will be open Sat and Sunday, as we will be in Liverpool next weekend.


But for today we left the permanent moorers in Burscough around 10.00 in the wind and the rain. At least the wind was more head on to us than across us for most of the trip this morning.

Carole operated both the Crabtree and New Lane bridges which amazingly both worked ok, the only problem being pushing Emma Maye off the bridge landing at New Lane after we had passed through it.


All went well, me even starting to dry out in the wind until just before the Saracens Head pub at Halsall when we caught up with “The Pride of Sefton 2” It’s a local community boat that is a wide beam, so they where not effected by the wind as much, so where going slower than us. We stopped in the bridge hole for 10 minutes at The Saracens head to let them “get ahead” and then followed them through the cutting where they started digging the Leeds and Liverpool canal over 200 years ago.


They had moored outside the Ship Inn at Haskayne, and the two fella’s on board helped to moor us up.


Dinner was a light bite in the pub with a nice pint of stout in the pub before doing a bit of computing this afternoon. The wind has continued to blow all day, so we have stayed moored here until tomorrow morning when we’ll travel the next 3 and ½ miles to Maghull.


Cw 570 Big skys and wind in West lancs on 10.5.13


   Capt Col, outside The Ship at Haskayne.


  Big Skys, wind in the trees and on the canal in West Lancashire

Tarleton to Parbold via Burscough

Wednesday 1st May to Friday 3rd May 2013


From Tarleton to Parbold 11 miles 7 swing bridges 7 locks


A lovely morning’s cruise from Tarleton up the Rufford Branch on Wednesday with no problems with the wind, and the locks worked ok.

Just one inconsiderate boater that had left his boat moored over half of the bridge landing at the Causeway bridge near Rufford.

Interesting encounter at one of the locks with some Canal and River Trust bank staff who where doing some oiling and greasing of lock gear and some painting.  They where actually from Lancaster, and their maintaince patch now stretches from Glasson Bock, the fella in charge was the lock keeper at Glasson, to the top of the Rufford arm. So today they had to come and do some work here, but had to be back in the afternoon to work the tidal lock at Glasson! Seems a large area to cover, and they’ll be putting some miles in in the van!


Any way, after the stiff little bridge was passed at the top of the Rufford arm it was time for a pint and dinner in the Ship Inn.


Wednesday night was a meeting of the organizing committee for Burscough Heritage week, and at last we seem to be getting some where towards making it happen.


Thursday we where open at Burscough, again couldn’t get moored outside the Wharf as the boats that have been there since January are still firmly moored there, on a 14 day mooring.

Carole was knit and nattering in the M Bar K again and the ladies have decided they will return there next week. They had met in the Farmers Arms at New Lane until it closed for refurbishment a couple of months ago. They may return there once the place has got settled down after it reopens this weekend.


Good news from the Burscough Heritage Group, the difficulties we where having over the venue have been sorted so it will go ahead in June as planned.


This morning, Friday we have cruised up to Parbold for the weekend, and have managed to secure the mooring we like, near the “your’s is the earth café” for the weekend.

Hoping for some grand weather, as it’s quite dull this afternoon, gave me chance to do this.


Capt Col The Wool Boat moored in Parbold on the 3rd of May 2013

To Tarleton

Tuesday 30th April 2013


To Tarleton 3 miles 3 swing bridges


We cruised, if that’s the right word, from Rufford to Tarleton yesterday morning. We had been moored just behind the National Trust Property Rufford Old Hall on Sunday evening after leaving St Mary’s Marina. It was a nice mooring just beyond the visitor moorings, but by heck the traffic on the A59 on the other side of the trees didn’t seem to stop all night! 


We moved off about 09.30, stopping at Sparks Bridge to do the loo and water, and then the real problem occurred at Fearns Bridge. It was blowing that had that once the bridge was swung open it was hard work to keep it open to get it to stay open.

As luck would have it there was another chap there who is touring the canals this year on a funny looking vessel he has built himself and so we assisted each other, which included getting the front “T” stud of Emma Maye caught under the bridge for a while!


Carole walked all the way from that bridge to Tarleton, it being that windy, if I’d have got into the side I wouldn’t have got back off again. Oh the joys of boating.


Anyway we are the only boat on the visitor mooring here at Tarleton and it is so quite compared to Sunday night.

We had a walk to have a look at the river Douglas see lock, just to confirm that we have no desire to go our there to get to the Lancaster Canal, and then a glass of wine or two later on with my sister and partner that live locally and came down on their bicycles.


We’re open 10 -5 today, and we’ve had one customer p to now and we have also taken a booking to give a talk to the Tarleton lady farmers in January 2014 and the sun is out and it’s not blowing!  Happy days.Emma Maye at TarletonView from the galley window 30.4.2013

In The Marina

Sunday 28 4.2013


In the marina


St Marys Marina the view from the galley 28.4.2013

We are spending a couple of days in St Marys Marina at Rufford. We are on the visitor moorings near the mangers reception building.

We arrived yesterday morning and stayed overnight. Nice and quiet and for once we have had the luxury of being able to plug into electricity. What we had forgotten was that we didn’t have a cable with the right plug on the end to plug into the shore supply! But Mark the marina manager had one to sell us.

We went out to the Hesketh Arms pub in the village last night with friends for a pint or two of Old School Brewery “Restoration” bitter and very nice it was as well. There was also a 3 piece band on, “909” who did a grand version of the Robert Johnson’s blues classic “Crossroads”.


We’ve had a couple of customers up to now including Amanda who besides buying yarn was taking pic’s of us to put on her blog We look forwards to what she writesJ.

I put on my new jumper for the photo shoot, this is stripey jumper no 3, knitted by Carole of course, she can do you one for about £60. don’t worry it’ll be totally unique.

Down the Rufford Branch

Friday 24th April


Down the Rufford Branch. 2.5 miles, 6 locks, 2 swing bridges.


Today’s trip was the start of or weekend away from our normal cruising and opening places. It is about 4 years since we travelled down from the Leeds and Liverpool main line down the Rufford branch. It is also the first time we have brought “Emma Maye” down here. I’d forgotten that the locks are only 60 ft long, and “Emma Maye” is 57ft long. Not quite as much room to spare in the locks.

The little footbridge before the first lock was very stiff to move, why is it there anyway? There are two other bridges over the canal here?

Anyway we didn’t have to fill any of the locks using the clough paddles, so not to bad a trip, though it did get a bit windy, but that’s not unusual for the West Lancashire plain is it?

At least it was sunny all the trip, a rain shower later on in the afternoon just after I had painted the gas locker lid!

We where moored up just above the lock at Rufford by 12.30, no other boats here, maybe because we are next to the railway? Which isn’t problem to Carole and I, both being train fans.

I went for a walk up to the garage in the village and got a Lancashire Evening Post. Rachel has done quite a good spread on page 22 about us, a few typo’s but hopefully will get us some more custom this weekend.



View from the galley 26.4.2013  This is the view from the galley window

   after we had moored.

Windy Windy

The View from the Galley window 18.4.2013     What a windy windy day.

     I was able to get from our mooring at Crabtree Lane into Burscough, but only because the strong wind was blowing me off the bank at the mooring. The other day when we came back to the mooring from Scarisbrick it took 3 of us to pull Emma Maye" into the mooring.

So this is the view from the galley window today, as the wind whips the waves up on the canal. I haven't seen any other boats moving today, but the weather forecast is for the wind to drop overnight, hope so. 

After a completely new event for us at Heatons Bridge Pub near Scarisbrick we are now making our way back to our moorings for a couple of days before being back in Burscough village over the next weekend.

The event at Heatons bridge was a military vehicle rally which was quite interesting, just a pity the weather wasn't to good for them. We had a few customers, we moored along side the towpath, as the vistor mooring washwall is slopey here so there would be too much of a gap between the boat and the bank. It does mean that the majority of people who came across down the towpath actually wanted to buy something, instead of just coming for a look on a boat. 

More info from Heatons Bridge Facebook and a article from The Champion.

In Parbold

Following a good knit and natter for the knitters in The M.Bar.K at Buscough Wharf yesterday we have now cruised to Parbold.

We set out from the top of the Rufford branch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal, where we had moored last night, at about 08.30. We wanted to get to Parbold before the wind got up again, which we did.

After a boat moved off from near the "yours is the earth" cafe we moored there ready for the weekend. We have been joined by another roving trader who sells fenders and old fashioned sweets :-) so it should be a interesting weekend. 

Captain Col's blog

I got to thinking that as it is now the time of year that we are starting to do more moving about on "Emma Maye", The Wool Boat it may be of interest to see the world from my position as Capt of the ship:-).

I have kept a diary for a good few year's since I was trained as a horticulturlist at Pershore in the 1970's so we will see how this gets on....hope you like it.

At the moment we are back on our home mooring, for a couple of days before setting off towards Parbold for the weekend after a stop in Burscough Village on Thursday, while Carole is knit and nattering in the M.Bar.K

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