Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Forth and Clyde Canal - Bowling to Dalmuir

It has long been our intention to relocate to Scotland when we retire but decided to have our boating adventure before we made that move.  Our daughter Sharon and her family live in Largs which is on the west coast of Scotland about 30 minutes drive from Glasgow.  Apart from taking this holiday to visit Sharon and family we wanted to spend some time discovering the lowland canals as we have this idea that we could either take RnR out and transport her to Scotland or perhaps sell her and buy a widebeam to live on.
The Forth and Clyde Canal is only 35 miles long from coast to coast and has 38 locks not including the sea locks, therefore continuous cruisers are not allowed!  Boaters have to declare a home birth before being allowed a boating licence and on looking into costs we find that BW moorings are much cheaper than in the south and all have electricity and water available. We were unable on this trip to see the whole of the canal but what we did see was impressive.  It would certainly have been easier to travel by boat than by car to get alongside the canal and this could well be an option on our next visit here
From our holiday cottage on Cumbrae we took the ferry to the mainland and travelled north through Greenock and over the Erskine Bridge.  You can just make out Bowling where the canal starts in the middle of the above picture as we cross the bridge over the river Clyde. 
the old and the new, the start and the end.
Erskine Bridge from Bowling; this is where river traffic can access the canal
the 'safe habour' to access ...
... the sea lock  ...
... lock 40
looking seawards from lock 40 - the BW sign reads 'Haste ye back'
as the sign says sections of the towpath are shared with the 'Loch and Glens' cycle route so for those going by 'boot' they need to watch out! We start our towpath walk to Dalmuir here
BW area office at Bowling originally the customs house
there are several of these lovely wood carved seats and statues around Bowling Basin; I'm sure that the area is well used by visitors during the summer
Bowling Basin just above the sea lock
another view of the moorings taken from the lock
lock 38 into the upper part of Bowling Basin 
and we see narrowboats - great!
Mr and Mrs Swan and family are obviously used to being fed from both the towpath and the off-line
the River Clyde runs alongside the canal just here and is less than 100 yards away
Ferrydyke Bascule Bridge - all the bridges and locks are BW operated
the mechanics of a bascule (lift) bridge
approaching lock 37 in the sunshine (but it was bitter cold!)
there are pontoons at all the lock and bridge sites where boaters can safely wait for the lock keeper to arrive
and although there is not a lot of movement on the canal, these pontoons are in excellent repair
an escape/exit hatch under Erskine Bridge .. scary biscuit!!
into a maintenance cage which motors along the underside to facilitate inspection and repairs
Erskine Ferry - there used to be a chain ferry in operation here
but it's now a road bridge - again operated by BW operatives for boats
this notice by the ferry bridge made us smile - especially the 'please do ... make sure your bicycle has a valid licence didn't know the had to ??
the towpath is well signed for all travellers
FarmRroad bascule bridge
our destination 4km from Bowling
Dalmuir Drop Lock
Operating Instructions for the Drop Lock
quite an experience I'm sure!
William Beardmore and Company's HQ was in Dalmuir - builders of aircraft carries, destroyers etc
 After a very welcome cup of tea and toilet stop we started our walk back to the car at Bowling when we saw movement on the other side of the canal - Red Fox cubs!
a luck find for me
to photograph
the view of the river Clyde just over the bank.
A great day on (alongside anyway) the canal - watch this space for more of this canal.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Firth of Clyde Traffic

too much wash to see the name of this one!
Youngsters from the National Sports Centre for Scotland Watersports Training Centre were out in force on Tuesday 19th that's the Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry in the background just leaving Great Cumbae Slip
another fast one - the ferry is nearly at the terminal in Largs
Another ferry, this one its way from Rothsay on the Isle of Bute to Wemyes Bay (pronounced Weems)
not sure what this installation is off the coast but it has something to do with Hunterston Power Station
we've just driven onto the RORO (roll on, roll off) Ferry at Largs terminus
it's very windy and quite rough as we cross the Firth of Clyde
but we arrive safely at Cumbrae Slip
Cargo Ship Leo Felicity on it's way to Hunterston Power Station with tug boat Svitzer Anglegarth in the rear
IMO Number: 9144110
Bollard Pull Ahead: 66t
Delivered: 1996
Status: Active at Milford Haven and Pembroke since ?(classictugs.co.uk)
Tug Svitzer Milford guiding Leo Felicity
IMO Number: 9440760
Bollard Pull Ahead: ?
Delivered: April 2009
Status: Active at Milford Haven since April 2009.
(info from Classictugs.co.uk)
tug boat "Bruiser" and sailing yacht 
a busy Sunday just outside our holiday cottage
hustling for position around the buoy
too far away to put a name to!
SO Salmour - tanker - I couldn't find anything out about this vessel except that Salmour is an Italian town in the Piedmont region. 
the Isle of Bute/Wemyes Bay ferries passing each other
the Largs ferry approaching Cumbrae Slip - taken from to inner road