Tag Archives: laurel and hardy

A Canal Walk To The Sea.

So here’s a throwback post to August and our stay in Arnside on the Cumbrian Coast. A short train journey away is the characterful town of Ulverston, a place we have visited several times before. The towns cobbled streets and plethora of independent shops, cafes and pubs make it a great destination for generally mooching about. After a ‘ mooch about’ we would be heading along the World’s Shortest, Deepest and Widest Canal, for a walk to the Sea.

Laurel and Hardy and friends.
Movie Theatre inside the Museum.

The morning we visited Ulverston it was exhibiting typical Lake District weather! To escape the rain we spent a good hour or so in the towns Laurel and Hardy Museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890 and must surely be  it’s most famous resident. The museum has a good selection of the comedy duos memorabilia,  as well as a small cinema that plays Laurel & Hardy features on a loop. Our dog Hugo was made welcome and humoured us as we chuckled our way around. 😊

After a lovely lunch at the nearby Stan Laurel Inn we were suitably refreshed for a canal side walk. Ulverston Canal is a former Ship Canal which linked Ulverston to Morecambe Bay, one and a half miles away.  Completed in 1796 ,the waterway claimed to be the shortest , deepest, widest …… and straightest Canal in the World. Once upon a time passenger ships to Scotland and London embarked from here as well as cargos of local slate. But when the Railway arrived in Ulverston in the 1840s, the record breaking Canals fortunes were on the wane.  By the end of the Second World War Ulverston Canal was no longer in use.

The Hoad Monument.

Today the waterway offers a serene amble from Canal Head in the town to Canal Foot with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay.  A footpath on the less industrial side of the canal is a popular stroll. There’s even a pub at the end. An incentive indeed!

Flowering Rushes.
A Map of Ulverston Canal.
Canal Side Retreat looking out over a  million lily pads.

We saw lots of wildlife as we walked along. Plenty of waterside wildflowers and much of the surface was covered in Lily pads. Mute Swans, Comerants, Moor hens and Mallards swam and dived amongst them.

Old Man’s Beard aka Travellers Joy.
Swanning off.

Half way along Ulverston Canal is a Rolling Bridge, the only one of its kind left in England. Forgotten about  for many years  , it was a history enthusiast who discovered the significance of the bridge and it was given Grade ll status in 2012.

Rolling Bridge.
More Lily Pads.
Juvenile Swans.
112 Foot Sea Lock, the only lock on the canal.

Before long we were at Hammerside Point , Canal Foot. Here the former Ship Canal meets the Leven Estuary. What a splendidly unexpected place…

Out to Sea.
Leven Estuary.

For some reason I forgot to take a photo of The Bay Horse Hotel  from the outside ,so below is a distant one I found online. The former Coaching Inn enjoys stunning views over the Bay. Once upon a time it was from here that brave travellers would make the perilous journey by stage coach, over the sands to Lancaster. The arrival of the Railway probably saved a lot of lives!

Bayhorse Hotel with conservatory.
A White Horse, not a Bay Horse, in the pub.

After a drink in the pub we retraced our steps back to Ulverston.  On the way an unassuming wooden shed near the Lock Keepers Cottage peeked my interest, especially when I saw its ‘ Welcome Humans ‘ sign?

Lock Keepers Cottage.
Welcome Humans.
Inside the Shed.

Whilst looking it up online later, I discovered that the Shed is part of an interactive Art Installation Project called the Last Human Coro Shed . Perhaps not what you would expect to see where a canal meets the sea…..

Goodbye Morecambe Bay.

Thanks for joining me. 😊


Ulverston and Conishead Priory.

The John Barrow Monument.
The John Barrow Monument.

We recently stopped in a cottage by the sea , not far from the market town of Ulverston in Cumbria. You can read about our week away Here.:) Anyway as we were staying so close we paid Ulverston a couple of visits. The town is famous mostly for its association with the comedy duo ‘Laurel and Hardy’, Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston. There are reminders of these unique Hollywood stars everywhere you look. I saw a florist called ‘Floral and Hardy’ and we came across their statues outside the Town Hall. There is even a Laurel and Hardy Museum situated in the Roxy Cinema but unfortunately it was closed on a chilly January week day afternoon.

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A noticeable landmark in Ulverston is the ‘John Barrow Monument’ on Hoad Hill which commands impressive views over to Morecambe bay . Also known as the ‘ Lighthouse with no Light’ due to its lighthouse like design, it was erected in honor of ‘ Sir John Barrow’ , a local writer and explorer whose life is commemorated on colourful painted murals in the town. We had a walk up to the monument. As you can probably guess I was lagging behind and hyperventilating on the way up, such are my terrible fitness levels! Don’t worry though it really wasn’t all that far….and worth the climb. πŸ™‚

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If you fancy going somewhere a little different Conishead Priory just outside the town, on the way to Bardsea , is well worth a visit. The gothic Victorian mansion stands on the site of an ancient priory built in the 12th century. The original building was seized by the crown in the 1500s and all but destroyed. The estate passed through the gentry until the present structure was built in the 19th century by some rich landowners who then got into debt. It was sold and had a caring history as a hydro hotel, a military hospital and a residence for ill miners. It is now home to the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre.

Conishead Priory ~ from the back.
Conishead Priory ~ from the back.

A Buddhist Community lives at Conishead and volunteers are also welcome to stay and help out with the upkeep. There were lots of leaflets about courses and meditation retreats. Its not something that I have ever thought of doing, but I did love the welcoming atmosphere and the peaceful and beautiful grounds which are full of wildlife. There is also a lovely cafe and I have to say they do a mean raspberry and yogurt flapjack! Even better dogs are welcomed into the lounge area which has comfy sofas and a flagged floor. It certainly was nice to settle back with coffees after taking our labrador Hugo for a walk through the woodland to the beach. πŸ™‚ And look out for the temple in the grounds. You can’t miss it!

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The first snowdrops I have seen this year. Lots and lots in the grounds.
The first snowdrops I have seen this year. Lots and lots in the grounds.

Ornate ceiling tiles in the coffee lounge area.
Ornate ceiling tiles in the coffee lounge area.

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Squirrel in the grounds.
Squirrel in the grounds.

Ulverston and the surrounding area lies just outside the Lake District and even better, you are minutes from the sea. πŸ™‚

The beach at Baycliff.
The beach at Baycliff.

Have you visited anywhere new recently?