canal Archives – Salty John : The Blog

Sunday was a glorious spring day up here in the northwest so we went for a little tootle down the Lancaster Canal on Minnie, the yacht that thinks it’s a narrowboat. There were few other boats about which is typical of this waterway at any time of the year – we enjoy the relative solitude but it baffles me when the marinas are packed with boats. In my experience it’s like this in most boating centres – 80 percent of boats never leave the dock. I suppose we should be grateful they don’t or the adjacent waters would be heaving with activity.

Last August I reported the sighting of a terrapin sunning itself on a log on a nearby stretch of the canal. Here’s a picture I snapped at the same place on Sunday – it looks like this terrapin has taken up permanent residence in this spot. Terrapins are not indigenous to Britain, we don’t have any native turtles, but many terrapins and tortoises set loose when the Ninja Turtle craze abated have taken well to the British way of life.

I apologise for the inferior quality of the picture: I was steering with my foot, negotiating a bend and passing a parked narrowboat whilst snapping away.

Wrapped up warmly against the chilly breeze we idled north along the Lancaster Canal on this perfect autumn morning, sun sparkling off the rippled surface.

A convoy of swans escorted us for a while as we pottered past farmers’ fields and beneath stone bridges.

We didn’t meet another boat, nor towpath walker, angler or blackberry picker during our couple of hours on the water.

And then it was back to Salty John Towers for fried egg butties and footie on the box. Bliss.

We’ve had something of an Indian summer this past week so Minnie, the yacht that thinks it’s a narrow boat, was out and about on the Lancaster Canal.

The term Indian summer was coined in America, by the way, and has nothing to do with the Indian sub-continent. The Indians on the US east coast, aware of the debilitating effect of working and harvesting in the summer heat and humidity, would wait for warm snaps in the autumn to get out into the fields. Hence, an Indian summer is a warm spell in the fall.

On Friday we took an extra couple of hours at lunchtime and tootled down the canal to the Hand & Dagger for a pint and a sandwich. The pub overlooks the canal and there are convenient mooring bollards close by. The ham sandwich on brown bread with a little salad garnish and homemade mustard was delicious, as was my pint of Boddingtons bitter.

All in all a pleasant interlude from the backbreaking work and overpowering stress that constitute daily life at the coal face of Salty John Boat Products and Metz Europe.