The Blackburn Rovers: Walking to Leeds, Section 7

Only six days after our last canal walk we set off to walk from Top Lock to Blackburn, the Blackburn Rovers, as we’re calling ourselves for today. Let’s go.

First we drive to Blackburn.

Where we will, eventually, end today’s walk.

We get the bus back to where we finished last week.

And a bus ride later here we are.
Back at lovely Top Lock.

Beginning a walk that will stretch us both, more than a little.


After some picnic, brought by Sarah.

We set off for Blackburn.

Quite a long way away.


Under the M65.
Past the hill Microsoft used years ago for its standard Windows screen display. Who knew it was in Lancashire?
A word about the path…

This was the most uneven section of canal path we’ve walked since back in Netherton, near the beginning of this whole walk. Innocuous looking maybe, but tedious, uneven and hard walking over 6 or 7 miles.

At last, a bit of old.
Sorry it didn’t work out.

It has to be said, this was a bit boring. Tedious walking through industrial agriculture where much of the land isn’t being used? Why? Will leaving the Common Agricultural Policy mean we well raise or grow things here again?

The approach of urban?
Maybe not yet.

Finding no pubs along the canal since we left Top Lock, after a while more walking we have to temporarily leave the canal and go to a suburban pub called the Otter and Oyster for a rest, a drink and other essential services!

Post industrial though, definitely.
Blackburn path an improvement on the Chorley path, thanks.
Surprised not to have seen more allotments on the canal by now.
Duck house?
Proper urban at last.
Blackburn across the rooftops.

Can’t tell you how much more at home we feel at this point. We actually say to each other “We’re home now.”

Passing Ewood Park, home of Blackburn Rovers.

Second time on this northern walk we’ve passed the diminished home of a formerly successful football club. Wigan and now proud Blackburn Rovers.

First bench in many miles today. With a bag of dog shit on it. Thanks.


Steps up to the lock before the road bridge was here.

On our next walk we will reach half way.

A much more interesting section of today’s walk here in Blackburn, though the canal itself feels rather ‘remaindered, like back in Liverpool. Locks full of litter and water quality looking generally poor. Canal & River Trust?

And actually this walk was hard work. It looks better than it felt at the time. The poor quality of the path for the first seven or eight miles, then getting into Blackburn and, for the first time on this whole canal, being locked out of the canal path just back at the pub there at Eanam Wharf, is, well, inexcusable. Again, any thoughts Canal & River Trust?

We had to walk back for a bit, walk round a pub that had locked a gate on the canal path, then get back onto the path we’d been locked out of. Not ok.

But hey it’s an adventure. And when we got home tonight we were glad of all of it. There is a light and a shade in everything.

Finally for now, two maps from Sarah:

Today’s walk, Top Lock to Blackburn.
And all the walks so far. We’re nearly half way to Leeds now.

See all of our Leeds Liverpool Canal Walks here.


Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. Oh dear. The reality of post industrial decay? Always feel like Blackburn and Bradford are cruelly neglected in the shadow of Leeds (I remeber your fascinating piece/s from there) and Manchester – if anywhere needs help… They were my two homes growing up. I loved Bradford then and have been back recently and can say I still do, but left Blackburn too young, aged 7, to have formed too much of an affinity with it. Though Corporation Park was truly special and has been refurbished with EU funding I think.
    Anyway. Onwards.
    Hope the next leg is a bit more rewarding for you both.

    1. Actually the Blackburn bit was the best bit. I think the fact it was cloudy then raining there make it look grimmer than it felt. The real tedium was the first half of poor path and little of interest beyond that surreal horse on the bridge.

      This was probably the last of our day trips from Liverpool. The second half of the canal will be done 2 or 3 days at a time by staying at places along the way. We’re looking forward to it, still!

  2. I know times change rapidly, but when Anne and I did a few years ago, what you and Sarah are currently doing, we felt the most threatened in and around Blackburn. The towpath close to the town was littered with the detritus of drug taking. Maybe that is why parts are now closed off. There were also “dubious” characters hanging around. We upped our pace and avoided eye contact. We were glad to get beyond this section of the canal.
    You’ve got Rishton, Accrington and Burnley next. As the crow flies, no distance at all. But as a canal navigator, lots of steps. Enjoy. As a I know you will.

    1. Hi John, the only section closed off was immediately in front of that wharf in Blackburn that’s running as a pub. A pointlessly locked gate as if they own that few yards of towpath. Had it not been locked we might have even stopped in for a drink.

      And sorry to hear you and Anne felt threatened. We haven’t felt that way at any point on this walk, everyone has been perfectly civil to us. And yes, looking forward to what’s still to come!

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