Monday, 31 August 2009

Skipton Junction.

Skipton 026Skipton Junction with the Springs Branch which is limited to 35 ft boats heads up towards the castle. 72 hour moorings are on the left and straight ahead slightly to the left of the trip boats are 24 hour moorings for 2 or 3 boats.Skipton Wharf is where the 2 cruise boats are moored.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Model Railway Exhibition.

Well I certainly timed this week-end right, when I was at the Morrison supermarket yesterday I spotted a pamphlet on the store’s notice board advertising the local club’s annual exhibition. As luck would have it , it was only a ten minute walk away through the nearby park.

Skipton 019 Skipton model railway exhibition August 2009. No good model railway should be without a canal.

For the price it wasn’t too bad a show but it would have been nice to see a few more layout’s rather than trade stands. The 2 main layouts, 1 x “OO” gauge and 1 x “n” gauge were impressive but the remainder didn’t hold the viewers interest. One layout was being run to a timetable which from personal experience doesn’t hold the crowds. They come to see trains running not long periods of empty track. Several others were just small goods yard diorama’s where things didn’t happen very quickly but they were well made. Two American layout were on display but I’m afraid they don’t do anything for me.

Skipton 020 There was one “O” gauge layout which was only part finished and not really exhibition quality but what caught my eye here were 2 Bedford coaches in red and cream with Premier along the side. Upon closer inspection they were Premier coaches from Watford and I can recall travelling with them on a couple of occasions to the seaside, probably Clacton. I know they were only models but it bought back memories.

Skipton 022 As it was market day today Dot took herself off to town for a good look around and some serious window shopping.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Colourful Skipton

Skipton 012 Seen alongside Leeds and Liverpool Canal approaching Skipton

Friday, 28 August 2009

Boat Jam at Skipton.

3 Locks, 5 Miles, 4 Swing bridges. Now moored at Skipton.

Skipton 007Beautiful Yorkshire Dales

After yesterdays atrocious weather which was caused by the remnants of Hurricane “Bill” coming in off the Atlantic, today was a total contrast. Sunshine  and blue sky, perfect cruising weather.  We cruised on to Skipton with Jack and Kit on Nb Waterwych II which made the double locks easier.The idea with the swing bridges was to play leap frog and take it in turns which we did with the first two but at the third bridge there were 3 boats heading in the opposite direction and they had got there first. Needless to say that the unlucky crew had rather a long wait while 5 boats passed through.

Skipton 008 At swing bridge 176 things got rather hectic, Dot got the job of opening the bridge to allow Waterwych and Gypsy Rover through and that was as far as we got. Ahead of us were moored boats on both sides and a wide beam cruise boat blocking the channel. We both pulled into the bank to allow the cruise boat through but in the mean time 2 more boats had caught up with us and were trying to get through the swing bridge while it was still open. These boats had to back off to allow the cruise boat through.

Skipton 016 This is Skipton.  Note the satellite dishes!

All this time and Dot still had the bridge open and quite a crowd of pedestrians had gathered on both sides waiting to cross the canal. Luckily there is not much vehicular traffic use this bridge. Eventually all 6 boats got through and Dot was able to close the bridge but the pedestrians didn’t help, just starting walking onto the bridge while she was trying to close it making it difficult to handle. After all this we were lucky to to find a 14 day mooring close by recently vacated by one of the boats through the swing bridge.

After lunch we walked into town along the towpath and moorings were fairly full all the way through town so we were quite lucky to find one where we did.  We will be staying here for a while but Waterwych will be carrying on in a day or two as they have a commitment in Sheffield. Jack and Kit have been trying to persuade us to carry on to Leeds with them but unfortunately that doesn’t fit in with our plans at present.

1810 locks, 3714 miles, 68 tunnels, 90 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 27 August 2009


With the heavy rain today as forecast we opted for a stay at home day.  No point in getting wet if we don’t need to.  The elderly couple on Nb Waterwych II have stayed put as well so weather permitting we’ll head for Skipton tomorrow.

Gargrave 007 Lovely old cottages in Gargrave, West Riding of Yorkshire.Gargrave 005Fancy naming a boat this! No it's not Dorothy's.Gargrave 009  Dot thought she was at home here in Gargrave. Gargrave 011Gargrave Wharf, Leeds & Liverpool Canal.Gargrave 017Gargrave, West Riding of Yorkshire.Gargrave 023  St Andrews Church, Splendid stain glass windows.Gargrave 028 Beautiful display of Begionia's. There is a gypsy caravan in the down stairs window and a rocking horse in the upstairs window.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

It Doesn’t get Much Better Than This.

9 Locks, 3 Miles, Now moored at Gargrave

Where we moored last night was really out in the middle of nowhere so it came without any noise from motorways,traffic,or railways, true bliss. This stretch of the canal being very twisty and windy you actually double back on yourself several times and you can see where you are going anything up to half an hour before you actually get there. The reason being of course that when the canal was built they just followed the contours of the land to avoid expensive locks or aqueducts. As the crow flies the distance between various points is a lot shorter than the distance the canal covers but that’s all part of the enjoyment.

Gargrave 001The canal aqueduct over the head waters of the River Aire.

We struck lucky today and managed to find a locking partner which makes life easier. There was also a lot of traffic coming out of Skipton in the form of hire boats which you don’t see much of on the Lancashire side of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. There was also a BW worker in attendance helping some of the novices through the locks.

Gargrave 002 Railway bridge over the river Aire near Gargrave.

As we approached one lock we could see that the sluice paddles were open as the arm was pointing upwards, (one of these funny one’s where you just lift the leaver or arm) and the lock was full. Then some mothers little darling ran up to the bottom gates and without even a glance in our direction started to empty the lock. He was yelled at in as bigger voice as could be mustered to leave the lock alone, because he was totally unaware that the sluices were still open and the lock was set in our favour.  Probably frightened the living daylight’s out of him because we could see him looking down to where his parents boat was with stunned look on his face.

Gargrave 004-1 An old mill on the banks of the river Aire. The old water wheel still in existence. The railway line is visible behind the mill.

We managed to get a mooring above lock 32 just in the nick of time because within 15 minutes of our arrival all the moorings had gone. Our locking companions have moored up behind us and weather permitting tomorrow we will both continue on into Skipton. The reason I say weather permitting is that there is a severe storm warning out for tomorrow so it will be a case of wait and see.  We had no sooner moored up when the forecasted heavy showers arrived, our luck was with us again.  We have been very lucky with all the rain we have had that most of it has come once we have moored up for the day.

As the afternoon’s weather improved we headed off into Gargrave for a look around what transpired to be a very unspoilt pretty village.

1807 locks, 3709 miles, 68 tunnels, 86 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Yorkshire Dales.

3 Locks, 6 Miles, now moored above bridge 163.

Barnoldswick 004Greenberfield locks in a beautiful country setting

Dropping down from the summit level we encountered the first three locks heading towards Skipton. The top lock is where the feed from Winterburn reservoir is fed into the canal at millions of litres a day. The lock keeper said that the reservoirs were low but recent rain had helped and they should survive the season without running out of water.

Barnoldswick 015 East Marton bridge where we met a hire boat when we were over ½ way through the bridge hole.  Who was the one who had to reverse out? Us of course

The change in the scenery is now quite spectacular with views across the hills and valleys extending for miles in all directions.

Barnoldswick 022

Beautiful views of the Yorkshire Dales from our mooring tonight.

Barnoldswick 023 1798 locks, 3706 miles, 68 tunnels, 86 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 24 August 2009

The Witches of Pendle

pendle hill Pendle Hill Lancashire

One can’t travel through this part of Lancashire without being aware of the history of this area.  In August 1612 were held the most famous trials of the so called Witches of Pendle.  Twelve were accused of the murder of ten people in the local area by the use of witchcraft.  Ten were found guilty and hanged. 

The Pendle hills now have a 72 mile Pendle Way walking trail which travels over the hill and crosses the canal just behind where we are currently moored.

We Found It!

During our time travelling the canal’s of Britain we have spent a fair amount of time following old canal or railway courses and today was no different.

We were on the hunt for the remains of the Rain Hall Rock Canal which ran off the Leeds and Liverpool Canal between bridges 152 and 153. According to the Pearson’s and Nicholson guides nothing much of this canal still exists but we’ll give it a go.We could see what might have been a cutting from the boat just above bridge 152 which is where our hunt began. This turned out not to be, only a natural water course.

Rain Hall Rock canal 014 All that remains of the first bridge or tunnel leading from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to the Rain Hall quarry.

We followed the Public Footpath signs across several farmers paddocks with cows happily munching away producing tomorrows milk. At the crest of a hill we decided that we had gone inland far enough and we had to try and work our way back closer to the canal. We followed a well made road which turned out to be a private road with no footpath access, tut tut, never mind. This bought us to a country lane cross road where there was a deep cutting off to one side. I investigated this and found that we may have found the quarry and the canal as there was quite a lot of water at the bottom of the cutting.

Rain Hall Rock canal 011 The Rain Hall Rock Canal ran along this line of tree's. The quarry was in the tree's on the horizon.

Instead of following the lane we followed a well worn track along the crest of the embankment. We lost sight of the water due to the depth of the gully and the denseness of tree’s but eventually BINGO, an old tunnel mouth and a water course which we are certain is the canal we were looking for.

Rain Hall Rock canal 007 Rain Hall Rock Canal with part of the tunnel mouth in the bottom left corner.

When we finally got back to civilisation we found that we could have found it a lot quicker and easier had we started our hunt at bridge 153 but it’s all part of the fun and we did get some exercise.

Rain Hall Rock canal 006 All that remains of a tunnel on the Rain Hall Rock Canal off the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Barnoldswick.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Barnoldswick’s Tame Heron

Barnoldswick 021Apparently he is well known in the area, I could almost have touched him.

Barnoldswick Lancashire

Barnoldswick 006 Seen in the market square of Barnoldswick

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Summit.

0 Locks, 4 Miles, 1 Tunnel. Now moored at bridge 153.

There wasn’t much around Barrowford or close by to keep us at our current mooring and with pending rain again we might as well be in a tunnel on a wet day than a fine day.

Foulridge 002 This miniature version is a sight from the past, the British Policemans call box. Latterly known as the Tardis of Dr Who.

We arrived at the Foulridge tunnel at 11.10am and found the controlling traffic lights set against us. West bound boats are allowed entry on the hour for 10 minutes and East bound boats half past for the same time allowing 15 minutes passage through the tunnel. This practice would have originated from the working barges on this canal which were all 12ft wide beam vessel’s to carry extra freight.

Foulridge 008 Still waiting for the green light to proceed.

Finally under way and we could see the Eastern portal even though the tunnel is 1640 yards long. It is pretty straight due to the fact that it was built by a cut and cover technique and not by boring through the hill.  Once through the tunnel we found ourselves surrounded by tree’s and hill’s so it was pointless stopping as there was no phone or internet signals, let alone satellite tv. The weather held off long enough for us to reach Barnoldswick and suitable moorings.

Foulridge 014 Foulridge Wharf on the summit of the Leed's and Liverpool Canal. Foulridge 017-1Wild heather cap this hill on the Yorkshire, Lancashire border.

1795 locks, 3700 miles, 68 tunnels, 86 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 21 August 2009

Brilliant Idea.

7 Locks, 2 Miles now moored at bridge 144.

Despite the ominous black clouds hanging around this morning we had to move. We hadn’t been on the move long when we spotted a recycle and waste oil depot which is a joint venture between BW and the Pendle Borough Council. As I had been carrying used engine oil for quite a while trying to find somewhere to legally dispose of it this was an opportune moment. Admittedly the site is right alongside the council yard which is quite handy but why can’t they do something similar at BW depots because there are always 4 and 5 litre containers of used engine oil dumped and hidden away at BW refuse points? Just a thought.

Burnley 047 Pendle Borough council recycle plant with a used engine oil receptacle. Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Pushing on it wasn’t long before we reached Barrowford Locks which will lift us another 69ft towards the summit. At the first lock Dot found a young man who must have wanted something to do because despite the heavy rain showers he helped her with 5 out of the 7 locks. Between locks 48 and 47 we had a look at the huge Barrowfield reservoir which stores excess water from the summit level.It looked at bit low but I suppose there was still a few million litre’s in there.

Burnley 050British Waterways Barrowford Reservoir on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which stores excess water from the summit level.

At the top lock we refilled the water tank and then moved to the end of the visitor moorings where it seemed a bit more sheltered from the wind. These moorings have mooring bollards and rings stretching for over a ¼ of a mile. The weather is slowly improving but this is as far as we are going today.

1795 locks, 3696miles, 67 tunnels, 86 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 20 August 2009


0 Locks, 11 Miles, 1 Tunnel. Now moored at bridge 141.

Burnley 015Burnley Wharf which was supposed to be secure moorings. The towpath ran right through the place with The Inn on the Wharf at the far end.

Our eventual destination changed several times today when we found on arrival at each point that it wasn’t very good moorings. Our first port of call was the Hapton boat yard for diesel @ 55p litre. There are visitor moorings here but this was too soon after setting off so we flagged that one away. We did speak to another boater who had stayed there over night who gave us a few hints on where we might moor for the night.

Burnley 009 Weavers Triangle Burnley. The workers couldn't have lived any closer to work.

The next stop was the BW yard at Rose Grove where we took advantage of the facilities. As a mooring they were OK but as it was such a lovely day for cruising we decided to push on. Gannow tunnel came and went, all 559 yards of it. Weavers Triangle was another recommended secure mooring which looked very nice but not what I would call secure.

Burnley 035 Coronation Street I hear you say?

Cruising through Burnley wasn’t as bad as Blackburn with a lot less rubbish in the canal but probably more derelict buildings and it was very interesting going across the Burnley Embankment which splits the town into two. The embankment is 60ft high and ¾ of a mile long and basically all you see are roof’s and chimney pots by the row. Just as we entered the embankment we spotted a boat leaving a mooring above Tesco’s and it turned out to be Bernard and Christine on Nb  Sunshine who we first met at Osney Lock, Oxford in the 2007 flooding. We haven’t seen them for a while so it was a nice surprise.

Burnley 036 Terraced housing, No front yard just this little back yard.

After this we passed through semi urban area’s with occasional green area’s and park’s. Eventually we settled upon the offside secure moorings at Morrison’s supermarket in Nelson. There are only moorings for 2 boats which were full on arrival but one boat crew said they were just leaving and the other left shortly afterwards. We will see how things go as it is late in the afternoon and there are no signs stating any time limits and it is a secure site.  While sitting here writing the blog a European male has just walked up the path from the road opposite with a rubbish bag full of rubbish. Did he put it in the rubbish bin provided by the council, NO , he walked straight past it and threw the rubbish in the canal and then walked off. Is that brainless or what?  Don’t these people have any pride?

Burnley 042 Pendle View Mill. How many luxury apartments would you get out of this old mill?

We saw no sign of the green algae that British Waterways have notified everyone about, Barry and Sandra on Nb Northern Pride said it was bad when they came through here a couple of days ago but there is no sign of it today.  We noticed it further south at Church and Rishton though and it appears to be moving south.

1788 locks, 3694 miles, 67 tunnels, 86 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Sixty Three and Five Eighths.

0 Locks, 7½ Miles and 3 Swing bridges. Now moored at bridge 118.

blackburn 025 Gypsy Rover at bridge 107 Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Here we are moored out in the countryside apparently miles from anywhere and yet this morning we found that some brainless rat bag had managed to pull our front pin out and drop it in the canal. Luckily it was the type with an attached loop to pass the rope though so as not to lose it. I had buried the pin into the ground right up to the very end at an angle because the ground was a bit on the soft side but he still managed to pull it out.  Luckily we were sitting on the muddy bottom which had created some suction on the base plate so we hadn’t moved even when a boat went past.

blackburn 037 Aqueduct across the M65 motorway looking back at Rishton.

Today was a milestone in that we have passed the halfway mark on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Church where there is a special marker showing that the 2 cities are exactly 635/8 miles apart. The scenery along the way has been spectacular, just a shame the sun wasn’t shining. The constant reminders of days gone by where moorings rings on walls where a mill or factory had once been or the remains of the Beehive coke ovens of the former Aspen colliery near Church have kept Dot busy with the camera.

blackburn 060 Half way point on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 635/8 miles in either direction.

The only down side for the day was the appearance of green Algal Bloom on the water. We had received an email from BW several days ago to advise of it’s presence but didn’t expect to see it quite so soon. We spoke to some fishermen and a canoeist who were quite unaware of it’s presence and it toxicity. The canoeist was very grateful for the information.

blackburn 039 A solitary reminder of the 19th century industrial North.

blackburn 046Remains of Beehive coke ovens from Aspen Colliery near the village of Church. There were 15 ovens here.

blackburn 068Peel Arm at Church now disused but still in water. A marina in the waiting perhaps? 

1788 locks, 3683  miles, 66 tunnels, 86 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Kiwi meeting in Blackburn

6 Locks, 9 Miles. Now moored at bridge 107.

It was a very early start today to get through Blackburn locks while all the hooligans were still tucked up in their little beds. We had no sooner reached the bottom lock when the rain arrived in some heavy squally showers. Still, nothing for it but to carry on. All I can say for Blackburn is RUBBISH and plenty of it. You name it and you will probably find it in the canal going through this once great industrial town. Twice we heeled over as we glided over the top of some submerged object. I suspect they were armchairs or sofa’s as there was no grating noise that you usually get when you run over something metal.

blackburn 010 Blackburn suburbia.

Once clear of the top lock we pulled in outside the ASDA supermarket for supplies and it wasn’t long before 3 other boats joined us. I went off to the supermarket and left Dot in charge of the boat to recuperate after doing the locks. Upon my return we were in the process of putting the groceries away when Nb Northern Pride arrived with Barry and Sandra. We had just boiled the kettle so out came an extra couple of cups and we had a very convivial hour or so getting to know each other on a face to face basis. These guys are New Zealand bound very soon to get hitched on Gisborne beach so we wish them well on their wedding day and hope to see them again on their return. It appears that the canal bug has bitten them and what was to be a 6 month adventure looks to be extended indefinitely.

blackburn 007 Their six month holiday almost over Barry and Sandra are heading home to Gisborne in about 6 weeks.  Hope to catch up again next year down south.

blackburn 014 Eanam wharf Blackburn. The gates at both ends of the canopy are  supposedly locked after 5pm.

blackburn 016All access to the canal now filled in but the old working boats would moor right at the door.

It was mid afternoon before we finally got underway again and as is the case the skies cleared and the sun came out after we had moored up for the night just short of Rishton.

 1788 locks, 3675½  miles, 66 tunnels, 83 swing bridges and 53 lift bridges since Nov 2006