Day 44: 06 May 2014; Lancaster to Crooklands

Day 44: 06 May 2014; Lancaster to Crooklands
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 44
Date Tue 06 May 2014 Start to end time 06h 58m
Start point Lancaster End point Crooklands
Miles today 20.75 Cu miles 819.74
Ft today 1,127 Cu ft 115,318
Route miles left 663.96 Route ft left 82,972
Today’s weather Overnight rain cleared by 7 am; then bright and sunny with white clouds. Southwesterly breeze. About 14C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“After yesterday’s easy walk and luxurious passage through Lancaster, I felt I needed to start getting back to the real world of “LEJOG-ing” and today was a perfect way of rehabilitating myself. It was a longer walk than lately – at over 20 miles – and with a bit more climbing thrown in.

I was away by 7:30 and once again a friend accompanied me for the early part of the walk. He was able to fill me in on a lot of the historic detail of the area, which made the walk much more interesting. The overnight rain had cleared by the time I set off and during the morning the weather just got better and better. Never hot, but bright and sunny with dramatic blue and white skies, and a light breeze. The countryside was almost dazzlingly colourful.

This is my fourth successive day of canal-side walking and the novelty is beginning to wear off a bit.    But the excitement of passing through the 800-mile barrier helped make up for it, and the canal still had plenty to show.   The Lune Aqueduct, just North of Lancaster, was a magnificent piece of architecture – now a Grade 1 listed building – and incredibly impressive. The canal snaked north from there, sandwiched between the M6 motorway and the West Coast Main Rail Line. I couldn’t help contrasting the insistent roar of the motorway with the near silence of the railway, punctuated only occasionally by the whisper of a passing train.

At Tewitfield, the canal is sliced in half by the motorway, and north of that point is non-navigable. This Northern section must have been a later addition to the lock-free lower section, as it contains 8 locks and didn’t open until some 20 years after the southern part. The path continues along the remains of the old canal, and crosses back and forth across the motorway. I realised that I preferred walking with the motorway on my right, as the westerly breeze blew the noise away, making it a quieter and more pleasant walk.

I’m camping tonight in Crooklands – in the shadow of the motorway, but convenient for a nearby hotel, where I’m meeting up with more friends this evening. Tomorrow I head over to Windermere and the Lake District “proper”. Slightly disappointingly, the campsite in Windermere was already full when I tried to book it a week ago, so I’ll be staying in a B&B again. Another hardship, but I guess I’ll survive..”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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Leaving Lancaster this morning for another canalside hike North The Lune Aqueduct – a fantastic piece of engineering, another Rennie masterpiece of 1797. Cost £50,000 which was 2.5x the original estimate and almost bankrupted the canal company. Special volcanic powder was mixed with the cement to enable it to set underwater
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I realise that this blog has omitted pictures of nuclear power stations for over a week now, so here to make up are two for the price of one at Heysham The upper reaches of the Lancaster canal are cut off from the rest by the M6 motorway and have not been used since 1942. But the locks and bridges are in surprisingly good condition and there is a move to re-open this section at some point
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Walking alongside the canal I was sandwiched between the M6 and the railway. Anyway I was delighted to have made my entrance to the lake District! Crops covered with polythene tubing made a dramatic skyline
Looking down from the canal onto the village of Holme Mills
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
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