20th September 2019
We’ve been moored up at Altham for a few days and we reluctantly leave this lovely mooring spot. The canal meanders it’s way around the hills keeping close contact with the busy M65 motorway. We pass through the village of Hampton and Accrington which lies just south of the canal. We weave our way under the motorway a number of times before the approach to the western portal of Gannow Tunnel as we approach Burnley. Watch out for the unusually large masons’ marks which decorate the arch of the bridge. On exiting the tunnel we soon find ourselves on the outskirts of Burnley and passing over the M65 motorway on the Whittlefield Aquaduct, we approach the industrial stretch of the canal known as Weavers Triangle.
In the 19th century the area saw Burnley develop into the most important cotton weaving town in the world, and saw the towns population grow from 4000 to over 100,000. In its heyday the canal would have been bustling with Narrowboats providing transport for cotton and coal.
Watch out for the lovely little restored Toll House which now houses a museum and a few yards further on, check out the horse ramp at the side of the canal where the horses would be led to, where they could easily climb out should they fall in.
Taking a sharp turn westwards we turn onto the impressive Burnley Embankment. Known locally as The Straight Mile it was built across the Calder Valley to avoid the need for a series of locks. Rather than take a long detour following the contours of the valley , it was decided to build an embankment, almost a mile long and up to sixty feet high straight across to the opposite hillside. The Burnley embankment is widely regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of Britain’s waterways and gives dramatic views across the rooftops of the town to the surrounding hills.
Shortly after we approach Reedley Marina where we moor up for the week end.