Friday, 23 June 2017
Still at Glasson basin and with the wind picking up we have a walk out to the river which the basin drops down in to.
It’s low tide as you can see with the river Lune flowing through the middle of the sands.
Just like when we were at Hest bank we went back at high tide and what a difference .
With some high winds forecast for the area we battened down the hatches and waited for the winds to arrive.
I must admit we were not prepared for how rough it was going to get in the basin and this is the view out of our side hatch as the winds started to increase .It went on all night and got even worse than the pictures show with waves reaching the gunnels and the spray going over the top of Inca.
We were pinned to the wall with no chance of moving. Needless to say we didn’t sleep that night and can honestly say it’s the worst night we have ever had . We just got battered non stop and even with every fender we had deployed it made no difference.
In the morning we made the decision to try and force Inca off the wall and giving it full throttle we went straight along the wall and managed to control it at the end and head off towards the bottom lock.
As we head up The Glasson branch and the 6 locks the winds start to drop and the sun comes out. What a change and what a relief .
Joining The Lancaster and we passed this chap chilling out on the bank.
On our way towards Preston for our journey back over The Ribble link I got a call from my number one little Sister Sharon to say that she was desperate to see me (not) and was on her way up with long suffering hubby Philip and daughter Gabbers who had just travelled all the way back from Australia especially to see us (not). . As always it was good to meet up and have a catch up . No doubt we will see you all again in a few years time ( cutting wit)….
If ever you come up on to The Lancaster Canal there is one thing that you will notice and that’s the amount of GRP/Plastic/Tupperware/Yogurt pots boats there are .We have never seen so many on any single canal that we have visited . It would be good if a few of them learnt how to slow down a bit , for some reason they seem to be in a hurry and like speeding all the time.
After a good few weeks up here it’s time to head back over The River Ribble and back onto the main canal network . There were 5 boats to drop down and we were the third to arrive in the top basin above the locks, but for some reason two boats decided to jump in front of us . I was going to say something ,but Carolyn said we are not in a hurry so don’t go causing any trouble like you usually do. We were later told the CRT lockie what had happened and he said that it’s a common occurrence here and he has seen boaters coming to blows about who heads down first , Just unbelievable….
After dropping down the 3 staircase locks which we had to do backwards there was just time for a Gary/Carolyn selfie as we reversed out of the bottom lock.
Just before the bottom lock there are three holding pontoons for the boats to wait before heading down to the Sea lock on Savick brook . It’s also used for holding boats if there is a problem on The River Ribble. As we waited to be dropped down Canal and River Trust Lockies turned up and told us that because of high winds we would have to stay on the holding pontoons for at least 2 days before the wind and tides are OK for us to proceed. Luckily we have everything we need on board as there is only a garage which sells basics and is about a half a mile away and Preston town centre a good mile and a half away . With plenty of Internet and good TV reception we will be fine before heading back over the Ribble.
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Arriving in Lancaster we were surprised to see that the visitor moorings were nearly empty which is strange as they were full when we last passed this way 4 or 5 days ago.. So with it being fairly early in the morning and with the boat not very hot we left Hamish for an hour while we had a quick look around the city.
We soon came upon Lancaster Castle which is a medieval castle . Its early history is unclear, but may have been founded in the 11th century on the site of a Roman fort overlooking a crossing of the River Lune.
The castle formally opened as HM Prison Lancaster in 1955, becoming a Category C prison for male inmates, and a crown court. In July 2010 the Ministry of Justice announced it was intending to close it, stating it was outdated and costly. The prison closure was confirmed for March 2011.
The crown court continues to be located at the castle. Closure of the prison eventually allowed the castle to be opened to visitors and tourists as a permanent attraction. In the meantime, while access to the keep, towers, battlements and dungeons is currently denied to visitors, the castle operates limited guided tours seven days a week. The Castle Courtyard opened to the public 7 days a week . Needless to say at £8 each for a limited guided tour we didn’t bother
Leaving Lancaster and after a couple of hours cruising we arrived at the junction of the Glasson arm which will drop us down the 6 locks to Glasson and then into the basin . We have been told by local boaters that it’s hard work and not worth bothering with . But that comment just made us more determined to make the trip down to the basin.
We have come across these gate paddles on the Leeds and Liverpool canal , but these were so heavy that I had to take over from Carolyn as she struggled to operate them. Still no doubt it will be worth the effort.
We certainly weren’t disappointed and the choice of smoked produce was amazing ,not just Fish but anything you could think of . We bought loads and it was absolutely delicious. If ever you are in the area it’s worth a visit…… Now back to Inca and the difficult decision of what wine to have with my smoked Duck.
Sunday, 18 June 2017
We pulled pins from our mooring in Hest bank at 07.15 with the plan today of going all the way to the end of the Lancaster canal which is at Tewitfield. We plan to do it there and back in one day as there are still a few more places we want to visit before time runs out while we are up here. As you can see the view from the office is pretty good today.
We stopped at the services and while I filled with water and got shot of the waste Carolyn nipped down to Tesco which is close to the canal. One thing we have noticed since we have been up North is how good all the service blocks are . It’s funny that there are more boats down South and most of the services are very poor and in some cases not fit for purpose.
As we head towards the end the canal gets so shallow that we had trouble getting around some of the corners , not that I mind as I enjoy the challenge. We were later told that parts of this section were dredged last year as it had silted up because not many boats come up here.
As we were here at the end we decided to have a walk around and see what was left of the old canal which used to carry onto Kendal. It was a bit of an experience walking along this path which was so close to the M6 Motorway.
As you can see the sign says Welcome to the Northern reaches which was closed down in 1955 by an Act of Parliament which authorised the closure of the canal, along with several others, covering 771 miles in total .
The restoration will involve restoring the six places where the canal is culverted (including the three places where the M6 motorway construction blocked the route), restoring Hincaster Tunnel restoring the 5 dry miles, and a new crossing of the A590 road near Kendal, as well as many more minor works including work on 52 listed structures. The extensive engineering required will be expensive (a 2002 estimate being £60 million), and so restoration is planned to proceed in phases.
The first phase is planned to be restoration of 3.7 miles southwards from Canal Head in Kendal to Natland Road. Funding of £750,000 was provided in 2005 for the planning and design of this first phase: construction works are not expected to commence before late 2007 with completion in 2009 at the earliest. Despite the projected 2009 completion date, the work to restore the canal had still not been started by late 2016.
This is the plan for opening up this final section of The Lancaster Canal . I just can’t see it ever happening in my lifetime and I’m not sure if it will ever happen . It was still good to have a look and imagine what it was like before it was closed down and at least we made it to the end of the navigation
After a most enjoyable day with 8 lock free hours of cruising and a look around the abandoned top end of the canal we picked up a mooring before Hest bank with this view out of our window . Life doesen’t get much better than this on the inland waterways of Britain.
Friday, 16 June 2017
Thursday, 15 June 2017
After a great time at Garstang we decided on an early start and try to make it to the city of Lancaster and pick up a mooring there for the night. Pulling ropes through rings at 07.10 after a bit of a cruise we came across this guy. Obviously from down under ,but I haven’t a clue what he is doing here on the Lancaster canal.
It’s silly season on the Lancaster canal just as it is on all canals over the country . This poor guy came around the corner then saw us and just panicked . His poor wife struggled with the pole and couldn’t push the boat off the bank . Eventually they did it and looked vey red faced as we passed . We said not to worry as it happens to the best of us .
With all the safe moorings at the Water Witch pub full in Lancaster we carried on towards our next destination which was Hest Bank , hopefully there will be room to stop when we head back down this way in Lancaster. Just North of Lancaster we came to The Lune Aqueduct.
The Lune Aqueduct is one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Waterways', a masterpiece of civil engineering. 664 feet long, it carries Lancaster Canal 53 feet above the River Lune. It was designed by John Rennie and constructed by Alexander Stevens in 1797. The aqueduct consists of five 70 foot semi-circular arches.
Looking back up The River Lune and it’s amazing that you never hear much about this Aqueduct as it is a real delight and a great experience to cross . Maybe because The Lancaster is still seen by many as a difficult place to get to it gets little attention. But as we have shown it’s not that difficult at all to get to and everyone should give it a go.
After a good 7 hour cruise we reached Hest Bank and picked up this mooring just before the village.
It was then just a short walk down to Morecombe Bay where we had to cross the Railway . It’s funny that every time we come to a level crossing there is always a train coming.
Morecambe Bay is a large estuary in northwest England, just to the south of the Lake District National Park. It is the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the United Kingdom, covering a total area of 310 km² . We were very surprised at just how big the Bay is .The bay is notorious for its quicksand and fast moving tides. It is said that the tide can come in "as fast as a horse can run". On the night of 5 February 2004, 23 Chinese immigrant cockle pickers drowned after being cut off by the tide here at Hest Bank . Needless to say we kept well away from the sands.
The views towards the Lake district are just brilliant.
After seeing The Bay with the tide out we went down later in the day and watched it come in for the last hour or so. With the town of Morecombe in the distance The Bay looks completely different. What an eye opener this day has been ,it’s made us so glad that we made the effort to get up here to The Lancaster Canal
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
We pulled pins from our mooring below Bilsborrow at 07.45 . We are meant to be taking it easy and chilling out with some rest days and late starts . but someone told us about a festival at Garstang that was well worth visiting . After using the services to fill with water and empty waste we had an uneventful but enjoyable cruise to Garstang and managed to pick up a mooring just before this Aqueduct.
This is The Wyre Aqueduct which believe it or not carries the canal over the River Wyre and is a single span aqueduct that was completed in 1797 and was designed by the great man himself John Rennie . It carries the canal 110 feet over and 34 feet over The river Wyre.
We then made the short walk up into the town after arriving only for the heavens to open just as the festival was starting at 11.30 . They call it a festival but it was more like a carnival where after crowning the Garstang Queen a carnival with Bands ,floats and walking groups of kids marched twice around the town.
In the end the rain didn’t seem to put anyone off and everybody we spoke to said they had thoroughly enjoyed the experience just like we had.
Luckily in the afternoon the rain stopped and we went over to the park to watch the finals of the junior soccer tournament. There were a few very talented youngsters playing . We had a great day and found the people of Garstang so friendly and welcoming to us ,there’s certainly a lot of community spirit here . This is a place that we will stop at again when we come back down this way in a week or so’s time.