Awakening from a really good nights sleep, not! at 4:00am where every lump had done its best to make life uncomfortable. We decided to get an early start as comfort was not possible. We headed for Galgate where I ran into the centre and bought 2 bacon and egg butties. Things were looking up already.
Paddling on as the heat of the day increased and the need for water increased we eventually ran out of water. However, a guy with a hose pipe saved the day by refilling our supplies.
The scenery was good and life seemed good. We even took a short break to get an ice cream and a loo stop. We did notice that no one would sit near to us. Could be that we were rancid after paddling through the heat? Surely not!!
On we went making good progress towards Preston Terminus when we eventually arrived at approximately 2:45pm. We were elated but did not know what lay ahead for us in the Ribble Link.
It all started to slow down as we had to navigate the paths down beside the lock. It was definitely not designed to allow kayaks to be transported down. We also had to work out a way to get back into the kayaks to get them to the next lock, the other side of the bridge we were beside, as the 90 degree bends didn’t allow the kayaks to pass.
A few locks down we met a guy and asked if he knew of any pubs as we were getting tired and hungry. He said there were none and we could see it being our second day without an evening meal. Then he remembered that there was a pub, The Cotty Brook, a half mile up the road from the next lock. Tired and hungry we made the decision that food was a must. So kayaks on tow we set off up the road. The deserted street were uncanny until we realised England were playing.
Arriving at the Cotty Brook we parked our kayaks in the car park, a common site in a larger city. Walking into the pub raised a few eyebrows and attracted some interest. The owner of the pub, Joan, was brilliant as were the staff and locals watching the game. She could not provide us with a cooked meal but gave us a buffet lunch complete with chips. Add that to the fact that she organised a collection and donated the proceeds to the cause plus gave us a goody bag for later only showed how kind and supportive they were. Thanks guys from two very tired and hungry travellers you can only guess at how much we appreciated your generosity.
Leaving the Cotty Brook we headed back to tackle the Ribble Link. Access became more a problem but we soldiered on spending 4 hours to complete the task. The sea lock was a welcome site but the tide had already gone leaving too little water to paddle on. We decided to head for the Ribble river and camp the night.
At the tributary we made snap decision to paddle down to the river Douglas whilst the tide was low. There we could make camp and get the early morning tide. Setting off down the Ribble covered in mud from getting to the water. A helpful couple told us that the junction was behind us and where we had just come from!! Thanks to them the seed of doubt was set but ignoring them we headed up the tributary we thought to be the River Douglas. As we entered the river mouth we decided to keep paddling, the thought of wading through more mud was not a good one. The kayaks bottomed and we were stuck. I then noticed a wave heading upstream. The tide had turned and help was on its way. Without hesitation we caught the wave and surfed up the river for 4.5 miles. Still unsure whether it was the correct river we continued but out of the darkness appeared the dark Tarleton Lock gate. We were overjoyed as we scrambled through more mud to find a place to sleep. 15+ hours we had endured but still needed the log book to be signed.
A family were still awake chatting beside the canal as two humanoid figures appeared out of the dark. Covered in mud we politely asked if they would sign the log. They were more than willing and we met Don and his family. Mrs Don, sorry Mrs Don cannot recall your name, made us a cup of tea and we sat up and told them of our adventure so far.
Pitching the tent in the dark again we sat down and enjoyed the meal provided by Joan. Thanks again to the Cotty Brook pub!
We settled down for a night’s rest not knowing what tomorrow would bring.