Friday, 7 August 2015

Blackburn: the natives are friendly

I rarely take any notice of the doom mongers who advise that one should not stop in certain places on the waterways. "Go straight through Blackburn and Burnley without stopping", they say.

Well, when we got to the top of Blackburn Locks, we tied up while we had lunch. It was quiet. David walked under the bridge and found a large Asda with mooring rings, but we were on rings where we were so we stayed put.

After lunch we walked into the city centre and looked round the cathedral and museum. The cathedral is modern-looking and undergoing building work. The museum is excellent, with a fine collection of items from the weaving industry from spinning wheels to Hargreaves's Spinning Jenny to Compton's Mule and later weaving machines. I could have spent a few hours there but we wanted to get to Rishton for the evening.

When we got back to the boat it was perfectly fine, of course, and we struggled through the thick masses of weed to Rishton.

We hadn't gone far when we were hailed from the offside bank by some youths. Hello - is this trouble? No, they only wanted us to fish out a football from the canal for them. A quick blast of reverse and a poke around with a boat pole and I had the ball, which I threw across to the lads. They were grateful and gave thumbs-up signs and disappeared through a fence, presumably to kick the ball around. I might be wrong, but I don't think the ball had only just gone into the cut. It had the dirty feel of a football which had been afloat for several days.

Back to today's cruising. We set off in strong sunshine from Riley Green not much after 0900 and enjoyed fabulous warm sunny weather all day. This feels more like it! The weed I mentioned kept collecting round the bow; I kept pushing it off as we were going along with a long piece of wood. The design of the boat, with the base plate protruding forward, means that floating weed gets trapped and accumulates. This has a huge impact on speed.

Half-way up the Blackburn locks is this metal sculpture of a cyclist who looks even thinner than me.

The view of Blackburn from the embankment is impressive.

David and I cycled to the Rishton Arms near Rishton Station to see if they did food. Two friendly young ladies outside told us that the pub didn't do food and proceeded to tell us about places which did, and where they were. We thanked them and then cycled back to the boat, where Penny had prepared a delicious curry. (This could have kept if we'd found an unmissable eatery.)

You will recall that I published a photo yesterday of a newspaper headline: "CHORLEY WATER LEAK NIGHTMARE". Now it appears that water may indeed be a nightmare for some. United Utilities published a warning yesterday (Thursday) that people should boil water to combat an outbreak (infestation?) of cryptosporidium. Chorley is in the centre of the affected region. Three of our party drank tap water at the café where we had lunch; we filled up our water tank at Botany Bay, Chorley. Today we topped up at Blackburn Locks. At neither water point was there a CRT warning notice that the water might be contaminated, despite residents being told in leaflet drops and local radio. Now this doesn't particularly worry me - I drank a glass of water this lunchtime knowing about the alert - but I think I'll e-mail CRT to ask if they intend doing anything.

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