Carnforth to Carnforth via Tewitfield
After what had been a rather bad night for me (too many visits to the smallest room!) I was given the option of calling a halt to proceedings and staying put as we still have a day in hand, but with no locks I said I was happy to go along for the ride as planned.
As we left we were on a two day mooring and Cleddau on a seven day one - they were both good and the ideal would be to swap when we got back to keep within the rules, but was there any chance they would both be free when we returned? We would have to wait and see.
There is one thing this canal is not short of and that is views.
The blight of this northern stretch is the M6 - our first sight today was this enormous bridge, but it is at least higher than the M5 tunnel in Droitwich
and more views
The canal itself is serene, peaceful and pretty.
There is always something that will keep the helmsman alert (as well as the shallowness all the way along) - you just never know what is coming round the corner! In this case a broadbeam hire boat with a helmsman whose whites of his eyes could be seen when he realised that there were two, not just one narrow boat to negotiate. It was all done very satisfactorily with just a couple of small touches as he edged his way past us. It is impossible to move right over or you end up aground. I guess it all adds to the fun!
The next obstacle was canoes moored four abreast! No harm was done.
The views kept coming
as did the bridges - thick and fast towards the end
I took this picture as from a distance I thought it was a Hardwick and we have a friend who (I think) has a soft spot for this breed of sheep - am I right Jane? However, on closer inspection I find it is a
Zwartbles sheep which is completely new to me. They started to import them from Holland in the 1990's. They are very maternal, prolific with their milk and have an amenable nature. That is my new learning for today. There were plenty of Hardwick around, but I failed to take a photo!
We had been advised that the quietest moorings at Tewitfield are on the left as you go under the last bridge, however orange netting and C&RT signs did not bode well. The sign was so small it was impossible to read without taking a zoomed photo or using binoculars - not a great deal of help.
The first thing you become aware of is these holiday homes - they would need to be triple glazed and ear plugs provided as standard if you wanted to sit in the garden.
I spied one of the hire broadbeams we have seen quite a bit of and assume this is the marina they are based in
This is the winding hole at the end of the Lancaster Canal with a lorry thundering past on the M6
The first job was to wind
Ken reversed in to the moorings and we breasted up alongside.
Chris had a job to do - any seasoned boater will know at once where he was heading - yes down the weed hatch. What 'treasure' did he find?
A very thick climbing rope!
The canal ends here as when the M6 was built this canal was derelict, so the M6 split it in three separate places. Work is being undertaken to open the canal from Tewitfield to Kendal, but inevitably it is slow progress.
A little exploration was required, so Sue, Monty and I set forth. Turn left and go along this path - even with light traffic the noise is so horrendous you cannot hear your self talk.
Confirmation that it is 14 miles to Kendal
and you are welcomed to the northern reaches
and there before you is the first lock - definitely still in water, but a lot of tlc required
The remains of old paddle gear at lock two
and lock three away in the distance
The scenery is stunning
the locals charming
and the patterns made by the falling water are beguiling
I hope they do succeed to link the canal to Kendal again, but however charming this canal is it is always going to be blighted by the motorway noise.
It will never be a peaceful rural idyll.
Once back at the boats it was time to be off back to Carnforth, but first we had to position the boats in such a way that we had a photo with them with the Tewitfield sign. Why you may wonder? Well if you send the Lancaster Trust a photo of your boat at Tewitfield with £8.50 they will send you a plaque.
Job done, it was time to be off away from the relentless sound of the traffic. Soon after we left the brolly came out!
Over the Keer Aqueduct that I missed on the way to Tewitfield - it was first used in 1797 and it is another John Rennie construction.
We made our way slowly back to Carnforth, but would those moorings still be there? Amazingly they were.
So what about that challenge I mentioned in the title? Well we call it 'The Droitwich Challenge'. In Vines Park, Droitwich, is a finger post marking the N, S, W and E extremities of the UK canal system. I know I have a photo somewhere, but it is eluding me. A job to do when we get home I feel. Anyway we have now completed that 'challenge':
South - Godalming, Surrey - 5-7 Aug 2015 & 5-7 Sep 2017
West - Llangollen - 12-14 Aug 2016
East - Brandon, Suffolk - 12-14 Aug 2018
North - Tewitfield, Lancashire - 28 May 2019.
Interesting to see we spent two days in all but Tewitfield where we spent less than 2 hours!