Monday, November 26, 2007

The Lancaster Round

Last Saturday Peter, Maurice, Dell and I set off in atrocious wind and rain in search of yet another triumphant mission of endurance and self punishment.

The Lancaster Round is an extraordinary paddling trip which combines sea, river and canal to complete over 26km in a loop in the Lancaster area.

The trip starts and finishes at Glasson Dock where the estuary of the river Lune opens out to the Irish Sea. We paddled up the estuary on the last of an unusually high flooding tide making our way into the historic part of old Lancaster. Leaving Lancaster downstream behind us we paddled over and above Skerton weir, normally a 2 metre drop but well submerged by the high tide.

Kayaks had to be carried up a steep path from the river Lune to the Lancaster Canal 30 metres above before we could continue the next stage of our journey. The Lancaster Canal runs right through the old industrial heart of Lancaster and we found ourselves paddling amongst huge mill buildings that are at various stages of well deserved re-development. Unfortunately we had no time to stop at any of the fine pubs en route. I feel a return will be appropriate when we have longer daylight hours.

Finally the canal leads out into the beautiful Lancashire countryside and for the most part we were sheltered from the harsh prevailing weather.

Once we arrived at the village of Galgate it was time to turn right onto the Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal. It was to prove the most exhausting stretch. We were now paddling northwest right into the prevailing icy wind, and there were 6 locks to portage. Once we arrived after dark back at Glasson Dock we treated aching bodies to hot chocolate beside a nice warm fire in the Victoria Pub........... Perfect!

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