The Lune loop

I don't really do canals. In fact I have resisted this trip for around four years - I think it was 2008 when Mike first suggested it. I suppose paddling The Lune loop was inevitable really. I took the Legend Wings, in the vain hope of keeping pace with Mike and Tim in the K2 - training of sorts for the Devizes-Westminster next year. Them, not me.
Time for a few adjustments to the K2 before launching for the second or third time after one of the five locks that characterise the first few miles after leaving Glasson Dock.
A grassy bank provides an easy seal launch...
...while Tim helps Chris check just how deep the canal is around here.
Another lock, another portage - beautiful light though...
...paddling on towards Lancaster, The Dales beyond.
T-Shirt weather apparently.
A flash of blue before the reeds...
...a Kingfisher. I can't remember the last time I saw one - perhaps the canal isn't so bad after all.
Leaving the canal for The Lune, the temperature has plummeted and the light is rapidly failing - perhaps an hour left before dark and 10km or so to go - and then disaster. After portaging the weir, Tim and Mike launched from a rocky spit into a shallow channel. Distracted by the numbing cold, I only realised something was wrong when they turned the boat over to empty a flooded hull, revealing a crack that was clearly going to require more than a little gaffer tape. Tim opted to run and Mike waited while Chris and I paddled on into the gloom. A big tide meant the ebb flow was running strongly, pulling us rapidly through Lancaster and out into the estuary.
It was an eerie run - the sound of rushing waters, lapwing and the hoarse cry of a heron, the wind bitter and the moon bright. An hour later we crawled, waded and dragged our boats through the mud, once more beneath Glasson Dock. An unpleasant end to what was, after all, a surprisingly enjoyable paddle.


For reasons too boring to outline, I once carried/ paddled/towed/ portaged two slalom boats at once, from Lancaster Uni to Halton rapids on the Lune, via the canal. Miserable as this experience already was, it got a lot worse when I discovered that a 1 mile stretch of the canal in central Lancaster was drained dry...