It was a miserable start to the day, with drizzle and wind. I set off just before 9am with one other boat to meet up with the CRT guys at the Mann island lock, so we were the first two in the lock. I had hoped for this, as I wanted help through all those swing bridges that I did by myself on the way into Liverpool and being one of the first, meant that I would not get left behind. All went well on the way out of the docks, apart from the constant rain. There were 8 boats in the convoy and the first one did the swing bridge and let all the others through; they then followed up as Tail End Charlie, but gradually worked their way back up the convoy. Being single handed, I was excused duty, as it would mean holding up the procession, because it would take me too long. True to form, I did not touch one swing bridge all the way through until the mooring at Haskayne, where I was close to another boat that I knew was going on in the morning. The remainder of the convoy had already moored up at Mersey Motor Boat Club at Skarisbrick. For some inexplicable reason, I felt depressed for the whole day; I don’t think the weather helped, but it may have been a feeling of anticlimax having achieved my goal of reaching Liverpool.
I accompanied this boat the next day through the next two swing bridges into Burscough, where I stopped to shop, but they had moved on when I got back, so I though all was lost. Not so, I even managed to get assistance through the next two swing bridges, much to my surprise. So despite having to do every one of these buggers on the way down, I never touched one on the return trip – how amazing is that? I now felt much better than the day before and had cheered up considerably.
Just below Wigan, I was caught up by a plastic cruiser and offered to wait for them at the next lock, so we did all the locks through Wigan and beyond until we reached Plank Lane bridge, where I moored up for the night after 12 hours cruising. It had been a long day and probably the same was to come.