Up and Down the Hillock

I’m grounded at least I feel as if I am grounded. I knew about an appointment at the hosp I have to attend at the end of the month and had planned to get a train to the hosp from wherever I was, then I needed to sort the boat out so I could safely use the Morso, charge the batteries, have a working bilge pump etc so when it turned out I could go no further than Riley Green as lock 55 in Blackburn was down – and who wants to moor in Blackburn – I found myself with every reason to turn back.

I seem to be getting pretty good at winding in narrow areas but I think the boat handles particularly well.

My dreams see me going round in circles…I could have been half-way to Leeds by now but here I am stuck in the Blackburn, Chorley not far from Bolton (where I once resided) area…as if grounded for my sins. So I did what I thought stranded or grounded boaters do or did..

I made bread – sadly not that kind bread but this…well from this to this…

Bread - the beginningBread




No big deal I know loads of people make bread, but its my first go and I did it because I’d run out of food more or less. But a good mug of tea and this bread with honey was just wonderful and lifted my grounded spirits back to the heavens once more.

To help pass the time and maintain my levels of fitness I’ve been riding Claud(ia – Butler) – she a right goer when she gets into one of her 24 gears…she resides quietly on the roof of the boat. Other than the boat she has become my main mode of transport though she does make my bum sore…I’m surClaudiae its not supposed to be like that…

…and then there’s the scenery, the sunsets, the people to talk to and the grumpy geese tapping the sides of the boat for some of my nice bread…no chance kiddo…

Johnsons Hillock






Ewart and Mockingbird Laddie on Mockingbird There’s a shower etc at the top of Johnson’s Hillock and Top Lock pub which serves nice ale. I do find the bar staff just a bit grumpy but hey the beer is good as is the food.

…and then I think I’m drinking too much so I am going to cut that out if at all possible…I just want to get going again…I feel I am under starters order I  need to see this month through and be off.

I came down Johnson’s Hillock single handed the other day. The locks are close enough together to be able to leave the boat whilst I sorted out the next lock. Annoyingly there are no mooring pins in the basins which for the single handed boater is a proper pain in the neck. Ok, so I could moor up in the basin etc off and use my mooring pins and me hammer etc but that assumes there’s sufficient water in the basin to be able to get close enough to get off the boat…the water level seemed a bit down.

up and down the hillock 1So at each lock I was caused to leave the boat loosely tethered and walk down to the next lock and prepare it ready for me to just drive straight in. I only loosely tethered the boat because the lock gates are constantly leaking and during my absence the water tends to ooze out. One of my biggest concerns is what can happen to the boat if the water drops away when I am off at the other lock preparing it for my arrival and it is tethered too tight. I usually use a rope tethered to the roof of the boat but have in the past used a rope tethered to the side…in such an event potentially capsizing the boat seems a possibility.

I suppose I could drop the boat down first by emptying the lock but this requires two trips up and down the ladders which I think is one of the most dangerous bits, walking on the roof and climbing the sometimes wobbly ladders. Its twice the journey going down to prep the next lock, then coming back completing the lock where the boat is and then taking her out and into the next lock, walking back and closing the gates and then walking down to the next lock etc etc…but hey all the joys of the single handed boater.

I’ve enjoyed some lovely sunset and lately the full-moons in this area. Probably as a constant cruiser I’m hanging about a bit long but just till the end of this month then its back up Johnson’s Hillock again and off up and over towards Leeds.

Have also met some great people, kind and friendly. warm and helpful and feel a certain surety of meeting many more in my coming travels but need to try and create some kind of income to assist me and keep my dream afloat, oddment my income etc.

A mate has bought me a Raptor 38cc Petrol Chainsaw…there are loads of fallen and seemingly abandoned tree-trunks about the place…so I’m going to get some bags and prepare bags of wood that potentially I could sell. I must get a picture of myself with the Raptor and all the safety kit, head visor with face guard, gloves and shin guards…I’ll try and get the picture sorted prior to the point where I cut one of my limbs off…a sort of before and lack of after shot.

Starting in May its back up Johnson’s Hillock and off up and over…and away.

Moon 1Blue Moon


Useful Information

I am a 55 year old male living alone on a narrowboat. I continuously cruise the inland waterways and rivers and have taken a year off work to see if the lifestyle works for me both financially and physically. I have sold my house and my car and now have bicycle and a boat. My main intention has been to slow down the pace of my life and enjoy each moment as much as possible.

pearley - Wednesday,16 April, 2014

Actually, the way you are doing it is correct. Draining the upper lock first can mean that a lot of water just goes over the by wash and is lost to the lower pound. Starting the lower lock filling then going back and starting the upper lock emptying means that water replaces the water filling the lower lock.

If you see what I mean.


Vaguehippo - Wednesday,16 April, 2014

pearley said
Actually, the way you are doing it is correct. Draining the upper lock first can mean that a lot of water just goes over the by wash and is lost to the lower pound. Starting the lower lock filling then going back and starting the upper lock emptying means that water replaces the water filling the lower lock.

If you see what I mean.

Ah cool…I had wondered about that. When I was first going up Johnson’s Hillock I went and opened the upper lock gates but when I returned to my boat which was still in the first lock the water level had dropped right down spewing out of the gate behind me and the whole basin drained and my boat dropped down below the cill at such a rate one might have expected the paddles were open which they weren’t. All I could do was reverse out and moor up and call THEM (C&TR). They came out the next day and shifted shed loads of water down so me and another boat could do the climb – but I had nightmares about moving out of the lock before the water level had dropped below the cill, becoming stuck or grounded on the cill and as the water level dropped and the back end of my boat went down sinking it in the traditional way…via the cill…I’m very vigilant now about that the water is doing, take nothing for granted anymore such as expecting the lock gates to contain the water in the lock or there being sufficient water in the basin to keep the lock topped up enough so I can enter the basin without catching on the cill etc.



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