Category Archives: Rufford Branch

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!