Saturday 18th June 2016
We have left Jannock moored up on her mooring and switched our alegence to Sonya, a Black Prince Duchess 4 based at Falkirk. We have always wanted to ‘do’ the Falkirk wheel as well as the Forth and Clyde and Union canals in Scotland. Therefore for the next two weeks we will be blogging from Sonya instead of Jannock (which is an ex-Black Prince Duchess 4)
We travelled up to Falkirk via Lytham St Annes and Blackpool where we stopped for the night. Ever since Brenda missed visiting the seaside on Christmas day due to hurting her ankle at Brinklow last December she has been hankering after going to the beach. I thought visiting Lytham St Annes would solve that problem but when we got there the tide was out and we could not see the sea. Luckily, by the time we’d travelled on to Blackpool, booked into our hotel and gone out for a walk again the tide had come in enough to keep her happy.
This morning we set off towards Falkirk and arrived at the hire base just after our allotted arrival time of 2:30pm having called into Tescos for lunch and to provision for the start of the trip. We were amazed by the amount of items we found with price reductions with most of the regular prices being lower than at home. We treated ourselves to some Scottish favourites as we enjoy trying out local delicacies when we go on holiday.
On arrival at Capercallie cruisers base at the Falkirk wheel the reception was very friendly and efficient. We were advised how to take the car canalside and we started to unload our belongings onto Sonya. Once loaded and briefed about how things worked we were taken through the swingbridge into the lock up to the wheel basin. Brenda steered whilst I manned the bow rope. Once through the lock we went straight into the wheel and ascended to the Union canal. Once through Falkirk tunnel we turned left and straight into the Falkirk wheel top locks. Once through those, the Scottish waterways guys went off duty and we set off eastwards towards Edinburgh.
About three quarters of a mile past the locks we came across a small spur off of the canal with visitor moorings (and a water point) and so with some difficulty I managed to reverse into the spur and we moored on a pontoon for the night.
Sonya is a very different to control compared to Jannock. When you hit reverse on Sonya not much seems to happen apart from a lot of water being thrashed about. This made stopping, and then reversing into the spur a very difficult manouvre. She refuses to steer at all in reverse and when not moving forward at a reasonable speed the bows are un-controllable. I suspect she is drastically under-propped.
After a locally themed meal of Scotch Pie with salad followed by a Chocolate fudge brownie pizza (yes, you read that correctly) we spent the evening packing all our stuff away and finding out where everything lives on a different boat. We are saving the macaroni cheese pies for another meal.