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Number 142

Winter2009/10 Edition


The Lancaster Canal Trust (Registered Charity No.24O957 Affiliated to the Inland Waterways Association Ltd.)


Contents Letter from the Editor Chairman's Report Volunteer Awards Hello to new members and notice of meeting Which Way is North? Helen’s Puzzles Restoration Report More Canal Memories-Ian Dunn 100 Club Winners & Trip to Anderton Boat Lift Towpath Trail Fuelling Stops on the Lanky LCT Spring Open meeting—Kendal Future Proofing Waterwitch Events and ‘Ballard’ Working Party Report Looking Back - Waterwitch revisited, (1978). British Waterways Update.

3 4 4 5 6 8 9 10 12 13 15 17 18 21 22 24 28

Letter from the Editor Dear Members Welcome to this Winter edition of Waterwitch and what a winter it has been so far. As we go to press snow showers are still with us though the snowdrops and many lambs, are a sure sign that Spring is on the way. A shorter Magazine this time, as things have been a little quieter this past few weeks, but it is hoped that the next edition will have a bumper article on our Working Parties. February will see the continuation of work at the eastern end of the Hincaster Horse path, which we are restoring in partnership with BW and English Heritage. In March we hope to host our friends from the Waterway Recovery Group in order to carry out major vegetation clearances from the chambers and spillways of the Tewitfield locks. Despite the unfortunate news regarding the Chairmanship & membership of the Executive, (see page4) the Trust‟s Executive are now determined that they cannot sit back and wait for the Canal Head restoration scheme which is largely outside LCT‟s control and intend to press ahead with some restoration work of their own as soon as possible (see page 9). As they say, ‟Watch this space!” Regards

David Currington Editor.

Front cover picture: Looking north from Bridge 67 (nr Ford Green Garstang) to frozen north Inside front cover: Top: view in Garstang Marina Bottom: One month later spring seems to be in the air in early February (Garstang photos courtesy Trish Buzzard) 3

Statement from the Chairman. At the Executive Committee meeting on 3 February the resignation of Dave Slater was accepted and the previous Vice Chairman Richard Trevitt was elected as Chairman, with Helen Thomas as Vice Chairman. I must hasten to add, in fairness to Dave Slater, that this change was not of his choosing but has come about following some fundamental differences of opinion within the Committee recently. I would like to record my personal appreciation of the huge amount of work Dave has put in for the Trust over many years. Also we have received the resignation from the Executive of Pat Clapham who again has given enormous amounts of time and effort, particularly on the recruitment & publicity work of the Trust, and, of course, was Editor of this Magazine for many years. Again, I would like to record my personal appreciation for her unstinting input to the Trust. The timing of these changes coincided with the deadline for contributions for this edition of Waterwitch and consequently neither the outgoing Chairman nor the new Chairman has been able to prepare a report for this edition. Richard Trevitt

The IWA’s Certificate of Competency in the Ma na g e me nt of Small Passenger Boat Operations, as approved by the Marine Coastguard Authority, has been awarded to our Boat Operations Manger Frank Chalmers and was recently presented to him by the Trust’s Secretary David Currington


OFFICIAL NOTICE Notice is hereby given to all members of the



Thursday 24th June 2010 at

Village Hall Over Kellet Commencing at 8.00pm Further details regarding any other associated activities will appear on the LCT Website Apologies to: D Currington Hon. Sec 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal Cumbria LA96AD or to

Hello! The Lancaster Canal Trust extends a very warm welcome to the following new members and we hope to see you at some of our events: Mr. V. Jackson Ulverston Mr. and Mrs. M. Mariani Grange - over - Sands Ms. S. Caldwell Poulton - le - Fylde Mr. S. Tanham / Ms. B. Doyle Whittle - le - Woods Mr. B. R. Clare Leyland Mr. and Mrs. N. Bowden Ulverston 5

summit and go back down the Calder and Hebble to join the Aire and Calder up to Leeds. The final leg was along the LeedsLiverpool to return to base by midAugust. We certainly had an eventful journey. Low water, fallen trees, pausing to help stranded boats, blowing up both our

Whych Way is North? Our 55ft narrowboat Whych Way left her mooring at Burnley in June 2009 to follow a modified version of the Two Roses Ring. We cruised down through the Wigan flight to join the Leigh Branch, heading for Manchester. Up the Rochdale Nine and along the Ashton, we then linked to the Huddersfield Narrow and Broad, turning onto the Calder and Hebble before starting up the Rochdale. Our plan was to turn at the

Tight channel in Slaithwaite in the restored section through the High Street. inverter and generator, getting stuck in Clarence Dock for four days due to a broken lock gate at Newlay – these were the downside. They were m o r e t h a n compensated for by the people we met, the camaraderie we enjoyed with those we helped and those who helped us, and (Continued on page 7)

Waiting for BW to chaperone us thro’ Standedge Tunnel 6

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t he i n ter e st i n g places we visited. The Huddersfield Narrow was a revelation, in particular the spectacular Standedge Tunnel. What vision those early canal builders had, to construct a navigation across the Pennines despite the difficulties of the terrain. Their determination was Moored on the Rochdale Summit equalled by that of the folk who decided to restore the Rochdale Canal was even more waterway and the tunnel to their former outstanding. We had heard tales of the glory. This regeneration was inspirational notorious west side and planned to go as to us as LCT members, and just shows far as Littleborough and turn round. what can be achieved with hard work Understandably, BW were not keen for and a will to succeed. us to use precious water coming part We thought nothing could surpass the way down from the summit, so we had Huddersfield, but the scenery on the their permission to go up to the top and moor there overnight, winding next morning to retrace our way back. We felt very privileged to be the only boat moored in the beautiful summit pound with the hills soaring up either side, the water shimmering in the sunlight and only the birds for company. The dreaded Calder and Hebble handspike proved to The delightful Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale


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stoppage in Clarence Dock was made bearable by the proximity of so much retail therapy! Back on the „home stretch‟ we enjoyed as always our favourite haunts – Saltaire, the Bingley Five Rise, Skipton and Gargrave. In 2010 Whych Way will head southward to be at Beale Park for the IWA National Festival on August Bank Holiday, and our always enjoyable stint manning the LCT stand at the show. Who knows what adventures we‟ll have on the way this time? Fran Valiant.

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be a bit of a trial for the First Mate but it was bracing to be out on the wide river sections and the huge locks on the Aire and Calder made for a fascinating approach to Leeds. The enforced

Big river cruising as we approach Wakefield on the Calder Answer to Puzzle 3 is on page 21 Answers to Helens Word Puzzle no 2 in last edition are: Aery,area,arse,aster, aware,east,easy,erase, erst,eyas,rase,rate, sate,sear,seat,seaway, stare,stew,strew,stye, swear,sweat,tare,tear, teary,teat,trews,trey, tyre,ware,waste, water,watery, wear, weary,wert,west, year, yeast, waterways



Much to the concern of the Trust‟s Executive the restoration of the Canal (Phase 1) from Kendal Canal Head to around Natland Road still remains held up in the planning process. The Area Action Plan for the Canal Head has suddenly become even more complicated by the alternative plans put forward by Messrs Gilkes covering much of the same area and by a planning appeal regarding another development in Kendal (on the face of it unrelated to the canal but with an impact on the Gilkes‟ plans). The knock on effect has been to delay the submission of a planning application by British Waterways for the restoration of the actual line of the Canal bed to Natland Road. The worry here is that expensive work on the necessary environmental reports recently completed to support the planning application will themselves not last forever and there may well be a grave danger of them becoming outof-date if this logjam is not unravelled soon. The wonders of the planning system never cease to amaze. It is a good job there was not such a jumble of laws when the Canal was first built, otherwise it would never have happened before the railway came! Although still fully supporting the Lancaster Canal Restoration Project members in their efforts to proceed, the Executive have now determined to investigate what restoration works the Trust can undertake under its own steam.


We have set up small sub-committee of the Executive to look at “The Way forward”, itself the subject of a paper submitted by our last Chairman David Slater. We intend to look in detail at the following possibilities: a) to raise the level of the Canal back up to its proper level from Stainton, where there is a working feeder, through to the Motorway blockage at Millness. This needs to be carried out in stages using the available stop plank facilities to move forward section by section. This will enable us, with the support of BW, to monitor the levels and guard against any leaks. This will particularly involve some work to restore the overflow outlet near to Peasey Beck and we will need to involve our friends in the Waterway Recovery Group. b) In addition we are considering the possibility of creating disabled access at the Crooklands stables if we can access the various funding „pots‟ for this purpose. It would also enable a general tidying of the area for all visitors c) The further goal would be to restore some new sections to water, such as the section from Stainton to Wellheads Lane, and to begin to connect up existing sections by tackling the first of the major road crossings, the M6 at Millness. With this in mind, the Trust has been very fortunate, with the help of both Audrey Smith and Mike Valiant, in having been invited to host the IWA‟s Restoration Committee meeting in April. After their morning meeting we are to join them for lunch and to then in the afternoon to give a short presentation of our plans and objectives followed by site visits as appropriate. The members of the Restoration Committee have great experience in tackling major restoration project on the Canals and we hope to glean much useful information and advice. DC To be continued..........


people probably thought they were raisins. The old mill used to shake with the uneven twelve foot water wheel pounding round. Gilbert Gilks and Gordon, turbine manufacturers of Kendal, repaired the buckets and the wheel ran smoothly and efficiently thereafter. The mill-race was brilliant for catching eels. The mill could run for only about three hours and then the dam emptied. You could walk over the mud and get to the water hen‟s nests, and as all boys in those days collected birds eggs, so we used to take one! On the top floor of the mill there was a first world war Major who lived

by Ian Dunn B.A. A.T.D When the school holidays in summer had started I used to spend a lot of time with my friend messing about on the canal at Stainton, either fishing or walking the banks for anything interesting. On the way to the canal during war-time we used to stop and help at the water powered mill at Bridge Mill. We tied sacks of corn in the basement with a short length of chain fastened to a long stout rope so The Old Mill where the Major lived

they could be hoisted to the top floor. The corn was then emptied down the shaft to two large stones to be ground into oatmeal. I once asked the miller what were all those small bits of black in the oatmeal. He replied “It‟s nowt lad, mice muck, mix it in” I don‟t think that anyone came to any harm. A lot of

amongst the old sacks and things. You did not see much of him but when he did stop to talk, which was seldom, he looked past you; to some forgotten disturbing memory of long ago in Flanders perhaps. One day he set off (Continued on page 11)


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for a walk and never returned.... his dog came home to the mill and was fed by Betty the maid from the farm. Often on a frosty moonlit night the

Near the bridge there is a tunnel with the river running under the canal with a walkway. This was to let the workers get to the nearby mill on the Sunday. I think it was a sack mill at one time, but

Bridge repair, Mill Bridge Stainton Cross., with Packet Boat passing through. ghostly form of the dog wandered slowly up and down the lane looking for its lost troubled master. It was found drowned in the mill-race one day. After working in the mill for something to do we cycled to Stainton Cross to the bridge over the canal. There was an area where clay was stored. This was used to puddle the clay into the banks if a rupture appeared. Stored here also were large pieces of timber used to dam the water to cut out a section to be repaired. Sometimes one of these planks accidentally fell into the water and, if careful, you could balance precariously, holding your breath for a short sail, until your nerves failed and you made a leap for the bank. 11

most mills had varied uses over the years. A little to the south of the bridge, on a corner, the canal increased in width to form a large basin with a water culvert filling the cutting. I have included my water colour painting of war-time in the Mill Bridge mill. I have also included a painting of Stainton Cross bridge being repaired, (my imagination), although it is not a good quality print. ID

Friends of Lancaster Maritime Museum have invited LCT members to join them on their next outing on Sat. 17th July 2010. They are to visit the Salt Museum at Northwich in the morning and The Anderton Boat Lift in the afternoon. Cost is £25 per person to include:  Coach Travel,  Entry to Museum;  Entry to Anderton Lift Exhibition  A sail on the River Weaver  A trip on the Lift AND morning coffee & afternoon tea

£10 deposit per person. For further information to: JK Broadhurst, Seatoller, Vicarage Lane, Burton in Kendal, LA6 1NW (01524) 781604

100 Club Prizes: 1st £25; 2nd £15; 3rd £10. Winning Numbers since last Issue January 1st

17 B Hocking


14 F Butterworth


34 J Muncaster


26 P Hocking


39 Blank

February 1st

37 Blank


TOWPATH TRAIL After many years adventuring in round the previous corner— we the hills and twenty-one years of hadn't read the time table retirement, the time has come to properly as the bus takes a set our sights a little lower! Two different route on Thursday, years ago we walked the Leeds/ market day, instead of up the Liverpool canal in days out by rail High Street where we were and overnight stops, and now waiting. Out from Garstang there this summer have completed the were twenty of Rennie's fine Lancaster canal, meeting many bridges mainly carrying minor cyclists, fisherman and dog roads and farm tracks over the walkers but few boaters! water. There was a long wait at A short bus ride into Preston set us off on the track from Aqueduct Street, past Haslam Park a n d t h e Millennium L i n k o n t o w a r d s Salwick, where we had a long trek to the hourly Fylde Rambler bus b a c k t o Preston, setting the pattern. So Across the fields on the old Canal bed with the Bridges left the next outing literally ‘high & dry’. was out to Salwick & back from Bilsborrow, Bay Horse for the delayed 555 very handy as we could get a bus into Preston and a slow meal at the Roebuck Pub on the journey home. The next two A6 just by the canal before the outings involved taking the car return bus trip and get coffee at up to Aldcliffe Road in Lancaster Owd Nell's when starting our next and getting a short bus trip to walk. But our planning slipped up and fro with some very in Garstang centre when we saw interesting walking past the (Continued on page 14) the homeward bus disappearing 13

on the barely defined path over the hill and finished up three miles from our transport! Luckily, a Good Samaritan gave us a lift back so weren't too late home. On the final day, we took the car to Levens and found the two mile track back to Hincaster Tunnel and so onwards to Kendal—really strange as the canal bridges are still there in the middle of fields. The canal path goes over the impressive Sedgwick Aqueduct in the centre of the village and along field tracks into parkland, where a surfaced path leads into Kendal centre but the Lancaster Canal finishes at the council depot and recycling centre known as Canal Head—maybe one day in the not too distant future it will truly be canal head again! D&PH

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Glasson Branch junction , a delightful piece of landscaping, and Galgate marina on through the centre of Lancaster where we enjoyed a quiet lunch at the Waterwitch pub on the canal side just yards from the busy roundabout by the hospital. On a perfect summer's day we strolled along the superb Lune Aqueduct to Bolton-le-Sands. So with car and bus to Tewitfield where the M6 intrudes so noisily and the culvert means the end of canal boating but pleasant walking by water-lilies and bulrushes with eight disused locks in the space of a mile near Holme village. Now the canal is culverted a couple of times under the M6 until finally the water ends, and we walked beside the dry bed filled with shrubs and young trees. After Hincaster tunnel we were returning to the car, left near Levens Park, but went wrong

The End! The northern most part of the Lancaster Canal now ends at the Council Domestic Refuse tip at Canal Head


Fuelling Stops on the Lanky

Royal Oak Bolton-le-Sands

The Royal Hotel is a traditional pub offering a warm welcome, good home cooked food and comfortable en-suite accommodation. Located on the maim A6 and backing onto the Lancaster Canal it is an ideal watering hole for boaters and canal walkers alike. There are several moorings and steps from the Canal towpath lead down through a spacious garden, with a Children‟s play area, and into the Hotel itself The bar is well stocked with four lagers, three ciders and, of course, my favourite tipple, five real ales from the ever-changing Mitchell‟s portfolio of beers, all excellently kept. The pub has the „Best Bar None‟ silver award and the Restaurant boasts the „Taste of Lancashire Award‟. There are several large bar

View from Towpath

A well stocked bar


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areas with ample room for visitors to sit and enjoy good real ales and fine homemade food from the wide menu and specials board. It goes without saying that families are welcome but dogs are not allowed inside the bar areas. Pool and Darts are played and a Sky sports channel is sometimes available. The Hotel has seven en-suite rooms for accommodation. From the Hotel it is but a short towpath walk north into Carnforth where it is possible to visit the excellent visitor centre on Carnforth Station. Here was the setting for some location shots of the famous film “Brief Encounter” and the Brief Encounter cafe is another great value place to visit for that cuppa & bite to eat. Titus O’Newt

Top: Part of the large Bar area Above: The Beer Garden Right: The towpath and moorings 16

Lancaster Canal Trust Spring Open Meeting “Brightwork” by Mike Clarke “Studio” Room, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, 30th March 2010 at 7:30pm The evening’s talk will be by Mike Clarke who is well known as an authority on the history of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. Mike will be talking about the painted decoration of working boats on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal which was one of the most colourful of Britain’s folk traditions. It was last used in the early 1960s, but despite that being just fifty years ago, there were no records of its origins and styles. To record these traditions Mike worked with Sam Yates, who served his time as a boat builder at Hodson’s Boatyar d at Whitebirk, near Blackburn, and undertook the decorative painting for several years before boat repair at the yard ceased in 1964. Mike’s talk looks at the variation between the traditions in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and its origins through boat, church and house decoration across Europe. There are examples of paint work at Hodson’s boatyard, along with details from other yards on the canal, showing the designs and 17

colours used. The talk gives an introduction to the style which could be used on pleasure boats on the canal today. Mike Clarke is an industrial historian, with forty years professional experience, who is best known for his research into waterway history. He has travelled across Europe and is well-known f or his r esearch on t he development of European inland waterways, and wrote on the subject for Encyclopedia Britannica. Other work includes research for the National Waterways Museum and for British Waterways. He has written several books on the history of Britain’s northern waterways and articles by him have been published in both academic and popular periodicals. brightwork.htm Note: Refreshments are available in the Brewery Arts Centre but may not be taken into the meeting room.

“Future Proofing” Waterwitch Operations Manager’s Notes

Our t‟rusty Tripboat Waterwitch is as you probably know undergoing a substantial refit. Her hull was blast cleaned inside and out, back down to shiny bare metal. The hull coatings have nearly all been applied; she has had zinc phosphate (red oxide) and Sealex B130 blacking. Where needed she has had several coats of each in places where rust, over time accumulates. I am hoping that when she is re inspected in 3 years, that the layers of protection will prove to be intact, mostly. To further protect the hull, John Murray has arranged for us to have new magnesium anodes and these will be bolted on in four places on the hull and some on the rudder, too. The boat has now been lifted down to 18 inches from the ground, ready for me to crawl under to deal with the remaining hull strips. With the valuable help of John Murray (and his engineering friends) we also have a new prop shaft, made of stainless steel. The original had worn in two places (cutlass bearing & stern gland). Indeed w e f o u n d surprisingly polypropylene fibres and fishing

line that had made their way beyond the cutlass bearing into the stern tube gland. So all of these items (gland, shaft, and bearing) will be new. The propeller needs refurbishment too, it has clearly hit some solid objects and has a rounded edge instead of a clean cutting action. This will go to a specialist propeller firm for mending and balancing. Neil McGarry has taken the engine and is stripping it down and when the seal has been replaced (that led to oil leaks) Neil will return the Lister, painted in a beautiful blue. The engine room will also have a makeover and to compliment the engine she will have a durable paint in a colour to tone with the engine. The boat is currently swathed in

Grinding the hull in preparation to fit the anode lugs (Continued on page 19)


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scaffolding and awaits the joiners (Alan Strong & Son) who will replace the wood work inside in a way that can later be taken out without destruction. There will be several improvements to the wood work – new inspection hatches, new lockers, repair to the engine room hatch that used to stick, a The boat is slowly lowered to give access inside for repair new “A” board and repaint advertising the trips that Frank Sanderson has kindly going full steam ahead to gather up offered to place outside his Tea last year‟s new steerers and make Rooms, opposite to Millness Yard. sure they are confident, and to Trish has organised for the sign p r o v i d e f o r t h e m a n d t h e writers to come shortly to beautify experienced steerers pre-season the Witch. She should look as good training on the new ways of working as new because she’s worth it introduced last year – it seems a long time ago, doesn‟t it? Thanks to all We are reasonably on time with the who are helping with the work – work and we expect to have the boat back for re commissioning and testing at the end of March. The work on the boat will need to be protected and cleaned to ensure this investment is valued and lasts. Once back in the water, we are Neil McGarry guides the engine safely through the hatchway

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changes on the Waterwitch in 2010 as we improve our professional approach to passenger carriage. What‟s coming up? Radios? Passenger lifejackets? New Charter trips to include Frank Sanderson‟s Tea Rooms? New gangplank! Come and enjoy the smart new Waterwitch, you are most welcome.

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John M, Ian, Trish, Alan, Elldis, Sheila, Tom Jones (new), Dave C, Frank S, Chris (another Jones), “the exec” (men in black), and anyone not mentioned who I should have….we are all temporary stewards of the Trust, Witch and canal, looking after them so that the next band of members can find that we have maintained all in good heart. There are more new exciting

Frank Chalmers, Operations Manager.

The Engine is out and awaits Neil’s tender care!

Festooned in steel, the boat awaits its polythene cover so painting can begin without risk from the elements.


EVENTS 2010 The LCT information/sales stand will be at the following venues this year: Skipton Canal Festival, May 1-3 Country Fest at Westmorland Showground, May 29-30 Haslam Park Centenary, Preston, July 10-11 Preston Riversway Festival, July 24 IWA National at Beale Park, August 28-30, Pangbourne. Westmorland County Show, September 9 Kendal Torchlight Carnival, September 10 Coffee Morning at Gaskell Hall, Silverdale, October 23 10am12 noon A warm welcome awaits all members who visit the stand so do come and say hello if you are attending any of these events. We're always glad of extra help so please contact Pat Clapham on 01524 781489 or if you can spare an hour or two to assist at any of the venues .        

On the Canal (Ballad) Moorhen pattering on lily pad, Flying cyclist raising dust. Excited puppies, barking mad At bridal swans with gaze august. Plastic bags and broken brollies, Bikes and pram wheels seized with rust. Skeletons of shopping trolleys, Rose-white swans, so upper crust. Fishermen in heavy duty Waders, pounce on fishy booty. Chattering children, lovers fruity, Swans serene in snooty beauty

Joy Ahmad


In December, a better turnout meant that we could undertake tidying up around the stables at Crooklands, as well as removing ivy from the bridge there. Our January weekend which was to be attended by WRG NW coincided with the worst weekend of the snow and ice, and regrettably we were forced to

Working Party Report This will be a very short working party r e p or t . Since the ivy removal in October, which was reported on in the last issue of Waterwitch (see attached pi ct u res ) ou r activities have been restricted for one reason or another. In November, we were hoping to carry on with the work to the ac c om modat i on bridges over the Hincaster horse path. However, there was a low turnout, and after my car broke down, this work was aborted, and a couple of r e m a i n i n g v o l u n t e e r s returned to Millness to help with painting the trip boat.

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cancel that weekend after giving due consideration to all the safety aspects. For future working parties we’ll now be attempting to complete the work at the horse path on February 14th, and WRG NW have kindly agreed to come along for the weekend of March 6th/7th. Please note that this will replace the previously advertised date for our March Working Party. The planned work will again be in the lock chambers and spillways at Tewitfield. Paul Shaw

This page: Down comes the ivy in great mats of vegetation

Opposite page: The size of the problem


time of leaving Preston is half past eleven in the morning, that of departure from Kendal half past seven, the latter boats arriving at Preston at half past one; when, according to arrangements made with the coach-proprietors, passengers are conveyed to Manchester by vehicles which wait upon the boats. The "Water-Witch" is a sheet iron boat; a little more than seventy feet long, by five feet four inches broad, and draws, when light, only six inches of water. The "Swiftsure" is two feet shorter, four inches narrower, and heavier by about a ton and a half. Notwithstanding the difference in figure, both boats have a light canoe-like appearance, and are fitted up in a similar manner; a light awning of stout calico, dressed with linseed oil,

LOOKING BACK SIR GEORGE HEAD'S TRIP FROM PRESTON TO KENDAL Reprinted from Waterwitch Edition 45 Autumn 1978 Notwithstanding the distance from Preston to Kendal by land is less than by Canal, this natural disadvantage is compensated by the ease and rapidity with which passengers are conveyed by the quick passage boats, in a sufficient degree to raise an effective opposition against the coaches; and reasonably, for no sort of locomotion can possibly be more agreeable. This distance by the road is forty four miles, by the canal fifty-seven, seven or eight locks moreover are encountered by the way; all contiguous to each other, and about twelve miles north of Lancaster; nevertheless the voyage is performed by the boats within seven hours. The

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effectually protects the passengers from the weather, though it sheds a yellow, watery light on the people's countenances. This simple mode of preparing calico or linen-cloth is now much in fashion among the navigators of the Humber the material, merely payed over two or three times with a brush dipped in linseed oil, is rendered totally impervious to water; jackets thus anointed afford the wearers the advantage of light waterproof apparel, instead of the heavy Flushing garments formerly in use. The embarkation at Preston is most commodious. A covered shed, thrown over the canal, encloses on both sides ample marginal space, so that passengers and their luggage are equally protected from the rabble and the weather. My luggage was no sooner on board the Water Witch at Preston, than all being ready, at the shrill sound of a whistle, the horses started instantly on their way in a canter; of two horses, a boy rode the hindermost, driving the other in front by rope-reins. The steersman regulated the pace by the said whistle, and a horn, the former being a signal to the postilion to increase the speed, the latter to halt; the intelligent 25

horses evinced their sagacity, by eagerly anticipating not only each of the two sounds, but also every motion of the driver. The proprietors of these canal boats have endeavoured to establish a theory which, setting philosophy aside, is surely a bad one for the horses; they maintain, that the animal works more at his ease at the rate of ten miles an hour, than at eight, or even less; because the swell at the head of the boat is, they say, by the greater velocity, surmounted before it accumulates, whereas at less speed the increase of the obstacle more than counterbalances the diminution in labour. Much depends, at all events, upon the width of the canal, the depth of water, and so forth; but in practice, I think the experiment fails 1 never saw horses more defeated than these, although the stages were usually only four miles. At the end of each they sweated and panted, as if they had undergone a severe burst with foxhounds; there they stood planted as it were, reeling and shaking their tails till led away. We were generally on these occasions very soon out of sight, for on changing the cattle no other ceremony was requisite (Continued on page 26)

Such casualties have frequently happened, leading to an alteration in the towing path, now gradually carried into general effect. Instead of making the slant inwards, it is now inclined the contrary way; thus not only are accidents in a great measure prevented, but a better foot-hold and purchase against the draft is afforded to the animal„ It is extraordinary, for how long a period, in many cases, principles, diametrically opposite, to common sense, are acted upon. After five minute's delay at Lancaster, for the purpose of

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than merely to unship the eye of each trace from the hook, and fix the other instead; nay, so quick were our movements, that frequently, on whisking round-a corner, a traveller was seen waiting for a passage, and within the space of twenty seconds, from the moment the boat stopped til she proceeded on her way, from the blast of the horn to the sound of the whistle, the packages and our new companion, the owner, were altogether gliding away on our voyage. Even with the advantage of short stages, the

horses, unless highly bred and in top-top condition, are unequal to the work assigned to, them; twice during the passage, one horse, on both occasions, overpowered by the draft, as narrowly as possible escaped being soused in the canal.

exchanging passengers, we glided rapidly onwards, over the aqueduct thrown on five circular arches across the river Lune; hence is a fine view of Lancaster Bridge, about a mile below - an (Continued on page 27)


(Continued from page 26)

elegant structure, level on its surface, like that of Waterloo, and on five elliptical arches. The locks, as has before been observed, are-all contiguous to each other, and here the dexterity and dispatch with which they are surmounted, one after another, is very remarkable; the rise is nine feet each lock. The passengers disembarked during the process, and re-embarked on the summit of the level, after the Water Witch had completed the whole ascent. On this occasion a couple of ladies, with their gawky footboy, very narrowly escaped a serious ducking; being exclusives, they preferred remaining on board to accompanying the herd of passengers ashore, while the boat was mounting; during one of which feats the Water Witch herself had well nigh been smashed. Notwithstanding the skill of the postilion, who in ordinary cases no sooner managed to get his vessel clear of one lock, than he towed her forwards in a smart canter about a hundred yards along the intervening space to the next, the catastrophe aforesaid was with difficulty prevented. The Water Witch had entered the lock with considerable impetus; the horses, as usual, 27

were speedily detached, and a rope was thrown ashore. The man on shore giving the rope a turn round a short post on the bank of the canal, then applied his strength to check the way of the boat, but by misadventure it slipped over the head of the post, the Water Witch meanwhile making headway, and dragging the man along the bank towards the head of the lock. He on shore, a sturdy little man, held on like a bull dog, nevertheless, the boat overpowered him, and collision within a few seconds appeared inevitable; at this crisis another individual very sensibly threw his weight into the balance; yet both together handing upon the rope, and straining with all their might, notwithstanding their utmost exertions, were hardly able to restrain the vessel from striking with tremendous force against the inner gates of the lock. The above circumstances refer to the only point of management regarding these boats, as to which a little additional precaution seems necessary. While underway, and with an impetus upon them, they have no other means of stopping suddenly than the aforesaid mode of throwing a rope ashore; notwithstanding it happens not infrequently that (Continued on page 29)


ritish Waterways

has worked for BW before in a similar capacity working on the Pontcysyllte WHS bid. Landscape Management Plan – on our return from the Christmas break, Barbara Moth was commissioned to undertake a Landscape Management plan for the Lune and the adjacent LUNE AQUEDUCT canal and river corridors. Barbara has ENHANCEMENT SCHEME great experience in schemes such as PROJECT UPDATE our own, having worked on other similar schemes that manage and Over the last four months, British conserve historic landscapes. Waterways and partners, including Bat Survey – the river corridor is an the LCT and Lancaster City Council, important habitat for bats that have have been busy working on the been proven to roost in the area. To development studies and overall ensure that none of the proposals feasibility of the Lune Aqueduct could potentially disturb, or even Enhancement Scheme. destroy this habitat for protected Back in March 2009, the Heritage species, a full survey of the site is Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded British Waterways a stage 1 pass for the proposals for the Lune project, which a l s o c a me w i t h a £ 5 0 , 0 0 0 development grant. Following guidance from the HLF, and also through carefully assessing the objectives and needs of our project, the following development works are being carried out, some by external consultants. Activity Plan – In November we appointed Marion Blockley to develop an Activity & Audience Development plan for the site. This plan will highlight ways in which we can attract further visitors to the being carried out. A phase 1 winter structure, and also provide us with a survey has already been completed by framework as to how we can involve Ecology Services UK, with a the local public and interest groups in comprehensive survey to be the long term management of the commenced in the Spring. aqueduct and its environment. Marion (Continued on page 29)



(Continued from page 28)

Conservation Management Plan - British Waterways’ own Heritage expert, Andrew Tegg, is currently wor king on a Conservation Management Plan which will provide a framework for the protection and conservation of the structure. It is anticipated that these development works will continue over the coming months, and once complete, these studies will shape the final plans for the wider Lune Enhancement Project. It is envisaged that a stage 2 application will be submitted to the HLF in the summer, which will hopefully result in the awarding of £1m grant for visitor improvements to the site. SH


(Continued from page 27)

barges are encountered unawares, either at the bendings of the canal, or on passing through bridges. On more occasions than one during the passage, the Water Witch ran bump on shore, with a momentum neither agreeable to the passengers nor profitable to her owners. (Taken from "A Home Tour Through the Manufacturing Districts of England in the Summer of 1835" by Sir George Head. First published 1836. Re-published 1968 by Frank Cass and Company).


LANCASTER CANAL TRUST Officers and Committee President

C.H.Bagot J.P. F.R.I.C.S.,D.L Vice - President

John Gavan Chairman

Richard Trevitt 2 Fern Bank, Lancaster. LAI 4TT (01524) 846303 Vice - Chairman

Helen Thomas 7 Bay View, Over Kellet, Carnforth, LA6 1DR (01524) 735504 Secretary

David Currington 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal LA9 6AD (01539) 732599 Treasurer

Adrian Hughes “Ilex", Keasdale Road, Carr Bank, Milnthorpe LA7 7LH (01524) 761879 Membership Secretary

Adrian Hughes “Ilex", Keasdale Road, Carr Bank, Milnthorpe LA7 7LH (01524) 761879 Public Relations Officer

Trisha Buzzard 07802438412 Waterwitch Editor

David Currington 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal LA9 6AD (01539) 732599 Working Party Organiser

David Currington 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal LA9 6AD (01539) 732599 Grants Officer

Chris Jones Apt 305, Liberty House, Yard 5, Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4BU 07816 874563


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE & OTHER TRUST OFFICERS Fran Valiant Chairman Recruitment & Promotions (01943) 430494 Paul Shaw Working Party Supervisor 07866 803351 Frank Chalmers Boat Operations Manager 07973113046

Trisha Buzzard 07802438412 Publicity Officer & Trip Boat Committee Alan Mather Trip Boat Committee 07730 260003 Geoff Maskell NR Committee (01539) 724895 Sandra Henstock (L.C.B.C. Representative) (01253)764171

Affiliated Members Arlen Hire Boats Australian Canal Society Beetham Parish Council Burton - in - Kendal Parish Council Bury & District Anglers Association Catterall Parish Council C.A.R.P. Ltd Holme Parish Council Lancaster Canal Boat Club

Kendal Civic Society Natland Parish Council Newton with Clifton Parish Council Preston Patrick Parish Council Ramblers Association (Preston Area) South Lakeland District Council Westmorland & North Lancashire Long Distance Walkers Assoc

Waterwitch is copyright 2010, published by The Lancaster Canal Trust (Registered Charity No. 240957) c/o David Currington, 12 Sedbergh Road, Kendal, LA9 6AD The Lancaster Canal Trust may not agree with the opinions expressed in this magazine but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy, or an official announcement, unless so stated - otherwise the Trust accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. The editor retains the right to edit any article or letter submitted for publication.

Visit LCT website at:

The deadline for contributions to the next edition of Waterwitch will be April 30th 2010 Contributions may be e-mailed to Or by post to David Currington 12 Sedbergh Road Kendal, Cumbria LA9 6AD Printed by Kent Valley Colour Printers, Kendal. (01539)741344


Found in our old records is this old stencilled flyer for our Canal cruises back in 1967! 32

Waterwitch #142 Winter 2009/10  

Magazine of the Lancaster Canal Trust - Winter 2009/10 edition

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