Category Archives: Lancaster Canal

Not A Day For A Thumbs Down! 4th July

River Colne Aqueducts to below Black Jack’s Lock 85, Grand Union

Goodbye Slough Arm, maybe we’ll give you another go sometime

A boat whizzed past us this morning, they were aiming for the end of the arm. They apparently made it….. but did they make it back?!

We pushed off just before 11am, things to do today and a minimum three hour cruise. Left at the junction and we were heading northwards again. Another stretch of moorings where there was plenty of space. Where have all the boats gone? If we’d wanted we could have moored up below Cowley Lock, however Puss Puss’s boat was moored there so we’d have chosen to move on anyway. Puss Puss is now quite an old cat a stray who adopted some humans. He quite often used to head to the pub with them giving woofers little leeway!

Cowley Lock

A volunteer at the lock saw us coming and set it for us, bunting zigzagging above. He said how quiet the canal was, a lady had walked down to see if there was room below the lock, room for at least twelve boats today. The cafe here now seems to be gone and the pub is having a serious makeover, Mick wondered if it will still be a pub or a private house.

Rubbish dealt with and the water tank refilled we were on our way again. Slow going to start with past all the moored boats. One of the Uxbridge boys was on their mooring, we’d played leapfrog with them and another boat early in 2015 as they made their way up to the Lancaster Canal.

A long length of towpath is being worked on, all the permanent boats moved elsewhere. Now when I say all the boats moved elsewhere, there were still a couple tied up, one most definitely sat on the bottom not capable of moving anywhere. We turned onto the service mooring at Denham Marina, time to fill up with diesel. 138 Litres later at £1.04 we reversed back out onto the cut and headed up the lock.

The curvy building of Uxbridge

Mick climbed up to help with the gates, these have short beams and are weighted to help, but they are rather heavy for a painful knee to do both. The lock cottage is for sale again, or is it still for sale?

Good luck Larry

It felt apt to take a photo of our Larry for PM banner with Uxbridge in the background, we’d once been in town when the ex PM was buying himself a pasty from Greggs!

We pulled in for lunch a short distance on from NB Old Nick, waving as we passed. We’ve never met but read their blog. A short break as more miles needed to be ticked off today.

Denham Deep

Denham Deep was set against us so required the top gates to be closed and then emptied. Caution required as the lock is so deep, but keeping Oleanna back and adopting out GU paddle routine worked and brought her up quite quickly. A couple sat and watched, aghast, it was their first lock as Gongoozlers.

The older railway bridge

Now I had to be ready for photos. The HS2 viaduct could be seen stretching off into the distance across the lakes, but only glimpses could be seen from the canal between trees. Then high above us we were dwarfed by concrete overhead. A glance to the west revealed a rather pleasing curve, plenty of air around the structure.

We wondered for a while what the extra bits were and why there were only two of them. Now looking at my photos closer it is obvious that they were the next concrete sections heading along the viaduct to be positioned.

Another section making it’s way to be added

A chap waved from above, his tiny size emphasising how big the hole thing is. I wondered who the engineer was who designed it.

The Bear in the Barge is now called The River Garden, a shame as I used to like their pub sign, the new one is easily forgettable, in fact I forgot to take it’s photo! Wide Water Lock was set ready for us, new paint work just about dry! Up we came deliberating on a return trip to London, sadly not to be.

Now we wanted a mooring, one suitable for Tilly, TV signal and the internet. We should have checked the blog for thumbs up or down at our planned for mooring today. Plenty of room below Black Jack’s Lock we pulled in to a gap between trees. Tilly was given a couple of hours, which she used pretty well. Mick set about tuning in the TV.

Hello all the way up there!

I now checked the blog, on one occasion there was a upward thumb, good tv, another a downward thumb, no tv signal. Oh blimey what a day to be without live tv! Mick worked his way round things, thankfully we had good internet coverage and it was a relief when we got more than just ITV. Sometimes our tv won’t even use the internet if there is no terrestrial signal!

We settled down to watch an episode of Traitors. Then turned over for the election coverage. The family whatsap group constantly pinging with anticipation. I decided to turn the heel of a sock just at the wrong moment as the exit pole results were announced. Once turned I realised I’d knitted it in the wrong colour! Out it came and was redone whilst watching Blyth and Sunderland rushing to be the first to declare. Once nine or ten seats had been declared we headed to bed, Tilly had already given up and realised the fishing rod game would not be happening until much later today.

4 locks, 6.4 miles, 1 left, 1 right, 138 Litres, 1 full tank water, 1 very long curvy concrete line, 1 high up wave, 2 hours shore leave, 0 live tv, 1 cat outdoors, 1 internet, 1 traitor, 9 seats, 1 late night but not as late as others.

Where To Now?

Over the last few months our aim has been to get to see family. Heading to London meant we’d be able to see all our siblings bar one with relative ease. But what about that missing one, Anne! How could we get to see Anne?

Anne isn’t in the south. In fact Anne is quite a lot lot further north. This would take some planning.

The first part of our route would see us leaving Rembrandt Gardens and retracing our steps back to Fradley Junction. Here though we would turn left and head up to Great Haywood, Stoke, Middlewich. Onto the Bridgewater Canal (you have to book that online now), up to Leigh and join the Leeds Liverpool Canal. West to the Rufford Branch, turn down there to Tarleton. Another booking would need to be made to cross from the River Douglas to the River Ribble, then up Savick Brook and The Ribble Link on to the Lancaster Canal.

Up to Glasson

Just over 22.5 miles of the Lancaster Canal would bring us to the Glasson Branch where we’d head down the locks to the Basin. This portion of the journey would amount to 315 miles 2.75 furlongs and take us through 197 locks so a bit more effort required than our trip to London from Goole. According to Canalplan this would take us 153 hours and 36 minutes, so at 7 hours a day (which we rarely do) it would take us 22 days, add in a few days off for bad weather, waiting for the tides to be right crossing to the Lancaster Canal, so make it 29 days.

Then our journey would require a touch more planning, mostly on the food and wine stakes as I’m not too sure whether we’d find many shops on route. We could visit The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse before we left, their smoked goods would last us a while.

Glasson across Morecombe Bay

Choosing a suitable tide we’d exit through the lock out onto the River Lune, keeping to the channel away from the numerous sandbanks, heading southwards before we turn to the west, crossing Morecombe Bay and heading to Barrow-in-Furness where we’d pull in for a night at West of Duddon Sands Windfarm.

Up to Barrow-in-Furness

This would be 19.42 miles, so at 6mph 3.25 hrs cruising time, we may however have had to wait for the tide to turn so as to avoid all the sand banks on Morecombe Bay.

Barrow to St Bees

Continuing northwards we’d pop out alongside Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve, hugging the coast passing Sellafield to near to St Bees, where the coast to Coast walk starts. We’d beach here for the night. 32.6 miles, so a 6 hour day.

Passing the nuclear coast

Still hugging the coast we would pass Whitehaven and pull in at Harrington Marina. A short day with only 10.5 miles, 1.75 hours. I think we’d have a meal at The Lifeboat Inn, except it doesn’t look like they serve food, so it would be smoked salmon again!

To Brighouse Bay

From here we’d set a course to the North West and Scotland. Yes we could pull in to Kirkcudbright but I’d rather beach at Brighouse Bay a favourite bay from my early college years. 25.75 miles , 4 to 5 hours cruise avoiding the rocky headland.

Our course would now be South West, crossing to the Isle of Whithorn, just over 11.8 miles, 2 hours, but there is a small harbour here and a Post Office with a shop where we could pick up some milk.

Brighouse to Isle of Whithorn to Cairnryan

From here we’d go back out to sea, cross from Cutcloy to the Mull of Galloway, then hug the coast, keeping an eye on the lighthouses at Crammag Head, Killantringan and Corsewall, popping into Loch Ryan to moor up with the P&O ferries at Cairnryan for a much needed break after the 69 miles of concentration taking 11.5 hours.

To Ailsa Craig

An almost due north course of 20 miles, 3.3 hours, would have us pull up on Ailsa Craig, where we’d make use of the little jetty.

Overnight at Troon

Heading back to the west coast near Turnberry we’d skirt our way northwards to pull in at Troon. Here we’d stock up on a few bits and bobs at Morrisons and check in with the RNLI. 28.25 miles, 4.75 hours.

Ardrossan to visit the castle

From Troon we’d cut across the bay avoiding the SSSI of Bogside Flats and what looks like a lovely beach. Hooking round into Ardrossan Harbour, an Asda and a Castle to visit here, well it’s only 9 miles so we’d have to fill the rest of the day.

Maybe we’ll stop off at the islands on the way back

We’d keep along the coast then to the east of Little Cumbrae and Great Cumbrae where we would take advantage of the Clydeport Road which stretches out into channel. 10 miles, maybe 2 hours to avoid larger vessles.

We’ll have a kip at Kip

Northwards to Inverkip where we’d seek shelter in Kip Marina, hopefully they have a visitor mooring suitable for a narrowboat. Just over 11 miles, so 2 hours cruise.

The final leg

Round to Gourock where it looks like there is a pontoon in the bay. Tilly may have to swim ashore for supplies. 6 miles, so we might just add this onto the day before or after, all weather dependant of course!

Our Destination

From here a North Easterly course will bring us across the mouth of Gare Loch and Helensburgh Ferry Terminal, 4 miles, so under an hour. Hopefully we won’t get in the way of the PS Waverley for a few days. From here we are kind of hoping that Anne might just come and pick us up by car as I think they live up the hill a touch.

Route round to Scotland

So in total we would have 45 hours cruising at sea, over about 12 days, so back to our more normal cruising times, with one long day.

So Anne we’ll see you around the 11th 12th August. Hope that’s okay!

198 locks, 572.7 miles, 41 days, 4th sister, 1 plan, or maybe we could go up the east coast!