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The Piddler. A site for boaters on the Lancaster Canal.

This site is for boaters. It's not about restoration, fishing, cycling, walking or any other canal related activity. It's just for boaters.

As well as talking about boats and providing useful navigation information, we hope to provide an insight into the history, features and beauty of this waterway, which has the enviable distinction of being home to Britain's longest lock-free stretch of canal.

You can contribute to the Boaters Guide by adding information to our maps. Just right click on the map to add your own pin and/or provide additional information on any location using the page comments.

Nearly all the photographs on this site are stored in sets or albums. You can upload your own photos to most of these sets but they will be subject to approval by the site administrator before appearing online. Please make sure you upload your images to the correct set. Especially into those appearing in the Boaters Guide.

If there's anything you'd like to see added or amended, please feel free to Contact Me.

Thanks for visiting...



The Piddler watches as a boat enters the top lock

Who or what was The Piddler?

The Piddler, was a 16ft oak sculpture alongside the Ribble Link which cost around 21,000GBP and was commissioned by British Waterways in 2003. Officially called "Gauging the Ripple", it was located at the staircase flight on the Millennium Ribble Link off Tom Benson Way, Preston.

The importance of water to the Millennium Ribble Link and the monumental nature of the staircase locks led Thompson Dagnall, a well known local sculptor, to use a theme of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water as the inspiration for the arts trail, an integral part of the new canal.

The 15ft statue was the first in a series of four pieces created by Thompson Dagnall.


The Piddler
At the head of the navigation a figure stares into the water "Gauging the Ripple", gauging the tidal window for crossing the Ribble, the height of water in the locks and the physical volume of water in the locks.

The "Ripple" as well as describing the surfaces of the water and alluding to its expanding influences, is also thought to be the original name for the River Ribble.

But it soon became damaged and, despite work to repair it and an attempt to bring a metal version back in 2009 it was scrapped in 2010 after an alleged row over funding for it.

Coun Ken Hudson, leader of the Conservative group on Preston Council and a keen user of the Ribble Link, said

The legs of the Piddler rotted.