Timothy and Shane encounter problems with buoys when trying to dock at Liverpool, but Piel Island near Barrow-in-Furness finds them in the company of royalty.
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Something's gone wrong.
Come up here a minute. Something's gone wrong.
We lost our position but I don't know what's wrong with this.
It's not working.
It's back again.
Thank God for that.
I just turned the bloody light off, that's all.
MUSIC: "Somewhere At Sea" by Henry Hall
'I'm Timothy Spall and this is my wife Shane,
'and we're on the journey of a lifetime -
'circumnavigating the British Isles...
'..in a barge.
'So far this year, we've rounded most of Wales...'
The boat cut itself this lovely wash. It's poetry in motion, isn't it?
This could be the Greek Islands,
it could be the Caribbean or it could even be Wales.
'..and now, we're heading up to the northwest of England,
Whatever they've set him in, it's pretty bloody good.
Jimi Hendrix. I say.
'..and on to Lancashire...'
Now, how the hell do we get there?
'..one port at a time.'
You want one kipper? That won't get you very far.
# Somewhere at sea. #
'Today, we're crossing the border,
'as we leave Conwy, North Wales,
'and travel 60 nautical miles up the Irish Sea to Liverpool, England.'
Never been to Liverpool. Never been to Liverpool.
All the times I've worked in Manchester...
..worked up north - I've never been.
Because, you know, one of our great delights
is arriving in places we've never been before by sea...
..which, of course, is how everybody else used to do it.
That's a dredger, I think.
Oh, no, look, it's got a buoy, it's got a cardinal buoy on it.
-Ooh, how lovely!
-He's putting a buoy.
-Take a picture.
-Oh, I'm excited!
See that yellow thing on the front of it, there?
That is a north cardinal buoy, which they'll put down there somewhere.
That means it'll mark the northerly tip of a hazard or a channel.
You can tell it's north cardinal
because it's got... The two cones point upwards.
I hope they're not placing it on a hazard
that we're supposed to be avoiding!
'We'll be returning to buoys very soon.
'Ships enter Liverpool along a man-made channel.
'Between 1890 and 1900,
'7 million tonnes of the seabed
'were dredged out to create a 12-mile channel,
'deep enough for large shipping.
'It's another of the great Victorian feats of engineering
'and is named the Queen's Channel.
'It's marked out by numbered buoys.
'But I'm going to stay just outside
'to make sure we avoid the huge tankers and ferries.'
Mersey Radio, Mersey Radio, this is Princess Matilda, over.
Yeah? What's your intentions, please? Over.
Mersey Radio, this is Princess Matilda.
Our intention is to enter the Mersey
and continue to Brunswick Marina, over.
Yeah, do you have charts with you?
Do I have charts with me? I have all sorts of charts and equipment, yeah.
We've just come from Conwy, over.
Yeah, and have you plotted your position on the charts
at this time, over?
Yes, I have a position on the charts.
I have a Garmin GPS map and a Raymarine and I have radar, over.
On our radar here, you're well out of the channel at the moment, over.
Yes, I'm out of the channel because I'm avoiding the ferries, over.
Yeah, our advice would be to turn to starboard and head out to the west.
Rejoin the channel between Q3 and Q5 buoys, over.
OK, will do, Mersey Radio.
Thank you very much. This is Princess Matilda, over.
-Hi, Mersey Radio, this is Princess Matilda, over.
Yes. Are you turning to starboard? Over.
I am turning to starboard now, over.
Yeah, we'd advise not to come any further north, captain.
Turn to starboard and proceed to the west, over.
Thank you very much, can I go through these, erm...
Can I go through these, erm, wind farms? Over.
Negative, no. Keep to the north of the wind farm,
keep north of the wind farm, over.
Keep north of the wind farm. OK, thank you.
And which way's north?
MUMBLED SPEECH ON RADIO
Right, right, I'm thoroughly confused.
Well, that's the main channel.
'For some reason, I'm being told to join the channel.
'Not only that, but I'm being sent miles backwards to do so.
'In all my years of sailing,
'every major port has told me to stay out of the shipping channel.'
So, he's sent us all the way back to join the channel
about five miles back there
when we were just about to turn into it.
'It would appear Mersey Radio don't allow you to enter Liverpool
'unless you're inside the Queen's Channel,
'and we've been told you have to join it between Q3 and Q5.
'We've just spent an hour going around in a circle.'
What a funny old journey that was.
Bloody hell, had a bit of everything, didn't it?
Anyway, we're here.
-Whoa! Bloody hell! Where did that come from? Nearly hit the bugger!
-Oh, my God!
No, Tim, it's not funny.
Tim, it's not funny!
'Liverpool is still a major British city.
'But back in the 19th century, it was a behemoth.
'40 per cent of the world's trade passed through their docks.
'The ensuing wealth is reflected in its buildings,
'like the magnificent Liver Building.
'It's been a bit of a journey, today.
'Being sent this way, then that way,
'then the other by Mersey Radio has rather knocked my confidence.
'I mean, partly, it was my fault because I didn't...
'You know, we left Conwy in a rush
'and I only researched the sea passage,
'I didn't research the passage in.
'I don't think we were in danger,
'he was just a very prescriptive radio controller.'
Get her on to a cleat as quick as you can.
Double it round. That's it, well done.
Perfect, perfect. We're in. Whoo!
Yeah, they're all there, look.
'There are many places to visit in Liverpool,
'but one place I've particularly been looking forward to
'is Crosby Beach.
'Shane's sister, Jac, and her friend, Margaret, have joined us.'
Look at that! And that! No wonder he put them here, look. With that.
-Look at that one there.
'Crosby Beach is home to Antony Gormley's
'Another Place installation.
'There are 100 cast-iron, life-size figures
'spread out along two miles of the shore
'and two thirds of a mile out to sea.'
This one's buried, look. Mind how you...
Do you think he was buried or has the sand just come up over him?
Well, it's hard to say because I think what he was doing
was putting them all at different levels.
Look, I mean...
But there's something absolutely beautiful. Look at them!
I can't ever remember seeing anything
quite so spectacular...
..as the loneliness and the simplicity
and almost the sinister quality of these figures.
'In November 2006,
'the statues were expected to move to New York.
'But after a successful appeal,
'they will now remain here permanently.'
Look at it. Oh, look. Look!
The beauty of that. That's another thing about why it's so good.
I love the way it's covered in all those crustaceans from the sea.
'The statues have all been positioned so that they are facing out to sea.
'It's supposed to show the sentiments associated with emigration -
'the sadness at leaving, but the hope of a new future in Another Place.'
-They change every single day.
Whatever they've put him... Whatever they've set him in,
it's pretty bloody good.
-Look at that.
-I bet it'll really...
And eventually, I mean,
if they're allowed to stay here for thousands of years,
they'll go away - they'll just be eroded.
It's wonderful, isn't it?
'Liverpool's glorious industrial past
'earned it the moniker, the New York of Europe.
'But there's one thing, or rather four things,
'which really put it on the map -
I must probably be the 18 millionth person ever to have done this.
There's John Lennon. The genius of John Lennon.
This is... This, as you see up there,
Cavern, Liverpool Pub, is The Cavern.
This is where The Beatles first played.
But it isn't, actually. Evidently, it was over there.
So, they've changed the location to here
and what they've done on this wall, as a tribute,
is every brick from the ground level
up to about 25 foot has all the names...
..of the people who played in The Cavern.
Cilla Black was the coat-check girl.
..Alan Price Set, Richie Havens,
The Hollies, John Lee Hooker.
Jimi Hendrix. I say.
'Pilgrimage over and we're back on board.
'We're on our way to Glasson Dock,
'60 nautical miles up the coast into rural Lancashire,
'passing Blackpool along the way.
'After my fiasco getting into Liverpool,
'I'm determined to get it right today.'
You know, I've poured over that for two hours,
hoping I've got it right.
But I'm a bit worried about it.
'Glasson Dock sits at the mouth of the River Lune,
'which is so shallow that you can only enter it
'during a 45 minute window around high tide.
'At all other times, the gate is closed.
'My plan is to get us to the Lune River buoy
'and wait for high tide.
'What could possibly go wrong?'
I never thought I'd see Blackpool this way.
I'm afraid we can't go too close because there's a danger line there.
Yeah, that's where we're going, up there.
It's a lovely sea, absolutely beautiful.
-It's a lovely afternoon, isn't it?
I might put some baked potatoes on for our tea.
No, no, no, no, no!
I don't think we're going to get anything to eat in Glasson Dock.
No, neither do I, but it's only a five...
We won't get settled down till ten, anyway.
-Well, I'm going to put a baked potato on.
-I don't want that.
Well, I'm going to have a baked potato.
-I can't see any other buoy out there.
-No, I can't see anything at all.
I can't see any other buoys. That's the only one I can see.
Yeah, I can't see a name on it.
Oh, well, you will. It'll have Lune written on it.
-It's a big bugger. It's got to be it, isn't it?
-It's got to be it.
-Oh, actually, I've got this wrong.
That's the Lune Deep. I should be going...
I should be there - River Lune.
Now, how the hell do we get there?
Yeah, I don't know where I am, actually.
'I've only gone and messed up again.
'We're supposed to be at the Lune River buoy.
'Instead, I've taken us to the Lune Deep buoy.
'Oh, bloody hell!'
-There it is.
-There it is.
Bloody miles from it.
'It's now a race against time
'to catch high tide and make that 45 minute window.'
MUSIC: "Shout For Happiness" by Al Bowlly
Glasson Dock, Glasson Dock, this is The Princess Matilda. Over.
Hi, Glasson Dock.
Yeah, we've just made a complete tit of ourselves.
We've now found the Lune River buoy.
Will we have enough time to get up and get into your lock? Over.
Princess Matilda, this is Glasson Dock.
What speed can you make? Over.
Well, at the moment, we're doing 8.8 knots through the water, over.
we don't have enough time, now, to get you into the dock.
'Oh, great. That's the last thing I wanted to hear.
'The harbour master has just said we won't make it,
'so that leaves us only one option.
'We're going to have to anchor in the bay overnight.'
Thank you very much, over. Thank you.
Hello, is that Tim, by the way? Over.
Yes, this is Tim Spall, Tim and Shane Spall, yeah.
Doing our round Britain tour and getting it wrong every now and again.
Well, this'll be our first night ever anchoring.
I feel like such a tit!
It should hold.
Jellyfish coming to say hello.
-Pretty place, isn't it?
-Are we holding, Timmy?
I think so.
-Here's to our first night at anchor.
We ain't done it yet.
We might end up on a bloody sandbank or being rammed by a German U-boat.
No, we'll be fine. We knew we'd have to do it one day.
I don't think any of the bigger ships will come over here -
it's too shallow.
Oh, it's really handsome, isn't it?
'Well, we've survived our first night at anchor.
'Although I must have been up about five times
'just checking we hadn't drifted out to sea.'
Last night was a mixture of...
..fun and horror.
It's a new word to do with boating.
'The route in is prone to shifting sands.
'We could easily run aground.
'I've thrown in the towel.
'I'm being lead in by a pilot boat.'
This is exciting, isn't it?
-It's a blessed relief.
-Look at those swans coming out of the lock.
Hundreds of them.
'The Lune river has always been a problem for ships
'getting up into Lancaster,
'so in 1787, they built Glasson Dock.
'For boat lovers like us, it's a dream location,
'as the Irish Sea, the Lune Estuary
'and the Lancashire canal network all come together right here.'
There we go.
See? I mean, we live in 2010.
And people still opening and shutting gates with windlasses.
I used to hate doing that when I was on the canals.
'Before Shane and I set off on this wonderful adventure,
'we'd spent years on narrowboats on the canals.
'This is the first time we'll have been back on one in six years.'
You want to get in this side?
It's your wallet. Your wallet's sinking!
Your wallet's sinking! Oh!
Do you want to put it in there, darling? You do it every time.
There's a five pound... Wet five pound note.
-Wet dollar, that's always in there...
-All right, give us it here.
..and the rest of my bloody, er...
-Well spotted, love.
-It's cos I've seen it before.
-Here, have a fiver for your trouble.
Oh, no, no, no, no!
Yeah, it is windy, isn't it?
-Isn't it beautiful?
Gosh, Tim, it's really shallow there.
Our boat was about that size, the other one.
Canals dip in the middle.
The deepest part of the canal is the middle,
so you always keep to the centre.
Do you know how the canals came about?
They worked out...
..that one horse...
..could pull three times the amount of cargo
than six horses could on a cart.
They were all privately owned.
They started in the Midlands...
..which then became the Grand Union Canal.
-It's very bucolic.
Very, er, benign.
But you don't get the same sense of achievement
as you do when you come round Land's End.
-How are you going to get off?
-Same way you did.
'Before the dock was built,
'this area was no more than a few farm buildings
'and a small fishing community known as Old Glasson and Brows-Saltcote.'
So, where we are is Glasson Basin Marina.
This is actually Glasson Dock.
This is the sea dock.
Would you like to get some kippers?
Do me some kippers for the morning.
-Do me a kipper.
-All right, then.
They're all outside. Here, I'll show you them.
-It's two pairs for £5.
-They're just outside.
-So, that's locally done?
-It is. These are local kippers.
-Did you catch them?
-No, I catch wild salmon and sea trout.
-OK, you do?
-Oh, my God. Look at that.
-There we go.
So, which one do you want, Tim?
Well, I don't know, am I allowed to buy one?
-You want one kipper?
-That's not going to get you far.
Well, we're going to have to turn the fridge off in the boat.
-No, we can leave the fridge on because...
-You don't need a fridge.
-Shall we have a couple, then?
-Yeah, two pairs.
-Two pairs, yes.
-So, what is a kipper?
-It's a mackerel, isn't it?
-Herring. That's it, yeah.
-Once smoked, it becomes a kipper.
Where's next? Workington?
-We don't know.
We were going to go to Whitehaven
but we might go up to Piel Island and have a look up there.
-You should do that.
-Is it nice?
-Only 60 miles from here.
Oh, my God! These are wild salmon, are they?
Wild salmon and sea trout.
-That's your salmon, that's your sea trout.
-You've got a lovely stock here.
I mean, I'm going to get out of here before I spend any more money!
'Now, I've met a few important people in my time,
'but never a king.
'However, today, that might just change.'
We're aiming to go to Piel Island,
which is a funny little island...
..on the way to Barrow-in-Furness,
tucked in the Barrow Channel behind Walney Island.
The thing about Piel Island, what is it? The governor of the pub?
-He's their king.
-The governor of the pub is the king of the island.
Officially. It's true.
'This is probably the shortest journey we'll make
'on our round-Britain adventure.
'It's only 12 miles across Morecambe Bay,
'but it ain't half lumpy.'
Hold on, Shane! Hold on, hold on! Sit down!
'I hope this king thing is worth it.
'It's hard to believe,
'but this is the same Irish Sea we anchored in overnight.
'Thank God it wasn't like this.'
'Piel Island is a mere 50 acres in size.
'It has a population of four
'and most of them run the 18th century Ship Inn.
'Tradition has it that whoever takes up the landlordship
'becomes the King of Piel.
'There's also a magnificent ruined castle
'which, when it was built in 1327,
'was the largest of its kind in northwest England.
'We're being picked up by the king's daughter,
-The kingdom of Piel!
-The kingdom of Piel.
I was reading an old book... A book about five years old,
that says there's no longer a king
and I thought, "Oh, that's a shame".
And then, we spoke to somebody in Glasson
-and they said, "The king has returned".
"A new king is born."
So, you're actually a princess, aren't you?
'Nicola's parents, Steve and Sheila Chattaway,
'took over the pub in 2007,
'making Steve the king.'
-Welcome to Piel Island.
-Hello. How are you, your majesty?
-This is queenie.
'The crowning takes place in this ancient chair,
'where the new king,
'wearing a helmet and holding a sword,
'is drenched in booze.
'I hope he kept his mouth open.'
Oh, did you? Great. Fantastic.
-Too late. I'm in it.
Oh, well. Usurper!
I tell you what, it's not bad, is it? It's actually...
-Do you not feel...?
-Do you not get a weird feeling?
-I do actually, yeah.
-On your shoulders.
-It's really weird, it's very strange.
-It's got a lot of history in it.
I'll get out of this. I don't want to outstay my welcome.
-What a wonderful thing.
-It means so much to the local people.
-Well, it's a museum piece, isn't it?
That'll have to be in a Lancashire heritage museum.
You're a museum piece.
Here you go, here's the regalia.
-Oh, all right. Shall I put that on?
-No, you're not the king.
No, you can't. Of course you can't.
-I'll have a look at that.
-It used to have a plume on it.
It's an old cavalry helmet.
Yes, it is, isn't it?
There was a big plume on the top - it was fantastic.
'The first-ever recording of this crowning
'is in the early 18th century,
'but no-one is quite sure when it actually started.'
-It rather... No, it does rather become you, actually.
-Fetching. You've got to the...
'One thing's for sure, though.
'As long as Steve is the landlord, he'll be King of Piel.'
-Thank you. I'm going to just do this.
Northern Ireland, Wales, coo!
Oh, there we go again.
We're just moving into a firing range area
and we heard some firing.
# Somewhere at sea
# Bringing to me
# A traveller who will build my life anew
# He's out on the sea... #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Untrained mariner Timothy Spall has spent a fortune on technology for his new challenge - the unpredictable Irish Sea - as he and his wife continue their mini-odyssey around Britain.
Entering Liverpool means navigating their first big city since leaving London, but reaching dry land can be daunting in a small boat when dodging tankers and ferries. It's even more difficult when the coastguard sends him round in circles because he's on the wrong side of the marker buoys.
On his way to Glasson Dock in Lancashire, Tim is tricked again by another buoy. Misunderstanding his sea chart results in an unplanned dropped anchor in the middle of the Irish Sea, where they have to wait all night before he can enter the port.
Their next destination finds them in the company of royalty - Piel Island near Barrow-in-Furness has the unusual honour of having its own king and queen, a tradition which goes back centuries.