Saturday, 21 April 2012

On the Lancaster Canal, eventually...

It was all systems go at 10am on Thursday morning, Harry Mayor the lock keeper at Tarleton had given us a briefing & at 10.15 we were last out of the lock, behind 4 other boats. It was cold, windy & raining.
it's not long before the River gets wide
& a bit choppy in the wind
            a fuzzy picture of an oyster catcher, they wouldn't sit still to have their photo's taken...
Passing Asland Lamp, you have to go round the lamp to avoid a 'wall' under the water then it's turn right, unless you want to go out to sea in which case go left. ;)
 We had been battling with the wind & according to the GPS struggled to do more than 3mph on this stretch, the other boats being way ahead of us. About 12 o'clock Steve, one of the BW crew rang to say we wouldn't make the link in time (they can only keep the sea lock open for a certain time after which the water would be too low to be navigable) & told us to keep straight on to Preston Dock & we could do the link tomorrow. 
 I rang the dock & dock control said they could see us ( it's a long straight here which makes things seem nearer than they are !) & we could just about see the dock through the binoculars. They said that they really needed to close the lock just after 1pm but they would try to wait for us.
 That last stretch seemed to take forever & the dock never getting any closer.... 

 but we made it & at 1.35pm it was into the waiting lock, phew! 
Sighs of relief as we go up the lock, into the dock & onto the visitor mooring.  
Once we'd warmed up we decided to take advantage of our situation & did a bit of shopping in the nearby Morrisons
 At 11am yesterday morning the lock keeper let us back out onto the river, which was much calmer & although some clouds about it was mainly sunny & much less windy so altogether a much pleasanter cruise.
 The entrance to Savick Brook, not very big, the clue is in the name!
 The green light is on meaning the sea lock is open
 Approaching the sea lock, it's quite unimposing really. A few minutes later & we moored on the pontoons just round the corner to wait for the other boats (us being 1st this time!) & the water level to drop sufficiently to be able to...
 ...get under the bridge, loads of room :)
 The water level is quite low, we need to keep to the middle, 
it's plain to see why they had to close the sea lock yesterday
 The next lock & plenty of help as BW lend a hand
 A bit of a problem at lock 5, Wide beam 'Jester', which was in front of us had difficulty in filling the lock as water was pouring out of the bottom gates, a bit much for a common or garden leak. When the lock was emptied for us & nb 'me & mine' to enter the right hand gate wouldn't open, a tree branch was pushed out of the way & we got in but still had a problem as the gates wouldn't close,  a bit of digging  with our boat hooks brought up another tree branch & Mark managed to lean over the stern & grab it, no triumphant pics I'm afraid - too busy making sure he didn't fall in ( that will be a picture!! )
 Waiting under the bridge whilst nb me & mine reverses into the bottom of the staircase locks it's easier to reverse in than to try & turn as it's a bit tight for space 
 Reversing into the middle staircase lock

 & finally, a day late, we are on the Lancaster Canal!

We spent last night near Briers Bridge & then off at 7.15 this morning as we wanted to find a paper shop & then a spot for the rest of the weekend. We found the shop in Bilsbarrow,  there's also a service point here so we could empty rubbish & loos. Once that was sorted we trundled about half a mile & found a nice spot just past the Brock Aqueduct  with good views of the distant fells. It's Sid friendly so he's happy after a few days being stuck indoors & there is Barton Grange Garden Centre just over on the other side so we may stroll over there tomorrow, weather permitting.


  1. Glad to see you got there in the end. I was wondering with the weather as it was if they'd postpone the crossing. Enjoy.
    Regards, Geoff

  2. It was frustrating but we felt 'looked after' as the BW & Preston dock staff were very good. It's lovely up here so well worth the effort & it was a bit of an adventure!


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