Page published 17 May 2023
Before I embark on the tale of how I came to be in the north of England cruising a recently reopened waterway with a group of strangers I feel it worthwhile explaining the background and it won't, at first, appear to have much to do with boating.
I got my first computer in 1984, a Sharp MZ-80A and upgraded to a PC in the early 1990s with an Amstrad PC2286, getting an MC2400 modem a year or so later. At first I would dial into local bulletin boards that were part of the FidoNet network, which is where the computer equivalent of amateur radio enthusiasts would hang out. Then the Internet became available to us mere mortals.
©2003 Neil Arledge
nb Earnest seen here, before I joined the boat, at Bank Nook Lock 30E on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
In those days the World Wide Web and search engines barely existed. Before Google's "Search engine" was developed you'd browse through a manually built Web Directory and you searched for other resources using WAIS or a Gopher server. Back then an ISP would include access to a Usenet server and provide a small amount of web space in which to create your own site together with a few scripts to add features such as a guest book or contact form. I soon discovered that most inland boaters hung out on UseNet, also known as "newsgroups".
Like other early adopters I used both those early features, creating a site that provided visitors with updates to Nicholson's, and later Imray's and Pearson's, waterway guide books and I promoted the site on news:uk.rec.waterways to "go to" place for inland boaters at the time. These days all the old postings to uk.rec.waterways can still be found bundled into a "Google Group".
As you may have gathered by now, if you've looked at other parts of this site, that this is how I learned of Great Internet Get Togethers and met those encountered on the Internet in real life. It's how I met Steve King and cruised the Soham Lode with him and cadged a lift on the 70ft nb Fulbourne as it crossed from the Middle Level to the Great Ouse and learnt of the Tuesday Night Club and Neil Arlidge's annual canal tours.
I can't recall, or find out from postings on "news:uk.rec.waterways", exactly how I came to be accepted as crew aboard nb Earnest, but I guess that the web site I maintained providing updates and corrections to Nicholson Guides had given me some credibility. I would have been known to Neil and others that had been "members" of his "Tuesday Night Club". But rather than the site itself it could have been that I had regularly posted notifications of corrections to the guides over the previous couple of years on u.r.w.
The set of pages you find in this section of the site are being written a few months short of 20 years after the events they recall, so are liable to correction or further detail being added if those involved can recall what actually happened.
I'd encourage you to start at the beginning, with my report of the events, as I recall them, of my arrival at Lancaster where I met Neil Arlidge, Martin Clark, who still maintains the Pennine Waterways web site, and Molly Mockford. All three of whom were regular posters on u.r.w in those days.
In writing it I'll be relying heavily on material posted posted to u.r.w much closer to the time.
Here's a list of the places covered:
- Saturday 12 July 2003
- Lancaster to Glasson Dock
- Sunday 13 July 2003
- Glasson Dock to Garstang
- Monday 14 July 2003
- Garstang to Preston
- Tuesday 15 July 2003 - Part One
- Ribble Link - Savick Brook
- Tuesday 15 July 2003 - Part Two
- Ribble Link - The Ribble and Douglas Rivers
- Tuesday 15 July 2003 - Part Three
- Tarleton to Parbold
- Wednesday 16 July 2003
- Parbold to Blackburn
- Thursday 17 July 2003
- Blackburn to Skipton
- Friday 18 July 2003
- Skipton to Bingley Five Rise