Before returning up the Glasson branch we took on water and Heather and I went to the Smokehouse to get in some local specialities. Heather wanted postcards but couldn’t find any in the shop. While she was taking a photograph, I thought I could ask a man coming along the side of the dock if he knew where a suitable shop might be, but we had only said hello when he announced that he had never been here before and was having a wander. He was interested in the boat and asked where we had come from and if we had the boat transported in a carrier or traveled by boat all the way. He also asked about getting to the Scottish canals – then we really would need a transporter!
We set off out of the dock and along the canal. Bright sun, low wind and I could see distant hills.
If the locks were against us then I was not good as locking crew, but if set for us it would be fine as I could manage the winding for filling. I got off a bridge ahead to go and see the state of play at the first lock (lock 6). Excellent news! It was set for us so I could open the gate. Heather joined me at the lock and all went smoothly. Heather and I started walking to the next lock but soon turned and saw Shane was making very slow progress and may even have stopped. I offered to take a rope but it wasn’t possible. He was using all the strategies at his disposal and eventually his degree at Cambridge proved useful, as he used the barge pole to move forward using his punting skills. This unstuck the boat enough to get going again very slowly and at last he reached the lock. He made a similar snail’s pace (actually possibly slower) between the next two. I wanted on to get a snack and drink. Shane was finding the driving pace both frustrating and tedious, and so we swapped. Of course I had the same difficulties over the next 3 stretches, but couldn’t rely on punting as my last resort, not having the expertise or strength. When I came to a standstill, Heather was very encouraging and cows at the side watched with interest. I managed to get going but slowed repeatedly. Reversing helps but does leave you further back! Shane released some water from the next lock and that helped too. I drove round the junction and moored for lunch as soon as possible. We were all very in need of nourishment!
What a relief to go at normal pace again in the afternoon. There were occasional grounding noise but no stopping, though we still had to watch for the shallows.
We stopped for shopping and pump out at Lancaster, and bumped into couple from the Ribble crossing who had a cruiser and are using the shower facilities beside the pump out point. They needed to go down the Glasson arm to get out to sea and on to Maryport so we shared our experience with them. They can vary their draught depth but were still deeper than us. We wished them luck!
Refreshed and replenished, we continued out of Lancaster leaving tourism for another day. I snapped these Muscovy ducks and only when I viewed the photo later did I think they look like they each drive a white van.
The main architectural event was not far away. Shane said there was an aqueduct over the river Lune ahead. I went to the front to get a picture, but was not that impressed.
I hoped for a lovely view but turned out to be a motorway. Heather and I hopped off at it though and walked on as the promised aqueduct was now close and we can get there faster than the boat. We were rewarded by a flying heron below is and view to the castle in the distance. We had time to get a variety of pictures before running to catch up with the boat at the next bridge.
We had a late Pimm’s and I set about cooking and soon Heather and Shane had moored in a pretty rural spot though a gangplank is required. We all stood on the roof to watch the sun go down.
Heather is doing a guest blog and Shane has written to the Canal and River Trust to ask them to please dredge the Glasson Arm or at least put out warnings that it is not as deep as it claims to be!