Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Trips to the Seaside and More

Sorry that we haven't managed to do a posting to this blog for a while but there is always lots to do on the waterways and we just don't seem to have had time.

The Lancaster Canal is pleasantly rural for most of the way.  On Friday we cruised on to Garstang where, in the evening, our daughter Lucy and her friend Becca came to join us for the weekend. 

We've seen quite a lot of bluebells this year including this fine carpet in a wood next to the canal.

There are some fine aqueducts on the Lancaster Canal for the most part designed by John Rennie.  This one is over the River Wyre.  We noticed the similarity with the Dundas and Avoncliff aqueducts on the Kennet and Avon and then discovered that he designed them as well.

This is the top of the Wyre Aqueduct.  We liked Garstang and did some shopping there to stock up with our visitors coming.

On Saturday we made good use of our new crew in going down the six locks to Glasson Dock which are on a branch of the canal linking with the sea.

Both Lucy and Becca had birthdays recently so Lucy had baked a cake and very tasty it was too.

Here is Lucy at the helm in the top lock of the Glasson six.  Just the other side of the bridge is the main canal going right to Garstang and left to Lancaster.

We were fortunate to catch up Ian and Tracy on Tangled up in Blue (a Bob Dylan song in case you want to know where the name came from).  So we shared the last three locks.  Here we are coming out into Glasson Basin, a large stretch of water linked by locks through the docks to the sea.

 Once moored this was the view through our windows.  You don't usually see lots of yachts from Leo, but these can go out to sea from this marina.  We didn't follow them!

On Sunday Leo stayed put and we went for a pleasant walk along the sea front in the morning with Lucy and Becca.  It is novel and fun to walk down to the sea from a narrowboat.

Glasson Dock has a 'hill' which rises sufficiently to give a good view over the River Lune  estuary and North to the Lake District though visibility was not very good.  The white building is Heysham Power Station.

And here we are down by the sea.  As we walked along the tide was coming in.  They say that it comes in here at the speed of a galloping horse.  Well it was not that fast but it did flow over the sand and mud at the speed of a mountain stream.

As a change from Grey Herons on the canal we saw this Little Egret on the shore.

This is the remains of Cockersand Abbey that we passed on the coast path.  Another victim of Henry VIII.

It was really hot on Sunday and we had lunch by the boat before Lucy and Becca had to leave us by taxi back to Garstang and then a long drive home.  It was lovely to see them.

Glasson Dock is still an active port with the bigger ships like this one staying on the river outside the dock and going aground at low tide.  Grain and furnace slack were the cargoes we saw being unloaded.

After saying goodbye to our visitors we spent Sunday afternoon going for a cycle ride up the cycle track by the River Lune part way to Lancaster.  So an active day of walking in the morning and cycling in the afternoon.

On Monday we joined Tangled up in Blue in going back up the six locks (these are the only locks on the Lancaster Canal if you don't count those on the Ribble Link).

Here is Tangled up in Blue following us into the first lock.

And here we both are in the top lock.  From here they turned right heading South because they cross back on the Ribble Link on Wednesday, whereas we turned left heading towards Lancaster.

Here is Leo moored just before the Water Witch pub which was very well patronised as it was a hot though windy afternoon.

We stayed two nights in Lancaster enjoying the sights.

We walked downhill from the Canal to the River Lune which is tidal at this point.  The picture is of the Millenium footbridge which allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross to the northern part of the city and on towards Morecombe.

Lancaster Castle was originally Norman but was extended 200 years ago and, until recently, was used as a prison.  It is still a functioning Courthouse and is famous for two trials, that of the Pendle Witches in 1612 and that of the Birmingham Six in 1975.  The convictions of the latter were quashed in 1991 but it would have been a bit late to reprieve the witches who were executed.

This is the John of Gaunt Gatehouse which is the entrance to the Castle.  We had a tour of the Castle yesterday (Tuesday) which was interesting and entertaining and extended to the modern court facilities as well as the Drop Room which led to the scaffold.

In Dalton Square is this huge monument to Victoria.  Round the base are reliefs of many prominent Victorians comprising politicians, scientists, novelists and artists.

The Priory Church stands on the hill next to the Castle and from there you can look across the town to the Ashton Memorial shown here.  We had seen this distinctive building from the M6 but had never visited it before.

This is the inside of Atkinsons Coffee Shop.  A real old fashioned traditional coffee importer and seller, Atkinsons has now opened a novel and popular cafe where we had lunch and two varieties of coffee served in curious retorts.

After visiting the Judges Lodgings, a fine Georgian House used by judges visiting for the Assizes, we walked across town to Williamson Park and the Ashton Memorial.  This was built in 1906-9 and given with the park to the town by Williamson who made his fortune manufacturing lino.   The park and gardens were originally moorland where criminals were executed.

The view from the Ashton Memorial is pretty good even though visibility was poor.  Here you can see the Priory Church on the right of centre and the Castle to its left.

The park has been restored in recent years, particularly this lake.  The fresh blossom was lovely.

After a couple of days looking round Lancaster we cruised on this morning to Hest Bank, crossing en route the Lune Aqueduct which is a truly splendid highlight of the waterways and another testament to the work of John Rennie.

This aqueduct was built in the late 1700s and has a grace and lightness that belies the fact that it carries a canal.  The canal is 60 feet above the river so this is quite a feat of engineering.

Here is the view from Leo while crossing the aqueduct looking down this impressive river.

At Hest Bank the canal runs within a few hundred yards of the sea and this is the view from the canal of Morecombe Bay as we approached Hest Bank.

After a hard afternoon of washing and polishing the boat we walked down to the sea.  This view is looking south towards Morecombe.  Signs here warn you not to venture onto the sands without a guide because of fast rising tides and quicksands.  This is where the cockle pickers died not many years ago.

Tomorrow we plan to catch the bus into Morecombe where Ian went for a couple of family holidays as a child.  Over the next few days we will be travelling on to the end of the navigation at Tewitfield which is now only 7 miles away.  We plan a number of excursions too, so watch this space.

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