The River Lune, Lancaster
|- location||Wath, Ravenstonedale, Cumbria|
|- location||Plover Scar, Lancaster, Lancashire|
|Length||71 km (44 mi)|
|Wikimedia Commons: River Lune|
The river is formed at Wath, in the parish of Ravenstonedale, Cumbria, at the confluence of Sandwath Beck and Weasdale Beck. It then passes the remnants of a Roman fort near Low Borrowbridge at the foot of Borrowdale, and flows through south Cumbria, meeting the Irish Sea at Plover Scar near Lancaster, after a total journey of about 44 miles (71 km).
The valley of the Lune has three parts. The northern part between its source and Tebay is called Lunesdale. Below this is the spectacular Lune Gorge through which both the M6 motorway and the West Coast Main Railway Line run. Below the gorge, the valley broadens out into Lonsdale.
Bridges over the Lune include the Devil's Bridge near Kirkby Lonsdale and the Lune Millennium Bridge in Lancaster. At Caton, about 5 miles (8 km) upstream from Lancaster, there is a cluster of three bridges (one stone road bridge and two disused iron rail bridges now used as foot/cyclepaths) at the Crook o' Lune. Here in a 180 degree right hand bend the Lune turns back on itself; this is followed by a 90 degree left hand bend forming the shape of a shepherd's crook and creating a beauty spot which was painted by J. M. W. Turner.
The Lune is now tidal only below Skerton Weir in Lancaster. Four bridges in close proximity cross the estuary in Lancaster: Skerton Bridge (road), Greyhound Bridge (built as rail but now carries a road), Lune Millennium Bridge (pedestrian and cycle) and Carlisle Bridge (carrying the West Coast Main Line railway, and with a public walkway on the eastern side) which is the furthest downstream of the bridges. A Lancaster western bypass has been under discussion for many years. If it ever proceeds, a new bridge would be built downstream from Carlisle bridge.
This part of the Lune is also the site of the old Port of Lancaster, probably a port from Roman times; the Lancaster Port Commission was established in 1750 to improve navigation on the estuary. Between 1750 and 1767, St George's Quay and New Quay were built in Lancaster and in 1779 the port facilities were extended closer to the Irish Sea at Glasson Dock. In 1847 the Commissioners built a pair of lighthouses near Cockersand Abbey to help guide ships into the port. The lower lighthouse (sometimes called Abbey lighthouse) still stands on Plover Scar, and it remains operational. The old high light, a square wooden tower, was demolished in 1954; but the former keepers' cottage, built alongside the high light, can still be seen.
There are these theories about the name "Lune":
- From a Celtic word meaning "clean", "pure".
- Via Anglo-Saxon Ēa Lōn (ēa = "river") as a phonetic adaptation of a Celtic name referring to a Celtic god Ialonus who was worshipped in the area.
- Lune is the crescent shape of the oxbow in the river. Lune is generic for a river with prominent oxbow.
Near the mouth of the Lune, at Sunderland Point
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to River Lune.|
- Crook of Lune, Looking towards Hornby Castle, Tate Collection, accessed 2009-08-15
- http://www.lancs.ac.uk/depts/cnwrs/papers%20on%20the%20web/arch%20conf%20synopses%201996.rtf Dalziel N., The Port of Lancaster in the 18th Century, University of Lancaster - Archaeology Conference 2 March 1996
- Photo and details
- Ian G. Smith, Some Roman Place-names in Lancashire and Cumbria, Britannia xxix (1998), 372-383
- "Crook O' Lune bridge repairs start". BBC News Online. 18 March 2013.