28th September 2019
We leave our mooring outside the Anchor Inn at Salterforth and head north. The canal winds its way through Barnoldswick where we stop to pick up some groceries before continuing onto the highest point of the canal at Greenberfield Top Lock before the rain set in for the next 36 hours.
The day dawned bright and sunny after approx 36 hours of torrential rain, we begin the descent down the three locks which were built in 1820 to replace the original flight and are set in some beautiful uplands. The locks mark the beginning of some beautiful rural landscapes composed of hillocks and distant mountains. At East Marton,the navigation passes under a double arched bridge and enters a cutting canopied by trees before opening up into moorlands and here we see that Autumn is imminent. Here the canal snakes its way around green and humpy hills which fill the landscape affording great views across the valley, which is where we moor for the next couple of days.
23th September 2019
We leave Reedley Marina and head Northwards towards Barrowford Locks, the landscape is a mix of open countryside and nearby towns, in the distance is Pendle Hill. The canal winds as it follows the hillside and we soon find ourselves at the bottom of Barrowford Locks. As we rise through the seven Barrowford Locks, we reach the summit of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and we pass the Barrowford Reservoir built in the 19th century where the summit levels surplus water is stored. We moor here for a couple of days before heading towards Foulridge Tunnel. The 1640 yards long tunnel with no towpath drips constantly and we were pleased to reach daylight on the other side. We stopped to use the boaters facilities here before making our way to Salterforth where we moored up and visited the Anchor Pub, watch out for the spectacular site in the cellar.
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.
17th September 2019
Leaving Rishton, we pass over the M65 motorway and we soon find ourselves in rural Lancashire with some stunning views, with the motorway following the line of the canal to Burnley. Keep an eye out for the historic coke ovens,locally known as ‘fairy caves’ which converted coal from the nearby Aspen Colliery into coke for the steelworks as a smokeless fuel, the canal being used to transport the coke to the steelworks.
The canal now weaves its way to Church which is the centre point of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. We now pass back under the M65 motorway and through the urban district known as Clayton-le-Moors. The navigation continues to run eastwards along the beautiful Calder Valley, high ground rises on each side and in the distance the summit of Pendle Hill, the motorway remaining uncomfortably close throughout.
We leave our mooring at the top of Johnson’s Locks and take the short trip to Withnell Fold, the canal now is over 350ft above sea level. One of the old paper mills at Withnell Fold has now been converted into industrial units but one of the tall chimneys was saved from demolition and has been restored and still dominates the skyline. There is a nature reserve opposite.
The canal now passes along a beautiful secluded and occasional wooded valley with some great scenery. We pass through Riley Green with its Marina and soon find ourselves in Cherry Tree, a suburb of Blackburn.
We negotiate the seven Blackburn Locks where we stop at the boaters facilities. Winding our way out of Blackburn watch out for the fine canopied wharves which have now been converted for business use. The scenery here is a mix of heavy industrial development, green fields,farms and distant moorland.
We moor up in the unremarkable town of Rishton Lancashire.
10th September 2019
We have left our mooring at Haigh Hall and continue on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. We travel East on the 9 mile lock free pound known as the Lancaster Pool.
We enjoy the pleasant and quiet isolation in the lightly wooded area heading away from Wigan. We pass the village of Adlington , call in White Bear Marina to top up with coal and diesel as the nights are beginning to get quite chilly and moor up by bridge 73 to visit Fredericks Ice Cream Parlour which comes highly recommended. Here we spend a pleasant couple of days before embarking on the next leg of our journey.
We pass through some heavy woodland before approaching Chorley, where the canal sidesteps the town which is on the West Bank of the canal and we pass Botany Bay Boatyard where 16 months ago we launched Dunworkin, here we pass some lovely old refurbished textile mills. The M61 crossing the canal continues to run close by.
We soon find ourselves at the junction of the old Walton Summit Branch, which used to be part of the Lancaster Canal originally projected to run south from Preston to the Bridgewater Canal, and the bottom of Johnson’s Hill Locks just as it starts to rain.
However undaunted we press on up the 7 locks, admiring the lovely views of surrounding countryside and Pat does it his way. Finally we moor up at he top of the locks opposite the boaters facilities and next to the the Top Lock pub.
6th September 2019
We leave our mooring at the top of the Wigan flight and continue on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. We pass through the urban area known as New Springs on the outskirts of wigan and winding eastwards we pass through some pleasant countryside. Watch as we pass the towpath bridge across the entrance to the former Basin quay at Haigh Hall Country Park, where we moor just opposite the golf course and Haigh Hall, described as a pre Tudor Mansion open to the public for private wedding receptions.
4th September 2019
We leave our mooring by Bridge 51 in Wigan on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and negotiate the 2 locks prior to the Wigan Flight. We pass the wigan dry Dock which can be booked via the Canal and River trust website. Watch out for the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal which branches off to the right.
We arrive at the bottom of the wigan flight at 0835 and start the 2 mile climb with 21 locks with a single hander boater named Les. We were hoping to have some help from a volunteer but none were present at the bottom of the flight, so with windlass and handcuff key we set off up the flight.
We pass the steel works on the right hand side of us as we are ascending the locks.
We had managed nine locks on the flight before we encountered some volunteer lock keepers on their way down with another boat, so from our tenth lock we had volunteer help. Hooray!
The weather was inclement to say the least with periods of hot sunshine to heavy rain. Watch out for the old branch of the canal at the top lock which was the planned line of the Lancaster Canal, only a short partly dried up section exists beyond the bridge.
We moor sooner than planned at the top of the locks as by this time we were wet, tired and hungry and it was still raining.
1st September 2019
We have moored between bridges 40 and 41 for a couple of days and while here took in a lovely circular 4 mile walk up to the Fairy Glen and to Apperly.
Leave this lovely mooring just East of Parbold on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, we wind our way through the Douglas Valley and soon reach Appley Lock, where only the main line lock is in operation, the other derelict alongside it were used as a navigable side pond for boats passing in opposite directions. Continuing our journey through the Douglas Valley we negotiate one swing bridge, the other two being derelict and soon find ourselves at Dean Lock where we were joined by a lock buddy for the remaining three locks into Wigan.
We pass Wigan pier and moor up for the night on the pontoon just after bridge 51 and before lock 87.