Half Way There: Walking to Leeds Section 8

One last day trip from home before we do the rest of our canal walk from stops along the way. (Yes, I know we said last week’s was the last day trip. but we couldn’t resist another.)

One last day trip to get us to the half way point between Liverpool and Leeds.

Early on, our walks all used local public transport to get to and from each walk. But since we got beyond the reach of local Liverpool transport we’ve done what we do today.

Drive to where we plan to finish the day’s walk.
Then walk to the nearest train station or bus stop.
In today’s case walking along the canal itself for a while.

Into Church, close to Accrington.

At the local Sundays-only train station it’s almost an hour ’til the next train into Blackburn, where we ended our walk last weekend.

So we get on the number 6 bus instead.

And, three and a half hours after leaving home – much of it caused by a long delay on the M62…

We arrive back at the canal in Blackburn.
Ready to start today’s walk.

So you see why we’ll be doing the rest of our trip from local bases! Anyway, let’s go.

Is this still Granada’s Blackburn studio?
Wall coverings?
A theme continued under the next bridge.
Rock garden with barbed wire.
A landscape of urban edgelands and abandoned mills.

With chickens.
And silent Sunday retail parks.

This leaving of Blackburn section of the canal mainly enlivened by the high summer growth of wild flowers. Great and rosebay willow herb, vetch, Indian balsam and the rest.

Together with new life on the canal…
And its bank. Ruminating.

Along this section of the canal we are accompanied by pylons, which always remind me of ‘Pylons’ the poem by Stephen Spender from ‘This Day and Age.’ My O-level poetry book:

“Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
That trails black wire
Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.”

Well they’re just not are they? A ludicrous comparison.

Sarah’s been doing her usual meticulous research.

And Rishton here was where calico was first produced industrially in England.
In 10 mills along the canal.

(Thereby, of course, taking the work away from weavers in India and Egypt.)

Today, there are no mills left.
A tow path café. All too rare a sight along the whole length of the canal so far.
We can now see across the country to Church, today’s destination.

But before that, an engineering marvel.

This aqueduct.
Across the M65.
Built during the construction of the M65 in the late 1970s.

The canal of course was already here. So how was this done? Well it turns out the canal was first enclosed in its aqueduct, with the hill still in place beneath it.

Then the hill was hollowed out beneath it for the motorway. Pic Burnley Express.

Amazing. And notice all the mill chimneys on the picture? Long gone now.

Past the back of a chemicals factory.

Dire warnings along the tow path about ‘leaving the area’ should an alarm go off. Not easily done of course.

This week’s horses.

And now…

Lime kilns.
Used to produce quicklime.
For mortar in buildings.
And in agriculture, for fertilizer, changing the pH balance of soil.
Fascinatingly strange.
But how old?
Can’t tell you! Easy winner of ‘Information Board of the Year’
Where the quicklime was loaded on to barges.
Closer to Church now, past the front of the chemical factory.

A former foot bridge.
And what’s this?
A map. Of where we’ve come from…
Where we are…

And where we’ll get to.

Home of wheely bins.
Watched by the watcher on the bridge.

And here we are then.
Precisely half way there.
Well done.
Such a great and companionable adventure.

And when we resume our walk to Leeds in a couple of weeks it will now involve booking places along the way. The day trips are over!

Sarah’s map of today’s route.

See all of our walks on the Leeds Liverpool Canal 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: http://asenseofplace.com.

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  1. If I could reach my copy of Owen Ashmore’s ‘Industrial Archaeology of Lancashire’ (David & Charles, 1969), I could probably tell you something about those lime kilns. But it’s probably at the bottom of one of my less accessible piles of books, so the best I can do is point you at the right book to get from your library.
    And in respect of rose bay willow herb; that is also associated with railway workings. According to my father, it was commonly known (to railwaymen) as ‘the railwayman’s orchid’.

  2. I’m loving taking this journey with you. I wish I was walking too, but I’m appreciating how technology can provide this vicarious enjoyment. Keep going!

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