Into Lancashire: Walking to Leeds, Section 3

After a month’s gap due to bad weather, colds and sea Kayaking (not me) our walking along the Leeds Liverpool Canal continues on a beautifully sunny and warm spring day, the Saturday before the clocks go forward.

We’ve both missed this time together and are glad to be back where we left off.

Here at Downholland Cross, by the Scarisbrick Arms.

Both fortified by some hand made Welsh fudge from our friend Jayne.

We set off.

We are now beyond the parts of this canal where either of us have ever walked before.

Spring is abundant along the towpath.

Out here on the Lancashire Plain.

Our first abandoned swing bridge of the day.

The remnant of a road no longer travelled.

Next, our first barge in motion since leaving Liverpool in Mid-February. We meet very few people along the canal, but the pubs and roads around us are busy.

Riding past the Ship Inn near Haskayne.

Soon after this the canal enters a cutting.Where we find out where this whole thing started.

Sarah manages to photograph one of the many bees.

While I manage what I think is a wasp. Sarah tells me though “It’s some sort of pollinator – probably a fly, that is a mimic of a wasp to keep predators away, or it could be a species of solitary bee.”

A bridge.

Leading to no path anymore.

The Saracen’s Head.

Sarah tells me this is the name of a knot at the end of a rope, looks like a turban.

We stop for lunch on the other side of the bridge there.

And watch the boats go by.

The Pride of Sefton.

Though we’re well outside of Liverpool we’re surrounded by scouse voices all day, all of us having a glorious day out.

Sarah stops to identify the birds over there in the trees.

“They’re definitely birds” she tells me, authoritatively.

Next, something I just can’t take to. A landscape defaced by static caravans.

I find it smugly suburban.

What hell could well look like, for me.

Sarah tells me that as long as you’ve got a license for the canal, she thinks you can indeed moor there. Unless anyone knows different?

Next, things get even worse. Our towpath blocked by barbed wire.

Forced along between fences.

Next to the locked in private moorings of the Scarisbrick Marina.

Sarah has actually been in there and tells me it’s a feast of ‘Do Not’ signs. So we walk on.

Past this lovely old slipway.

And this is almost certainly nothing to do with her, but here we pause and remember our old friend Dolly Lloyd from the Liverpool High Rise Tenants Group.

In this perfect heaven.

By now, having seen us walk past a couple of pubs you might, as ever, be wondering and worrying where we’re going to go for a wee.

Worry no more. We’re at Heatons Bridge.

Where we stop for a drink and the necessaries.

Maybe it’s the hot day and therefore my thirst, but the half of Heatons Bridge Cask Ale I drink here tastes like the finest beer I’ve had in my life.

Walking on. Parbold Hill in the distance. We’ll pass through Parbold on Section Four of this walk.

As the afternoon gets late and drowsy we sit down by the canal for half an hour. No point rushing the precious experience of being here.

Sarah takes a photograph of me using one of the effects on her camera.

Here it is. No Photoshop involved.

Sarah notices this little plaque on the edge of the canal where we’re sitting.

Any ideas?

Here we are then. Happy in this place, on this day.

We walk on.

Thinking “Haven’t we already seen that?”

Or do all abandoned swing bridges look like this?

Who knows?

Coming into the last mile or so of our walk, a delightful surprise.

A canal-side row of terraced houses.

What could be lovelier? To a terraced house fan.

Next, our first site of a swing bridge at work.

A proud dog oversees operations.

Nearly done now.

Into Burscough, our first bit of industrial landscape since Bootle.

And very strange. Not sure if it’s fairground storage or fairground graveyard?

Here’s where we get off then.

See you back here next time to walk from Burscough to Wigan in Section Four.

Arriving back in Liverpool at the end of a perfect day.

And here’s Sarah’s map of today’s walk. Section 3 of us walking from Liverpool to Leeds along the canal.

10 thoughts on “Into Lancashire: Walking to Leeds, Section 3

  1. jbaird

    Fabulous canal trip with all the scenery and finery regardless of the time changes. Our big canal in upstate New York looks so new by comparation.

    Reply
      1. jbaird

        Actually, the Erie Canal was built in1825, much earlier than I had thought. Not much later than the canal establishment leading to Leeds. The whole canal system itself in England and the U.S. is a marvel.

  2. robertday154

    A couple of things:

    The bridge that opened out just into a field, with no path, was almost certainly an ‘accommodation bridge’. When the line of the canal cut through a farmer’s field, the canal company had to build a bridge so that rights of access to the rest of the field were maintained. The same goes for railways. It’s laid down in the Act of Parliament that authorised the building of the canal (or railway).

    And the fairground yard looks like winter quarters. Where I grew up in Derbyshire, we had the winter quarters for the fairground operators in the North East and the North Midlands in the town. It had been going on for years – probably even for centuries.

    Reply
      1. memoirsofahusk

        Interesting question. And don’t know the answer! Silcocks is the family that runs the fun fair in Southport and a few other attractions on some prime seafront sites. They apparently settled into Southport as Bates’ Dairy (still a family business, since 1939, and one of the biggest employers in Southport, we get our milk delivered by them) many years ago used to let them stay on their premises when they were in town and thanks to that hospitality when they decided to settle down they stayed!
        Lovely pictures of places we drive though often but must get out and walk. Gorgeous weekend. Good for the soul.

  3. Ronnie Hughes Post author

    Some thoughts, via Twitter from Marie Millward in Leeds:

    Loving your observations of the written and unwritten ‘laws’ of the canal and how the ownership of the canal bank plays out.

    The abandoned swing bridge was probably built to move cows from one part of a farmer’s field to the other after division by the canal. And the metal number is a fishing peg.

    Interesting how access to agricultural land works around canals. Canals were used to move bulky products for agricultural too. A lot of agricultural land could be great improved because lime could be brought from quarry to land for the first time. Lime 2nd only to coal in terms of tonnages carried on the L&L.

    Reply
  4. bornagainst

    An absolutely lovely part of the world, and especially good to see that the pubs along this part are surviving (and appear to be doing ok). The Ship Inn & Heatons Bridge are both a lovely spot for a pint. I’ve even gone past Heatons Bridge and there’s been a tank / self propelled gun in the car park!

    The Scarsbrick marina is a little bit ‘Keep Out !’ in attitude, but there’s a couple of very good cafes there, and the ‘posh’ cafe does absolutely incredible cakes.

    (And always good to see Chorley Cycling Club out and about, they are regulars in West Lancs and always a friendly bunch)

    Reply

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