Sunday 27 August

A bit of a lie in, then a quick tidy round and dinner prepared before Pip and Mick joined us and we headed out to catch the 11.11 bus to Kendal.  An “Adult NW Explorer” ticket at £11 was the price we paid on the 755 bus from Rushley Drive at Hest Bank.  We sat upstairs occupying the front four seats.

For some of the way our journey ran parallel to the canal along the A6 and it was fun to see familiar   places from a different height.

After passing the Tewitfield locks, that marked the end of the navigable canal (and where we reached last Wednesday), the A6 veered further west than the line of the dis-used canal so we sat back to enjoy the scenery of the remaining 15 miles to Kendal.  (It is possible, using Google Earth on line, to follow the line that the canal once took.  The canal remains in water as far as Stainton Beck but after that it appears as a dark green line interrupted by occasional bridges standing isolated in the middle of fields).

Neither Storm nor I can recall visiting Kendal before, even though we’ve visited The Lakes many times in the past and we were pleasantly surprised at its charm.    There was a good range of shops, interesting architecture, an illustrated history told on information boards around the town, the River Kent and lots of arts and culture to be enjoyed, all set amongst the beautiful backdrop of the Cumbrian hills.

The Recycling Centre – coping stones of the canal still visible

With the help of Google Maps we managed to find the original terminus at Canal Head North, now built over by the Recycling Centre.  We followed the footpath south which runs along the line of the original canal and came across a canal bridge that was still in good repair.

A little further on we came across the Kendal Changeling bridge, the only turnover bridge in Cumbria, and which is now a listed building.  Instead of follow the route of the canal further we returned to town.

Changeline bridge – used when towpath changed sides to transport horses pulling barges, without needing to untie them.

After lunch with two hours remaining before it was time to catch our bus back, we wandered away from the town through one of the many “yards” that found us twisting and turning up snickets and down snickets to look at some of the many attractive stone houses with wonderful views over Kendal’s rooftops to the hills beyond.

Eventually a little footweary, we sat beside the river watching the birds balancing on the weir top for a while before going to the bus stop to catch the late arriving bus home.

The bus took a different route back, along narrow lanes which with the sway of the double decker bus gave us a good upper body workout as we tried to stay in our seats.

We got off the bus at a different stop and Mick used his Google Maps app on his phone to find the quickest route back to the boats via snickets, footpaths and finally the towpath.

It was nearly 7pm when we got back and I’m sure we’d covered several miles on foot, as well as about 44 miles by bus.

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