Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Trying to keep cool...

After a cool start it was a hot & humid afternoon, we managed to get the roof sanded ( the black & decker sander makes it sooo  much easier) & one coat of paint on but it looks like rain stops play tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Back at Cabus Nook

After a weekend spent in Galgate lazing around enjoying the glorious weather, too hot to do much else, yesterday we came back down to Cabus Nook, hoping the spot we had last time was free, which it was :) We are quite surprised that such a lovely spot (where you can actually get into the side!) is usually deserted, not complaining though, we like it peaceful
 The weather was even hotter than at the weekend as the cooling breeze had dropped & I ended up sat on the back under the back canopy with the sides removed, I do like a bit of sunshine but wilt  when it's hot, Mark loves it, the hotter the better but even he had to seek some shade now & again. 
This morning dawned grey & chilly a bit of a change from the last few days,  needing some shopping we went down to Garstang & did a Sainsburys shop,  intending to stay overnight but after lunch decided to turn round & head back here. 
I have been doing the steering & had my 1st attempt at winding, it went okay but with lots of input from Mark! Today was a bit more challenging in the steering department, meeting oncoming boats in bridge holes etc so plenty to get my teeth into. 
No disasters & just one minor hiccough when I took my eye off the ball to admire the view of the Pennines but no-one else around to see it ;)
 It is a cracking view...The sun came out & it was a lovely cruise back. 
 Buttercups in the distance fields, Irises lining the banks
 A Family of Shelducks, the young are tiny & very cute,
 not the best photo, as soon as we got near the little ones dived out of sight
 The lorry dwarfed the bridge, They were never built for heavy traffic ( I don't suppose the builders knew what the term meant!) so it's not doing too bad after a couple of hundred years. 
  a mug shot...
The resident Swan family aren't camera shy

We got back here at 4.30 & I got straight on with washing the cabin port side, it was in sore need as it's been a while since it was towpath side, I can see out of the windows now. 
More jobs tomorrow as our roof needs a repaint, the paint is in fairly good condition but has got very grubby & won't scrub clean any more so probably a good job that it's forecast to be cooler as it will be easier to work in.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Galgate, again & a walk to Glasson Dock

We left Cabus Nook on Wednesday & made our way to Lancaster, we were hoping to find a mooring spot so we could stay overnight & were pleasantly surprised to find the visitor moorings almost empty so we got some shopping in & I collected a prescription from Lancaster Post Office, having again to explain about 'Poste Restante' to the counter clerk who, having never heard of it ("are you sure you haven't had a card through the door, you will need to collect it from the delivery office") checked with another clerk & found my letter. 
I had an appointment at Rosebank Medical Centre & can highly recommend them to any visiting boaters need a GP,  they were great, especially as there had been a mix up & the appointment had been made for the previous day but no problem, they soon registered me as a temporary patient & I saw a GP within 15 minutes, sorted.

Yesterday morning we winded in one of the basins & headed the 4 miles back to Galgate this time with me steering for a change, Mark usually does most of the driving as I enjoy walking the tow path & doing the locks, it's good exercise, but I feel I do need to be able to steer as you never know when it might be needed. It's easy peasy here on the Lancaster as no locks to contend with so a good place to practise.  Plenty of room on the 7 day moorings so we got tied up & spent the rest of the day enjoying this fabulous weather.

As we now don't need to go down to Glasson Basin for diesel we decided not to bother cruising there & walk instead so this morning we made the best of the weather & had a very pleasant stroll

 The hawthorn trees & hedges are laden with blossom, my favourite time of year
 abundant buttercups 
                  reflections on the underside of the bridge
The visitor moorings in the basin were just about full so it's probably just as well that we left Poppy moored up in Galgate.  First stop was the Lock keepers Rest for an ice cream before having a potter round which, as it's only a small place didn't take long , I bought some lemon & parsley smoked mackerel from the smoke house & then we went back to the Lock Keepers Rest for a spot of lunch before heading back up to Galgate.  
A lazy afternoon followed ( just for a change!) enjoying the weather, the wind has got up today providing some respite from the heat, can't believe a week ago we had a fire! 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Cabus Nook

Has summer finally arrived? Looks like it & I hope we're not tempting fate as the chimney has been removed & stowed. 
We arrived here at Cabus Nook yesterday lunchtime after an overnight stop in Garstang on Sunday, we had hung about Galgate waiting for some decent weather to go down to Glasson Dock ( we had been told more than once that it's a windy spot at the best of times) & whilst down there we planned on filling up with diesel. 
Diesel outlets are few on the Lancaster, as far as we knew there was Moons Bridge Marina, which we had passed back at the end of April & Glasson but  Dave, the warden at Galgate Marina, told us that Glasson no longer sell it so on Friday with nothing more pressing & the weather still more like March  we turned round & headed south (after I had rung Moons Bridge 1st to make sure they did have some!) & filled up. 
We should have plenty now to see us through to June 23rd when we go back down the link, especially if this weather lasts as the solar panels then do a good job keeping the batteries topped up.
 We passed this 'caraboat' on the way, I suppose someone must like it....

We'd barely got moored before this family stopped by to see if we had any tidbits

It's delightfully rural here & very peaceful,
 just the odd tractor droning away as the farmers crack on with haymaking

 Sid's really enjoying it here 

Although not sure what this was about as he does not usually do knees!

Soona meanwhile does what Soona does best ;)

We will have to drag ourselves away tomorrow as I have a doctors appointment in Lancaster but I'm sure we will be back here.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Busy doing not a lot at the moment!  We moved back to Hest Bank last Friday stopping briefly at Carnforth to restock supplies from the handy Tesco & do the necessary at the services.
 It would have been nice to stay at Capernwray longer but we needed water etc, but we shall be up there again as we are not due back down the Ribble Link until 23rd of June so plenty of time, which is just as well really given the recent wet & windy weather, if we had just been up here for a couple of weeks we would have needed to move regardless but we can potter long or stay put as the fancy (& weather) takes us.
We've had the odd nice day, last Sunday being one of them, cool & breezy but sunny so we walked into Morecambe
Looking North West across Morecambe Bay, the mountains of Cumbria in the hazy distance
 Sculpture showing the position of the distant hills
 They are all named, but you'd need a very clear day (& probably binoculars) to see them all.

Mark found us a footpath for the walk back, it started by walking through the busy Happy Mount Park with lots of families out enjoying the sunshine, full marks to Lancaster City Council Leisure Services for this gem. Out of the rear of the park & onto a pleasant footpath which took us back up to the canal at Rakes Bridge,just a couple of hundred yards from our mooring.

On Tuesday morning we moved down to Lancaster, there was a boat on the service point but they were just about to move off so good timing, even better, they had just vacated a space on the visitor moorings. We had a very brief chat ( I'm hopeless at remembering boat names) recognising each others Yorkshire accent, turns out they were from Goole  which is where we started  continuously cruising from 2 years ago on the 18th May 2010. 
During the last 2 years we have done 1409 miles, 935 locks, 31 tunnels, 48 lift bridges & 61 swing bridges & the Ribble Link, one way...

We enjoyed our short stay in Lancaster despite the weather, the moorings are quiet despite being close to town. The moorings are 7 days, there were 3 other narrow boats & some GRP boats filling up the rest of the space & whilst we were there was no-one on any of the other boats until Friday night  when someone appeared on the boat in front of us so I doubt that many if any were 'visitors'. 

As no rain was forecast, yesterday seemed a good day to move so Mark reversed back to the services, dashed to the paper shop whilst the tank was filling & by 9am we were on our way. It was a very pleasant cruising along in the sunshine,  we are planning to do the Glasson Arm & spend a day or two in the basin so here at Galgate, just 1/2 a mile or so to the junction looked a good place to sit out the next few days of windy, showery weather.  Sid is happier too as shore leave was cancelled in Lancaster, although there are lots of dog walkers  about so he's not strayed too far from home  
The wind is getting up now, we are in a bit of a dip here so seem to be sheltered from the worst of it, Mark  sawed & chopped some logs this morning, has just lit the fire & we have an episode of  'The Bridge' to watch so when the rain arrives we won't care...

Before I go....I spend a lot of time walking along tow paths & see a lot of this, 

either left on the ground or even more bizarrely, hung in the hedge, why ? 
 I just don't get it - hoping the day comes when I spot someone doing it & I can ask them.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


The forecasted showers didn't appear yesterday so wet gear was not needed, in fact it was sunny with a gentle breeze to stop us getting overheated & it was really pleasant cruising along between Hest Bank & Carnforth with splendid views over Morecambe Bay
 By 11am  we had moored up on the visitor moorings & doing our grocery shopping in Tesco, also collected my new vacuum so we were pretty laden, it's a good job it's only a few hundred yards back to the boat. After Carnforth had served it's purpose we carried on in search of a rural mooring, as I have already said the sides of the Lancaster Canal are very shallow making mooring a bit of a challenge but up to now we've usually got in somewhere & haven't had to resort to using the gangplank - yet. 
By the time we got to the entrance of the Capernwray Arm we hadn't found anywhere & the arm had plenty of room with just one boat at the top end. We moored down at the bottom on the pontoon & what a delightful spot this is, it is a old quarry ( click link for more information) that is now wooded with bluebells in abundance. Plenty of birdsong, have spotted a pair of jays, greater spotted woodpecker & nuthatches. 
 The chairs have been out & we've certainly made the best of another sunny day today (with apologies to all you boaters further south who are struggling in the rain & floods!)& got some jobs done.  I got my new toy out, it has a selection of attachments &  the small lozenge shaped one made short work of sanding the damage to the paintwork, a coat of primer/undercoat has gone on & I'll do a bit more over the next few days, weather permitting. 
Meanwhile Mark removed the cratch cover & making good use of a nearby picnic table, scrubbed it to within an inch of it's life.
  It had got some unsightly green algae patches that we'd not managed to get rid off & what with some of the stitching wearing away we had been looking at getting a new one but Mark decided to tidy it up in the meantime & it has come up really well, so much so that we will not be replacing it now but the stitching does need attention so I'll be looking to get that done. We are planning to do the Liverpool link in July/August & I'll see if we can get it sorted then.

Chores out of the way we had a walk up to Tewitfield & the end of the Canal 
 Looking down the arm from the towpath, it has filled up since yesterday, 
we are nearly out of sight at the bottom.
 The humble Dandelion usually gets poor press, especially when in the middle of your lawn but swathes of them in the fields are a refreshing splash of colour 
 The terminus ( for now) of the Lancaster Canal 
 a path round the corner next to the M6
leads to the bottom of the old locks, still in reasonable condition.

Walking back, we followed a path across the fields
a bit of a tight fit...
& an even tighter fit !

Red Campions
 & cowslips.
Tomorrow back to Hest Bank for the weekend


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hest Bank

We set off early yesterday morning & were on the service point by 7.30am filling the water tank etc, the sun was shining & I was looking forward to the days cruise - then I spotted this...
...some ******** has keyed the boat, right back down to the metal ! I was livid & am again now as I'm typing. What possesses people to do this stuff ?  Fortunately our boat doesn't have an expensive paint job costing thousands, if we did I would have been claiming on the insurance, as it is I will spend a lot of time ( of which I have in plenty) sanding, filling & painting. It has certainly coloured my judgement of Garstang which is probably unfair as vandals can be found anywhere. 
After walking for several miles I calmed down, reflecting on our way of live which, in the main, has many pleasures, we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to cruise the canals & rivers enjoying the countryside with nobody to please but ourselves. So a bit of scratched paintwork, in the total scale of things, isn't that important - though I might feel differently when I'm repairing the damage !
I had just got back on board (coffee time) & we spotted this tree down over the towpath, brought down no doubt in the recent gales, I'd have struggled to get past so timed the coffee break well.

 Nice stone bridge
 The entrance to the Glasson Arm & top lock, we shall be venturing down there ere long
 The blossom is lovely, good excuse for another bridge picture 

There was no room on the visitor moorings in Lancaster, but we managed to moor just before Penny Street Bridge, we stayed just long enough to eat a sandwich & quick nip for a paper. We didn't find Lancaster particularly welcoming to the boater, it feels a bit like it has turned it's back to the canal. Maybe I'm being unfair, we shall be heading back through at least twice more so we'll see.

 After Lancaster comes the Lune Aqueduct,  it was a bit windy going over!

With the wind getting up, as we approached Hest Bank we started looking for a mooring spot, not always easy on this canal as it can be very shallow near the bank but we found a spot just passed Rakes Head Bridge & it's got a sea view! We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the snooker as the satellite signal came & went in the wind.

This morning we had a walk to the foreshore..
 the tide is out so just miles of sand, mud & dangerous quick sands
 The mountains of Cumbria in the distance, according to an information board the Old Man of Coniston & the Langdale Pikes are amongst them 
 The remains of a causeway & wharf that was built at the time of the canal to enable ships to unload cargo that would be taken by horse & cart up to the canal.

 a beautiful spot...
A few spots of rain so we headed to the Shore Cafe for a spot of lunch & what a little gem. We just had chip butties & coffee & in my case, carrot cake ;)  but the menu was quite varied & inexpensive, certainly recommended & for dog owners, dogs are welcome & even get free biscuits.
Tomorrow hopefully this wind will have abated & we can continue on to Carnforth, rain is forecast so wet gear on.