Sunday, 30 August 2009

Galgate and walk to Glasson

Saturday 29th August
Uneventful but pleasant trip to Galgate and I do believe there was no rain! On a trip like this with no locks Geoff likes to hog the tiller, but I have no complaints as after my domestic duties (lest my readers get carried away with the thought that I am on holiday!) I generally take my chair and paper up in the cratch and watch the world go slowly and gently by. Depending on the temperature outside I can either open up to the elements or close up and be snug inside.

Sod's Law, no boats all morning and you meet the first one at a bridge!
No trouble with mooring at Galgate which we reached just before lunch. The original intention had been to carry on down the 6 locks of the Glasson Branch but having been told that there was a rally on this weekend and it was very crowded we decided to walk down first and see for ourselves. We set off in sunshine, luckily fortified by our umbrellas just in case. The wind had been blowing strongly all morning and soon after we started the rain came back. We managed to use the umbrellas so long as we pointed them into wind!! We saw one narrowboat and 2 plastic boats going down and saw how hard the paddles and gates were to operate.

We passed by Glasson Church which was holding it's flower festival so I had a short detour to admire the lovely arrangements....the talent of some people always amazes me as I cannot arrange a simple vase of flowers, let alone some of the complicated and beautiful arrangements.

And so to the basin itself which was much larger than we had imagined. A lot of sea going boats as here they lock out into the Lune Estuary and thence to the Irish Sea.

All the mooring space appeared to be full with boats two and three abreast.

However the biggest off put from our point of view was the wind. It was blowing much more strongly down here and there were almost white horses. The picture above doesn't really convey the strength of it, but it's the best I can do.
On the other side of the lock, the tide is out and the river Lune looks quite benign and peaceful

The walk back was largely in the driving rain and was quite exciting when I went under a bridge and the funnel effect of the wind blew my large umbrella inside out. After that I gave up using it! By the time we reached Lock 1 at the top we had walked about 6 miles which my back was telling me was too much so I am surprised I was still standing in the picture above.......luckily the rain had ceased by then.

Geoff has more stamina (or something) than me and after a cup of coffee he departed on a recce of Galgate for church and pub for the morrow. The Church at Glasson had an 0830 and 7pm service, which wasn't quite what we wanted apart from the fact that I could not attempt the walk two days running! He eventually returned to report that the service was at 11am and there was a choice of places for my Sunday Lunch.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Longer in Lancaster than planned

One night in Lancaster turned into two......need I say that the weather was the cause. Friday was forecast for very strong winds and heavy rain showers so we decided to stay over. It wasn't too much of a hardship as we are back in the same place as on our journey north and it very convenient for the town but still with access to the towpath and country. We even have the pub right on our doorstep for a quick drink before supper without having to close the boat up. It also gave Geoff the opportunity to visit the Maritime Museum which he had missed out on last time.
Barnaby loves being Groomed
Watering at Lancaster (Barnaby still being groomed!)
Both visits to Lancaster we have managed to moor in the same convenient place, close to the pub, the town and to open countryside along the towpath. Sad to be on our way again but destination is the Galgate area, hoping to moor somewhere near the top of the Glasson Locks and new pastures to explore.

View from our mooring looking south. Water Witch pub on left.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Brief Encounter at Carnforth

Wednesday 26th August
The forecast for today was dire so we decided to stay put. Despite being rather adjacent to the pub we have had no problem with noise.......probably because the weather is not good enough for people to sit outside.

Our entertainment for the day was a visit to the Carnforth Railway Visitor Centre. The station buffet provided the setting for the 1945/6 film Brief Encounter with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. When the old station buildings were abandoned in 1968 they fell into ruins. A lot of work and fundraising meant that in 2003 the visitor centre opened. Everything is centered around their claim to fame through the film but it has been extremely well done and in addition shows all the history of the railways in this area. The buffet has been reconstructed to the same as that used in the film and is a working cafe.

Station Clock

Buffet circa 1945

Tomorrow we shall venture back to Lancaster for the night.
The summer (if it can be called that) seems to have sped past. We only have about 6 weeks left on Petroc...very sad.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Morecombe in the rain with Eric!

Tuesday 25th August
Since we were so close we decided we had to visit Morecombe...20 min on the bus with our free bus pass.......
However Morecombe in the rain is not that prepossessing!
There was blue sky in the distance over the lakes but it seemed reluctant to head our way.
Whilst there we also felt we had to visit Eric Morecome's cool can you get!
During our walk along the promenade we passed the new lifeboat station. Initially we did not think they could operate very often as it was a long way to the water, then we discovered that their craft was a hovercraft.
By the time we left the sun had decided to show it's face and the tide had come in a fair way so everything began to look a little more prepossessing.
However we've been there now, don't need to repeat the experience......

Monday, 24 August 2009

Sunday at Tewitfield.

Sunday 23rd August

Rain was forecast again for today (cannot expect two good days on the trot!) so we set off for church armed with umbrellas. The closest morning service was in the village of Warton about 35-40 min walk away, so I certainly had my exercise!

It was worth the walk as everyone was very welcoming. It was a very large church with a good congregation..although it was artificially enlarged as there was a baptism during the service.

We were reasonably lucky and the rain did not start in earnest until we were nearly back at Petroc. Talking to Jean later back in Elterwater she said it had poured down all day there, so we gave thanks again for such a good day yesterday. We had booked for Sunday Lunch in the Langlands Hotel at the head of the canal. Somewhat more expensive than the pub at Windermere but still reasonable and excellent food.
Monday 24th August
Time to move on. We have had a delightful 5 days here, but after a while the feet get itchy. We paid a visit first to the Greenlands Farm Village which is just opposite the hotel. It only opened in March this year and has been very well done. There are various departments including a brilliant Farm Food shop so we fell victim to one or two things. Well worth a visit and we didn't feel there vegetables were any more expensive than the supermarket and everything looked very fresh.
We moved up to the head of the canal to turn and to water etc. We planned to give Petroc a good wash as there have been so few boats around we thought we would have the place to ourselves.........think sooner had we turned the hose on than another boat arrived who wanted to water. He was in no rush at all he told us but we would have felt guilty cleaning the boat whilst he waited. So we departed after filling the tanks. Petroc still needs a good clean!!
The plan was to stop at Carnforth. When Geoff came here on the bust last week there were very few boats here but of course when we arrived today there was no room to moor. We tried at the very end of the mooring but were far too far off the bank, and then two BW men said we could moor by the water bus stop as it would not be in today. We managed to do this but it was not a very satisfactory space. However a boat left after 1/2 an hour so we moved forward. Unfortunately it is rather close to the pub and the garage, still we managed to get secure just before the rain came.....again!
We now have to plan the rest of the week. We were intending to go down the Glasson Branch and be there for the weekend but have been told there is a gathering of lots of boats having a Jamboree and that they have already started going down so we seem to have mistimed it. We may just moor at the top of the locks and walk down. Rather disappointing. We shall see.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Day in the Lakes

Saturday 22nd August
Somebody was obviously looking after us today as we awoke to sunshine and we have had a wonderful day out in the lake district. It started by John & Colleen kindly dropping Geoff Barney & me in Kendal where we had a stroll through the town and then went looking for where the Lancaster canal used to end before being fill in in 1955.
The river Kent runs through the town and there is a pleasant walk along the bank

And then we found the end of the canal!

There is a recycling centre on the made us think it would be a little difficult to restore the canal to it's former glory.....
This is what would have been the last bridge on the canal I believe and what you can see to my left is not water but a tarmacked path of what is now now called the "Canal Trail". We walked along part of this before heading back to town to find a suitable coffee stop to meet more friends. This time it was Jean & Dave who live in Elterwater who were to collect us. We found a suitable venue at Abbots Hall next to the Parish Church. We had just met up with Jean & Dave when we heard a voice saying "Good gracious it's Gill & Geoff" . Ex RAF friends Jeff & Sheena Baker were down from Scotland for a wedding in the church next to where we were sitting. We hadn't seen them for several years so had a hasty catch up before departing on our tour. What a small world. Where to?

With our local guides we had no choices to make but were taken, largely through back roads through wonderful scenery to several places including Ambleside via the Kirkstone pass, Grassmere, Langdale, Coniston, Elterwater, Hawkshead and Windermere. This was not necessarily in the order of visiting. We broke off for lunch in Dave & Jean's lovely house in Elterwater. They have spent several years renovating an old stone built cottage and the result is a wonderful home, with a downstairs flat which is used for holiday lets. It also has a fabulous garden mostly hidden around the back and sides away from all the holiday makers. Holiday homes seem to be the norm in some of these lakeland villages. They told us that Elterwater is about 70% holiday homes.

Rosegate House

We found water for Barnaby to play in

He considered a try

But declined to go out of his depth!

As we went along with occasional stops Dave identified all the peaks for us but I cannot remember where this was.

Langdale Pikes

Tarn Howes

The last port of call for the day was Windermere where we managed to find a good pub serving a carvery for £3.95 which we were able to sit and enjoy that with stunning views of the lake from our table. It has to be the best value of the year. A good end to a great day. The sun had continued to shine most of the time and the rain had declined to put in an appearance (Forecast for Sunday NOT GOOD!!

Dave & Jean then drove us back to Petroc as they had not seen her before.

And so to bed............a long walk to church followed by late lunch at the pub beckons do we stand this busy life!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Sojourn at Tewitfield

Wed-Fri 19th-21st August

We have spent the last few days just enjoying being at another head of navigation. The weather has not been diabolical but neither has it been particularly kind. This is not helped by various people in other parts of the country telling us of hot summer days. I even heard on the radio that the met office had said the hot weather would be coming to an end....what hot weather!!!!

The colour of the picture above shows the sort of weather we are having...when it is not raining!

We have walked to various surrounding villages mainly exploring for a suitable church on Sunday, the closest Geoff has discovered with a morning service is about a 35min (Geoff's pace) walk away so unless the forecast rain is horrendous that is the plot. The closest and only pub is the Longlands Hotel and we have booked our Sunday lunch there.

There is adequate space to moor here but not adequate depth. It proved very difficult to get in but have at least got the bows in.

One of our walks was to explore the towpath beyond the terminus. The picture above shows the start of the walk up the Northern Reaches. There are 8 disused locks and the lorry you can see on the left of the picture is on the M6. This runs very close all along here.

The picture below shows the end of the disused section. We are just on the other side of this.

The bus stop for the 555 service which runs between Carlisle and Preston is near us so we were able to utilise our bus passes also. Carnforth has the closest shops and is only an 8 min trip according to the timetable. I made a trip in to shop and I am convinced it took under 5 min at the rate the driver was going, it was a bit like being on a roller coaster.

We were expecting visitors John & Colleen Fraser on Friday They were en route home to Scotland so our proximity to the M6 made this a very accessible place. They duly arrived mid afternoon so we had a pleasant catch up.

We also discovered today that there is a very good farm shop just opposite the Longlands Hotel plan to visit prior to departure.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Lancaster Canal terminus

Tuesday/Wednesday 18/19th August
A gentle start from Lancaster. After shopping & watering we left before the trip boat as we did not want to get stuck behind it. We had stayed 7 days in Lancaster, although we did have a break at the weekend. We were sorry to say goodbye but we have the option to stop here on the return trip.
We moored for the night at Hest Bank which is the closest the canal comes to the coast. From our mooring we could see the sea....or rather where the sea might have been if the tide was in!
This is the vast expanse of Morecombe Bay.

We had a good walk with Barney down on the dunes which delighted him as we had space to throw his ball.
There are several shops here but nothing practical as far as we were concerned as the newsagent was all closed up.
We left in the morning in the sunshine...........what bliss. Not wall to wall sun, that would be too much to ask, but sufficient to make the run up to Tewitfield extremely pleasant. To our left we could see Morecombe Bay and the hills of the Lake District behind and to our right a lot of lovely gardens at the bottom of some big houses.
A brief stop at Bolton-le-Sands to get a paper and straight through Carnforth, as we plan to stop here on the way back.
As we progressed it became quite narrow but we passed only one other boat.
And so to the last bridge on the navigable part of the Lancaster

There are 7 day moorings just beyond. We had difficulty getting in although there were only two other boats there but it is very shallow. Very gallantly one of the boats moved up slightly so we could squeeze in least we had our bows in. The site is very pleasant on our side of the canal but just opposite they are building a new marina and we have the digger hard at work! At least they should knock off at 5 we hope.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Weekend in Wrea Green

Saturday/Sunday 15/16th August
More visiting on Saturday, but this time we were going away. The mooring seemed a safe enough place to leave Petroc, indeed John & Fiona Slee had left Epiphany here for a few days, so we decided it was OK. The mooring restrictions were 7 days so we were OK there also.
Destination was Wrea Green and Mike and Ros Cockrill. They also had friends John & Rosi Lillis from Cornwall staying so it was a good reunion.
We were collected about 11 on Sat morning and returned a little later on Monday. In between time we all managed to have a great time. Saturday night we went out to a Greek Restaurant in Lytham St Annes and enjoyed a Meze.
Sunday we joined Ros & Mike in Wrea Green Church. The afternoon we went walking on the sands at St Annes where the wind was blowing extremely well and we never did reach the sea as the tide was out. In this part of the world "out" means way way off!
Where is the sea?
St Anne's Pier

Very exhilarating in the wind
We took the long route home as they wanted to show us the golden mile. We passed Blackpool Pleasure Beach which is where, on a previous visit a few years ago, Mike, Geoff & I paid a visit. Since I cracked several ribs whilst riding on the Mighty Mouse on that occasion I had no desire for a return visit!
Later we BBQ'd, at least the food was cooked out on the BBQ but sadly it was not warm enough to eat out....after all it is only August! A minor (sic) hiccup occurred when the gas ran out on the BBQ but luckily they also had one of the old fashioned variety with real charcoal so all was not lost.
A great weekend but now it is back to a little cruising. We have been in Lancaster 6 days and plan to move north tomorrow......there are only 12 miles to go to the end of the canal but several interesting sounding places to stop en route

Sight seeing in Lancaster

Thursday/Friday 13/14th August
Two days of gentle wandering(more serious sightseeing for Geoff), interspersed with visitors.
Geoff managed the Museum and the Castle. At the castle he took the guided tour and ended up going for a beer with the guide who hailed from Saltash originally.
We had unexpected visitors, John & Colleen Fraser, who were passing close by on the M6 on their way south. They took the slight detour to see us for a cup of coffee. We will have a longer catch up with them when they return north to Scotland on Friday as they plan to stay next Friday night...wherever we happen to be.

Lancaster Castle & Priory to the right

Millennium Bridge with the Folly in Williamson Park just visible
Millennium Bridge over the River Lune

Alms Houses in Lancaster

In the evening we went to a restaurant Geoff had discovered called Mr Jones where for £8.95 you could eat all you wanted. However as we were OAP's (Senior Citizens if I want to be politically correct!) it only cost us £4.50.........the bottle of wine cost more than the two meals together.....
On Friday we had planned visitors, Anne & Keith Hall. The weather was not kind...they took us to Beetham and treated us to a splendid lunch in the Wheatsheaf Pub. This was in lieu of their 40th anniversary bash that we had been unable to attend. The planned explore of this very pretty village was cut short as the rain came as we were dining. They then took us on a tour around taking in Arnside and Silverdale. All would have been lovely if the weather had co-operated......such is life. Nevertheless an excellent day out

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Lancaster Sojourn

Wednesday 13th August

John & Fiona Slee on NB Epiphany are currently on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal moored at Skipton. Craig is living in Lancaster and shortly moving to a new flat. Fi & John came to visit him and also fitted in a visit to us (they are only an hour away on the train). It was lovely to see them all. Although we had met up with Epiphany during our last two years cruising, it was the first time we had seen Craig for several years.

It is a good job John is tall as that gives him long arms as well.......between us Fi and I managed to drop her pen into the water!!!
After coffee on Petroc and drinks at the nearby Water Witch pub, we parted company and Geoff and I went on an explore. We walked up to Williamson Park which has to be up the steepest hill ever! However the views from the top over the city and Morecombe bay beyond are stunning...they would have been even better if the the sun had shone properly!

Right at the top is Ashton Memorial Folly. Commissioned by Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife it was completed in 1909. Unlike some folly's it is put to use as the interior has been restored and is used for exhibitions and concerts.
More exploring tomorrow.