Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Dredging Glasson Dock

Glasson Dock with "Walter" in the foreground.
A cycle ride today, down to Glasson Dock on my 25-year old Raleigh Randonneur, which is old enough to have been "built in Nottingham" (albeit with quite a few Japanese components). A fast run there, with the wind behind me on the A588 (which is not as busy or unpleasant as you might think) and a slower - but flatter - return on the old railway line cycle path to Lancaster.  The Raleigh goes by the name of "Walter" (geddit?).  I have another touring bike - a Dawes. Can you guess what she's called?

I got there just in time to see the dredger in action. It appeared to be dredging immediately below the lock that leads from the canal basin into the main dock - which in turn leads to the River Lune and the Irish Sea. The route is used by sea-going yachts, hence the need to keep the channel deep enough.
The dredger was reversing up to the tail of the lock before lowering the "scoop"

The lock links the upper Canal Basin to the main dock and thence the River Lune

Once the scoop was fully lowered the dredger powered away into the dock,

The dredger proceeded the full length of the dock, where the scoop was raised, presumably depositing the dredgings into the dock.  In what may, or may not have been a related exercise the grab-dredger on the dock wall appeared to be removing silt from behind the main dock gates and depositing it back into the dock behind where the dredger is in this image!                                                                                                                

As you will gather from the captions I wasn't really sure exactly what was going on, but it made for an entertaining half-hour before the journey back.  Despite its diminutive size  - and the proximity of the much larger dock at Heysham, Glasson remains a working port. It is home to the last traditional shipping service (i.e. one where freight is craned on and off rather than going aboard in containers or in lorries) in Europe, operated by the small coaster "Silver River" to Ramsey on the Isle of Man, whilst larger vessels use the outer, tidal river wharf to land grain from Ireland, although there was nothing commercial at all in port today.

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