Yet another non walk

We set off along the Leeds and Liverpool canal from Barnoldswick. I’m told it isn’t pronounced phonetically but I’ll leave that to those in the Colne valley and I might be geographically wrong on that as well. So while on the subject of not knowing what I’m talking about. Barnoldswick is famed for Silentnight mattresses and Rolls Royce. Now I associate Rolls Royce with either Crewe for the cars or Derby for jet engines. I’m told and again it may be wrong but the famous Rolls Royce RB211 engine is made here and the ‘B’ is for Barnoldswick.

Inside Foulridge tunnel

Inside Foulridge tunnel

Not long after our departure we pass through Foulridge tunnel which suggests that we were not in the Colne valley so you may wish to give up on this authoritive account of our adventure.

Handover day means a late start so we got only to Barrowford for the night. After a meal on board I set off for a walk but failed to reach my target on the hill top. Dropping back into the town I spot a strange stone on a house “Stone Edge View – Who could have thought it – EF 1890” So to what does this refer?

The Lamb Working Men's Club Barrowford

The Lamb Working Men’s Club Barrowford

The Lamb Working Men’s Club looked very inviting but I was attracted elsewhere. Not an original name, Wetherspoons have one in Sheffield but the Bankers Draft is well worth a visit. I enjoyed a pint of nutty stout which equals Titanic Plum Porter.

Barrowford is a very pleasant and prosperous town, it was a delight to look around so I add mention of the Steven Burke Sports Hub a cycle track alongside a BMX Pump Track, well it looked fun but don’t ask why a “Pump Track”? Although closed during my evening visit the Heritage Centre looked interesting on the edge of the attractive Barrowford Park.

Burnley Wharf

Burnley Wharf

Next morning we continue south skirting but seeing little of Nelson then Burnley to cross the high and once dominating embankment which dissects the town. Today the steep sides of this high vantage point are mostly covered with trees that now obscure the former views of the rooftops of terrace rows and factories. Trees are very nice but there are places where it would be better without them.

Brief view from tree lined Burnley embankment

Brief view from tree lined Burnley embankment

We press on crossing over the M65 motorway then under it on more than one occasion. The map shows a densely built up area of housing and industry but our tree lined corridor screens much of this and the well used towpath suggests that locals prefer this green route to avoid traffic on the roads. I suspect towpath users have the constant buzz of traffic noise while our boat engine noise masks this from our ears.

Tranquil Knotts Bridge along side junction 9 of the M65

Tranquil Knotts Bridge along side junction 9 of the M65

We stopped for lunch at Hapton after which I take a walk, having spotted a good network of paths and a landmark with ‘olde worlde’ writing. Shuttleworth Hall is a worthy highlight on the OS map but I’m not too sure about the red painted windows. The Burnley Way makes a risky crossing of the A6068 to take a look. I retrace my steps and take a little used path that ends abruptly on the canal towpath. My map also shows an isolated section of orange dots which indicate a cycle route with no start and no finish?

Shuttleworth Hall

Shuttleworth Hall

Like walking along roads, which are best travelled by car, canal towpaths are best viewed from a boat. So when I spot a footbridge crossing over the M65 I see this as a good vantage point as well as an escape from the towpath. Two boats pass along the winding cut to make a picture worth while. Pendle Hill and Nick of Pendle are still on my ‘To Do’ list despite being so close on this trip.

From near Huncote - Leeds and Liverpool canal with Pendle Hill in the distance

From near Huncote – Leeds and Liverpool canal with Pendle Hill in the distance (click on the pictures for a large view)

Many years back we attended Folk Festivals across the country and one artist who always drew us to his performance was Stanley Accrington. So being close by I decided to take a look at the town which also has memories of my grandfather’s demand for child silence while the football results were reported on his twelve inch black and white TV. It was by sheer chance and good luck that I walked along Livingstone Road which I soon discovered claims to be home to one of the twelve founder members of the Football League back in 1888, a read on Wikipedia suggests it’s not that simple.

A mix of urban roads and footpaths gets me to the church at Church. A notice on the canal bank has me a little concerned as boaters are told to stay inside and close all windows should a siren sound. What am I advised to do in the event of this emergency? The sign offered no guidance.

The graveyard at Church suggests some past residents had acquired wealth and their loved ones erected appropriate impressive memorials. Sadly the church is boarded up and no one is left to maintain them.

Not knowing if our boat was behind or ahead I took a short cut missing out the loop which the canal takes around the valley head of the Hyndburn Brook and from Rishton I decided to view the road on from the top deck of a bus into Blackburn.

Welcome to Blackburn

Welcome to Blackburn

The bus drops me opposite the former Thwaites Brewery, another casualty of the upheaval in the beer trade. This brewery site dominates the town centre and could be a difficult hole to fill as the shopping centre looks new and complete. The plan for the night was to moor here so no worries about finding the boat but I set off back to meet up…………somewhere.

Our overnight mooring in Blackburn

Our overnight mooring in Blackburn

After a meal on board we had a wander around the town which has a striking new Cathedral Precinct as part of what is now the Cathedral Quarter. Pictures on the website suggest a daytime visit to the cathedral should be made. Built as the parish church in 1826.  Work began to enlarge to cathedral in 1933 was curtailed by the war and inflation. In 1961 plans were scaled back for final completion. I was very taken by the precinct which has a Rennie Mackintosh feel.

Blackburn Cathedral Precinct

Blackburn Cathedral Precinct

Next morning our neighbour in a wide beam had made an early start. We had been playing musical chairs with them from Barnoldswick they were off to Ellesmere Port, we didn’t discover their proposed route. We set off at nine and caught them up at lock three. No water in the next pound and problems already encountered. A chap appears from below wearing a floatation aid, only CaRT staff are required to wear these.

 

Drained pound Blackburn

Drained pound Blackburn

I make too many wrong assumptions. With water pouring over the bywash of lock four and our boat listing dangerously above lock three I decide it’s time to influence proceedings. Only so long is it reasonable to assume these two crew know what they are doing. We get the boats crossed over and I chat with the chap in the floatation aid on the boat coming up. Single handed, new owner and first time out!

Johnson's Hillock bottom lock

Johnson’s Hillock bottom lock

We passed through Johnson’s Hillock on a hot and sunny Sunday so had a good audience especially around the Anchor Inn which sits alongside the top lock. There was work to be done so no time for a pint. Clear of the locks we have ten level miles along what was authorised as the Lancaster canal to our evening mooring at the top of the Wigan flight. There should have been opportunity for a walk but I stayed with the boat, I don’t recall why.

Looking again at the map I see lots of footpaths but I chose to walk down the locks perhaps to see how green the corridor has become. A flight I remember as desolate alongside bleak spoil heaps.

Working down the Wigan lock flight

Working down the Wigan lock flight

Next day I volunteered to steer down the locks knowing at least one other crew member enjoyed the challenge of lock wheeling. So little opportunity for any decent pictures. Two hours fifty minutes, not bad, all down to efficient transfer between locks I claim.

After lunch and a shopping trip we set off passing the L&L short boat ‘George’ used to drum up support for CaRT. Wigan Pier a bit like the ending of the ‘Mousetrap’ I don’t want to spoil your anticipation. I’m no sportsman but wonder why the stadium is DW, more of that later.

Some has been busy but has it had a load test?

Some has been busy but has it had a load test?

I didn’t manage a decent picture of George so here’s Ambush and Viktoria.

Ambush and Viktoria L&L longboats built by Yarwood in 1933 and 34

We moored that night at Parbold and from here I set off on what turned out to be a splendid walk to Ashurst’s Beacon. Crossing the River Douglas the banks looked very muddy suggesting it may occasionally be tidal to this point. I only saw the gatehouse to Ashurst’s Hall which invited a closer look if the opportunity ever arises. The dovecote opposite had been restored by the North West Buildings Preservation Trust in 1985. They describe it as a 17th century stone columbarium (a building with niches for funeral urns to be stored).

Dove cote or columbarium?

Dovecote or Columbarium?

Climbing a narrow hedge footpath the view was obscured but then a break in the hedge allowed field access and the vista to the north west became available. I didn’t know what I was looking at and couldn’t pick out any landmarks but I now see I was looking towards the Ribble Estuary, Southport and Lytham St Anne’s. More climbing before the pyramid shape of the beacon comes into view. The strong sun casts a deep shadow on one face while lighting another making a striking contrast. I had the hill top to myself on this fine evening and soon spotted Liverpool Cathedral and the  wind turbines on Burbo Bank off Crosby with the Welsh hills as a backdrop.

View from Ashurst's Beacon (click for a larger view)

View from Ashurst’s Beacon (click for a larger view)

The land at the beacon had been given in 1969 to Wigan Corporation in memory of journalist Thomas Meadows whose desire it was that this land should remain a beauty spot for the enjoyment of the people of Wigan. A toposcope also answers a question about the hill with the masts, it’s Winter Hill. Unfortunately trees now obscure the all round views, grounds for a bit of felling I feel.

I believe it's called Stand up Paddle Boarding. I like the confidence of the luggage on the board

I believe it’s called Stand up Paddle Boarding. I like the confidence of the luggage on the board.

A wander around Parbold was equally interesting. I’m reminded of Great Haywood. The two villages both have two churches and two schools serving the Anglican and the Roman Catholic members of the community. Here in Parbold there is also a large Convent. Walking back from the Anglican church we pass a large dwelling hidden in trees and I ask a local if it’s Parbold Hall. No he replies that’s the home of Dave Whelan and continues to explain to the sport ignoramus the significance of the DW stadium in Wigan.

Sorry, had to include this signal cabin at Parbold

Sorry, had to include this signal cabin at Parbold

 

A quirky display of frogs at Haskayne.

A quirky display of frogs at Haskayne.

A gentle cruise without locks finally brought us to our overnight stop at Aintree. We could proceed through Handcock’s swing bridge but to go further would take us into the urban suburbs of Liverpool. Our captain chats to a local and discovers a route onto the famous turf of the racecourse. We set off to explore and find a proper gate in the perimeter security fence so feel able to continue. This is Becher’s Brook and Canal Turn names known throughout the world to anyone who follows the Grand National. We follow a well used path alongside the course to Melling Road where another gate allows free exit. A notice apologises for occasional closes of the path. A path that is invisible on our trusty OS map.

Melling Road - closed on race days

Melling Road – closed on race days

A circular walk is agreed down Melling Road then back along the old rail line now a cycle track. But first we peer through the fence towards the grand stands which prove that racing is the sport of Kings. Or should it be Queens? The Queen Mother Stand and Princess Royal followed by an Earl and two Lords. But the bookies will take anyone’s money.

Next morning we self operate the bridge, lights flash sirens sound barriers close but pedestrians continue to cross and the barrier has to be lifted to let them out. The canal is wide, deep and surprisingly free of rubbish. We have one boat for company but where are the other four asks the skipper of the other boat. Two further swing bridges one electric the other a hand operated footbridge at Litherland where a massive lift bridge once crossed the canal. It features in the first episode of ‘Z cars’ worth a look on YouTube. The once grand Red Lion now looks a little tired.

Litherland footbridge from the high level road bridge

Litherland footbridge from the high level road bridge

Reaching the top of Stanley locks it was lunch time for the lock keeper and for us. We were directed into the chamber and watched as our berthing partner missed the turn into the link arm. We lock down and pass the impressive tobacco warehouse, opposite the Titanic Hotel another former warehouse. The lock keeper pilots us through what in the guide appears a labyrinth of old docks. Detailed instructions are too much to take in and totally unnecessary with bouys showing the channel.

Stanley Dock locks

Stanley Dock locks

We arrive at Princes lock close by the famous Liver building and among the throng of tourists but few observe our passage well below their normal field of vision as we pass through a tunnel under or very close to the museum of Liverpool. From Mann Island lock we are on our own making a snake like passage to Salthouse Dock. Berths are pre-booked and our companion now heads over to join other boats on pontoons on the north side. We finally locate our mooring isolated like a leper on a bank of otherwise empty pontoons. But as the captain said we can’t upset the neighbours when we run the engine for hot water.

We now had a day and a half to explore Liverpool. It had already been agreed we would head north to Crosby to look at the iron men or to use it’s correct title ‘Another Place’ by Anthony Gormley. It is incredibly striking, I wanted to visit each of the one hundred figures but there was no need. No need even to get up close to any one statue. It is the setting of them all that creates the effect. However we do walk across the beach and Tom takes off his shoes to paddle through the mud of low tide to reach a distant figure.

An evening trip on the train to Southport, again Tom wanted to see the seaside and take a walk along the pier. Last year at Eastbourne that had been a pleasant evening stroll. It must be seaside destinations beginning with ‘S’ like Skegness. We never saw the sea and if we had been able to walk to the end of the pier, which we couldn’t, were unlikely to have had water under us.

Setting out along the pier Southport

Setting out along the pier Southport

We then had one full day to explore Liverpool so here’s some pictures. It was agreed we could have filled another day but we had a boat on hire and a time slot to depart.

A variety of boats moored in the docks. But take a close look at the boat moored behind this palace.

A variety of boats moored in the docks. But take a close look at the boat moored behind this palace.

The impressive canopy of Lime Street station

The impressive canopy of Lime Street station

Sadly all that remains of the overhead railway one restored carriage and a mock up of the gantry in the museum.

Sadly all that remains of the overhead railway one restored carriage and a mock up of the gantry in the museum.

Old world surrounded by new on Liverpool's waterfront

Old world surrounded by new on Liverpool’s waterfront

Albert Dock distinctive stonework.

Albert Dock distinctive stonework.

The Tobacco warehouse from the Titanic Hotel

The Tobacco warehouse from the Titanic Hotel

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: