Date - 7th March 2024 Distance - 6.25 miles
Ascent -
690 ft
Map - 296
Start point - Kingsway car park, Lancaster (SD 4812 6246)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Shaun, Little Eric and Grizzly arrived with the flasks and cake tins.

"Great" cheered Tetley, going to get the mugs and plates.

"It is Ramblears tea of course", remarked Shaun. "Supplies are getting a bit low, so we need to make sure that Dad gets another box if he goes to Cockermouth, when we stay at Armathwaite Hall shortly."

"He's sure to do that, as he cannot resist looking in Fagans at the Charlie Bears", replied Southey.

"I wonder if he will be able to resist buying one. Last time he bought Knox", said Tetley. "He had seen Kathleen and had to go back after our walk over Binsey to adopt her too."

The mugs and been filled and passed around. Little Eric said, "the cakes today are apricot and peach slice from Grizzly and blueberry slice from me."

"Lovely", cheered Southey, helping himself to one of each.

Grizzly was about to take a bite, when he paused. "Where's Allen? The arch tea belly and cake stuffer never misses out."

"Not sure, but I saw him talking with Dad", replied Shaun. "He'll be here soon you can be sure."

And just a minute later Allen appeared like a whirlwind. "Dad says we can walk tomorrow, so we need urgently to come up with an idea."

"Wow", exclaimed Southey, "that will be three in a week."

By now Allen had drunk half a mug of his tea and demolished a slice of cake and was on to a second.

"Living up to your reputation", laughed Tetley.

"The cakes are delicious as always", enthused Allen. "Thanks pals. We never ever take for granted all the baking you do."

"We love doing it", replied Little Eric. "Very relaxing and good for the soul."

Now turning our thought to the matter in hand, Grizzly said, "I guess a local walk so there is not too much driving to the start."

Tetley got the iPad and opened the index of walks spreadsheet.

Looking over his shoulder we were about to start scanning down, when Allen called out, "how about no.2. Lancaster to Slyne. It was done in July 1982. Long before any of us were even adopted."

Shaun and Tetley carefully got the binder off the shelf and retrieved the instructions, confirming the only done date. We browsed them, Grizzly saying, "we have done parts before, but certainly not the section from the start to the canal. Just 4 miles, so no problem there."

"It will be another story too", said Little Eric.

"Ok", said Allen, draining his mug for a third time, "I'll go and see what Dad thinks."

Tetley laughed. "Where does Allen put all that tea. I'm sure he's got hollow legs. Better refill his mug Shaun for when he gets back.

Soon back, the smile on his face told us Dad had agreed. Accepting the refilled mug he said, "thanks pal." Then raising his mug he cheered, "here's to the best Dad in the world."

"Oh and just one other thing Dad intends to start early, so that we will be finished in time for him to go the River Bela Cafe after for lunch."

"Good, we get to go too", cheered Little Eric.


The Walk

Up bright and early Dad was true to his word setting off just before 09:00. We only had to drive into Lancaster.

"The instructions say to start from Skerton Bridge, so where do we park?", asked Southey.

"Keeping left as we cross the bridge, Kingsway car park is just about 100 yards on the left", replied Tetley.

As we pulled in Allen said, "it's empty. I'm surprised."

Looking about Shaun said, "I can't see a pay machine." Once Dad stopped he jumped out and trotted across to read the large sign. "It's free, but there is a time limit of three hours."

"That explains it", said Dad. "It stops workers parking all day.

Dad was soon ready, and with us settled in the rucksack he joined the cycleway turning left to pass under Skerton Bridge.

"I can tell you about the bridge", said Grizzly, finding his notes. "A competition was held for the design, which was won by Thomas Harrison. The first stone was laid in June 1783 and construction was completed September 1787. An additional arch that we have just walked under was added in about 1849 to allow passage of the 'Little' North Western Railway beneath it. It carries the A6 over the River Lune, and when examined in 1995 it was considered to be strong enough to carry vehicles up to 40 tons - 10 times the weight of the heaviest vehicles in 1783. It is constructed in sandstone ashlar. It consists of five semi elliptical arches that allow it to have a flat road deck, with piers and a balustraded parapet. Each of the five original arches spans 64 feet and the deck between the parapets is 33 feet wide."

"Thank you pal. Always adding interest to our adventures", said Tetley.

Crossing the bridge we paused to take in the views either side. First this of the wide River Lune looking upstream. Shaun said, " the end of the walk will be along the riverside by the blocks of flats."

Then this of the skyline of Lancaster.

Pointing Grizzly said, "that is Lancaster Castle with to the right the Priory Church. For a long time part of the castle was a prison, but that has now gone. The Lancashire Witches were imprisoned and hung there."

Dad said, "I recall that some high profile trials were held in the castle, and that armed police were in evidence outside. The handless corpse trial and that of the Birmingham Bombers, who were subsequently found to be innocent."

Tetley added his penny worth. "The bridge is called Greyhound Bridge. Originally is carried the railway that ran through Scale Hall to Morecambe. When that closed it was converted to a road. This relieved to an extent the traffic enabling Skerton Bridge to become one way."

Beyond the bridge, progress was stopped again as Little Eric called out, "look Skerton post box."

"I know, take a picture", replied Dad.

"Cross the road and into Ryelands Park", instructed Shaun.

Grizzly said,"this is the youngest of the parks in Lancaster and Morecambe. Ryelands House at the centre was built around 1836 for Jonathan Dunn, twice mayor of Lancaster.

"It was bought in 1874 and considerably extended by Lancaster's linoleum magnate, Lord Ashton (James Williamson junior). What is now the park was the houses's private grounds behind high walls. Lord Ashton died here in 1930 and the house and grounds subsequently became a municipal park, the walls taken down to open it up to the communities north of the river."

"Sad to see the building is boarded up". commented Allen.

"It was used by the NHS", replied Dad. "I remember bringing your Uncle Brian here a few times for his Heart Failure course involving gentle exercises."

The large areas of crocus were nearly over with the daffodils now blooming.

"What a beautiful sight", called out Southey. Will you take a close up of some crocus. They are so colourful."

By the house is this circle of crocus, surrounding a recently planted tree.

Grizzly said, "the notice explains about it. Please take a picture to include in our story."

"We cross the park and then exit onto Torrisholme Road", instructed Shaun.

Turning left we passed under the railway bridge.

Shaun issued the next guidance, "now right along Watery Lane."

Keeping our eyes peeled Little Eric called out, "here."

"Shame about those dropped cans. I wish everyone would not litter", growled Tetley.

It's to the end of the street, then there should be a sign for a footpath", advised Southey.

Here we entered Barley Cop Woods. "Look at those animal sculptures", pointed Grizzly. "They make me smile."

The clear path led through the woods...

... passing this wooden train...

...and then exiting onto Barley Cop Lane, dominated now by the bridge carrying The Bay Gateway over the West Coast Mainline.

"We all remember this being built before the link to the M6 opened in October 2016", stated Tetley.

"So, where now?", asked Little Eric.

"Right along the lane and under the railway bridge then left along Folly Lane, past the farm and on uphill to come to the canal and join the towing path at bridge 112", instructed Shaun.

Turning north the canal stretched out before us the water reflected blue under the cloudless sky.

It was just lovely walking along here, Shaun saying, "we will leave the canal at bridge 115."

There Little Eric said, "a seat. Just the place to have our picture taken."

Crossing the bridge Dad negotiated the at first muddy then tarmac track to Hasty Brow Lane.

Sighing Dad said, "I wish I had a pound for every time a drove up and down here when I was working in Kendal."

"Long time ago now", replied Allen.

"Aye lad more than 22 years now."

Dad did not need any instructions. It was left then straight ahead at the crossroads along Throstle Grove.

"Look the old stocks", called out Grizzly.

Then in a few yards we reached the A6 opposite the Cross Keys.

Down the bottom of the hill, Shaun said, "through the stile by the gate, then uphill through the hedge to the top of the next field."

Still bare the trees were stark against the sky. "Take some shots, to add different pictures to the story", suggested Tetley.

At the top there was no clear indication of the route. Shaun as usual came to the rescue. "Go left by the hedge then right through the gate."

There he went on "now half left to corner."

Here the stile was waymarked. "What would we do without you", called out Little Eric.

"Well after 1000 walks I have plenty of experience."

It was then just a case of following the directions of the waymarks. A flock of sheep were grazing and they were totally unfazed by our presence.

"Darn", called out Allen. "Here goes the sheep picture free story, and I was doing so well.

By now Dad had the camera out. Here is the result. First this group...

...and this individual.

Coming to the Bay Gateway we crossed Beaumont Gate Bridge.

Dropping left to a gate then across the field to bottom left corner. "Huh", said Southey, "the gate is tied and chained closed."

"Well it is the only exit from this field so must be the path", replied Tetley. "Not very walker friendly."

No problem for our Dad who easily climbed over.

Keeping by the hedge two more stiles took us onto a track.

"Right to the road", called out Shaun, "then left."

This took us over the canal and shortly onto Halton Road going right...

to eventually leave it left along paths to Skerton Bridge and so to the start.

"A lovely varied and interesting walk", commented Allen.

"One we could repeat too if you do not want to drive far to the start, Dad", added Grizzly.

"Not too far either at 4 miles", went on Little Eric.

"Then he saw Shaun and Southey looking closely at the GPS. "It's actually 6 miles", said Southey.

"That is not the first time that the walks from the Lancaster Guardian have under estimated the distance", commented Tetley. "The same happened with that walk round Winmarleigh that we started from where the Hamilton Arms used to be on the A6."

"Ok, home first to change then off to the River Bela Cafe", said Dad.

Of course we got to go and sit in too. Getting a cheery welcome from Martyn and Sarah. He had scampi with chips and beans. Tea in his big Denby pot, and then delicious apple and berry crumble and custard. Bob and Kate Parratt were there and Dad had a chat with them too.

"A good day" chimed up Tetley as we drove home.


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