Well we are having a good time on the Lancaster. Of course, by now we should have been making our way down to Northampton having crossed the Rivers Ribble and Douglas last Thursday.
As you all probably know by now the canal which will take us off the Ribble crossing and connects to the Leeds and Liverpool canal, our only route off this canal – the Rufford branch, has developed a hole between two of the six locks! It turned out to be an original wooden culvert taking a small river/spring under the canal which has collapsed and will need a total rebuild.
The good news is that despite the possibility of water vole presence, no evidence of them was found and so work can begin! It’s amazing the negotiations needed to get work under way. The owner of the adjacent land, the Environment Agency and even British Rail have to give approval before plant can be brought in. Anyway, a road to the site is being built next week and the estimate for finishing the work is 14th September!
Of course, all the people ‘trapped’ on this side of the canal have had to change their dates for the crossing and we have been given the16th September for our crossing. We will come home by the quickest and shortest route to avoid the risk of the Severn being closed!!!
Well, as I probably said before there are worse places to be ‘trapped’ and we have been making the most of the last few days’ lovely weather to find some lovely rural moorings.
We (Cormorant II) have had some visitors too! Our friends Carole and Andy caught the train to Lancaster where we picked them up and spent a week showing them the best of the Lanky! We stopped at Hest Bank and walked down to the sea on a beautiful sunny day and enjoyed a coffee overlooking the bay.
On Saturday we were in Carnforth and caught a train to Arnside where we joined around 400 others on a guided walk over Morecambe Bay, an eight mile paddle in the sea! I loved it!! Carole and Andy saw us off and then caught the train to Grange over Sands to watch us from the other side! On our return to Carnforth we stopped for fish and chips which we took back to the boat and thoroughly enjoyed!!
We got up to Tewitfield and enjoyed a meal at the Longlands hotel before heading back to Lancaster to say farewell to our friends.
We are now in Garstang catching up on some shopping, today has been mostly raining so it was a breakfast bap in a small Deli/Cafe in town and back to batten down the hatches! Tomorrow promises better weather so we will head north again with plans to catch the bus to Morecambe for a day and maybe Kendal later in the week!
We are still here on the Lancaster and still enjoying every minute! We moored for a few days at Hest Bank which has lovely views over Morecambe Bay. We took a very pleasant walk along the footpath to Morecambe. We strolled along the promenade saying a quick hello to Eric Morecambe as we passed his statue! I even managed to get another paddle in the sea!
On to Carnforth where there is a big Tesco just across the street. We stocked up on supplies and then took a train to Barrow in Furness; a great ride crosses the estuary twice and goes alongside the coast too!
There is a great museum in Barrow charting the history of production of iron, steel and ships, for which Barrow is well known.
Taking Cormorant II on up to Tewitfield, the present terminus of the canal, we caught the 555 bus to Keswick. Bob of course used his bus pass but I forked out £10.80 for a Lakes explorer ticket. Really good value, as it turned out, we had a two hour ride through the Lake District and front seats on the top deck!! Brilliant!
The next day Robin, Bob’s son arrived with his girls, Emily and Georgia and they borrowed the boat for a few days whilst we popped home! We arrived back to meet them at Galgate and to help them down the locks into Glasson Basin, rounding off the day with a lovely meal at the Dalton Arms. That pub is going to miss our cruising club when we break free!
So here we are again enjoying the views around Glasson. The last few days have been really windy and the water gets very choppy and we get lots of foam down the side of the boat but yesterday the wind dropped and we have had some lovely sunsets with flocks of starlings giving us a free flying display!
The local church has a flower festival this weekend and we went to the Evensong service this evening which was lovely. Tomorrow we plan to ascend the locks and maybe head to Garstang to shop although we will be back in Galgate on Wednesday to meet up with C&RT officials to catch up on the latest news from the repairs on the Rufford branch!
That’s all our news so far, hope you are all well and hope to see many of you probably by October!
Lynn Hallam – Roving correspondent.
The 4C’s are now coming to the end of our unexpected stay on the Lancy. The meeting last week hosted by C&RT for boaters ‘stranded’ by the Rufford breach did not reveal any new information but confirmed that works were progressing well and on schedule. So, the five boats here from the Cotswolds Canal Cruising Club are still expected to cross the Ribble Link on 16th September which means that we will be on the right side when the Rufford branch opens, hopefully, on the 25th September.
This is the view up the Glasson Arm from the first bridge. In the distance the hills are turning purple with the heather.
We do get some glorious sunsets in the basin, it can be quite choppy during the day but often at night the wind drops and the water is lovely and calm. Last Sunday we moored at Tewitfield and caught the bus to Holme, a village on the northern reaches of the old canal. We walked along the canal, which is still in water apart from where the M6 crosses it (twice!) to Crooklands where the Lancaster Canal Trust run a trip boat. It was a lovely day and the scenery was spectacular as we walked round Farleton Fell!! What an asset this would be if it were restored to Kendal!!
We are back in Glasson dock today (Sunday 13th September) having come down the only locks on the whole canal!! Only six – but hard going!! We are having a ‘rest’ day today after four days of visitors!!
We are members of the Boating Buddies scheme, which takes C&RT staff (mostly office based) out for a day to show them canals from a boating perspective. We have had C&RT staff with us, 2 on Tuesday, 1 on Thursday and 3 on Friday as well as friends from Gloucester on Wednesday!
Last night (Friday) we went to the Dalton arms with Tony and Mo from Elemiah. This pub has been a great find! On Fridays, if you buy 2 main meals you can get a bottle of wine for 1p! Good wine too! We are booked in for Sunday lunch this weekend as it will be our last weekend on the Lancy. All the crews except Geoff and Beryl will be there so we have created a little Awards Ceremony:
We, the assembled company have been together in this enforced isolation for almost 9 weeks.
Lynn and I have been most impressed by the fortitude, good spirits and decorum our fellow club members have shown during this time. With never a single complaint – other than wind, rain, waves and shallow moorings – as we have all cruised up and down this quite delightful canal.
We have decided that recognition must be shown to our fellow members and that it be recorded in the club archives that some individuals have gone “above and beyond” what would normally be expected.
To that end, we have created a series of awards to be presented today. You may recognise some of the awards as being very similar to that other show which takes place “over the pond” where recipients appear at the show traversing a red carpet. I’m pleased to say that here we are much more down to earth – or rather – a canal towpath.
Taking the lead from the Oscars, we have had several nominations for each award; these will be detailed at the appropriate time.
The winner of each award will, in the time honoured tradition, be expected to make a short, impromptu acceptance speech. Short means no longer than 2 minutes.
Our first award is:
1. Best Script.
By way of introduction, we are often reminded that the most memorable lines are those that are brief, to the point and highly applicable to some situations.
As in “You’re only supposed to blow the Bloody Doors Off!”
Bob Hallam: “It’s what we do.”
Lynn Hallam: “What do you mean, there’s a hole”
Geoff Smith: “The 4 C’s do a better class of stuck”
Tony Little: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
Mike Wood: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity”
And the winner is: Mike Wood.
Mike was then presented with both a certificate and a small book “The Lexicon of Stupidity
2. Best Work with Wildlife.
It’s a well-known principle in the world of showbiz, that you should never work with children and animals. However, this cruise is not showbiz, has very little acting we are aware of and is much concerned with the natural World. Hence this quite unique category;
Relocating wildlife around the Rufford Branch Breach.
However, after protests by the RSPCA that water voles were shot and fed to wild mink, the nomination was disqualified
For delaying her cruise in order to successfully rescue, revive and repatriate a baby wild rabbit.
For designing and providing transport for aged, short legged club officials.
And the winner is:
Now Mo, before you come up to receive your award, we have a visitor. You thought that the little bunny went back into the wild. Well, he did, but he heard about our little ceremony here today and asked if he could come and say thank you in person.
Along with the certificate, Mo was duly presented with a white, fluffy rabbit, who was still wriggling with pleasure.
3. Best Location Scout.
One very successful TV programme (I believe) was “Location, Location, Location.” The same applies to Narrowboat Cruising. It’s all about the right place.
For finding the Lancaster Canal in the first place
Geoff and Beryl Smith
Who – after previously distinguishing themselves by finding both Windmill End and Hawne Basin in Birmingham on the same day – they did even better here on the Lancy.
So the nomination is for Geoff and Beryl finding “Steptoe’s Yard,” Electricity in Glasson Basin and The Dalton Arms.
Mo and Mike Wood:
For finding a REALLY cheap mooring near Lancaster.
Ric and Hilary Whitby
For finding the mooring outside The Canal Turn in Carnforth for PImm’s O’Clock – but this was disqualified since the pub had no beer. After being redeemed by finding the Micro-pub, he was again disqualified by finding a fish and chip shop that had closed.
And the Winner is:
Geoff and Beryl Smith
Unfortunately, Geoff and Beryl cannot be with us, so in the true spirit of awards of this type, their presentation was made earlier and we have a short film of their acceptance, where with the certificate along with a book of pubs and Pub Walks.
The short film was shown to the assembled audience.
4. Lifetime Achievement Award.
At my advanced age, some things “Just have to be done,” and this award recognises that the same ambition and burning desire exists also in many of us.
Who, in the face of great danger and huge personal risk made the crossing on foot of Morecombe Bay.
For checking off another “Bucket list item” and taking Cormorant 2 (that’s 2 not eleven) to the most Northerly point of the connected navigable waterways.
However, after objection that he did it five times in as many weeks, it was disqualified.
For achieving his lifetime’s desire of crossing the Settle and Carlisle railway on a steam train.
And the winner is:
Who, with the certificate was also presented with a board game “Dangerous Passages.”
5 Location Catering
This final award is one to which so many of us will be aware is a vital part of our cruising, when, at times of both stress, physical exhaustion or just plain unadulterated enjoyment, we are hungry or thirsty or both.
For providing an all-day barbeque when moored temporarily at Galgate.
Mike and Mo Wood
For Supplying copious quantities of home-cooked apple cake to sustain us on our epic crossing of the Ribble Estuary.
The Dalton Arms Glasson:
Debbie, Geoff and Ashley and all their staff, for providing excellent food, value for money and service so friendly and helpful, that we all feel like regulars in here whenever we keep coming back
This was a very difficult decision to make, as all the nominees have been so generous throughout.
However, after having a long discussion with Lynn, a unanimous decision was that the winner is:
The Dalton Arms Glasson.
Along with the certificate, Geoff and Debbie were also presented with a 4C’s burgee.
From today we are making our way south in order to be at the top of the Savick Brook by Tuesday night. Hopefully when we cross over the Link on Wednesday we will have 10 days to wait until the Rufford breach is fixed! Only trouble now is that when we do get past the Rufford hole we will be working 7 hours a day to get back, which, after 9 weeks of about 2 hours cruising and locks only to get down here will be very hard! We are all wondering how we will cope!
Here ends an interim report from your roving reporter – Lynn Hallam – ‘stuck’ on the Lancy!!!
Almost There! – Late September
It’s been some time since I wrote but I’m glad to say that we and our fellow boaters from the Cotswolds Canal Cruising Club are safe and sound on the Rufford branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Bob and I have been using our extended time on the Lancy and the lovely weather to make the most of his bus pass, doing lots of walking and welcoming a few unexpected visitors too!!
Our given date for crossing the Millennium Link was September 16th and so we planned to be in Glasson Dock for a meal on the Sunday before. Four of the five crews made it and we had a good meal followed by an awards ceremony and community singing!!! (Mo has taught herself to play the ukulele whilst we have been here!!!)
The next day we ascended the Glasson locks for the last time and by Wednesday morning we were all assembled in the holding basin ready to go down the first three staircase locks! Our five boats were joined by Richard and Carol on Jennifer Eccles II to make best use of the double locks.
That done we worked our way down the remaining five locks, however, trying to exit lock 8
Cormorant II grounded and the boats reversed back into the lock to wait for more water. A few minutes later we left again and scraped our way along the bottom of the Savage, sorry, Savick Brook, tipping alarmingly as we hit a few submerged objects but sailing under the Blackpool Rd Bridge with plenty of headroom.
One of these photos is not clear but show how narrow and shallow this brook is!!!
Our fellow cruisers were not so lucky and endured dramatic rescues of grounded boats and as the water rose with in incoming tide only two boats got through the Blackpool Rd bridge in time. Unfortunately this meant a wait until the tide turned and a trip to Preston to stay overnight; by then C G and C II were fighting their way over the sea lock.
The tide was coming over the top of the sea lock and it took all of Cormorant II’s power and a bit more to get through the narrow gap and punch the tide and get to the River Ribble. However once out onto the Ribble we enjoyed a lovely cruise in beautiful sunshine and calm waters, oblivious that our fellow boaters had been diverted to Preston.
The Astland lamp was rounded and we were soon making our way along the River Douglas and towards the Tarleton Lock.
Mooring up at Tarleton visitor moorings we said goodbye to Ric and Hilary who were pressing on to Rufford in order to dash home. We stayed on in Tarleton overnight and at the appropriate time walked back down to the River Douglas to watch for the safe arrival of our remaining boats.
So, now we are all gathered ready for C&RT to tell us that the Rufford breach is now fixed and we can be on our way. We have walked down there and it looks as if they will soon be filling with water and testing for leaks etc., but it does look as if Friday will be the day!!
We think that we will be able to get home in about two weeks, so it will mean back to seven hour days of cruising and locking which will come hard after our nine weeks of an average two hours!!
Anyway, if you are local to Gloucester we hope that it won’t be long before we see you again. If not, take care until we meet again!
Love Lynn and Bob
Some incidental Pictures: