THE LANCASTER CANAL
19th - 25th May 2007
Saturday 19th May
(Cloudy, windy, but sunny later)
- The excited crew left Alan's House in Neil's car just after 9am, travelling the scenic
route through the Lancashire Hills to arrive at "The Owd Nell's" canalside
pub, where they quickly located to their Narrowboat for the week. Although
the boat showed no name, the keys fitted and the engine started, making them
satisfied that the right boat had been selected. As the predominate
colour of the boat was black, it was considered that it must be some form of
Stealth boat, which is how the crew will now refer to her.
Our "Stealth" Boat for the week
- Some time was spent checking out the facilities of
the Stealth Boat, undertaking necessary tasks, such as checking the Reed
Hatch and refilling the Prop shaft greaser.
- The Ships log was consulted, showing the last
occupants of the boat to be 5 females and their recorded antics caused the
crew much amusement.
- Lunch was taken at the Owd Nell's, of beefburger and
chips, with 2 pints of very acceptable Black Sheep Ale.
- After lunch a shopping expedition was made to Booths
supermarket in Garstang, where a considerable quantity of wholesome
provisions were procured.
- The crew returned to the Owd Nell's to watch the
second half of the Cup Final on the large screen television and consume
- Afterwards the crew took an hour's walk along the
canal past Bridge 49, a distance of some 3½ miles and then prepared for
dinner at the Owd Nell's, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Afterwards returned for cheese and biscuits on board.
- It was considered that an early start
would be made the following day to arrive at Preston to investigate the new Ribble Link canal.
Sunday 20th May
(Sunny and Pleasant all day)
- Up early and away by 8am after porridge prepared by
Neil, together with engine oil checking and prop shaft greasing.
- Found the boat to be excellent to control and the steering
position most comfortable. Gently cruised down to Bridge 32, where the
crew stopped to fill with water and enjoy a fried breakfast prepared by Ron.
Crossing under the M55 Motorway
- Arrived to moor just after the Ribble Link junction and
hurriedly started the walk down the Millennium canal. Admired the
magnificent statue by the first of the staircase locks and then walked the 2½ miles
to just after Lock 8 where the footpath stopped. The crew were
surprised by the narrow winding nature of this new canal link, which
had obviously followed the path of a small stream. After arriving back
after the 1½ hour walk, the crew treated themselves to a splendid lunch of Pork
Pie, Turkey slices, pickles, including pickled onions.
Neil and Ron admiring the Statue
Walking the Ribble Link
- The narrowboat then continued its journey to the
end of the canal in Preston, where Neil managed an excellent turn in the
entrance to a small boatyard, with only minor help by Alan with a boat pole.
The very end of
the Lancaster Canal at Preston
The crew noted the inhabitants of
Preston's like for alcohol
with the construction of bars in their back
- The narrowboat was carefully negotiated back to Salwick,
Bridge 26 for an evening at the "Hand & Dagger", where an excellent dinner
(Except Ron - Soggy Batter) was enjoyed by all. A total of 6 pints of
London Pride were enjoyed, interrupted by an hour's walk. Ron proved
to be the Pool champion, mainly due to the bad advice given to Alan. Cheese and
biscuits were enjoyed back on board, before retiring at midnight.
Monday 21st May
(Very Hot and Sunny all day)
- The intention of the crew was to travel today up to
Galgate and take the Glasson Dock spur to stay the night at "The Stork" in Conder Green. The excited crew were up at 7-15 and underway at 8-30 after porridge prepared by
Neil, stopping for an excellent cooked breakfast, prepared again by Ron just after Swillbrook. A stop was
made to fill with water and carry out routine maintenance in the engine
- As the weather soon became very hot both Neil and
Alan found it necessary to remove their tops and enjoy the full power of the sun.
- After passing the starting point at Bilsborrow, the
crew took delight in admiring the two Aqueducts built by
John Rennie in 1797
and moored at Garstang to take the steps down to investigate the Wyre
- An excursion into Garstang town again found the
crew at the Booths supermarket, where further supplies of cheese, eggs,
bread and crackers were secured. The Old Tithe Barn, adjacent to the
canal basin, was visited, where the crew found the Jennings Cumberland Ale,
much to their liking. After the third pint they decided to abandon any
attempt to reach their planned destination for the day and agreed to stay in
Garstang for the night.
Narrowboat moored to investigate
the Wyre Aqueduct
The crew enjoying their third
pint in The Owd Tithe Barn
- After moving the narrowboat closer to the pub, Ron and
Neil left on an expedition to follow the River Wyre towards its source,
leaving Alan with his fishing rod. By the time Neil and Ron had
returned, Alan had landed two Roach of an unusual size.
- Neil had located a Chinese restaurant in the town and
the crew found the thought irresistible. A banquet was purchased
together with Thwaites smooth ale which were enjoyed by all.
- The return trip the boat was interrupted by a detour
to the Th' Owd Tithe Barn, for a further pint of Cumberland Ale, where under
the patio heaters, the crew watched the ducks fighting.
Th' Owd Tithe Barn
- The crew were unable to manage cheese and
biscuits and retired at 11-45 after coffee back on board the boat.
Tuesday 22nd May
(Damp and drizzle at first, turning into another
very hot and sunny day)
- In anticipation of a long and busy day the crew rose at
an early hour and after routine engine maintenance, departed after the
statutory porridge at 7-45am. Breakfast, prepared by Alan, including scrambled egg, was consumed "on the move" in relays, due to the lack of
suitable mooring places, at around 10-15am.
- Out of character, Neil took a responsible view and
carried out some forward planning, attempting to find suitable locations
for refuelling and pumping out. After several telephone calls to
suitable boatyards the realisation struck the crew that there are only two
locations for pump-out on the entire Lancaster Canal. These were at Galgate and Lancaster.
- The route was therefore agreed to call at Galgate to
investigate the facilities and travel onward through Lancaster to overnight
at Hest Bank, thus allowing time for an extended walk along the coast.
Tewitfield would be visited the following day with a walk up the abandoned
section of the canal and overnighting at Lancaster and Thursday could
incorporate the Glasson Dock branch with a view to reach Garstang again by
- The Galgate facilities were visited and looked good,
but the "Do it Yourself" pump out facilities were broken at the
but were allegedly due to be repaired later that day. The crew
purchased a £10 pump-out ticket and planned to visit on their return the
Neil having difficulty with a
rope at Galgate
Galgate Duck shielding her
- The Stealth narrowboat travelled through Lancaster City
centre and over the giant Lune Aqueduct, accredited to
John Rennie, before
gently drawing into her moorings at Hest Bank at 2-15pm. After lunch
of ham roll, salad, pickled onions and pork pie, the inquisitive crew left
to investigate Hest Bank. They expertly and rapidly located "The Hest
Bank Hotel" public house, where the menu and Timothy Taylors Ale met with their
approval for an evening visit.
the Lune Aqueduct
- Both Ron and Alan recalled visiting Hest Bank on "The
January Jollies" walk, which they believed was completed in 1996. They
also recalled visiting a pub adjacent to the canal on that walk and were
determined to relive their memories. After a long walk down the canal
the pub was found, which had been extended considerably since their last
visit. One swift pint of Black Sheep ale was enjoyed in the beer
garden before the crew headed down to the sea to join the Lancashire Coastal
Path back to Hest Bank, stopping briefly to watch the trains on the West
Coast main line as they crossed over at a level crossing.
- The crew showered and prepared to visit the "Hest
Bank" for dinner and Timothy Taylors.
- Dinner of Fish & Chips (Lamb - Ron), together with three
pints were enjoyed in the busy pub. Afterwards the magnetic attraction
of the level crossing enticed the crew where two freight trains and one
passenger train were witnessed passing northwards. Afterwards the crew
enjoyed a walk
along the sea shore.
Wednesday 23rd May
(Heavy drizzle in the morning, stopping later, but remained overcast)
- The crew again rose early, leaving their moorings at
7-45am, after porridge. The journey in the heavy drizzle up to
Tewitfield was accomplished in good time arriving at 11-20am, where Neil
turned the narrowboat at canal end, whilst Ron prepared an egg and bacon
breakfast. This was enjoyed after mooring and then the crew prepared
themselves for exploring the continuing un-navigable section of the canal
which heads northward towards Kendal. This was officially closed in
1968 on completion of the adjacent M6 motorway.
Current end of the Lancaster Canal at Tewitfield
- An embankment for a motorway bridge now divides the
canal and the flight of 8 disused locks had been converted into weirs by
removal of the lock gates and building a wall at the top gate position.
- The crew were surprised at the condition of the
remaining canal and felt that restoration could be possible, until on
venturing further up the canal they realised that the motorway was built
directly across the path of the canal. They continued for another 3
miles, before turning to return to the boat having much enjoyed their 2 hour
Tewitfield lock gates positioned for tourists to marvel at
after all these years.
- They immediately set off for the estimated 5 hour
journey to their planned destination for the evening at Lancaster. A
lunch stop was made at Carnforth, where the last of the rolls and pork pie
were consumed. A visit to the nearby Tesco enabled stocks of Rolls,
Bacon, Pork Pie, milk and other items to be replenished, except tea spoons.
- As Tesco did not sell tea spoons, Neil was despatched
on a tea spoon hunting expedition, but returned empty handed!!
- It was noted that the nearby BP garage sold bottled
gas and therefore Alan and Ron removed the nearly empty cylinder and
purchased a replacement 19Kg bottle. The weight of the gas made the
return journey back to the boat somewhat taxing as the weight was fxxxing
- The narrowboat was then carefully negotiated across
the canal basin to a boatyard opposite, where £60-10 of diesel was
purchased. The skilful reversing manoeuvre carried out by Ron was much
admired by the remainder of the crew and spectators.
- The journey on to Lancaster continued where they
moored adjacent to the Water Witch pub. The crew then set off in search of
food and drink, asking a policeman where he would recommend. They were
directed to the Sir Richard Owen, a Wetherspoon's pub, where steaks (except
Alan) were enjoyed. A total of five pints of Abbot Ale were consumed (except
Ron) whilst watching the Liverpool v AC Milan cup final on the large screen TVs.
- The spirit of the crew was much lifted by the views
within the pub during the evening and returned to the narrowboat in good
humour to enjoy coffee, cheese and biscuits before retiring at 12-15, in
anticipation of the busy day ahead.
Thursday 24th May
(Light drizzle in the morning, but turning into a warm, but not sunny afternoon)
- The crew rose at an even earlier hour than normal
casting off after porridge and engine maintenance at 7-40am. An
uneventful gentle cruise took the crew down to Galgate where they were
anticipating the excitement of a "Do-it-Yourself" pump-out.
- However, their spirits were much dampened, when an
"Out of Order" notice was seen on the pump-out machine door and the
realisation struck the crew that they might no be able to accomplish this
task before the holiday end. Previous telephone calls had indicated
that this facility was not available at either Garstang or the Moons Bridge
boatyard near Bilsborrow. The crew were horrified at the thought of
- However, the brave lads put their disappointment behind
them and prepared for the transition of the Glasson Branch with its flight
of large locks. The sharp turn into the narrow entrance was
accomplished with much skill, where the first of the locks was seen
- Although the locks were of an unusual design, the
adaptable crew fell into their "well oiled" lock routine with ease and the
giant locks, which had first to be filled before entering, proved natural to
the team. At lock 3, a elderly couple in a cruiser waved the
narrowboat past, not wishing to hinder their excellent progress.
Negotiating Lock 2 on the Glasson
Ron taking an opportunity to
feed a family of swans
- As the narrowboat pulled into Glasson Yacht Basin at
lunchtime, Ron started preparation of a very late fried breakfast of egg,
bacon and sausage, with a little toast.
- A mooring location was selected and Alan carried out
a successful single combined turning and mooring manoeuvre, much to the
surprise of both himself and the other members of the crew.
Moored at the
Glasson Yacht Basin
- The Stealth narrowboat gently slipped out of its
moorings, at the rather uninspiring Glasson Dock, around 12-45pm to start
the ascent of the Glasson locks, reaching the Lancaster Canal at 2-30pm.
The journey then continued to their planned destination for the evening at Garstang,
consuming Ham Rolls, Pork Pie and orange juice, with tomatoes, prepared by
Neil on-route, and consumed in shifts.
- On arriving at Garstang a very successful shopping
expedition to Somerfield was accomplished, securing tea spoons, bread knife
and wine, together with nuts.
- A swift visit was made to the Wheatsheaf to
investigate the evening meal menu. However, both the menu and the beer (Copper
Dragon "Golden") proved disappointing and therefore they decided to check
out the Th'Owd Tithe Barn's menu, which met with the crew criteria.
- Cleaning of the narrowboat both internally and
externally then commenced with gusto and J Cloths. The crews spirits
were much lifted by the comments of a passing boater, who enquired as to
whether the boat was new.
Narrowboat moored at Garstang
after 1st stage cleaning
- After showering the crew hurried to their evening
destination for beer (4 pints Cumberland Ale) and 16 oz Gammon Steaks,
except Neil (healthy Salmon pasta dish).
- The exertions of the day caused the crew much
tiredness and therefore they retired to the boat at 10-30 for much cheese,
coffee and an early night.
- The plan for tomorrow is to rise early (Not too early)
and cruise down to Bilsborrow, where the outstanding egg, bacon, sausage and
toast, with orange juice, will be enjoyed. After a final clean-up the
trusted narrowboat "Stealth" will be locked and sealed ready for Cran's
(The Owner) two
month expedition of the remainder of England.
Friday 25th May
(Cloudy at first, turning into a fine sunny day)
- The crew realising that it was the end of their
holiday, rose later than normal and Neil prepared his excellent porridge
(best yet). After the crew gathered and packed their belongings, the
boat left its moorings at the start of its two hour journey back to the
starting point at Bilsborrow.
- Just before arrival, Alan prepared the final
breakfast using up the remaining sausages, bacon and scrambled egg, together
with the last of the bread. An opportunity was made to call at the BWB
services opposite the destination, where breakfast was consumed whilst
the water tank was slowly filled (To stop blow-backs).
- The remainder of the boat cleaning duties were
completed and Alan then took the boat across the canal where it was moored
in a similar position to where it had been collected 6 days earlier.
They transported their bags back to Neil's car, whilst Alan made a final
check of the reed hatch and the messy job of refilling the prop shaft
greaser. Ron checked the coolant level, which had not altered since it
was last topped up. The windows, were closed, curtains drawn and the
batteries isolated, leaving the boat ready for its next occupants.
- The satisfied and very appreciative crew left Bilsborrow,
programming Neil's new Tom Tom GPS navigation system towards Cran's house to
boat keys. The crew enjoyed a coffee with Cran, whist they
recalled the salient points of their expedition. They also
learned that the narrowboat did indeed have a name, which is "S'mine Too".
- Disobeying Tom Tom's directions towards the M62, Neil
returned to the Harrogate area, via the Pork Pie shop in Earby, where Ron
secured a Stand Pie for the following day's walking in the Yorkshire Dales.
- The crew arrived safely at their homes to reflect on
a successful and very enjoyable week's cruising.
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