Category Archives: History

Over the top: Walking to Leeds Section 12

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.

Beginning by the former cotton mill that’s long been a Rolls Royce aero engine factory.

Sarah immediately encounters some canoeists.

And has an intense ‘on the water’ conversation. Kayaks are mentioned.

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From Nelson to Barnoldswick: Walking to Leeds Section 11

All will be revealed later.

After a few dog days, sorry about that, I’m glad to get back to canal walking, returning to our Barnoldswick base that we’re using to cover the highest sections of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, through East Lancashire into West Yorkshire. Over this weekend it’s our intention to cross over the top of the Pennines and begin our descent into West Yorkshire and Leeds. Let’s go.

Getting the M1 bus back to Nelson where we left off a fortnight ago. The chimney the only thing left standing of this particular mill.

Through the pleasantly terraced streets of town.

Arriving back at ‘our’ canal.

Where Sarah helpfully points out today’s route.

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Through Burnley to Nelson: Walking to Leeds Section 10

The morning after our canal walk into Burnley we’re back here again, on the bus from our base in Barnoldswick.

Burnley quiet on a Sunday morning.

Past the Mechanics Theatre.

Then round the corner and across a few roads… Continue reading

Arriving at Burnley: Walking to Leeds Section 9

Resuming our complete walk of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, by the end of this walk we’ll be very conscious that we are now walking through the heartland of the industrial history of the north of England. Burnley, as you’ll see from this post and the next one, is a fantastic place that is a privilege to walk through

These walks also mark the end of our doing each canal section as a separate day trip. We’re now too far from home for that, so have booked ourselves a long weekend away in Barnoldswick. A place so far into East Lancashire that it feels just like Yorkshire.

Barnoldswick, quietly lovely.

A friendly pub that we go to and a café that we don’t call their place ‘Barlick.’ so maybe all the locals do? We wouldn’t presume to know.

Naturally on our evening of arrival we stroll down to see that we think of as ‘our’ canal. It’s yours too of course.

We’re not expecting to reach Barnoldswick itself on this weekend’s visit, but definitely will next time we come to stay. Continue reading

Ten Things We’ve Learned: From walking the Leeds Liverpool

Now we’re precisely half way to Leeds and taking a weekend’s break from canal walking, Sarah and I have done a bit of reflecting on the eight walks we’ve done so far and a few things we think in general. So here they are.

1 Canal time is different

Now we’re far from home it’s been taking us a good while to get to the canal to start each walk where we finished the last one. But once we get there and slip onto the tow path we enter a very different place, where we’ve never walked before and yet it feels like we’ve never been away. Like setting off from the Harry Potter platform into our own magical world. A slow world too, where us and the occasional canal boat all move along at pretty much the same pace. Except we have the freedom to stop frequently, smell the flowers and gaze at, well, all the beauties and leftovers and canalscapes we’ve been showing you this year.

Losing track of the time and even of the century, because canal time is different.

2 Bikes are a problem

It pains me to say this, though I’ll say it anyway, because most of my best friends are enthusiastic bike riders. But bikes on the canal path are a nuisance. Not all of them of course, but too many of their riders to be comfortable with think us walkers are in their way. We might get an imperious ‘Get out of my way’ ring of a bell, but we pretty well never get a thank you. Two ‘thank yous’ I’d say we’ve had.

Local authorities themselves might be part of the problem here, including stretches of the canal in things like ‘The Chorley Trail’ to encourage bikes onto the tow path. But it means that particularly around towns, and because we’re walking at the weekends, we’re walking in single file to the side of the main path because of the bikes. Which are in turn, by the way, turning much of the main path into a narrow rutted groove of a path by their over use of it.

So, Canal and Rivers Trust, maybe a better quality path with a line down the middle if bikes must use the canal? End of rant. Continue reading

The Road to Wigan Pier: Walking to Leeds, Section 4

The fourth section of our walk along the whole of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

This time we’re going to be walking from Burscough, where we left off last week, all the way to Wigan. Though in fact our journey begins where it will end, at Wigan. (Now we’re walking a good way away from home we’re beyond local Liverpool transport and so are driving to where we’ll finish each day and using their local transport to get to where we’ll walk from.)

So here we are in Wigan.

Where our walk will end later.

On a quiet Sunday morning in a beautiful place.

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Out of Liverpool: Walking to Leeds Section 2

leeds-liverpool-2-65On the bus from the centre of town then, back to where we left off at Wally’s Steps for the second section of our walk from here to there along the whole of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. 127 miles to Leeds with 119 to go. Today we’ll cover the 8 miles from Aintree to Downholland Cross.leeds-liverpool-2-1 leeds-liverpool-2-2 leeds-liverpool-2-3Quality graffiti here. So today will we be Riders on the Storm who will Break on Through to the Other Side? Well.

Sarah has a new jacket.

Sarah has a new jacket.

It’s a ‘paramo’ thing and apparently ‘jacket’ is hardly the word for something that will prove to keep her warm, keep her dry, keep her cool, keep her ventilated and be her best friend when other humans, me, aren’t quite up to the mark. It’s a miracle. And you can keep canal maps in the front. Continue reading