Tales from The Canal Bank: June – The sound of leather against willow…..

The sound of leather against willow on a summer Saturday afternoon and a walk along the Lancaster Canal from Tythebarn House B&B in Holme has a nostalgic feel to it.  Over the hedge are the cricketers, distinctive in white and cheering each other on to victory. Just some of the canal-side characters we have here in Holme.

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In days gone by the local characters would be seen on the canal as well as beside it.  As a corridor for trade between Lancaster and Kendal  it was a busy stretch especially around Holme Mills where coconut matting, and later Goodacre Carpet, was manufactured.  A ring tie  along the way is a reminder of those times when a  boat would have moored up.  Their horse tethered,  with nosebag attached, to rest awhile .

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An unusual sight in today’s world you would think, but further along these two are often seen, tethered in the old way with leather strap, rope and post;  munching away on a patch of grass on or near to the canal. Guests who come across them can feel a little nervous, but they are a friendly pair give passers-by an easy-going nod of acknowledgement between mouthfuls.

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With just a little imagination it is easy  to conjure up a picture of barge-men and their animals. Maybe with a cat or two on board, to keep the mice away.

Cat along Lancaster Canal Holme

Today Mr Tom Cat loves to  patrol his patch,  keeping an eye on things, especially those hens just a stretch of water away over on the other side.

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I wonder if barge-men would have bartered lumps of coal for local eggs as they slid by. Today it’s half a dozen eggs in exchange for a pound coin, left in the blue ‘honesty box’ not far from bridge 152.

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With no boats along our stretch of the canal it is now a place of peace and tranquility, a haven for wildlife, where locals exercise their dogs  and boys hope to catch a fish or two.

Lancaster Canal Holme.

For us it is a favourite route to the allotment or the place for a quiet evening stroll.  For guests it is an early morning peep before breakfast to capture the essence of Holme on camera before moving on.  For walkers it is a stretch of the Limestone Link and Wainwright’s Way, with glimpses of Lake District fells in the distance.  For all of us it is a place of peace and tranquility, to muse on times gone by and be thankful for today.

Tythebarn House B&B is close by,  it’s just a few steps from our door to the canal towpath.  Guests are often surprised and always pleased to discover this bonus to their overnight stop. Just expecting a place to put their head for the night, there is so much more to discover right on our doorstep.

More Tales from the Canal Bank

May 2013

April 2013

To book in at Tythebarn House B&B.

Photos by Diana Brown

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