Friday, 12 June 2015

Connections Made and Lost

Having had to turn down no fewer than three invitations for a bit of boating this week I thought I'd make the best of a chance to do a bit of mooring monitoring for CRT instead. In theory, I can cover the whole of my patch between Lancaster and Tewitfield by bus in about an hour and a half, including monitoring all four sites. However, this depends on spending only 18 minutes at Hest Bank, due to the timetables of the 5 and 55 buses that I can use. In practice this isn't long enough as the 48hr moorings are quite a way from the bus stops and most boats tie up at the far end of them where the views across Morecambe Bay to the Lake District fells are better.

Today the plan fell down at the first hurdle as the bus from Lancaster to Hest Bank turned up 8 minutes late. It had been delayed by roadworks outside Lancaster, a diversion caused by more road closures at Hest Bank itself and because it was the first bus after half-past-nine and thus busy with old fogies (like me) waving their bus passes.
Moorings at Hest Bank, Lancaster Canal
View from the towpath at Hest Bank (with the tide out!)
With a lost connection at Hest Bank I had the option of waiting the remainder of the hour for the following 55 or walking to the next site, at Carnforth.  Whilst making up my mind I sat on a bench and found out how many CRT men it takes to put up a notice board!
The answer was three!
I decided to walk to Carnforth, but soon realised that it was further than I'd thought and when the canal met the bus route again at Bolton-le-Sands there was a bus due in about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, there was no bus stop in sight. The view of the road back towards Lancaster was obstructed and it was possible that there might be a stop just around the bend, but the oncoming bus would reach that stop earlier, and if I then missed it I would have had to retrace my steps. So despite there being no stop in sight I walked towards Carnforth as quickly as I could manage, resisting all the while the temptation to keep looking over my shoulder. I reached the stop before the bus - but something didn't seem right. There was a shelter, but no stop sign and the shelter itself was situated on a side-road junction and very near a pelican crossing. In short, not a place you'd be allowed to have a bus stop nowadays.  I couldn't see a stop sign on the pavement anywhere nearby, but after a lifetime working with buses I can spot a bus passenger when I see one, and a young lady standing on the side of the road about 50 metres away gave the game away. I walked over to join her arriving just as the bus did! (The stop sign was hidden by overhanging trees).
The rest of the check passed without incident and after completing my rounds at Tewitfield I was met by old friends Hugh and Jeanette, who were on holiday in the area, and taken by car to Arnside for a walk on the prom and a fish and chip lunch with tea and cakes to follow!

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