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KenK

Severn, Mersey and Ribble

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This year was the first of full retirement so ideal to boat to places that we had long wished to see but work never allowed enough time to visit. Our intention was to travel from Newbury up the western side of the country and travel as far north as possible. In addition we wished to tackle the Severn Estuary, the River Mersey and the Ribble Link, all of which we were able to do.

I'm aware that these have been covered in the past but the following is a list of contact details and tips for anyone planning to do one or all of the crossings next year.

Severn Estuary

Gloucester Pilots              07774 226143                    [email protected]

Gloucester Harbour        01453 811913                    www.gloucesterharbourtrustees.org.uk

Sharpness Lock                 01453 511968

Swansea Coastguard      01792 366534

Bristol VTS                          01179 802638

Portishead Marina           01275 841941                    [email protected]

                Bristol to Portishead

You will need to have your fuel tank cleaned and the fuel polished before the trip, used to be advisory but now it is compulsory. Chief pilot had three narrowboats break down in one week all with fuel issues and they will ask to see a dated invoice.

You need two tides so at least one night in Bristol and one in Portishead Marina.

The Harbourmaster’s office in Bristol will supply a tide table and arrange the operation of the lock to let you out onto the Avon. If it is a high tide they will need to operate the Stop Gates so you will be given a latest time to enter the lock.

It took us around three hours to travel from Bristol lock to Portishead marina.

Inform Swansea coastguard before you set off and let them know you have arrived safely in Portishead.

Call Bristol VTS before you exit the Avon onto the Severn Estuary, they will inform you of any boat movement from and to Avonmouth docks.

Call Portishead marina once you can see the entrance, there is nowhere to moor on the outside of the lock so you need the gates open. There are pontoons inside the lock.

Portishead to Sharpness

The pilot will have kept in touch with you by phone and text since your passage request and he will meet you in the lock.

Obviously you need lifejackets but check they are in date. Get your anchor ready for use. Remove as much as possible from the roof and secure everything which cannot be removed. If you do not have a cratch cover tape up the lower half of your front doors.

Pilots like Tea, Coffee and biscuits, enjoy the trip.

Costs

Fuel tank cleaning    £110.00

Pilot                               £200.00 (2017)  On the day either cash or cheque

Bristol                           £46.00 (one day)

Portishead                  £54.00 (one day)

 

River Mersey

Mersey Pilot       Stuart Wood      07770 664951                    [email protected]

Peel Ports            Paul Kirby            0151 9496764                     [email protected]

Ellesmere Port Lock Swing Bridge                                              [email protected]

Brunswick Lock                                  01517076777                      [email protected]

Stephanie Lyons CRT Wigan Office                            01942 405761

Crossing the Mersey is the easy bit but to get to the Mersey at Eastham Lock you need to transit the Manchester Ship Canal and that is where the fun starts.

Go to www.peelports.com/ports/manchester-ship-canal, scroll down to Publications and Forms and download “Leisure Craft Induction Pack”. In there you will find an Application form and a Seaworthiness Certificate both of which must be completed and sent to Peel Ports, they will accept an e mail.

In the Induction pack you will find a list of approved surveyors, the survey is just a basic check of safety equipment and to make sure the boat is in reasonable condition, a visual check. Print out the Seaworthiness certificate the surveyor will not have one. The certificate is valid for a year.

Peel Ports contact is Paul Kirby, he is the person you send the forms, insurance certificate and payment to.

Once you have sorted out the ship canal Stuart will give you a crossing time and a meeting place.

You can access the ship canal either at Ellesmere Port or at the River Weaver. We used the entrance from the museum which requires the local council to operate a swing bridge which is across the exit lock, e mail Gwyn Wright the day before you need it open with a time.

Contact Liverpool marina they need a copy of your insurance and a payment in advance to operate Brunswick Lock.

You can’t book a mooring in Salthouse Dock via the normal CRT Liverpool Link website however once you know when you are going to cross contact Stephanie in the CRT Wigan office and she will sort out a mooring and an exit time from Liverpool via the link.

Eastham Lock needs a very long 60’ rope.

 

Cost

In total around £300 (2017)

Pilot, Survey, Ship Canal transit, Brunswick Lock.

 

Ribble Link (Lancaster Canal)

 

The link can be booked online but the website does not handle changes well so just because it shows no availability that is not always the case. Stephanie in the Wigan Office is the best person to contact.

Tarleton Lock                                     01772 816592 Harry or 07885 762347 Roger

Sea Gate (Savick Brook)                 07778 153305

Tarleton Lock is operated by the local boatyard not CRT, they will contact you normally the afternoon / evening before your passage to give you the lock operating times. In the event of bad weather you will be notified if the passage is cancelled. We had to wait until the next day so instead of 6 boats we had 11 for the crossing.

Moor on the visitor mooring just after the swing bridge at Tarleton, there is no mooring at the lock not even a lock landing. Tarleton is a very nice village with a good range of shops well worth a visit.

Red diesel is in short supply on the Lancaster and it is expensive so fill up at one of the two marinas opposite each other below Rufford Lock on the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool.

The Rivers Douglas and Ribble are straightforward enough but the Savick Brook is very narrow, shallow and the vegetation is very overgrown. If that isn’t enough there are lumps of metal sticking out on various bends, presumably there were originally lengths of wood attached but these are long gone.

Lancaster canal is well worth the effort, if you choose to go down the Glasson branch I can recommend the restaurant next to Lock 6.

 

Enjoy the trips they are all well worth doing. Our pilots Tim and Brendan on the Severn, Brendan was training, and Stuart were mines of information about the waterways and the visible objects on shore.

Next year we start from Skipton on the Leeds Liverpool and intend to travel up to York and then down the east side of the country.

 

Ken

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What a brilliant suggestion - I'd never thought of taking the most direct route up the Western side of the system from south to north!

Now I have I might have to make plans...

Edited to add - request noted Matty, just pondering the best place to pin this: Waterway Holidays or General Boating?

 

Edited by magpie patrick

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On 18/10/2017 at 20:04, KenK said:

This year was the first of full retirement so ideal to boat to places that we had long wished to see but work never allowed enough time to visit. Our intention was to travel from Newbury up the western side of the country and travel as far north as possible. In addition we wished to tackle the Severn Estuary, the River Mersey and the Ribble Link, all of which we were able to do.

I'm aware that these have been covered in the past but the following is a list of contact details and tips for anyone planning to do one or all of the crossings next year.

Severn Estuary

Gloucester Pilots              07774 226143                    [email protected]

Gloucester Harbour        01453 811913                    www.gloucesterharbourtrustees.org.uk

Sharpness Lock                 01453 511968

Swansea Coastguard      01792 366534

Bristol VTS                          01179 802638

Portishead Marina           01275 841941                    keithbe[email protected]

                Bristol to Portishead

You will need to have your fuel tank cleaned and the fuel polished before the trip, used to be advisory but now it is compulsory. Chief pilot had three narrowboats break down in one week all with fuel issues and they will ask to see a dated invoice.

You need two tides so at least one night in Bristol and one in Portishead Marina.

The Harbourmaster’s office in Bristol will supply a tide table and arrange the operation of the lock to let you out onto the Avon. If it is a high tide they will need to operate the Stop Gates so you will be given a latest time to enter the lock.

It took us around three hours to travel from Bristol lock to Portishead marina.

Inform Swansea coastguard before you set off and let them know you have arrived safely in Portishead.

Call Bristol VTS before you exit the Avon onto the Severn Estuary, they will inform you of any boat movement from and to Avonmouth docks.

Call Portishead marina once you can see the entrance, there is nowhere to moor on the outside of the lock so you need the gates open. There are pontoons inside the lock.

Portishead to Sharpness

The pilot will have kept in touch with you by phone and text since your passage request and he will meet you in the lock.

Obviously you need lifejackets but check they are in date. Get your anchor ready for use. Remove as much as possible from the roof and secure everything which cannot be removed. If you do not have a cratch cover tape up the lower half of your front doors.

Pilots like Tea, Coffee and biscuits, enjoy the trip.

Costs

Fuel tank cleaning    £110.00

Pilot                               £200.00 (2017)  On the day either cash or cheque

Bristol                           £46.00 (one day)

Portishead                  £54.00 (one day)

 

 

Ken

High Ken nice of you to share this info.

Just a quick question did you only have one pilot between Bristol-Portishead- Sharpness. When I made enquiries I was told that we needed two pilots, one from Bristol to Portishead and then one from Portishead to Sharpness.

Thinking of having a go at this next year.

Fred.

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On 18/10/2017 at 20:36, matty40s said:

Very detailed and concise information

mods, can this be a pinned topic in one of the waterways journeys folders.

+1

Great info. May be useful in a few years time. Please pin it.

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6 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

+1

Great info. May be useful in a few years time. Please pin it.

 

On 10/18/2017 at 20:36, matty40s said:

Very detailed and concise information

mods, can this be a pinned topic in one of the waterways journeys folders.

I've moved it to cruise diaries and pinned it

I'm now planning the refurbishment of Juno so she could make a voyage like this :) (Lutine's hull is fundamentally unsuitable for estuarine passage)

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Hi Fred,

We didn't use a pilot between Bristol and Portishead. The Avon from Bristol to Avonmouth is a fairly easy river to navigate given sensible weather conditions and other than the small maintenance vessel (actually looked like the Queen Mary compared to us) which Bristol VTS warned us about we didn't see another boat moving. Once you reach the mouth of the river keeping going until you clear the long quay to your left, then turn left or to port as you are now on lumpy water, follow the shoreline for about 20 minutes and you'll see Portishead quay, turn in and phone the marina. We checked with our insurance company and they didn't require a pilot from Bristol just from Portishead to Sharpness.

The journey from Portishead is a different matter you see this sheet of water and think OK straight down the middle, once you do it you'll see why you need a pilot, a straightforward course it isn't but it is an experience not to be missed.

Ken

 

 

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