Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Glasson Docks.

Road swing bridge across the lock up into the canal basin. Glasson dock.Road swing bridge across the lock up into the canal basin. Glasson Dock.

It was a wet and miserable start to the day again but our bus wasn’t due until 10.50am by which time the weather had improved. It was only a five minute bus ride to the Glasson Docks but just a bit too far to walk especially with no footpaths.

Looking across the canal basin with permanent moorings for narrowboats on the left.Looking across the canal basin with permanent moorings for narrowboats on the left.

We spent just over an hour exploring this little village and port the latter being built in 1787 for ships too big to navigate the River Lune to Lancaster. Trade was mainly between the West Indies and the Baltic. The canal from Galgate to Glasson was built in 1826 to transport freight further inland. Ship building was commenced in 1837 along with a Graving dock for ship repairs in 1840, the latter ceased operation in 1968. With the railway arriving in 1883 the port prospered. Passenger rail traffic finally ceased in 1930 but freight carried on until 1964. The port is still actively used but due to the River Lune silting up and the navigation channel constantly shifting it is only usable for less than 2 hours a day around high tide.

No where else to moor, they just had to moor in the lock entrance.No where else to moor, they just had to moor in the lock entrance.

The moorings in the canal basin above the lock down into the harbour were full of yachts and power boats with just half a dozen narrow boats and a couple of wide beams. There was a wide variety of old boats of unknown origin around that have been converted into live aboard’s, some good, some rubbish. We found a yacht in the harbour that we presumed had just come through the sea lock off the River Lune. The yacht was going around in circles while the crew of four were dropping mooring fenders in preparation of mooring. Their first choice was too shallow for them to get in close enough to moor so they opted to moor in the entrance of the lock up into the canal basin. This lock is strictly controlled by BW as it involves a road swing bridge which I would guess would be open for at least 10 minutes while a yacht or large boat was put through the lock. We were hoping for a demonstration but nothing happened and we had to catch another bus at 12.15pm into Lancaster.

Glasson harbour between the sea lock and canal basin. Built in 1787 for ships that were too big to navigate to Lancaster via the river Lune.Glasson harbour between the sea lock and canal basin. Built in 1787 for ships that were too big to navigate to Lancaster via the River Lune.

Because the bus timetable is only 2 hourly we decided that we didn’t want to stay too late in town so it was into Sainsbury’s for lunch and a spot of shopping to be able to catch the 2.40pm bus back to the camp site. A bit mundane but we had plenty of things to do back in camp before we hit the road again tomorrow.

Harbour pilot Glasson dock. Ships from here used to trade to the West Indies and the Baltic.Harbour pilot Glasson dock. Ships from here used to trade to the West Indies and the Baltic.

One to ten Tenrow as seen on the wall. Workers terraced housing at Glasson Dock.One to ten Tenrow as seen on the wall. Workers terraced housing at Glasson Dock.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Historical Lancaster.

We only had a very short walk to the end of the driveway from the camp site to catch the bus this morning. Even though we are out in the countryside it only took 12 minutes to reach the centre of Lancaster.

Mill cottages Lancaster.Mill cottages Lancaster.

19th century hospital built 1853. Lancaster.19th century hospital built 1853. Lancaster.

Due to the inclement weather again we looked around for an indoor venue of some sort to keep dry and warm. The museum was an idea but not open Sundays, OK, try the Castle just up the road. We actually found the old prison gates to start with, which was no help. Some other tourists told us that they had walked right round the castle and couldn’t find an entrance open. Well we thought that we may as well have a look around and yes there were no entrance’s open until we walked down the steps to the car park level where we found the main entrance open for business.

The prison side of Lancaster Castle. You can still see the portcullis.The prison side of Lancaster Castle. You can still see the portcullis.

Lancaster Castle. Still used as a Crown Court.Lancaster Castle. Still used as a Crown Court.

Four pounds each and an hours guided tour fitted the bill nicely. We were only shown through what is the Crown Court section of the building which did include the 18th century holding cells in which a prisoner could spend up to 6 months awaiting trial only to be found not guilty. Nasty! We saw some of the original walls which were 6 foot thick and where alterations had been carried out over time.

The old mill town of Lancaster.The old mill town of Lancaster.

Ninety per cent of Lancaster Castle used to be a prison which was closed down in March 2011 and not open to the public. It was deemed not to be cost effective as it only held about 250 prisoners and had high maintenance costs. There are rumoured interests in making it into a museum and a hotel similar to Oxford Prison.

The old Customs House now housing the Maritime Museum, Lancaster.The old Customs House now housing the Maritime Museum, Lancaster.

Dot on board a replica Packet boat, Maritime Museum, Lancaster. Pulled by a pair of horses at full gallop.Dot on board a replica Packet boat, Maritime Museum, Lancaster. Pulled by a pair of horses at full gallop.

Walking around town there is still a lot of the old 19th century industrial Lancaster to be seen in the buildings and the cobbled streets. It was certainly different to what we had expected to find. Down along St Georges Quay many of the old warehouses have been converted into apartment blocks but still retaining the character of the area. The Maritime Museum was our next visiting point where we learned of the shipping triangle where ships took goods from Lancaster to Africa where they loaded slaves to take to the West Indies for the plantations. Here they loaded sugar, spices and rum to bring back to England. This was very lucrative until slavery was banished.

The Ashton Memorial Folly. Built by Lord Ashton for his late wife.  Built in 1909 it's used as an exhibition & concert hall.The Ashton Memorial Folly. Built by Lord Ashton for his late wife.  Built in 1909 it's used as an exhibition & concert hall.

The Lancaster Canal is also mentioned in the Maritime Museum where the Packet boats ran from Preston to Kendal between 1833 and 1846. These boats were the crème da la crème in their day. Heated in winter and hot food served from the galley they offered more than the railways at one stage. Pulled by a pair of superb horses at a gallop giving about 9 mph these boats had right of way over everything else on the canal. Every 4 miles the horses were changed for a fresh pair to maintain the very tight schedule.

I think the builder of this house spent too much time next door.I think the builder of this house spent too much time next door.

When the railways opened the Preston to Kendall line the Packet Boat company halved their fares to compete and business boomed. (A lesson for modern day transport operators here I think.) It wasn’t until 1846 when the Lancaster to Carlisle Railway opened that the Packet Boat Co had to admit defeat and close it’s operation. The last of these boats, Crewdson, renamed Water Witch II, was cut down in size and used until 1915 as the canal engineers inspection vessel. It was finally broken up in 1929.

Millenium Bridge over the river Lune, Lancaster.Millenium Bridge over the River Lune, Lancaster.

After reading about the canal it was time to go and have a look at this waterway which we found not too far away. Again no boats were evident even after walking about a mile of towpath, which I must say is in very good condition. Typical, one of the least used canals in very good condition. Well, we considered we had done enough for one day so it was time to head back to the bus station. We have another day here tomorrow as we are staying for 3 days instead of the usual 2. We will make a decision on tomorrows plans over supper.

Bridge 101 Lancaster canal.Bridge 101 Lancaster Canal.

Lancaster canal running through the city centre.Lancaster Canal running through the city centre.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bridge 88 Lancaster Canal.

43.5 Miles. Now at Herons Wood CL, in Lancaster.

Gypsy Rover at Herons Wood CL, Lancaster.Gypsy Rover at Herons Wood CL, Lancaster.

We left Bury contented after spending a couple of incredible days in somewhere we had imagined would be boring and uninteresting. Even this morning before we left camp we saw two steam trains on the East Lancs railway setting out for the 1940’s era week-end, another pleasant surprise even though we were unable to photograph them in the pouring rain.

Everybody in period costume for the 1940's week-end on the East Lancs railway.Everybody in period costume for the 1940's week-end on the East Lancs Railway.

Traffic on the road was relatively light considering it’s a Bank holiday week-end. We made good time and had no trouble finding our next camp site. Once on site the camp proprietor gave us bus timetables and a map for the local walkways including one to the Lancaster Canal.

Stone style through a farm yard.Stone style through a farm yard.

Once lunch had been dealt with we decide that as the weather was improving we would go for a walk. Over a couple of field and styles, across a brook and through a farmers yard we trekked. We came to another field and thought that we had found the canal but no such luck. Ah well press on through a small copse and see what was on the other side, another 2 fields unfortunately before we spotted the cabin of a cruiser going along the top of the hedgerow. Bingo, we had found a canal that we never got to do in Narrowboat Gypsy Rover.

Bridge 88 Lancaster Canal no Gypsy Rover just Derek.Bridge 88 Lancaster Canal no Gypsy Rover just Derek.

Out on a country trek to the Lancaster Canal. This Friesan heifer took a shine to Dot.Out on a country trek to the Lancaster Canal. This Friesan heifer took a shine to Dot.

Once on the towpath we followed it for a while to see if there were boats around but there was only one un-named boat. We concluded our trek at bridge 88 and then turned back. Had we had our GPS we could have taken another route but we didn’t feel like getting lost in the middle of nowhere so we merely retraced our steps. The round trip took us just under two hours so a rest followed by a cuppa was the order of the day.

Our personally reserved site at Herons Wood C/L camp site.Our personally reserved site at Herons Wood CL camp site.

A total of 2482 miles, since 5 March 2011

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Surprisingly Interesting Bury.

As we had a full day planned out we were down at the bus stop for the 9.30am bus into Bury. Arriving at the bus station the first problem was getting our bearings which we don’t normally have a problem with but today the layout of the city centre caught us off guard.  Luckily the city father’s have placed plenty of directional signs around the city to make it easy for visitors like us.

Memorial to John Kay who revolutionised the Textile Industry with many inventions..Memorial to John Kay who revolutionised the Textile Industry with many inventions.

Found in the Bury Market Hall.Found in the Bury Market Hall.

"The Castle" Barracks of the Lancashire Fusiliers."The Castle" Barracks of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

First stop was the Bury market reportedly the biggest and best in Britain. Well we couldn’t argue with that, with the Market Hall, the Open Air segment and the Meat & Fish Hall there is reputedly over 350 stalls. Well we didn’t have time to count them all so we’ll take their word for it.

Privately owned class 5 on the East Lancs; railway after undergoing repairs.Privately owned class 5 on the East Lancs railway after undergoing repairs.

The original trackwork from the main line.The original track work from the main line.

Part of a 1940's re-enactment week-end.Part of a 1940's re-enactment week-end.

Next on the agenda was the East Lancs Railway which is based in Bury. Yesterday we had seen a 0-6-0 saddle tank on the line as it passed through the Burrs Country Park and expected to see the same today. However we were in for a surprise as there was a class 5 at the head of the train as it pulled into the station. Apparently the loco is one of two class 5’s which are privately owned and they normally work steam excursions on the mainline. It had been bought into the East Lancs railway workshops for repairs and they must have been testing it before sending it back.

Rawtenstall station. The end of the line.Rawtenstall station. The end of the line.

Castlecroft  Goods Shed Bury now a Transport Museum.Castlecroft Goods Shed Bury now a Transport Museum.

Parcels van now a snack bar/cafe.Parcels van now a snack bar/cafe.

The journey from Bury to Rawtenstall is approximately 10 miles long taking in viaducts over the River Irwell, 2 tunnels and 2 level crossings, one mechanically operated the other manually by the signalman. All the stations along the way were preparing for the forth coming 1940’s week-end. This included todays run for a couple of school classes who were experiencing what children of the 1940’s experienced with being evacuated out of London to the country and being billeted out. The line also runs out the opposite way to Heywood, approximately 2 miles which is close to where the line originally joined the main line. During Summer and week-ends they run two trains over the full 12 miles from Heywood to Rawtenstall.

Post Office 1955 Morris Minor van. One of only 8 ever built.Post Office 1955 Morris Minor van. One of only 8 ever built for this purpose.

'Doris' Very early steam traction.'Doris' Very early steam traction.

Station names from a bygone era.Station names from a bygone era. People pay a fortune for these!

The railway also runs the Bury Transport Museum in the old 1848 Castlecroft Goods Shed on the opposite side of the road to the station. £3m has been spent on restoring the building and exhibits making it a first class educational facility. From barges to railways, steam to the internal combustion engine, transport both passenger and freight is well and truly documented. Talking to one of the museum volunteers we found that the railway and museum has backing from three local councils and many corporate sponsors. They all realise the tourism value that both attractions bring to Bury which is a city that doesn’t normally pop up as a tourist venue. Last year over 120,000 visitors were recorded as visiting both venues and they are hoping for an increase this year.

Circa 1914 model "T" ford van. Note the non electric lights.Circa 1914 model "T" ford van. Note the non electric lights.

Workman's caravan.Workman's caravan.

Passing Burrs Country Park on the East Lancs; railway. Spot Gypsy Rover?Passing Burrs Country Park on the East Lancashire Railway. Spot Gypsy Rover?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Life is full of surprises.

42.6 Miles. Now at Burrs Country Park Club Site,  in Bury

IMG_2980

Yesterday we had a quiet lazy day at home so to speak. Well it wasn’t that quiet as we entertained visitors from Down Under and had a good long chinwag about all the happenings in both camps. We lost track of time and it was getting close to 3pm before we headed off to the pub for a late lunch. It finished up being so late we skipped a full evening meal.

Ladybower Reservoir.Ladybower Reservoir.

This was the feeder for 2 mills and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal.This was the feeder for 2 mills and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal.

Aqueduct over the river Irwell, Burrs Country Park. Water supply for the Manchester, Bolton & Bury canal.Aqueduct over the river Irwell, Burrs Country Park. Water supply for the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal.

Today we were back on the road heading for Bury. The only reason we chose this location was because being a Bank Holiday week-end it was the only place we could get a booking in this area. Our original plan was for Skipton or there about’s but we just couldn’t get a booking for the Friday. I kept widening the radius of my search until I finally hit the jackpot here at Burrs Country Park, Bury. Needless to say it wasn’t our first choice.

The water feeder for the Manchester, Bolton & Bury canal.

The water feeder for the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal.

The East Lancs Railway running right past our door at Burr's Country Park.The East Lancs Railway running right past our door at Burr's Country Park.

The river Irwell which is flowing quite fast over this weir.The River Irwell which is flowing quite fast over this weir.

The trip over the hills from the Dales in heavy rain was interesting as we travelled over Snake Pass (A57) and the name aptly describes the nature of the road. Running alongside the Ladybower Reservoir and Forestry Commission land the scenery was quite spectacular. Once over the crest of the hill it was a very long downhill run all the way to the outskirts of Manchester. For those who know the Manawatu Gorge and the Rimutaka Hill in New Zealand it was a cross between the two. The town of Glossop was interesting and had an Olde Worlde feel about it.

Giant mouse trap.Giant mouse trap.

Back to back cotton mill workers cottages in Burrs Country Park, now used as an activity centre for children.Back to back cotton mill workers cottages in Burrs Country Park, now used as an activity centre for children.

The East Lancs railway running behind the old Higher Woodhill cotton mill.The East Lancs railway running behind the old Higher Woodhill cotton mill.

Once safely encamped in Burrs Country Park the weather improved enough for us to venture out and explore the park. The first thing to catch our eye was the steam train on the East Lancs Railway, we knew it was nearby but not as close as a mere 150yards away. The Burrs Country Park is the former site of two cotton mills, Burrs and Higher Woodhill. Upon further investigation we found that the two mills shared a water supply run off from the River Irwell which was also the water supply for the now defunct Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal. We cannot get away from these waterways. Despite it not being our first choice the campsite has turned out to be one of the more interesting sites we have visited.

Burrs lake and the first Canadian Geese chicks we have seen for over a year.Burrs lake and the first Canadian Geese chicks we have seen for over a year.

Wood carvings on the trail through Burrs Country Park.Wood carvings on the trail through Burrs Country Park.

Burrs cotton mill chimney. All that remains of the old mill still intact.Burrs cotton mill chimney. All that remains of the old mill still intact.

A total of 2438 miles, since 5 March 2011

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Peak District

121.5 Miles. Now at Losehill Club Site,  in Castleton

We set off reasonably early this morning after a visit to Sainsbury's to top up the fridge and then the diesel tank.  This was the lowest price diesel we have come across since picking up our motorhome, £1.37.9 a litre I hope it keeps heading downwards.  The Blog writer has called it a day, too weary to write tonight.  So please excuse this amateur epistle.

Yes this is where we areYes this is where we are

We came to the Peak District via Ripley where we went to meet Mick and pick up all our missing mail.  Nothing really interesting besides me finally getting a full UK pension, by taking into account my working history both here and in New Zealand.  Lucky really as in New Zealand I wouldn't qualify until 65 but here in the UK woman qualify at 60. After a relaxing cuppa we wandered into town to see if there was anywhere suitable for a meal ,with friends from Aussie who are visiting tomorrow.  There is a choice of about four so we won’t go hungry.

Peak Forest CountryPeak Forest Country.  Isn’t it green

A total of 2396 miles, since 5 March 2011

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Chester another walled city revisited.

The public transport available to us this morning left us in a quandary as to where to go. All the buses went to places we have already visited in Gypsy Rover when we were cruising the “Cut”, Liverpool, Chester, Ellesmere Port and Runcorn. Dot decided that she would like to go to Chester so Chester it was. One thing we noticed with the bus routes is that a lot of them are via Chester Zoo. The city father’s are obviously keen to have plenty of people visit this long established city attraction.

Chester Cathedral.Chester Cathedral.

Tudor style in Chester.Tudor style in Chester.

Chester's 19th century Tudor.Chester's 19th century Tudor.

As it was still extremely windy with occasional showers we spent most of the time in the indoor market, St Michaels Row covered shopping complex and walking around the first floor Tudor covered shopping walkways that were built before shopping mall’s where even thought of.

Chester's old Grosvenor Hotel.Chester's old Grosvenor Hotel.

Chester's famous Victorian clock tower on the city walls.Not forgetting Chester's famous Victorian clock tower on the city walls.

Chester's 19th century Tudor woodwork.Chester's 19th century Tudor woodwork.

Chester's 19th century Tudor woodwork.Chester's 19th century Tudor woodwork.

Since getting back to camp the sun has made an appearance but this blasted wind is still howling through. Last night’s weather presenter’s did make the comment that don’t travel today unless you have to due to extremely high winds.

Chester's 19th century Tudor and cobbled streets.Chester's 19th century Tudor and cobbled streets.

Covered shopping walkways in Chester.The Rows covered shopping walkways in Chester.

The Rows Chester's unusual 2 level shopping.

The Rows Chester's unusual 2 level shopping must be have been unique in their day, if not now.

Now that is low.Now that is low.

Tomorrow it looks as though the country is to see a return of Volcano ash from Iceland once again.  We  experienced this when we returned to New Zealand in April last year, hopefully it won’t be as bad as it was then with all the disruptions to air travel.