Friday, 1 September 2017

Down To Glasson. 31st August

Galgate to Glasson Basin

The rain hammering on the roof as we woke this morning suggested that we wouldn’t be going very far, it was horrible. So we took our time getting up and having breakfast. But by 11am things were looking up. NB Blackbird pushed over to the services to fill with water and we collapsed the pram cover. All ready we pootled up to the junction and turned into the Glasson Branch.

P1120629smImmediately there was the top lock. We had to remind ourselves what a lock was as we’ve been without them for three weeks now. All you need is a key of power as windlasses have been welded onto paddle gear. The ground paddles were easy to operate to fill the locks. But the bottom gates were hard work.

P1120632smThe mechanism for all but one lock is the same as on the Bingley Five and Three. You wind a handle that moves a ratchet bar along pulling the paddle sideways on the gate to open it. Having a fixed handle makes this hard as you can’t always use the advantage of your body weight to click to the next groove. But Bridget and I managed to get them moving with a bit of extra umph! Max helped out as Tilly snoozed inside.

P1120663smThis stretch got prettier and prettier as the sun came out. The sky a vivid blue reflected in the clear canal and the lush green of the grass surrounding us. A perfect summers day.

P1120675smP1120692smThe canal was clear and you could make out the saucer shape of the canal bed leaving just a narrow channel to navigate through. On the last pound it reminded us of the Chesterfield canal last year and it’s weed!

P1120686smThe Glasson Branch opened in 1826 providing the Lancaster canal with its first link to the sea at the River Lune. Dropping down 52ft through six locks it travels 2.5 miles. The locks are wider than normal at 16ft, which meant that smaller boats coming off the river could carry on up to the canal and not have to transfer their cargo onto canal boats.

P1120699smIf there had been anywhere to moor on our way down we’d have certainly pulled in for a day or two. But there being nowhere we continued on to the basin. An area of long term mooring is no longer used so we pulled up and tied off to huge rings intended for much larger vessels. Across the way on pontoons are numerous sailing boats along with two life boats. With electric posts along the moorings we plugged in, but unsure of how much credit was on the post we refrained from putting the washing machine straight on.

P1120719smP1120729smA walk around the village in the afternoon sunshine meant that we got to see most of the sights. A swing bridge sits over a lock into Glasson Dock where a few boats were moored. The dock gates out onto the River Lune are only opened for 45 minutes before high water, then the channel out to the sea is only safe to navigate for an hour after high tide. We walked around a small section of the port which seemed to be busy with lorries using the weigh bridge today. In amongst the buildings was The Port of Lancaster Smoke House, plenty of interesting things to buy, but we refrained with a plan to return later in our stay to spend money.

If the weather stays as it is our mooring will be great for a few days, sunlight on the solar panel and electric, our washing drawer will be empty again. Just a shame there are loads of woofers and NO trees!

P1120740smDSCF7114sm6 locks, 2.9 miles, 1 wet start, 1 blue day, 1 black wet nosed helper, 1 lost lead, 2 chilled medication dispensaries, 1 smokehouse, 1 way traffic on bridge, 37 lapwings, 1 walk that was a railway, 1 load of washing, 1 survey boat, ? contacts lost from my phone!

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