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.