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Wanderer Vagabond

Ribble Link Query

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Currently looking at possible cruising routes for next year (the sort of thing you do as Autumn sets in) and I have a couple of queries concerning the Ribble Link.

 

Having spoken to a couple of people who've travelled this route, and looked up a few blogs on it, the current general way seems to be to set off from Tarleton into an incoming tide, flog against the tide until you get to the Ribble by which time the tide will have turned so that you then need to flog against the ebbing tide to get Savick Brook. Can someone tell me why it seems to be done this way? My thoughts would be to leave Tarleton on an ebbing tide to ride it down to the Ribble, wait for the tide to turn then ride up the Ribble on an incoming tide to Savick Brook. Far less diesel used and a lot less traumatic (if you don't get to Savick Brook in time you ain't going to get over the cill at the sea lock). Does it just depend upon the tidal state on the date you request to travel or is travelling against the tide the way that CRT arrange it?

 

The second question concerns the boat draught. Now the Llangollen canal has a supposed draught of 2'3" according to the CRT website which is the same supposed draught of the Ribble Link (specifically Savick Brook). We have travelled up the Llangollen on a few occasions with our 2'8" draught with no real problem whatsoever, is the supposed draught of the Savick Brook to be considered the same? (as in we'd get our 2'8" draught boat up there)

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You need the high tide to get through the sea lock at both ends and it's not the best place to hang around in the middle for the next tide, which would be a long wait! High water is usually about midway through the crossing.

As for draught, the shallow section is Savick Brook which is variable. Some say that they have made it with your draught but it would be risky to exceed CRT's maximum.

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The other alternative is to deliberately book an overnight stay in Preston Marina ( The safe harbour bailout if you have trouble on the Ribble.)

 

You need enough water at Tarleton river lock to get on to the Douglas - it's not navigable at low tide - and you need to make the turn at Asland Perch (The junction of the Douglas and the Ribble) near high water.

 

If you have trouble or are too slow upstream to Savick Brook, the bailout is go to Preston and overnight in the marina, (£10 a night in Preston city centre(ish)) but you can deliberately add this in to your itinerary if you want - speak to CRT Wigan for details.

 

Preston Marina is upstream on the Ribble from Savick Brook (The Ribble Link sea lock) but can be accessed earlier and later in the tide than Savick Brook.  Normal access is one hour before and 2 hours after Liverpool high water.

 

I'd not worry too much about a 2'3" draught on the brook - they can always let more water down if you are stuck the "right" side of the sea lock.  You do not want to even consider thinking about spending low tide on the Ribble in a narrowboat.

 

I know the only person that could get away with overnighting on the Ribble crossing.  What he used to do was walk out across the mudflats and shove sticks into the only clear sandbank he could find, then anchor between them on the next tide.  Note the sandbanks bit - if you get a narrowboat stuck in the mudflats on the Ribble estuary, you will be swimming for the shore when the tide comes in.

 

The bloke in question had worked the Ribble estuary for many years, and in fact was one of those that built the "Wall" in the Ribble back in the day.  He was one of the last boatmen working the L&L, and had generations of experience under his belt.  

 

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Pick a crossing with a higher tide and you'll have more time to get across. On a bigger tide you are unlikely to need the Preston Marina diversion unless you are very slow. 

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We are also planning on doing the Ribble link next summer.  We are thinking about intentionally going to Preston marina on the outbound crossing (because you can), although given our boat is quite slow I think we would quite likely end up doing it anyway.  I one thing I did wonder about in doing that, isn’t the crossing one way each day alternating, so you would need to spend two nights in Preston marina.  I don’t know exactly how it will work next year as CRT have not opened the bookings yet (all dates show red at the moment)  they told me the dates should be set up by the end of the year.

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2 minutes ago, john6767 said:

one thing I did wonder about in doing that, isn’t the crossing one way each day alternating, so you would need to spend two nights in Preston marina.

Nah, you go out of Tarleton river lock and up to Preston on a "down" day, and your booking for the Link itself (which is only the Savick Brook part) will be the day after.

 

Unless you want to spend more time in Preston Marina, obviously. 

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We draw 2ft 8in and didn’t have any problems. We aren’t a particularly quick boat and asked to be let out first with the other boat with a “proper” slow revving engine....fully expecting to be overhauled by the digger engine boats but we kept in front all the way. It’s a bit unnerving to be flat out and not going anywhere when you first lock out but as the tide slacks it’s all good. Just watch the engine temperature. 

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1 hour ago, TheBiscuits said:

Nah, you go out of Tarleton river lock and up to Preston on a "down" day, and your booking for the Link itself (which is only the Savick Brook part) will be the day after.

 

Unless you want to spend more time in Preston Marina, obviously. 

Makes sense, thanks

Additionally what happens if you have to divert to Preston marina, you would be on an up day then, and to next day would be a down day.

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39 minutes ago, john6767 said:

Makes sense, thanks

Additionally what happens if you have to divert to Preston marina, you would be on an up day then, and to next day would be a down day.

In the event of diversion you would normally go up Savick the day after. Crossings are in blocks of up days and down days rather than alternating days, and often several days with no crossings in between. Personally I would aim to do it all in one day on a bigger tide (you don't have to rush) and only use Preston as a refuge if you don't make it to Savick Brook in time.

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2 hours ago, rgreg said:

In the event of diversion you would normally go up Savick the day after. Crossings are in blocks of up days and down days rather than alternating days, and often several days with no crossings in between. Personally I would aim to do it all in one day on a bigger tide (you don't have to rush) and only use Preston as a refuge if you don't make it to Savick Brook in time.

OK, I wish they would get the dates published then stuff like that would be obvious.  So don't go on the last day before the direction changes or else you could be stuck at Preston for sometime I guess.  We would want to go to Preston ideally, either on the way there or on the way back, so need to decided the best way.

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57 minutes ago, john6767 said:

OK, I wish they would get the dates published then stuff like that would be obvious.  So don't go on the last day before the direction changes or else you could be stuck at Preston for sometime I guess.  We would want to go to Preston ideally, either on the way there or on the way back, so need to decided the best way.

Do you particularly want to go to Preston Marina or the city of Preston itself? Preston is very accessible from the canal either from Cadley services, where there are a couple of visitor moorings, or at many points along the canal via an excellent  bus service. It's a lot easier this way than trying to incorporate the marina into the Ribble crossing. 

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You could always go to Preston Marina on the way back - so it doesn't affect your link booking at all, just make sure you tell CRT that's what you are doing so they don't call out the lifeboat for you!

 

There is no such thing as up days or down days at Tarleton, just on Savick Brook - as long as there is enough water you can suit yourself about returning.

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10 minutes ago, rgreg said:

Do you particularly want to go to Preston Marina or the city of Preston itself? Preston is very accessible from the canal either from Cadley services, where there are a couple of visitor moorings, or at many points along the canal via an excellent  bus service. It's a lot easier this way than trying to incorporate the marina into the Ribble crossing. 

The marina on the Ribble, as it is what was the docks.  My wife lived in Preston at the time they started redeveloping the docks, and it would be nice to go there in the boat.

2 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

You could always go to Preston Marina on the way back - so it doesn't affect your link booking at all, just make sure you tell CRT that's what you are doing so they don't call out the lifeboat for you!

 

There is no such thing as up days or down days at Tarleton, just on Savick Brook - as long as there is enough water you can suit yourself about returning.

Thanks.  I think when they publish the dates I will try and talk to someone at CRT about it initially rather than just booking it on the website.  Planning for the return may be the way to do it, and if we end up there on the way out then change the plan for the way back.

Edited by john6767

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2 minutes ago, john6767 said:

The marina on the Ribble, as it is what was the docks.  My wife lived in Preston at the time they started redeveloping the docks, and it would be nice to go there in the boat.

Ah ok, fair enough. It is an interesting place.

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7 hours ago, frangar said:

We draw 2ft 8in and didn’t have any problems. We aren’t a particularly quick boat and asked to be let out first with the other boat with a “proper” slow revving engine....fully expecting to be overhauled by the digger engine boats but we kept in front all the way. 

You’re so cruel Gareth. I’ve not told our Beta Marine 43 of her past. She thinks she’s a thoroughbred. 

  • Haha 2

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8 hours ago, rgreg said:

In the event of diversion you would normally go up Savick the day after. Crossings are in blocks of up days and down days rather than alternating days, and often several days with no crossings in between. Personally I would aim to do it all in one day on a bigger tide (you don't have to rush) and only use Preston as a refuge if you don't make it to Savick Brook in time.

 

5 hours ago, john6767 said:

OK, I wish they would get the dates published then stuff like that would be obvious.  So don't go on the last day before the direction changes or else you could be stuck at Preston for sometime I guess.  We would want to go to Preston ideally, either on the way there or on the way back, so need to decided the best way.

 

When we did it a few years ago, I worked out that the Link was run three or four days each side of a spring tide. If high tide was in the morning, it was Tarleton to Savick, and the reverse when high tide was in the afternoon.  Although that means punching the tide down the Douglas, it should allow time to get to Savick Brook before the level drops too far, and if too late there to get to Preston.

 

On the way back, we had to wait outside Tarleton for half an hour or so for the tide to fall far enough to get the tidal gates of the lock open, followng which all the boats going down the Ribble passed through the lock wih both top and bottom gates open.

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How far in advance do you usually have to book? Is there a limit on how many boats per crossing and if so do the bookings tend to get fully booked up?

 

We are planning on doing it in the spring or early summer but I don't really want to have to book too far in advance. I realise that the tides have to be taken into account but ideally about a week beforehand would be my preference.  We will be travelling quite a way to get there and as you all know it's hard to calculate very specifically when travelling a long distance so I want to avoid the constraints of having to get there by a specific date.

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11 minutes ago, Grassman said:

 

How far in advance do you usually have to book? Is there a limit on how many boats per crossing and if so do the bookings tend to get fully booked up?

 

We are planning on doing it in the spring or early summer but I don't really want to have to book too far in advance. I realise that the tides have to be taken into account but ideally about a week beforehand would be my preference.  We will be travelling quite a way to get there and as you all know it's hard to calculate very specifically when travelling a long distance so I want to avoid the constraints of having to get there by a specific date.

There's a maximum of 6 boats on each crossing, 4 on the lower tides. Mid-summer gets fairly well booked up but spring and early summer slots are usually available closer to the date. A week beforehand may be pushing it a bit though, so, especially if you are travelling a long way to get there, I would book further in advance and just allow yourself plenty of time for the journey.

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16 hours ago, Iain_S said:

 

 

When we did it a few years ago, I worked out that the Link was run three or four days each side of a spring tide. If high tide was in the morning, it was Tarleton to Savick, and the reverse when high tide was in the afternoon.  Although that means punching the tide down the Douglas, it should allow time to get to Savick Brook before the level drops too far, and if too late there to get to Preston.

 

On the way back, we had to wait outside Tarleton for half an hour or so for the tide to fall far enough to get the tidal gates of the lock open, followng which all the boats going down the Ribble passed through the lock wih both top and bottom gates open.

Now I'm puzzled :unsure: so going up the Douglas to Tarleton, were you riding with the tide, or pushing against it?

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4 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

Now I'm puzzled :unsure: so going up the Douglas to Tarleton, were you riding with the tide, or pushing against it?

On very high tides you can end up going with the end of the flood up the Douglas to Tarleton, but on smaller tides usually end up punching the ebb.

 

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9 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

Now I'm puzzled :unsure: so going up the Douglas to Tarleton, were you riding with the tide, or pushing against it?

Pushing the tide after leaving Savick Brook (It was running quite hard, and most boats went backwards upstream for a bit after turning right onto the Ribble 😄.)

The tide slackened a lot while we were on the Ribble, and, IIRC I think was still flooding when we turned into the Douglas. It would have been just about high water, though, so started to ebb as we were on the way up.

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On 02/12/2018 at 16:39, Iain_S said:

Pushing the tide after leaving Savick Brook (It was running quite hard, and most boats went backwards upstream for a bit after turning right onto the Ribble 😄.)

The tide slackened a lot while we were on the Ribble, and, IIRC I think was still flooding when we turned into the Douglas. It would have been just about high water, though, so started to ebb as we were on the way up.

That happened to me....Had the JP as close to flat out as I was happy with and the GPS said 1mph.....going backwards....

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2 hours ago, frangar said:

That happened to me....Had the JP as close to flat out as I was happy with and the GPS said 1mph.....going backwards....

It's a strange feeling isn't it. You think you are motoring along until you check a transit line against the bankside and realise you are stationary or, indeed, going backwards! 

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On 30/11/2018 at 23:50, TheBiscuits said:

 

 

I know the only person that could get away with overnighting on the Ribble crossing.  What he used to do was walk out across the mudflats and shove sticks into the only clear sandbank he could find, then anchor between them on the next tide.  Note the sandbanks bit - if you get a narrowboat stuck in the mudflats on the Ribble estuary, you will be swimming for the shore when the tide comes in.

 

The bloke in question had worked the Ribble estuary for many years, and in fact was one of those that built the "Wall" in the Ribble back in the day.  He was one of the last boatmen working the L&L, and had generations of experience under his belt.  

 

Would that have been  Jim Wilkinson? 

Edited by pearley

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1 hour ago, rgreg said:

It's a strange feeling isn't it. You think you are motoring along until you check a transit line against the bankside and realise you are stationary or, indeed, going backwards! 

If you think that feels odd, the most peculiar sensation I had was sailing with a friend in the Orkneys from Rousay towards Westray. The boat was pointing in an easterly direction and seemingly going forwards at about 5 knots, the Speed Over Ground however was telling us that we were in fact travelling north at about 8 knots (the tide really rips through there). Since we were trying to pass between the islands south of Westray, for some of us (me on the helm) it gave some twitchy moments, friend was totally confident of his navigation however (and proven right:captain:).

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