A highlight of the day was a flash of turquoise – the first Kingfisher I’ve seen for a year.
Progress up the canal is being made slowly with my self imposed limit of 8miles flat walking, however there is no deterioration in the hip ligaments which are improving with my physio exercises. fingers crossed. I have just realised that in 60 years of walking and climbing this was the first time I’d sought the help of a physiotherapist.
Today’s companions were Peter and Denise again. My car was left at Holme and the bus taken back to Carnforth. I’m making good use of my bus pass on this walk, maybe this could be developed into a theme. There is one blogger I’ve come across who ticks off the Wainwrights using only public transport, well not the summits themselves but just getting to the areas.
We meander out of Carnforth with interesting road and railway bridges. The first bridge as we leave the town has been sympathetically widened at some time to accommodate more traffic. Bridges under the motorway are more brutal.
Rural calm returns as we reach the aqueduct over the River Keer, the converted mill below has a restored waterwheel and was coincidentally almost purchased by Peter and Denise when they moved to the area. Looked a bit dark and damp to me. Old milestones are visible along this stretch, 17miles to Kendal!
At nearby Capernwray we were entertained by a tractor trying to manoeuvrer a mammoth caravan down the lane under the railway bridge. The attached holiday site is in an old limestone quarry, Wegber, with cranes still visible and a little further a short canal branch into the quarry area for loading the limestone.
We passed by Borwick Hall, just visible through the trees on the other side, an Elizabethan manor house. And then we were at Tewitfield a significant location on the canal. So far I’ve walked 42 miles dead level on the 70ft contour but today things change and the canal, now defunct, rises 75ft in half a mile. This northern section to Kendal was opened in 1819 and was closed in 1968 with the building of the M6. 8 locks lifted the canal from the basin before level going to Kendal. The basin where the canal navigation now ends is a holiday complex with not particularly well-designed apartments.
Creeping alongside the motorway we reach the start of the ascending lock system. Plans have been muted for years to restore this northern section but they have come to very little.
At the top of the lock system the motorway delivers the final ‘coup de grâce’ …
We find a way across the M6 and resume our stroll along the towpath as if nothing had happened. Ahead was the distinctive outline of Farleton Fell, once one of our popular evening climbing venues on less than solid limestone.
Passing the settlement of Holme Mill we saw the millpond supplying a once industrious linen mill. Flax was grown in the area for the production of linen before King cotton took over.
We didn’t enjoy the boggy stretch of ‘towpath’ ahead…
However, there was a final triumphant flourish on arriving in Holme with the appearance of well-preserved coke ovens on the far bank. I mentioned these in my last post when we were unable to identify any. The ‘beehive’ ovens were used to produce better firing smokeless fuel from coal for the use of blacksmiths and bakers, and later for iron smelting.
Turned out to be an interesting day. Will be back to bridge 149 as soon as possible to complete the journey.
There were few boats on this section of the canal so my ‘Corniest boat name of the day’ has become ‘corniest boat of the day’