Sunday, 25 June 2017
The winds had dropped and we had been informed by Canal and River Trust that our passage across the Ribble Link to Tarleton was on. But first I had to my good deed of the day and turn this boat around for this novice lady boater. She did start to try and do it but got in a bit of a mess and asked for help.
We were then dropped down the bottom lock and onto Savick Brook.
It’s very shallow and narrow and you have to look out for some of the hazards on the way.
Arriving at the Sea lock and with the light on red we had a near 2 hour wait for the tide to come in and get to the same level as Savick brook.
With the light turning green we were the first boat out with seven boats following us.
You can see that the lock gate has gone back under the water allowing the boats to go over the top of it.
Onto The Ribble and we seem to have a small Flotilla, what a great sight .
Approaching the Asland lamp 5 mile perch and if we carry we will end up in the Irish sea which you can see in the distance.
In the end Carolyn persuaded me to turn to the left although I must admit there was something in me that wanted to carry straight on. By this stage there was a big distance opening up between the boats which wasn’t so bad as it will give the Lockies plenty of time to lock the boats up with out them all being stacked up outside the lock.
We passed this guy who was on his way out for a sail.
I just love rivers and tidal waters and am now planning are next river and tidal experience in a month or so , but don’t mention it to Carolyn.
After one hour and fifty minutes we arrived at Tarleton lock where we were greeted by the Lock keeper Harry and his crew. Yet again another enjoyable cruise across The Ribble link and yet again I would recommend it to all boaters not just for the crossing but for The Lancaster Canal which is real gem .
Back on The Rufford branch and we decided to push on to Parbold where we knew we could moor and pick up a few bits and pieces from the local shops.
This is the end of The Rufford branch where we are filling with water and then through the bridge hole it’s a turn left and back to the rest of the canal network or right in to Liverpool . We did have a booking for Liverpool from the 29th June to the 6th July which we booked when we first thought we wouldn’t make Liverpool back in May. After making other plans for the end of June which have now very disappointingly at a late stage fallen through we cancelled the booking which we now wish we hadn’t done .
Never mind and as I said before we now have new plans for more Rivers and tidal waters and can’t wait to start the next part of our adventure, although it will take us a few weeks of travelling over some canals we have done before and a new one to us before we start that part of our Summer cruise.
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.