A Day Trip to the Isle of Man
Cooking on the Cut
The outline of this issue has been lurking on my hard disk for quite some time, waiting for the go-ahead from Cliff.
I have included in a larger than usual IWA Snippets the section about the Ribble Link from their August Bulletin which, I feel, illustrates the kind of problem which has been arising to delay the commencement of construction of the Link.
In the last issue - and on the Internet - I asked if anyone would be willing to donate or loan the Trust a digital camera. The response was completely underwhelming, although my thanks go to those who offered to take digital photographs for me. If you have visited the Web site recently you will have seen, from the photographs of the Preston Millennium Boat Rally, that I eventually decided to buy one. The photographs, or should that be digital images, in this issue were also taken with it. I have also discovered that in addition to transferring the images to a computer they can be also be shown on a television screen or recorded on video-tape as an electronic version of a slide show complete with background music and a commentary. Much more fun than my 35mm kit which has been relegated to a cupboard, at least for the time being.
I hope that very soon I will be taking photographs of the start of work on the Link for the Web site and for this magazine.
The production of this edition of Ripples has been held up pending completion of negotiations between Ribble Link Construction & Operations Ltd (a partnership company formed between Ribble Link Trust and Lancashire County Council), The Waterways Trust and British Waterways.
The report I gave in the last issue regarding the preliminary contract being signed between British Waterways and the contractor did not materialise and long drawn out negotiations regarding various elements of 'risk' have now been concluded. The main agreements have yet to be signed but the main stumbling block has been agreeing who takes what 'risks' and this has now been agreed. This leaves the way forward for the project to finally get underway. The revised timetable, providing nothing untoward is discovered during construction, is as follows:-
The Waterways Trust have agreed to take over the responsibility of the video showing the entire construction and completion of the project which leaves the Ribble Link Trust clear to arrange the Grand Opening Cruise. Work will start on arranging this shortly and further information will be available in the next edition of Ripples.
The Preston Millennium Boat Rally which was organised by the Lancaster Canal Trust, Lancaster Canal Boat Club, Association of Cruising Enthusiasts & the Ribble Link Trust was held in Haslam Park adjacent to the Lancaster Canal on the 1st & 2nd of July. Fifty-eight boats attended of which a number cruised the rivers Douglas & Ribble making use of the facilities in Preston's Riversway Marina.
Congratulation must go to Ken Hudson & Peter Lang for all the hard work which they put into organising the event.
A brass plaque commemorating Start of construction 2000 has been produced by the Trust along the lines of the last cruise plaque and is available from any Trust Committee member price £5.00 + 95p package & postage (if this is required). Cheques to be made payable to the Ribble Link Trust.
As things progress with the construction of the Link we will keep you updated on all issues in Ripples. If you have access to the Internet you will be able to keep up-to-date on the progress being made,including photographs supplied by John Clegg.
The Ribble Link Trust page can be found at http://www.clegg.fsnet.co.uk/rlthome.html
Finally, thanks to all those concerned who help to keep the Trust going.
This article is about a day trip to the Isle of Man. Not, as you might imagine, on a high speed ferry or by plane but a trip aboard Chris Gulley's new high speed boat Polar Fox.
At 23.00 on the evening of Sunday 16th July I received a phone call from Chris enquiring if I would be interested in a trip to the Isle of Man the following day. The weather forecast was good and arrangements were made to meet at Tarleton Lock at 12.30 the next day.
After storing all provisions aboard we locked down onto the River Douglas at 12.54. After only few minutes we passed Jackson's - formerly Shepherd's - boat yard at a greatly reduced speed because, believe it or not, Chris has received a few complaints about his speed on previous occasions.
Sixteen minutes after leaving the lock we passed the five-mile perch and after a further ten minutes we passed Lytham church, an average speed twenty knots. After passing the fourteen-mile perch we changed course to a heading of 310 degrees making for the Isle of Man. In the meantime we contacted Liverpool coast guard to inform of our intended passage.
The weather changed once out offshore becoming rather cloudy causing reduced visibility and the sea became choppier, although this did not slow our progress too much. On the way we passed numerous gas platforms and rigs, but due to the poor visibility we only spotted the Isle of Man when eighteen miles offshore.
We headed in towards Douglas harbour but before entering Chris called up the Harbour Master on VHF to request a berth and we were given directions to their floating pontoon. We then proceeded along the marked channel and located our berth, mooring up at 16.54, exactly four hours after leaving Tarleton, having covered a distance of seventy-four miles.
After washing the boat down we located the Harbour Master's office and paid our mooring fees before setting off to do a bit of sightseeing around Douglas. We finally located a wine bar and restaurant and settled down to enjoy our evening meal.
The Harbour Master had advised us to return to the boat before the 20.00 Fastcat ferry arrived as the Captain was prone to allow the vessel to enter the harbour to quickly. On this occasion he arrived early, just as Chris and I were approaching the boat, but for once the ferry entered slowly and did not cause any problems.
We also discovered that four yachts, which had sailed that day from Whitehaven, had joined us at the berth and, after a few pleasantries, we set off back into Douglas to find one of the pubs that our yachting friends had recommended. After a couple of pints we returned to the boat, by which time it had reached 11.00 and after a night-cap we turned in.
The following morning, after enjoying a full English breakfast at the local café, we made ready to depart but before leaving Douglas we informed the Harbour Master and Liverpool coast guard of our intended return passage. We left the breakwater at 8.30 on a course bearing 100 degrees heading for Barrow. The crossing was similar to that of the day before, sighting the odd fishing boat and gas rig, until at 10.00 we spotted Walney light and sailed down the coast before making our way up the Barrow Channel. Chris had contacted a work colleague, who lives in Barrow, via his mobile phone and we met him just under the main road bridge in the centre of Barrow. Our passenger boarded and joined us for a high-speed run to Piel Island and back.
At 11.54 we once again turned back under the bridge and made for Walney light. On our way down the channel we passed a huge floating crane, escorted by a pilot boat, which was heading for Liverpool. We reached Walney light at 12.23 and headed for the Ribble estuary on a course of 180 degrees. In the distance we could see Heysham Harbour and a short time later Blackpool Tower was sighted on the port side. By 13.30 we had arrived at the Ribble Estuary and I took over the controls of Polar Fox. After approximately ten minutes we came across a small yacht who flagged us down, and requested that we attempted to pull his companion, who was grounded, off the off the bank. We went over to the small yacht and took on a line but the tide was now falling very quickly and our attempt failed. A larger vessel arrived to help but as the water level was dropping we unfortunately had to leave to ensure we had enough water to enable us to clear the cill at Tarleton Lock.
We opened the throttle and passed the five-mile perch at 14.05 and fifteen minutes later we entered Tarleton lock were Chris checked the log and discovered we had covered 107 miles in less than five hours.
What a cracking trip it had turned out to be.
Mozzarella and Ham Toasties Serves four
|8 slices Continental rustic bread||4 tsp Dijon mustard|
|12oz mozzarella cheese, drained and sliced||4 slices good quality ham|
|1tbsp fresh roughly chopped parsley||3tbsp olive oil|
|tomato chutney to serve|
Sandwich the bread slices together with the mozzarella cheese, ham and mustard.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the parsley for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and set aside. Cook the sandwiches in the pan, in two batches, for about two minutes each side, adding a little more oil if necessary, until the bread is golden and crisp and the filling is hot.
Drain the sandwiches on kitchen paper and sprinkle with the fried parsley. Serve warm with tomato chutney.