Tag Archives: waterways

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.

Ulverston.
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. 😊

A stroll along the Crinan Canal, Britain’s most beautiful short cut.

On the last day of our holiday in Scotland ,we discovered the serenely beautiful Crinan Canal. Often described as ‘Britains Most Beautiful Short Cut’ , the waterway was completed in 1801, as a quick link between the West Coast and Islands and the Clyde Estuary. The 9 mile stretch of canal vanquished the need to travel round the coast of the vast Kintyre Peninsula, a very handy short cut indeed. 😁

After noticing a sign for Crinan near the village of Slockavullin, where we were staying, we decided to go exploring in the car. 15 minutes later and we found ourselves in this picturesque wee harbour village. It is here that the canal enters the Sound of Jura.

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Crinan village harbour.

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Watching the world go by, as Hugo keeps an eye on the cake.

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A pleasure boat sets out for a cruise.

The quayside is an ideal spot to sit with a coffee and watch the world ( and their beautiful boats) go by. Queen Victoria herself took a trip up the canal in 1873.

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A moorhen hitching a lift. 🙂

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Interpretation boards along the tow path tell the waterways history.

We decided to take a short stroll along the tow path, keeping Hugo on lead, as he is prone to jumping into canals given half the chance. The beauty of this walk, the wonderful watery views! On one side you have the calm Crinan canal, and on the other, the coastal vistas of the River Add Estuary.

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Duntrune Castle looks out toward Crinan. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a handless Piper.

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Rosebay willowherb turning fluffy.

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Sleepy Duck.

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All aboard!

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Lock and Keepers Cottage.

Our short stroll took us past several boats negotiating the locks. It feels rude to stop and watch though. I’m sure I would get pretty flustered if I had a crowd eyeing my every move! In days gone by the Crinan Canal saw sailing and fishing vessels pass through, as well as Clyde Puffers.

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Fraser MacIver on his roof.

We soon came across a man fixing his waterside cabin roof. I am pretty sure he is the artist who uses the colourful caravan below as a studio.

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Artists studio.

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Art Honesty Box. 🙂

I helped myself to a leaflet that says ‘ Canadian artist Fraser MacIver has lived on the Crinan Canal since 1997, taking inspiration from his canalside environment; as well as from the beautiful surrounding Argyllshire countryside’. I left money for a couple of pretty painted postcards.

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Scabious on the estuary side.

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Has anyone ever explored more of the Crinan Canal?

Would you be tempted to try a canal boat holiday?