Narrowboat News - Edition 11

Narrowboat News - Edition 11

As we were waiting at Tarleton to cross the Ribble a lady walking her dog remarked “The Lancaster is a lovely canal, 40 miles and no locks.”

This did not cheer me. Nor the fact that we could not leave the Lancaster for the next 20 days. In fact it felt oppressive.

Having arrived at the top of the Link we took a left and chugged off. We felt rather lost as we didn’t have our customary Pearson guide to the canal - his coverage ends at the end of the Link. We have a Nicholson’s guide which does cover this area but not in the same level of detail and in incredibly small font which is a significant deterrent. I had heard that there was a locally produced guide but it wasn’t available except by mail or possibly once we were up here from hire bases or marinas.

We chugged on for a short way and found a field of sheep and tied up - enough excitement for one day!

Lancaster Day 2 dawned (with distinct feeling of relief that we were not so weather/tide dependent), and we continued chugging northwards, but feeling distinctly adrift with not much idea of expected timing or where we might find shops or a boatyard with a copy of the local guide.

It is a beautiful rural canal with apparently few narrow boats but lots of smaller ‘plastic fantastics’ (fiberglass /GRP), in the 20-25’ range powered by outboards and tied up along the banks. Mostly they look rather moss cover and somewhat unloved.

The thorn in the side here is the ever present accompaniment of both the M6 and A6 roads that dog the route of the canal all along the route. Including bringing the canal to an abrupt end at Tuitfield, cutting off the last 14 miles of the original route. This would not happen these days but the M6 was one of the early ones and it was assumed that canals had had their day. There are plans afoot to restore the connection but it will be an expensive brain boggling challenge.


Living on Tancook we are too comfortably accustomed to blissful silence and find the road noise rather wearing. I feel so sad for all the folks living beautiful homes that predated the canal not to be able to enjoy silence any longer. At least we can move our dwelling along.

The bird life up here seems to be more abundant in the hedgerows than ones we have just left, more herons too, and the frequency of swan nests seems to be about one pair per mile.

We eventually found a small marina, (nothing like the size of the marinas in the south), and secured a copy of the canal guide produced by the local canal trust. This has been very helpful in finding facilities and shops.

We have two commitments to meet with friends/family with motor homes but it was a bit tricky to plan without knowing something more about the canal and the distances involved. We initially planned to go down the Glasson arm to a dock next to the port of Glasson. Oh yippee some locks to tackle.

However we turned into entrance to the lock and found that it was leaking so badly that we couldn’t get the lock to fill. It reached about 2/3 full with another 2 feet of more to go and the water level stopped rising. We double checked the paddles, fiddled around but couldn’t change anything. It’s rather alarming to see water running out of the bottom gates when you feel that you might just drain the 40 miles of canal above you.

I reported the problem to CRT and they later published a Navigation Restriction notice - saying that they would man the lock from 8 - 5 daily and have engineers take a look on Monday.

Our new plan is to head all the way up to the furthest point… then turn and come back to rendezvous with the first party (not far from where we started).


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