Date - 28th January 2020 Distance - 7 miles
Ascent -
Map - 296
Start point - Bridge 114 on Lancaster Canal on Hasty Brow Road (SD 4674 6475)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



The tea and cakes had arrived, so all was well.

"I'll help pour the tea, Shaun", said Southey, having with Allen, got the mugs and plates.

"Thanks pal."

Little Eric then announced, "Grizzly has made chocolate cherry slice, and I have done fruit scones with which there is butter and raspberry jam."

"Ooh lovely", said Tetley. "We haven't had the cherry slice for a while and I know the scones will be delicious."

"I have struggled a bit with scones in the past", replied Little Eric. "But, then I asked Auntie Elaine, about her recipe, and since then my efforts have been better."

"That's right", agreed Grizzly. "We have finally mastered making scones, but still Auntie Elaine, makes the best. People come from far and wide to the tearooms for her scones."

So we all tucked in and there were murmurs of contentment from us all.

"That was a super walk yesterday from Bolton by Bowland", commented Shaun. "An area completely new to us all, and nice countryside."

"And, the fields were drier than many we have been across recently,for which Dad was grateful."

"I enjoyed visiting the church afterwards", went on Grizzly. "That huge tomb between the chancel and side chapel was not to be missed."

Little Eric had the iPad in paw. "There are days down next week to walk with Uncle Eric."

"I have been monitoring the weather forecast frequently", said Tetley. "First Tuesday looks the better day, but then a few hours later Wednesday is best."

"It had been so unsettled for months now. I wonder if it will ever settle down, so we can have some certainty", bemoaned Southey.

"Well whatever is seems to be cold showery and windy, so perhaps it would be best to do a local walk", mused Shaun. "Let's have a look at the index on the laptop for a suggestion."

Allen booted it up then we scanned down the list. "How about this one", suggested Grizzly. "Lancaster to Slyne then back over the fields and along by the river. Dad's notation says he walked it on 12th June 2002."

We read the instructions. "From that date it will be new to most of us", said Shaun. "There is a possibility that Tetley and I went along, although it was not until 2003 that Dad took us on every walk."

Allen opened the walks done spreadsheet, to check. "Dad did not take you and Tetley that day, so new to us all, although of course we have walked the canal sections a few times, and the Millennium Riverside Path."

So we suggested this to Dad, who thought it was a good idea, but said of course he would have to discuss with Uncle Eric.

This was done on Monday night and this walk was agreed. As for the weather the forecast was that Tuesday would be the better day, and it was agreed to meet at the start point between 09:30 and 09:45. This was the car park on Kingsway adjacent to the path beside the river.


The Walk

We were up around 07:30. As Allen helped Grizzly and Little Eric get the picnic ready, Southey checked the weather forecast. "Oh dear", he exclaimed. "It is completely different to last night. Now it is showing a cold windy day with heavy showers at times, and a period of heavy rain around 09:00.

Shortly before that there was blue skies, so Tetley commented, "maybe they have got it wrong.

But then as we sat looking out over the next quarter hour, the skies darkened and the forecast rain poured down.

"What are we going to do", said Little Eric.

"Go whatever", replied Dad. "I am sure this will pass over.

So soon after we were off Dad driving the few miles to Lancaster, crossing Skerton Bridge then turning into the car park.

"Oh heck", called out Allen. "It's all fenced off."

"Must be due to the roadworks on Caton Road", replied Dad. He then had a think. "I am going to suggest starting from the canal bridge on Hasty Brow Road, where I know there is space to park."

So this is what Dad told Uncle Eric when he arrived a few minutes later. It was only a few miles, Dad passing Uncle Eric on the A6 so he could guide him.

Our pals Barnaby and Lee always come along to see Uncle Eric and said their hellos. We asked them if they were going for a walk on their own. Looking at the sky Barnaby said, "don't be silly."

They were perhaps right, but we are made of stern stuff and have faced all kinds of conditions, so scrambled out and got settled in the rucksack. Soon then we were off down the steps to the towpath, Dad and Uncle Eric striding out by the canal.

"We go as far as the next bridge, 115", advised Shaun. "Then leave the canal, cross the bridge and follow the bridleway."

This was an inevitably muddy path between hedges that led to a double gate. Beyond it was then a tarmac drive from a large and fairly recently built house. By the gates to the house set in the wall is this postbox for deliveries that had we assume been repainted from the original red. "Will you take a picture?" asked Little Eric.

The drive ended at Hasty Brow Road. "We go left, then straight across at the crossroads along Throstle Grove to the A6", instructed Southey who again was helping Shaun out with directions to hone his skills.

Reaching the junction Tetley pointed right, "look stocks." He later did an Internet search, and was able to tell us, "the age is not actually known but thought to date from at least mid-17th century. These are Grade II listed"

We were now in Slyne. There are two pubs/restaurants. The Cross Keys, and in the distance on the left of the road Slyne Lodge, now just known as The Lodge. "When I was younger I spent many nights drinking in Slyne Lodge. They were good times", mused Dad.

"So where now?", said Little Eric.

"Right down the hill, and cross the road and over the fence by that house into the fields", replied Shaun. Here one of the many heavy showers passed over as can be clearly seen. We took the opportunity to duck inside the rucksack until it passed over.

The route was across to the kissing gate in the hedge on the far side then up over the hill to a stile by a gate, by which time the rain has passed over. The fields were pleasantly dry bearing in mind all the rain, for which Dad and Uncle Eric were grateful.

The route was well waymarked, pointing through a gate, and right to the next stile and then on to another. Here it was diagonally right to the far corner, where the rain came on again. With some shelter from the trees, we paused a few minutes until it stopped. Keeping now by the hedge to the left more fields and stiles followed to then go right on a fenced path and cross The Bay Gateway dual carriageway by the new bridge.

Dropped down on the far side and through a gate, then followed the waymarked route over two further fields and on to Green Lane.

"We go right", called out Southey. "Then left over the canal and down onto the towpath, where it is then right.

Soon we came to the Lune Aqueduct. As can be seen this is currently drained while a new waterproof lining is put in place. "I hope the work is done in time for spring when boaters will be out and the waterbus service restarts", commented Allen.

"So what now?", asked Little Eric again.

"Well pal", replied Grizzly. "To complete the walk as published, it is now a case of up and down each side of the the river to come back to here."

Seeing the expression on Southey's face, Allen said, "I know it seems a bit pointless, but this has come about because we could not park by the river."

So, not crossing the aqueduct we descended the steep steps and followed the muddy path above the River Lune. It was pretty level apart from one section where there were steep steps down to this footbridge...

...then more steep steps up the far side to regain height. Here a hail storm passed over, Dad doing his best to get us inside the rucksack, but ironically by the time he had done this it had largely passed over. "We could do with a canopy on top", laughed Tetley. Well it is not the first time we have got wet, and later on at home we soon dried out.

Shortly the path turned right to exit onto the Lancaster to Halton road, where we turned left.

Reaching the corner at Aldrens Lane, kept ahead on a tarmac path to come to Skerton Bridge.

"What's that building up on the hill?", pointed Southey.

"The Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park", replied Dad. "It was built by industrialist James Williamson (Lord Ashton) as a memorial to his late wife Jessy. A Grade I structure it was completed in 1909. Oh and the large new structure in the foreground is one of many new blocks of student accommodation. This was supposed to be ready for the new term last September, but is still not finished."

"I hope the contractors are being penalized then", said Tetley.

Once over Skerton Bridge we went right down to the river then left to pass underneath on to the old railway track.

Little Eric commented, "there is an underpass for pedestrians on either side, and I like the way that these are replicated as alcoves between each arch."

Thanks to Wikipedia we can tell readers that the first stone was laid in June 1783 and the bridge was completed in September 1787 to a design by Thomas Harrison. The semi-elliptical arches allow it to have a flat road deck the first of its kind in England. Each arch spans 64 feet (19.5m) and the deck between the parapets is 33 feet (10.1m) wide.

So passing under the arch added in about 1849 to accommodate the closed 'Little' North Western Railway, we walked the former trackbed, now a pedestrian and cycle route, passing the fenced car park, the actual start, and walking along to reach the magnificent Lune Aqueduct once again.

The Lune Aqueduct is often referred to as one of the "wonders of the waterways" and is a masterpiece of civil engineering. Designed by civil engineer John Rennie and constructed by architect Alexander Stevens (died 1796, aged 66), it was completed in 1797 at a total cost of £48,320.18s.10d. It carries the canal 664 feet across the River Lune at a height of 61 feet (53 feet above the normal water level in the river) and is a traditional structure of that time, consisting of five stone arches supporting the stone trough. Within the piers, special volcanic pozzolana powder was imported to be mixed with cement, which allowed the concrete to set under water. Because of the rush to finish the initial stages, before the winter floods, the construction was carried out around the clock and the final bill for the project was over £30,000 over budget (2.6 times the original estimate). This vast overspend was the reason that the Lancaster canal was never joined to the main canal network, as there was not enough money for the planned aqueduct over the River Ribble at the southern end of the canal. The aqueduct was restored between 2011 and 2012 at a cost of £2.4m. It is a Grade I listed building.
On its South side, is the following inscription: "QUAE DEERANT ADEUNT: SOCIANTUR DISSITA: MERCES FLUMINA CONVENIUNT ARTE DATURA NOVAS. A.D. MDCCXCVII. ING. I. RENNIE EXTRUX. A. STEVENS. P. ET F.", which can be translated as: "Things that are wanting are brought together / Things remote are connected / Rivers themselves meet by the assistance of art / To afford new objects of commerce. AD 1797. Engineer J Rennie. Built A Stevens father and son"
(We wish to acknowledge Wikipedia as the source of this information.)

To gain the towpath two flights of steps had to be climbed this being the second.

"Flippin heck, those are steep", said Little Eric with feeling. "With my little legs, I'm glad to be in the rucksack"

"Reminds me of the Radical Steps at Kirkby Lonsdale up to Ruskin's View from the river", said Allen.

At the top we turned left, crossed the drained aqueduct and strolled on along the towpath.

"Swans", pointed Allen. "They are young that have almost shed their ugly duckling feathers."

"Ducks too", called out Grizzly. Later when we got home we found out they were a male (green head) and female Goosander.

Further we came to the recently constructed bridge that carries The Bay Gateway over the canal. As we passed under Southey said, "we haven't had our picture taken." And then suggested "we could sit in the dry on that ledge."

"Good idea pal", agreed Tetley. "We have to appear at least once in every story."

Uncle Eric had walked on so Dad hurried to catch up, but not before pausing to take the bridge. At the time of the construction it was the longest single span bridge over a canal. It has since been relegated to second place by a bridge built in Scotland.

Having then caught Uncle Eric up, it was not very far to our start point at bridge 114.

"Thanks Gerry and Lads, I have enjoyed the walk", said Uncle Eric.

We all had too despite the inclement weather.

After a little debate they then went to the Brief Encounter cafe on Carnforth Station. The kitchen was closed, so they had to be content to just have a drink (tea for Dad and hot chocolate for Uncle Eric) and cake.

So a good day out but we were all then glad to get home and into the warm.


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