This was lovely. Several days together, walking along our canal again, through the sun and rain and Yorkshire, in perfect peace.

To get to here in Bingley Sarah and I have walked a hundred and eleven miles along this canal together, and we’re nearly done. Another sixteen miles will take us all the way into Leeds, all the way from our Liverpool home. And we’re glad. Glad that we’ve done it and glad that it’s almost done.

It’s been a real adventure of a journey and also much longer than the miles we’ve walked along the Leeds Liverpool Canal itself. Adding up all the others we’ve travelled we reckon the journey’s been well over a thousand miles around North West England’s industrial history and uncertain present. Much of it on public transport and all of it with the binding thread of the canal path lengthening behind us. Expanding our sense of place from the port where we live to its founding hinterland. Educating ourselves about this wider home’s well-being and otherwise.

The canal’s been our peace and tranquility all the way along. That unusual and repeated feeling of walking places we’ve never been before and yet knowing exactly where we are all the time. “Here it is” we’ll repeat to each other with relief, upon finding the canal again after however long. Weekly or monthly for the first twelve instalments of our walking, that you might already have read. Then a gap of three years until this week’s return. Three years when we mostly thought we were done with exclaiming over picturesque bridges and industrial architecture. Done enough to ever want to come back. Until we did.

Our growing sense of the incompletion of our journey coinciding with the fact that, come this virus year, the canal had become one of the safer places we could be walking along come the summer’s end. So we returned to where we’d left off, in August 2107. To Gargrave high up in the Pennines. And over the early days of the week we walked slowly down from the hills to here in Bingley.

Up on Ilkley Moor.

We’ve been staying in Ilkley, for the several buses and one train we’ve needed to get to and from each day’s walks. And gone in no bars and no restaurants, staying as distanced as we do when we’re at home. Looking for wildflowers, like always, through the hill towns, the farmlands and high moors that have brought us to here. Past the Bingley Five-Rise Locks and then the Three-Rise to now, sixteen miles from Leeds. Our canal adventure nearly done.

Here’s the story of this week’s walking then, in pictures.

Sarah at Gargrave. Ready to begin again.
Wildflowers along the towpath: Marsh Thistle
Autumn Hawkbit
Dry stone walls with moss
With Maidenhair Spleenwort
Oxeye Daisy
Slow company on the path
Black Medick
Canalside garden
Arriving at Skipton
Fox-and-cubs
Lunch place view
An Away-Days boat?
Wildflowers at Bradleys Both
Bridge and churchyard
St Andrews at Kildwick
Stonecrop
Boat Yard at Silsden
Perfect heaven
Sarah at peace
Pennine allotments
‘Out on the wiley windy moors we’d roll and fall in green’
Arriving at Bingley Five-Rise Locks
Who made them
An engineering glory
Look
Then the Three-Rise Locks
And we’re down from the hills now
At Bingley
Words on the wall
And more

All the way along we’ve seen the contrast of intense beauty and the effects of these past ten years of forced political austerity on North West England. The canal itself a silent witness to the brutal history of now.

Some of the places we’ve been and have still to go
And the towns we’ve seen, Keighley here
Next time we’ll get to Leeds

Another sixteen miles, all the way from our Liverpool home.

See all the rest of our Leeds Liverpool Canal walks before this one, here.

Published by Ronnie Hughes

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.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. Your journey inspired Robin and I to do something similar. We have found ourselves having to work from a region in northern NSW for a few months. We are in a town called Mullumbimby, so we are walking from Ballina, about 40 minutes drive south, to the Queensland border (locked at the moment) along the coast – beaches and headland – watching birds, enjoying the geology and plants along the way. Day 4 coming up on Friday!

    1. Hi Sally, that sounds brilliant and glad our walk has encouraged you both. Realising we’re doing so much more than walking along the canal, the adventures of discovery, has deepened our own journey as we’ve regathered it. So have a wonderful time. And lovely to hear the word ‘Ballina’ by the way. The family I’ve arrived from were from Ballina, though not your one!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: