The Canal & River Trust charity’s mission is to #KeepCanalsAlive and, as a business that has such close proximity to the Lancaster Canal, we’re all for celebrating British waterways. In a previous blog, we’ve introduced you to our section of the canal, but did you know there are lots of activities you can enjoy both on the water or alongside it? Here’s The Longlands snapshot of things to do on the Lancaster Canal.
Paddle your own canoe
There’s no doubt that some of the area’s well-known lakes can become a little crowded during the summer months, so why not try canoeing, kayaking, or even stand up paddleboarding at a more chilled pace on the Lancaster Canal. You won’t need to worry about any boats zooming past you, simply embrace the solitude, soak up the nature, and appreciate the slower pace of life. Just remember you need a licence to take any kind of boat (including SUPs) onto the canal, but The Canal & River Trust produces a handy guide to tell you how to buy a short term or monthly licence. *If you’re a British Canoeing member, you don’t need to worry about a licence as this gives you access to the entire canal network.
Afternoon Teas & Chippy quizzes
Whether you’re a fondant fancier, delight in a deli board, or crave a traditional chippy tea, you can enjoy them all on the Lancaster Canal. Kingfisher Cruises depart from Lancaster (and some from Carnforth) and offer a great way to experience the canal and its surrounds without having to lift a finger. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a bite to eat and a few drinks on the ‘Kingfisher’ – a 65-footlongboat, which seats just over 50 people. Your food will be served to your table, there’s a fully licenced bar, and there’s also entertainment – including quiz nights – on selected cruises. The Lune Aqueduct cruises from Lancaster take in the impressive Grade I listed stone aqueduct structure.
If you prefer to catch your own rather than have it served up with salt ‘n’ vinegar, there are plentiful peaceful places to fish along the Lancaster Canal. You’ll need a rod licence, which you can get from gov.uk, or you could get in touch with a local club such as Clear Water Fisheries at Carnforth. Clear Water offers day ticket fishing on an 80-acre site with lakes and pits stocked with catfish, bream, tench, and carp including some 20lb + specimens. August is also National Fishing Month where lots of events up and down the country celebratethe social, wellbeing, and environmental benefits of angling.
Go wildlife spotting
Canals are home to an abundance of bird life including moorhens, mallards, herons, buzzards, lapwings, swans, coots, and Canada geese. Then of course there’s the colourful kingfisher, which can be found around canals and other wetlands at all times of the year. The unmistakeable bright metallic blue and coppery orange bird is a sight to behold as it dips in and out of the water. Truly the ‘king of fishers’, kingfishers feed on fish, tadpoles, shrimps, and other available aquatic insects and are impressive predators when you watch them at work.
Get on your bike
Cycling on the canal towpath offers fairly big rewards in the form of some beautiful views across Morecambe Bay for minimum effort. However, some of our personal favourites include a mixture of low impact canal towpath rides and more challenging sweeping lanes of nearby villages including Arnside, Silverdale, and Borwick. A good 2-hour loop from The Longlands follows the towpath to Borwick before joining Borwick Road to Kirkby Lonsdale Road, and down to Green Lane. Be warned – the quite infamous sharp hairpin on Green Lane is the most challenging part of the ride! After that tough climb, you might want to head straight down through Halton to Slyne and rejoin the canal towpath back to The Longlands. Or if your legs have recovered, you could extend the ride by following the River Lune to Lancaster and return through Morecambe. *Just don’t forget the Towpath Code when cycling on the canal – Share the Space, Drop your Pace!