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Lancashire Coat of Arms

Jul 2019

cran crane (bird) + ford Old English (river) crossing.

Population - 5,560.

Lancashire Coat of Arms

The common crane that helped to name that toon used to be just that in England. Their eggs, however, were found to be quite tasty and medieval omelettes saw them go the way of the dodo.

Nowhere Near Carforth - Grus grus

Since this isn't  Norfolk, the best you can expect to see is a heron, even though they're not related, and a big clue's just been glimpsed on the way in.

That makes more for an excuse for a leg stretch, really, following a monsoon morning on Morecambe Bay before an encounter with the town itself that could best be described as brief.

Park up for free in the sidestreets by the train station from where it's uphill either way.

New Street does that, up to the  A6 where you'll have to watch your  Green Cross Code™s before turning left into a cul-de-sac leading to Towpath Lane.

Carnforth - New Street Carnforth - Lancaster Canal

The next bit might involve part of someone's back garden prior to some steps up to the Lancaster Canal, like you weren't expecting already.

Forty-plus miles it runs down from Kendal, snucking under the M6 until it peters out in Preston. The width of the watercourse might be explained by there being no locks along its entirety so any plans to go  gongoozling have had to be abandoned.

You could carry on past the pub but the next stop looks to be Lancaster so you'll find yourself having to make your very own  Canal Turn.

Back along and past where you first emerged, things turn more typical, canal-wise, so nothing wrong with a friendly wave, eh? Make the most of it and give 'em both hands since Carnforth's cruisers will briefly be barred along this bit.

Carnforth - Lancaster Canal Carnforth - Tubewrights Bridge

The distinctive, steel-tube bridge might look like a fine piece of built-to-last, Victorian engineering but it's due to be replaced during January 2020. It was manufactured in Monmouthshire, post-war, probably, and that's not an attempt to diminish their engineering abilities.

The one  over to Anglesey still does superb supporting work and while Thomas Telford can hardly claim to hail from Harlech, say, the construction workers of Caernarfonshire were the ones who dealt with the nuts and bolts.

This, by the way, a purely personal attempt to build bridges back with the Welsh having not been particularly praiseworthy of Portmeirion.

Market Street leads conveniently back to Carnforth with refreshments available at the old-skool  Shovel Inn.

Carnforth - Shovel Inn

1750 says the lintel, which sounds a little early for last orders, and some advising trippers suggest that was the year they last hoovered.

Others, on the other hand, say it's just the quenching job if you like it kept traditional.

Back over the A6, business is still booming at  Carnforth Books. One for the bibliophiles, this, with 100,000 items of second-hand stock, they say, although this one lost count at about fifty-odd.

Carnforth Bookshop

It's a good job they don't depend on those now lazily ordering online. Can you imagine having to touch up that sign if the customer base ever dwindles, eh?

Down the hill and the 1924 World War I memorial originally commemorated those killed in the Great War, a large number of whom served with the  Royal Lancaster Regiment.

Carnforth Cenotaph

The unveiling was captured on film by the owner of the local cinema and a painstaking restoration means the footage can still be seen.

The 'Kinema' was renamed the Roxy before converting to the Co-op™ and the neo-classical frontage wouldn't look out of place in Athens, say?

Carnforth - Co-op™

Over there, though, you'd need to ask for directions to the Κο-θπ™ where it's not thought your divvy card will get a discount on the dolmades.

It's over the bridge and up into the  Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and, as should be known by now, they don't hand them awards out willy-nilly.

Things weren't always quite so scenic on the way out, however, when heavy industry came to Carnforth thanks to the railway. This in the form of an Iron Works to smelt ore ferried in from Furness although they'd run out of steam by the '30s.

 
Old School Brewery (Holly Bank, Warton)

On the way you'll pass through the village of Warton, home to the Old School Brewery that borders on the crafty so it's actually anything but. They've a presence on the local pumps and their educationally-themed ales, particularly the 'Textbook', have got this one remembering their O Level chemistry exam. That was an 'A' as well.

That's very much unlike the train station that still hosts the occasional chuff-chuff including one in April 2020 to celebrate seventy-five years since the filming of  Brief Encounter.

Carnforth Station Heritage Centre

The link with the film isn't quite as random as it sounds since the station provided  Lean with the famous platform scenes, you see, although  Trev and  Ceels' assignation at the cinema wasn't in the Roxy.

It's still a stopping-on-and-off point for a local service but also home to a  Heritage Centre focused not just on the film but the golden age of steam. The restaurant resembles the original set and you can look at an old clock, which just about justifies the entrance fee being free.

If you've never seen Brief Encounter...

This can't last. This misery can't last...

Come on! Carnforth ain't all that bad even if there isn't a great deal going on and the main temptation looks to be up at the Old School Brewery.

Carnforth - Market Street

Not unless, that is, you've got something in your eye and there's a handsome-looking doctor on hand.