Monday, 11 June 2012

Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Captains Log                   Still on Plan B & half way round the World Cruise
Canal Date                                   11th June 2012

Location                         Near Bingley on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

It’s been a long time since I updated the blog. Partly down to poor internet connection but mainly down to me being far too lazy and laid back.

Well, where have we been since the last update?

We went to see the world famous Wigan Pier on the Leeds & Canal. As attractions go, I don’t think I have ever been so disappointed in my life. I am sure that if George Orwell had not used it as a title for one of his books it would have disappeared years ago.
Wigan Pier- Yes thats all there is.
From there we went up the Wigan 21 locks. We did this breast up against Snowbaby. This meant that we could have 3 people working the looks and only one steering boats. It worked very well and we were up the flight very smoothly. Almost every lock is different in some way. It was my first time in the short & wide Liverpool locks. Once we were out of Wigan which is not the nicest place on the canal, and in to open countryside we were met with the most wonderful views I have ever encountered on the canals. I am so glad that I went for a 58ft boat. If I had gone for my first choice of 62ft then I could never have done this canal. The view just became better as we progressed over the moorland until the inevitable. We arrived at the large town of Blackburn. Ideal for a bit of shopping but not a place to stay any longer than necessary and certainly not overnight. It is an old mill town with out any mills now. It looks as though it has lost its way and does not know how to recover. Once clear of Blackburn we returned to open countryside and beautiful views. Unfortunately, it is not long before we arrived at the next big industrial town of Burnley. It was quite a long day by our standards as we did not want to stay anywhere near the town. From the limited view we had from the canal, it would appear that the town has now been completely taken over by immigrants. Once out of the town we arrived at the mouth of Foulridge tunnel.
Traffic Lights are always on red on the canal as well!
There are traffic lights on the tunnel and the same rules apply as on roads. That is that the lights are always on red. But unlike road traffic lights, there stay on red for some time. We cooked dinner, made coffee, washed up and gave the boat a good sweep out before they changed to green. The tunnel is nice and wet! It was like standing on the roof of your car while going through a drive through car wash! It’s a good job we are in a drought; we could have got even wetter under normal conditions! Once clear of the tunnel we were a million miles away from the big industrial towns and in the open country side again. I can not say how good this canal is, words fail me. It is totally stunning. If you don’t have a boat then just go for a walk along the towpath. The next town of any size was Skipton. We arrived on Carnival day. The town was heaving. We had to stop for shopping. We soon found that although it was busy in the town, it was quiet on the canal although it was only yards from the town centre. As soon as we cleared the town we were back out in the countryside again, it’s almost like throwing a switch. On second we are in a town and then turn a corner and we are out in unspoilt countryside again.

We have about finished the best of the Leeds & Liverpool now. We are about to approach the Famous Bingley staircase locks. We shall rest for a while before tackling them later this week.

I can not say loud enough how good this canal is. Not only the old industrial towns with the mills and the open country with superb views, but there is very little traffic to get in the way.

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