Jo’s Monday walk : Kirkstall Abbey to Leeds City Centre

What could be finer, on an almost sunny day, than a little piece of English Heritage, topped off with a canalside walk?  Numerous times I have passed by the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, with a backward look and a sigh.  Founded in 1152, over 800 years ago, this Cistercian monastery is surrounded by greenery and sits on the banks of the River Aire.

All summer long Leeds City Council have provided activities to keep youngsters active and entertained.  Kirkstall Abbey was one of the venues, in case you were wondering about the terrier.  He was watching me with curiosity as I read the signboards and imagined how life must have been, back in those draughty days.

A short, sharp shower forced us across the road and into the Abbey House tearooms.  Excellent timing for a huge slice of carrot cake.

I was astonished to learn that the main road into Leeds had once passed through the Abbey.  Today it buzzes and hums alongside, but a far quieter route into town can be found just a few hundred metres beyond, along the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Leaving the Abbey to its own devices, I meandered across the grass to join the riverside path.  Youngsters were trying to span the river, with whoops of laughter, at a narrow point among the trees.  Beyond the weir it wasn’t immediately obvious how to reach the towpath, and I ended up on a rugby pitch, with some rusty containers.  Big hint- it is necessary to cross over the river to access the canal.

You never know what you’ll find on, or in, a canal.  Discarded gaiety from the day before, an old lad and his equally old boat, nuts and bolts and bridges, and a dad, wheeling the pushchair in search of peace and quiet.

Waterside weeds aplenty, dappled shade, a pigeon under a bridge, looking wary, and a timely reminder of distance.  Today’s walk, just a fraction of that.  Suddenly welcome sunshine flooded the canal with brilliant light, and simultaneously I passed by a small marina.

Close by, the traffic thundered over bridges, but in this watery world all was stillness and calm, with patches of ugliness.  Angled shots seemed to suit the confined space, reflecting the heavy girders with ease.

Approaching Leeds centre many of the old warehouses have been converted, but there are still sad facades with bleak-looking, shattered windows.  A museum peers down from behind railings.  Spare patches of wall host graffiti.  The canal trundles silently, nurturing its wildlife.

The railway joins the canal and the road network, and gradually everything converges on the city.  A sequence of locks steers you through it’s very heart.  The conviviality of the canals always draws people together, and I love this about them.

 

I have to apologise for being a bit ‘all over the place’ right now.  Many of you will know that I am back in my Algarve home, after spending most of August in the UK.  Events have overtaken me, but I have a few ambles still to share from my time in England.

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As always, many thanks to you all for following my wandering footsteps.  I hope you can spare some time to visit my walkers.  I can promise variety!  Join me next time, on Jo’s Monday walk?  You’re always very welcome.

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Jude’s back with us this week, sharing beautiful Cornwall :

A Walk on the Wildside

Denzil’s shifted his focus a little lately, but the details are, as always, excellent :

Doode Bemde, Neerijse

Debbie always finds such interesting subjects for her walks :

An amble in Another Place

A beautifully written walk from Mel, with some great historic background :

Escape Sydney’s Concrete Jungle on the Wulugul Walk

And by contrast, Joanne shares some very English heritage and sights :

Canterbury Tales and Trails

There isn’t any shortage of beautiful cities in Europe, is there?  Thanks, Drake!

The invisible bridge city

Janet shares a lovely picture storyboard this week :

Framing Wyoming: walk with me

While Natalie keeps our fitness in mind, in a beautiful setting :

Fit n Fun Walk: Toronto Music Garden

And Jackie has a very different focus :

But First, Dessert

Ann-Christine reflects on our topsy-turvy world :

Thursday Thoughts – Iceland, Life on Earth and at Sea

Lady Lee’s back from a fabulous holiday :

All Seasons – Our Japanese Holiday

While poor Cathy just keeps right on walking!

(Camino day 32) Valverde de la Virgen to Hospital de Orbigo

There’s walking, and then there’s Lexie!  This is an unbelievable effort.  You will be amazed!

Battling a Mountain

That’s it for another week.  I plan a slow day today as the weekend was hot and hectic.  Whatever you find to do, take good care of yourself.

138 comments

  1. Beautiful post, Jo. I love your photos and descriptions. I was great relieved to hear that your walk include a huge slice of carrot cake. :). Your description of the site and surrounding areas is lovely. Welcome back home!

    1. Hiya Patti 🙂 🙂 Sorry I’ve not taken part in the Lens Artists challenge. I have a few issues with the blog, and with life in general at present. It’s as much as I can do to keep this going. Many thanks for the kind words.

    1. I really should have been born to a family of waterborne gypsies, Peta. 🙂 🙂 But I’d need a mechanic around to fix things because I’m extraordinarily good at breaking them. 😦

    1. Unless I have my feet in the sea it’s not so easy to keep cool, Susan, and I’ve been very moderate in my cake-eating since I came back from England. I really shouldn’t admit this but my other half’s going out on an evening walk and I simply don’t feel like it! Please don’t tell- my reputation will be in shreds 🙂 🙂

  2. Looks like a great little walk Jo. Leeds gets a lot of bad press doesn’t it but that canal walk looks so interesting. We’re looking doing a long canal walk next year somewhere for a few days, just trying to find the right place.

      1. I’ve just had this idea that I’d like us to do a 3 or 4 day canal walk somewhere. Seems like a challenge and a bit of a mini-adventure.

  3. I smiled a bit at the “patches of ugliness” remark, Jo, because it all looks so interesting, I think it’s just different gradations of beauty! 🙂 I LOVE the abbey! I was “wowed!”

  4. I so enjoyed this visit to Kirkstall Abbey, Jo, and your descriptions were wonderful, for I enjoyed the sounds alongside your beautiful photos. Abbey House tearooms with big slices of cake, I think I would be so excited I would fall off my chair.

  5. it is always a pleasure to walk with you, Jo. thank you for sharing your lovely photographs and great narratives. and a cutie terrier, too!
    take care. 🙂

  6. Your walks always go through such varied places, Jo. Looking at the beautiful abbey, I bet the monks living there thought it would last forever, until Henry VIII came along with Thomas Cromwell to shut them down on a spurious excuse.

  7. I tried commenting yesterday and for some reason it wouldn’t ‘take’. Thanks for this trip to our old ‘back yard’- my husband’s cycling route to work every day, though not this stretch. A lovely green lung in a not particularly lovely part of Leeds.

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