Back Up The Locks. 4th September

Glasson Basin to Ratcliffe Bridge 75

P1120959smThis morning the wind had died down and the rain stopped, so it was time to start moving back southwards ready for our booked passage back over the Ribble to what I’ve started calling the ‘Main Land’. Up on the Lancaster it has felt a bit like being on an island, which of course we are, but as the canal is cut off from the main network it has felt more so.

P1120968smP1120981smBlackbird winded to fill with water and by the time we’d got ourselves together and pushed off we followed them back up the cut from the basin. The local swans escorted us for some of the way, yesterday they’d been giving flying lessons to their offspring across the basin, but today they just bobbed along.

P1120996smMost locks were full, only the top one was empty. The boats took it slowly between locks so they didn’t have to tread water much waiting for the chambers to be emptied and the gates to open, I suspect the going for them was slow anyway. Bridget, Max and I worked the locks and walked up the hill. Not as sunny as it had been on our way down, but the scenery was still lovely. Lots of butterflies around today, a Red Admiral flashed it’s wings at me from some brambles and hung around for a photo.

P1130003smWe reached the top of the locks just gone 12.30pm. Both boats waited for their crew under the bridge before turning out onto the main line. Oleanna just had enough room to turn out to the left. The plan was to top up our diesel tanks just enough to feel comfortable to do the crossing. Galgate Marina sells diesel and Mick thought that there was a self service pump here as there often is at BWML marinas. So Blackbird pulled up onto the services whilst we headed another half mile or so further north to wind. As we returned though Bridget gave us the news that diesel was only sold on certain days and the pump was not self serve. Wednesday would be too late for us. We stopped and topped up with water and emptied our yellow water before pushing back over to the towpath for some lunch.

P1130014smOnce we got going again we headed southwards. Waterproofs were needed on and off as showers passed by. Up on a hill surrounded by trees we got a glimpse of Ellel Grange. Sadly it was only a glimpse as the building with it’s Italianate Towers looked quite impressive. Built for William Preston, a merchant, in 1860 it is a copy of Queen Victoria’s Osbourne House. It has a few quirks, some of the internal columns are not marble but are hollow and used to drain water which is collected centrally, there are no drainpipes on the outside of the building. The twenty bedrooms are accessed from a hidden corridor. It is now a nondenominational Christian retreat  run by the Ellel Ministries.


A couple of possible moorings showed themselves with armco and picnic benches, but the canal wouldn’t let us get into the side again, so on we continued to Ratcliffe Bridge where we had our covers fitted. Tomorrow the forecast isn’t good and I have a couple of parcels to collect in Garstang. So from here I can walk up to the A6 and get a bus to the collection office before it closes.

At last some trees to climb and sideways trees and best of all some rain. Marvellous.

DSCF7114sm6 locks, 7.69 miles, 0 lead, 1 left, 1 wind, 0 diesel, 1 tank full, 1 tank empty, 2 moorings aborted, 1 cat towel deployed, 1 more required before too long.