Monthly Archives: January 2020

wigan pier

inter tidal zone

5: wigan pier

This edition explores the intertidal zone between history and the 21st Century Canal system within Wigan. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal reached Wigan from Liverpool in 1781.  2019-1781=238 years ago! Around the same time as General George Washington began the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown, against the British General Lord Charles Cornwallis. Plus, the planet Uranus was discovered by William Herschel. I wonder, what Wiganers were thinking of at the time? This is what George Orwell wrote in his book The Road to Wigan Pier (source: The Orwell Foundation)

GEORGE ORWELL: Well, I am afraid I must tell you that Wigan Pier doesn’t exist. I made a journey specially to see it in 1936, and I couldn’t find it. It did exist once, however, and to judge from the photographs it must have been about twenty feet long.

Wigan is in the middle of the mining areas, and though it’s a very pleasant place in some ways its scenery is not its strong point. The landscape is mostly slag-heaps, looking like the mountains of the moon, and mud and soot and so forth. For some reason, though it’s not worse than fifty other places, Wigan has always been picked on as a symbol of the ugliness of the industrial areas. At one time on one of the little muddy canals that run round the town, there used to be a tumble-down wooden jetty; and by way of a joke someone nicknamed this Wigan Pier. The joke caught on locally, and then the music-hall comedians get hold of it, and they are the ones who have succeeded in keeping Wigan Pier alive as a by-word, long after the place itself had been demolished.

Wigan Pier - what is left of itThe present-day photo depicts the spot associated with what is left of the pier, where the coal was loaded onto the barges.

Currently there are plans coming to fruition known as the regeneration scheme, being led by developers Steps Places, together with The Old Courts cultural organisation, Wigan County Council and the Canal and River Trust.

With promised highlights of a wedding venue, gin distillery, micro-brewery, food hall and waterside town houses. If you visit soon, scaffolding is in evidence as work is well underway, directly on the opposite bank from the remains of the pier.


Wigan PierNot for me to say, but I propose that Wigan Pier is not a thing, a joke or part of a structure, it is more of an intangible link to the very fabric of the Canals, passed down through the generations of boaters and workers, by author’s and  comedians alike and yes by me now in December 2019.

If you want to see a genuine ‘cross-road’ of canals, or to be able to say “I’ve been to Wigan Pier” and in some small way, become part of the legend, then you must visit. No rush though, it will be there for you for simply ages yet. Maybe re-engineered with Wigan’s pubs and shops, along side their Rugby and Football teams. Examples of engineering from another age, including a working steam engine and, would you believe, an indestructible fan, next to a refurbished mill and a boat yard. All on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool and the Leigh Branch, leading to the Bridgewater.

The Wigan waterways also have events and cruises. If you want to wander a little further from the Pier itself, you will also find the River Douglas, Wigan’s river, once made navigable (canalised) around 1720 with its own 13 locks! and still tidal, just a few miles downstream, eventually joining the River Ribble.

There are also several cycleways to help you enjoy the environs around Wigan Pier in the here and now, as the sign in the photo suggests and helps with distances and direction.

Facts and points of interest loosely playing to our Intertidal Zone as a metaphor.


Useful Links:
The Orwell Foundation
Leeds & Liverpool Canal
River Douglas Navigation

super yachts

super yachts

When most people buy a National Lottery ticket or other various money- making ventures, the majority who win fantasise about fast cars, helicopters, holidays of a lifetime or real estate. How many think, Super Yacht? Not many I would imagine.

There is a reason for this, purely because they would need to win an absolutely obscene amount to even get close to buying one.

Most people would think £1 million would be enough. Think again... That would not get you anywhere near, even if you won the latest Euromillion`s jackpot which amassed to an astounding 160 million euros, it would still not be enough.

When you are talking about total luxury super yachts, you are dealing with telephone number amounts, forget millions and start thinking in billions.

Consider this, the list of the most expensive motor yachts in the world have three billion- dollar vessels in its top ten, which just goes to show how much luxury costs.

A recent survey found that even buying a second hand motor yacht has an average price of 7.9 million euros.

You can see why anyone who is thinking about buying one will need a vast amount of money, not just to purchase the yacht but to maintain and run it.

These things do not run themselves, they take a colossal amount of effort and are manned by small armies of crew members, busily keeping the thing afloat and in tip top condition.

They don’t call them floating hotels for nothing and you know how much they take to organise and run?

Top 10 most expensive Motor Yachts in The World

History Supreme $4.8 Billion
Eclipse   $1.5 Billion
Streets of Monaco   $ 1.1 Billion
Azzam  $ 600 Million
Motor Yacht A.  $ 440 Million
Dubai   $ 400 Million
Al Said  $ 300 Million
Dilbar  $ 256 Million
Al Mirqab  $ 250 Million
Lady Moura  $ 210 Million

the most expensive motor yacht in the world...

super yacht History Supreme

History Supreme

The most expensive Motor Yacht in the world by a considerable way at the moment is the History Supreme which comes in at a staggering $4.8 billion which oozes luxury throughout.

Designed by UK luxury designer Stuart Hughes. The 100 feet vessel boasts an impressive 10,000kg of gold and platinum fittings that adorn the base, dining area, deck rails, staircase and includes a gold anchor. The master suite has a 68kg 24 carat gold wall aquarium alongside a statue that is made from original T Rex bones.

Owned by Malaysian businessman Robert Knok, the project took 3 years to complete.



most famous expensive super yacht owner...

Probably the most famous owner of an expensive super yacht is Roman Abramovich who is well known throughout the sporting world as the owner of Chelsea football Club.

super yacht Eclipse


The yacht in question is the Eclipse which is the second largest in the world at an impressive 533 feet.

Boasting such luxuries as an intruder detection system, 2 helipads, 24 guest suites, dance hall, 2 swimming pools, hot tubs, a submarine that can dive to 50 metres and what every yacht should have a missile detection system.

This also includes a security system that is second to none including armour plating and bullet proof windows, there is also an anti- paparazzi shield that sweeps the surrounding areas warding off any unwanted prying eyes.

remarkable looking super yacht...

super yacht The Streets of Monaco

The Streets of Monaco

One of the most truly remarkable looking yachts has to be the one designed by the Opulent Yacht Company and styled by Filthy Rich Boaters, this being the Streets of Monaco which is so incredible it looks like a CGI concept.

The design is based as the name suggests, Monaco at sea with features including a replica of Monte Carlo, Hotel de Paris and a swimming pool that looks like a beach.

Measuring 500 feet long, this luxury yacht is spread over three floors incorporating helicopters, submarines and Jacuzzi's on the side decks.

What happens if you are not a lottery winner, what are the used options on the market? Depending on how you gauge the term “super” will depend on how much you want to spend, would you class spending £199,999 on a vessel super? Bearing in mind that the average second hand super yacht runs into millions the lower price seems an absolute steal.

Once you have decided on which yacht to buy, the 40 feet mark is a common boundary line for purchasers searching for a new vessel.

a boat or a ship...

Because the terms boat and yacht are often used together, most sailors agree that the term yacht is indeed applicable to any vessel over 40 feet in length. The way to distinguish if a vessel is a ship or a boat is that you step into a boat and onto a ship.

When a yacht is over 500 feet, can you imagine the size of the engines and engineering that is needed to plough these monsters through the water, especially as water speed is a lot harder to cut through: ever tried running in water, it takes a tremendous amount of effort?

The service and maintenance that these engines need is the most important part of any vessel, failing to maintain them would be like having a Rolls Royce parked outside without any wheels.

The luxury of having all the mod cons would fade dramatically if the machinery, including engine parts were not inspected on a regular basis, Companies such as Bearingtech can help keep your vessel afloat by supplying all the parts including bearings, belts and accessories.

most famous ships in history...

Ship                                       Date Built                       Cost                                         

Santa Maria                           1460                              Unknown



Mary Rose                              1510                              Unknown
Golden Hinde                         1577                                £ 1,950
Mayflower                              1609                               Unknown
Victory                                     1758                               £23,500
Endeavour                              1764                               Unknown
Bounty                                     1784                                £ 1,950
Beagle                                      1818                                £ 7,803
SS Great Britain                      1843                               £ 117,000
Great Eastern                         1858                               £ 500,000

Mary Celeste                           1861                    £ 1,750 from wreckage
Cutty Sark                                 1869                               £16,150
Discovery                                  1900                               £ 34,050
HMS Dreadnought                 1905                               £1,785,683
Titanic                                       1911                               £1,500,00
HMS Hood                                1920                              £ 6,025,000
Bismarck                                   1939                     198m reichmarck
Gipsy Moth                              1967                               Unknown
QE2                                           1969                               Unknown
HMS Ark Royal                        1981                                £ 3,000,00

a nation of sailors...

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

The British nation as a whole are known for being sailors in whatever guise they choose to use, whether it`s on a boat a ship, a yacht, a barge or a bathtub, you name it we sail it.

From Lord Nelson to Walter Raleigh, from Francis Drake to Francis Chichester, we are never more comfortable than when we are on the water.

But where does this obsession come from? Is it because we live on an island? Or a pure sense of adventure which continues today with cruises and holidays.

One adventure that always conjures up the question 'why?' is the sailing round the world single handed; why would anyone want to sail across vast shark infested oceans and tackle mammoth waves and storms? Why endure all the hardship and turmoil? What possible pleasure can you get from being faced with a 50ft wave coming towards you. No, me neither. But we still do it.

One thing is for sure, whether you are a billionaire or a normal working person we will still continue to keep afloat no matter what the size of vessel - albeit a small boat or massive yacht.

Imagine how the commonwealth would look today if we had not ventured out, maybe the commonwealth would have not happened at all.

Yachts, boats and ships get more expensive year on year, but the water that they sail on stays the same, never changes, it`s been the same from the year dot.

Anyone fancy a paddle?

canal du midi

canal du midi

the best laid plans...

Having enjoyed a brilliant cruise on the beautiful Canal du Midi from Le Somail to Agde last year in a cruiser hired from French boat hire operator Nicols Boats my wife Lois and I, and our Lifeboat Station colleagues Malcolm & Jill, plus our three dogs, decided we’d like to do something similar again this year, but having explored the eastern stretch of Canal du Midi before we thought we’d try the section north of Carcassonne this time.

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new year resolutions

resolve to help clean up the waterways in 2020

over 120,000 litres of fuel and oil pours into our waterways annually

more than 24 environmental ‘near misses’ or pollution incidents a month

lack of bilge filters a key reason

Over a 12 month period, RCR logged 292 call-outs, around 24 a month, as ‘environmental near-misses’ or pollution incidents. These were typically fuel, oil, coolant and antifreeze leaks into bilges caused by cracked filter pipes, spills into the engine bay, battery acid spillage and contaminated bilges.

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battery management systems

battery management systems by adverc

Twenty-seven years of study and development have gone into optimising alternator battery charging which, presently, permits only 60% - 70% state-of-charge using conventional voltage regulation.

The result is the well-proven ADVERC Battery Management System.

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