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!


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  2. I’m sorry to be joining your walk so late in the week, Jo. I was “wharfside” myself, in San Francisco, late last week, and although I had a wonderful time, the wind was strong and I wasn’t dressed for the cold. But there’s something wonderful about these areas where docks and ferries connect, and the still water and blue skies meet! Your photos are gorgeous, especially in the way the water reflects the surroundings! I’m so sorry it took you a lot of added energy to arrive to your destination, but it’s clear you had a great time once you landed! Happy walking in 2019, dear Jo.


    1. Late is always very much better than never, Debbie, and it’s been a busy week for many of us. I can’t find half as much time as I once spent on here, in this ‘new’ life of mine. I’m only managing the one post per week, so you’ll always have plenty of time to catch up with me. 🙂 🙂 I always appreciate that you do. Many thanks and warm wishes to you and yours for 2019.


  3. Thank you a lovely stroll in your company,Jo. I have never been to Leeds and enjoyed seeing the big city through your lens. Sorry to hear about the pre Christmas trouble with the airports, it happened to our friends as well.
    Wishing you all the best for 2019 in Algarve, much love, joy, health and happy adventures! Xx


    1. Many thanks to you, Dina. We’re just back from a lovely walk on one of the barrier islands. The wind was fresh and the sky brightest blue. Our new year has started beautifully. 🙂 🙂 I know that you can say the same in your role caring for seals. Wishing you all continuing pleasures and good health in 2019.


  4. I most definitely need the exercise, Jo, but am walking with you from my cozy bed this early morning. Thanks for all your likes and good words throughout the year. I look forward to walking along with you in the new year.


  5. Lovely photographs depicting so many different locations.
    Thank you for the visual vacations. I enjoyed it very much
    and didn’t have to brave the cold or travel exhaustions.
    Glad your back home safe again …. Happy New Year 2019
    Isadora 😎


  6. I had no idea that Leeds was quite so picturesque, it doesn’t have that reputation does it? May have to include a visit on one of our trips. Glad you had such a nice visit back to the UK but must be good to be back in the warmer Algarve now. Happy New Year for 2019.


    1. There are some very nice spots around the canal, Jonno, and old Kirkstall Market is a gem. The city has lots of new trendy restaurants and shopping centres mixed in with the less desirable bits. Like a lot of places now, I guess. 🙂 🙂 I couldn’t live there but my son has called it home for a lot of years so I’ve come to know it quite well. Thanks and all the best to you and the missus 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Jo. What do you take all your photos on? Been meaning to ask for a while, do you use a phone or a camera as they are such good quality?


  7. Jo, the flight situation was a mess before Christmas and I felt for anyone travelling. So glad you arrived in time to be with your family and you seem to have taken the detour in your stride. Ahh…lovely to see the photos of Leeds, the canal area has seen a lot of regeneration and some of the canal is beautiful but still a pity about the graffiti. The swans are idyllic and the Yorkshire mill buildings have a special place in my heart. I was up in Ilkley over Christmas and loved being near the moors again (as well as seeing my brother and family obviously!😀). Wishing you a great 2019, Jo, filled with lots of new adventures! ❤️


  8. It’s really strange for a small town girl like me to see such a built up canal, and 204km! I wonder what you’d think of Exeter’s, it’s only about 8 miles and you can walk it in 3 hours, then keep going along the estuary, get a ferry from Starcross to Exmouth, then a train back!
    Actually I know you’d love it x:-)x


  9. Glad to hear your family gathered together for that is the best thing of all. Well coffee and Baileys is a close second. 🙂 Wishing you a great year ahead Jo and many walks.


  10. A rather interesting mix here. My favorite was the shot of the swans and the bridge. Very nice composition. Wishing you and yours a very happy new year 🎊🎈!


    1. It was quite extraordinary, Lexie, but on Boxing Day when we walked the canal in the other direction it was grim and grey, so I’ll keep those photos to myself. 🙂 🙂 Bluest skies ever here in the Algarve! It’s cool when the sun goes down, but oh, those golden days 🙂 Happiest of new years to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I particularly love arch, reflections and swans, but allthe photos are so wonderfully sharp. Algarve photos have a different sharpness. Enjoy your new year in a new home (sort of) and please take me with you as you continue to adventure.


    1. We had a lovely New Year celebration, Meg, and an even better day today. 🙂 Met up with a handful of fellow walkers this afternoon for a stroll round the salt marshes in glorious sunshine. Coffee and cake and home in the setting sun, then a catch up with Marie (who shared our diversion to Stansted adventure but came back to the Algarve on a different flight). I was a little bit mopey yesterday but today is definitely the beginning of a happy new year. I haven’t had time yet to watch the fireworks from Sydney (and London 🙂 ). Maybe tomorrow. Hope you had a lovely time, surrounded by your brood. Wishing you a healthy, happy year. Not much chance of our paths crossing, but you might just turn up here 🙂 🙂 I can hope!


  12. Jo, I am glad you managed to arrive in Leeds eventually and spend Christmas with loved ones. Thank you for taking me along this beautiful walk, I don’t really know Leeds very well. Wishing you a splendid New Year and new life in the Algarve 🙂


    1. Hi Gilda 🙂 🙂 Sorry to be so late here but I’ve had little time for the laptop this New Year. A lovely evening followed by an even better day, and good company. Wishing you health, happiness and adventures in 2019!


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