Jo’s Monday walk : Canalside in Leeds at Christmas

It was a strange Christmas for me.  How about you?  I flew into Stansted, in spite of being destined for Leeds Bradford airport.  Nine hours later than planned, a neighbour’s very kind son deposited me at my hotel, tired and somewhat bemused at the chain of events.  It could only get better, and mostly it did.  Christmas Day should be spent with people you love, and it was.  Blue skies in Leeds in late December, however briefly, a bonus.  Put your gloves on and join me in a sparkly, frosty walk.  You know you need the exercise!

We’re starting out around Granary Wharf, near to the railway station.  Underneath the arches, a neglected image of times gone by.  The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is sandwiched between remnants of the industrial past and modern apartment blocks, and on a bright day the towpath makes for a pleasant walk.  Don’t forget to check out the view behind you, and keep an eye out for those demon cyclists!

A colossal undertaking, primarily to transport coal for industry in the 18th century, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs for 204km in total, with 91 locks.  We’re only covering a tiny section today, right in the centre of Leeds.  It was Christmas Eve and I was avoiding the bustle of the city streets, whilst still hoping to meet our son for coffee.  In places the canal runs parallel with the River Aire, offering an alternate route.  Ugliness is a close neighbour with beauty here.  One moment I’m admiring lily pads and reflections, the next confronted with urban scrawl and litter.

All is redeemed when I round a bend and find a pair of swans communing with a family of ducks.  The natural world is at peace.

I’ve always been fascinated by locks, and find them a welcome distraction from gloomy tunnels and ever-present graffiti.  The combination of old mills and rippling reflections works like a charm, soothing with their beauty.

Remnants of once meaningful murals cling to tired brick walls.  The water races headlong, a solitary swan seeming not to notice his drab surrounds.

Where the sun’s soft caress has yet to reach, a hard frost remains.  I look back along the canal and know that I must retrace some of my steps.  A coffee laced with Bailey’s awaits, but more importantly, my son.

The path continues on for many miles and I hope some day to complete the section from here to lovely Kirkstall Abbey, a short distance away.  And just in case you thought I wasn’t keeping my eye on the time while I was in Leeds….

Time’s up, it seems!  Thanks, Becky.  Wishing you and yours lots of good times in 2019!

walking logo

This visit was all about family, and we managed to unite son and daughter, and their partners, in Nottingham, after a tortuous journey by road.  Worth it, of course!  Now I’m back in the Algarve with my memories.  And some more walks to share.


After a flying visit to England, I’ve embraced cold.  Debbie too!  She’s sharing Icelandic beauty :

A walk of all weathers

Give yourself an after Christmas treat!  Go walking the streets of Prague with Nicole :

Self-Guided Walking Tour of Prague

Margaret knows the way to a woman’s heart!  Walking in one of my favourite places :

Taking my new camera for a walk

Jackie has fun wherever she goes.  And the lady eats well!  Drinks well, too  🙂

Sunday Nov 25 Barcelona

Cerveza Por Favor

I love poinsettias!  They spell Christmas to me, and to Alice too :

The country store

Lady Lee shares a wonderful Christmas tree and a post-birthday celebration :

The Weekly Smile

Fancy a swift walk with my mate Andrew?

Travels in Spain, A walk around Seville

Or something more contemporary with Tobias :

Goult – Evening Walk

Cathy gives us sweeping plains, petroglyphs and a great house, Chaco style!

Chaco Culture National Historical Park : the Una Vida Trail

Chaco Culture: Hungo Pavi

We’ve reached the last day of the year.  Goodness knows how!  It only remains to wish you all the healthiest of years ahead.  Mine will start with a bang, beside the bridge at Tavira.  A first for me, but not the last, I hope.  Happy New Year!


  1. Hi, Jo. Walks are terrific for easing tension, aren’t they? I can understand your frustration with air travel. It’s grim, isn’t it? But in the end, it looked like you had a great visit with your kids and an easier trip back to the Algarve. I’m hoping for sunny skies and warm weather for you!


  2. Travel during the holidays can certainly be problematic but I’m happy that you enjoyed your visit with your family…that is all that really matters. You spoke of “ugliness being a close neighbour with beauty”, I seem to be finding that more and more in my travels but I’m still always thrilled to enjoy seeing this interesting world of ours. I’m looking forward to your walks this new year in your new home.


    1. It’s quite funny, Karen, but two of my walks have already been over the border in Spain. Must behave myself and start acting like a patriot. 🙂 🙂 Seriously, hon, I do very much appreciate your time and visits.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know I commented on this previously but it’s probably too far down the list for me to go look so here’s another one 🙂 I like a canalside walk and the swans look lovely, but my favourite pic this time just has to be the last one 🙂 Here’s my first one of the year with appropriate weather for the day – I’ll link back to your next one when I know where you’ve been 🙂


  4. Looks wonderful in Leeds and so sunny. We too went into Leeds to meet up with good friends and then in the Algarve for New Year. Am following some of your footsteps but have not been so good with the blog following. Feliz Año Novo or Nuevo if on the Spanish side of the Guadiana. Look forward to more stunning walks and photos from you.


      1. It does seem hectic in these southern climes! I’ve just been for a lovely walk instead of virtual stuff. Perhaps because the weather is brighter we all get up and do more. Enjoy settling into the Algarve and perhaps you can get over to the Sierra Aracena too. It is Spanish walking country.


      2. We did some hill walking this morning and went to the charolas in Tavira this afternoon. Aracena comes highly recommended by my walking friends too, so hopefully one day… 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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