Glasson Clock

Slow scuppering

Glasson is a peaceful place for ships to slowly sink. A boatman told me it was natural causes. A lack of maintenance allowed the lapping water to penetrate, gradually lowering the hull, until it was too late. That’s what happened in his opinion.

It was sad to see it go. It’s still there, though there’s less of it, and most is now beneath the surface.

It’s taken a while, but things generally take their time at Glasson. Even the motorcyclists pass at a pedestrian pace. They’ve been passing for as long as this former biker can remember, and stopping there too, for mugs of tea and slow reminiscences. It’s quietly popular with four-wheeled motorists also, especially on sunny days. Parking spaces are plentiful and modestly charged. Where you park was once a dry dock. Graving they called it.

In favourable weather this is an idyllic haven where a canal spur gently butts a small, but still working, harbour. Recreational sailors, if qualified and careful, can snake out to sea down along the Lune. Commercial freight goes that way too, often on three-legged voyages to the Isle of Man.


Glasson, as its reflective name suggests, is a place of tranquillity. In the centre is the marina, ducked and masted. To the north is the sea dock, a less leisurely pool where cranes engage in commercial loading over the sometimes swanned salt water.

Cross the swing bridge and climb the rise for what can be a far-horizon panorama sweeping south towards the Fylde, west to way beyond Sunderland, and north towards the Lake District.

Return back to Glasson’s belly (perhaps picking up something cured from the Port of Lancaster Smokehouse) and wander north easterly to view the great sweep of the Lune estuary.

Follow the former rail tack to Conder Green with its eel-like channel snaking by beached boats to the environs of the recently fire-damaged, and hopefully tastefully restored, Stork Hotel.


The name of the inn has altered down the ages but ale has been quaffed therein since the seventeenth century. The most renowned of the blind drunk was the allegedly blind sober river pilot who could navigate the treacherous Lune without the need for eyes by the sensing the movement of the boat. His steering was strange but true, they say. His most celebrated alleged customer was Lord Nelson, on an assignation to Ashton Hall, where Lady Hamilton lay in wait. That’s the vintage gossip.


The dock at Glasson was built towards the end of the eighteenth century because of the difficulties of navigating up the River Lune to the Port of Lancaster. Glasson is one of the very few locked docks in the country, allowing boats to remain afloat at more or less the same level once the tide recedes.

Prior to its construction Sunderland Point, across the estuary, performed a similar function. Sunderland (not to be confused with the city on the north east coast of the UK) was once the fourth largest port (after London, Liverpool and Bristol) for the West Indies trade. Some aspects of that were not the most laudable. There’s a much loved resting place of a cherished traveller from that shameful time. If you go, take care on how you get there. The tide can cover your tracks.

Glasson’s heyday came a little later and Sunderland’s prosperity rapidly waned. The canal link to Glasson was crucial, and eventually bettered by a rail line. You can now walk the length each of them. The path that was the steam traction track runs seven miles to Lancaster, the canal branch two and a half to join the main Lancaster-Preston waterway. Those routes were so efficient they even impacted on the use of Preston Dock, some twenty-five miles to the south, with some ships preferring the swifter access into and out of Glasson, rather than sailing up the frequently silting Ribble.

The rail station is long gone but was once alongside the quaint church. In summer sun, dragonflies sashay the graveyard. Meanwhile, herons pose front-of-house, rushes usher, fritillaries dance, and just occasionally, very occasionally, a narrowboat steals the show.

It’s worth a visit.

No need to applaud.

Just watch, and appreciate.



Glasson Dock features significantly in Ice & Lemon.

Another sure-sighted blind seafarer can be found in Papercuts

2 thoughts on “Glasson Clock

  1. This describes Glasson so well. A much loved destination for me also. The walk down to the marsh at Cockerham, then back up the coastal way, is an annual pilgrimage.


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