The morning after our Leeds Liverpool Canal walk brings us to Barnoldswick we set off from there and begin our walk over the highest point of the canal and into Yorkshire.
Though in fact we feel we’ve already left Lancashire, as Barnoldswick was actually in Yorkshire until the 1974 local government reorganisation told it different – well anyway.
And while we’re here I’ll interrupt the tale of our walk for the moment to mention that, at this point, we’re close to something that you can see on some photographs over at the Tow Path Treks website. The original course of the canal. Pennine Waterways tell us:
“Looking over the wall near Lock 43, the original course of the canal at Greenberfield can be seen, curving towards the disused bridge. The original line ascended a 2 rise lock staircase beyond the bridge. In 1817 the staircase was found to waste too much water, leaving the summit pound shallow at times, so was replaced by individual locks on a new alignment.”
We will see evidence of the canal’s original course soon, but we miss it here. A reminder that we’re walking the canal together for the pleasure of doing so, and if we miss some things than that’s how it is with walking, you see what you see.
Let’s walk on.
And though of course canals don’t really flow downhill, all the locks from now on will bring us down from the 148 metres peak we’re leaving behind.
And duly marked by Sarah on her map at the end of this post.
Something similar is pictured on Tow Path Treks.
As we get going we come upon something extraordinary near East Marton.
That’s the raised up A59 road there carried above the second archway. Cleverly beautiful engineering.
Where we gratefully sit for a while before following the zigzagging canal through open moorland for the next couple of miles.
At this point I break into my “This is not a natural landscape you know?” monologue. Where I harangue the wool trade from the 14th century onwards and the sheep themselves for the clearances of trees and people that have created these grassland deserts over the not that high uplands of Britain, in the service of greed and to the detriment of the flooding lower lands, towns and villages.
Next we encounter something last seen back on Section Six of our walk when blog commenter John Morris told us about how sections of the canal could be blocked off and drained when necessary.
He has this to say about the view illustrated there:
“Some of the finest canal scenery can be found along its (Leeds Liverpool) banks, but for me this is perhaps the one I think of most often, the view from Bank Newton towards the Aire Valley and Flasby Fell.
Travelling around the world researching waterway history, I would always compare foreign waterways with this view, and have yet to find its equal.”
The Aire being the river that flows through Leeds.
Approaching the end of today’s walk then.
Less than it’s taken us since Blackburn only a few weeks ago.
We’re not in any rush to finish though and I couldn’t say when we will. It’s not a race but every mile has been such a pleasure that all the rest are to be treasured. We know as we approach its end that we will never do the whole of this walk again, so we will complete it gently and in our own time, some time.