Matilda was launched on 13 July at Liverpool Marina.
Passage out of Liverpool was booked for 8am Sunday 17th as only 6 boats per day (none on Tuesdays) are taken through the docks, escorted by staff and volunteers from the Canal & River Trust (CRT). From overnight at Salthouse Dock we proceeded through Albert Dock past the Liver Birds and on to Sids Ditch.
The five narrow boats ahead ran aground but four eventually got through leaving the one immediately ahead of Matilda. We spent five hours waiting until four heavies from the CRT attached four lines to Clara and dragged her out, Matilda simply sailed on…..
We then cruised to Martin Lane Burscough, close to the lovely Martin Lane Farm Holiday Cottages we had stayed in earlier and spent a few days doing laundry, unpacking and finding homes for everything.
Sunday 24 we left Martin Lane and took on water then cruised to Parbold and then to Crooke Hall Village. This is a tiny, immaculate village with obvious civic pride, a private marina and pub serving hearty portions of traditional meals.
Wednesday 27 was the big challenge! Wigan has a flight of 21 locks. Helped by passers by when the gates were too heavy our luck was in when a passing CRT volunteer appeared on a bike ride. He unclipped a windlass from his bike frame and helped us to the top. Seven and a half hours resulted in aching muscles and total exhaustion!