Leeds and Liverpool Canal

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!

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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.

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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!

Jo’s Monday walk : Gargrave in the rain

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I did tell you last week that my skies aren’t always blue?  Sometimes you just have to carry on and do it.  August in England- you never can tell what’s in store!  My companion’s still smiling, so grab a mac and come with me to Gargrave.  What’s a little rain between friends?

It’s a lovely village, but I’m not staying long.  I hop over a stile in a stone wall and off across the field, even though that sky does look a bit ominous. I have a date with a canal.  I expect it will appreciate a little more water!  The sheep don’t seem terribly bothered, so why should we?

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I do seem to have encountered a lot of sheep this summer.  You might remember that I spent an anniversary weekend in the village of Skipton, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.  Gargrave is situated just 4 miles north west of Skipton, and I had in mind a 3 and a half mile walk to take in a few locks. The Leeds and Liverpool canal and the River Aire both pass through the village, as does the Pennine Way, so perhaps you can understand my enthusiasm, despite the dreary weather.

Halfway across the field the mild drizzle turns to a downpour.  Nothing for it but to plod on, hoping to reach the shelter of a few trees.  I always seem to get the giggles at such moments. Not so the other half, whose frown was growing deeper by the minute.  With some relief, I spot the first lock, through the trees.  A cheery lock keeper bids us “good morning!”.  “I’m paid to get wet” he says, stoically.

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Fortunately the rain has eased again and I stop to admire the lock keeper’s cottage. Imagine, if you will, a bright Summer’s day.

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We cross over an old stone bridge and a pop of colour from a patch of tiny thistles catches my grey-weary eyes.  These are Bank Newton locks.

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Can you see what lies ahead?  I will try not to bore you rigid with houseboats, but I do have a bit of a fascination with them.

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One of the highlights of this walk was a small aqueduct, carrying the canal over the river. It was a first for me.  Not very spectacular to look at but an experience in itself.  I am full of admiration for the people who made these canals.

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Happily, at this point a glimmer of sunshine appears in the sky.  I don’t suppose you’ll be able to see it, but it puts a smile back on the husband’s face.  And then we come upon a very strange craft!

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One of the things I love about houseboats is the creativity of the people who live on, or near, them.  We’re almost at the end of our walk so I’ll spare you any more lock details. You might want to observe a stately swan though, and I’m pretty sure I have an irresistible dog for you.

Gargrave has a very charming website with a choice of walks around the village.  You could do much worse than follow one of them, and hopefully you’ll stay dry.  This is the walk that I did.

‘What!  No cream tea?’ I hear your outraged cry!  We drove onwards to Malham, where the rain was once again a deluge, and huddled in the corner of a cramped cafe.  Determined to see something of the mighty limestone crags, I persuaded the long suffering one to a short walk to Janet’s Foss. No need to feel sorry for him.  We were homeward bound and, as we crested the valley, sun beamed down upon us.   The scarecrow festival at Kettlewell more than made up for any disappointments.  Time to put the kettle on?

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I know time is a little tight right now, but please do visit the new folks on here, or at least bookmark them for later?  So much work goes into these posts.  I’d hate you to miss them. Huge thanks to all you for walking with me each week.  Details are, as always, on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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I have some great mates around here!  Thanks, Jude, for reminding me how very lovely Norwich is :

Norwich Part 1 : History and Architecture

Amy joins us with an extremely elegant walk this week :

A Walk of an Urban Garden

Geoff usually comes up with something different, and you’ll enjoy this :

Thomas Hardy and why he was miserable # walking

Next, a shout out for my birthplace, from Lady Lee :

Coventry Transport Museum

A dent in the head for poor Woolly?  Oh, dear!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Indented-Head

Something all too familiar to some of us.  Thanks, Jesh!

Rainy Seasons

Can we have a big welcome please for Lisa, from Israel?  She’s new to my walks :

The Jerusalem Model  (you may need to scroll down a little)

“I read the news today, oh boy!… ”  Those Beatles again, or my friend Drake?

A day in the life

Enjoy some beautiful frosty leaf patterns with Denzil :

Shapes and patterns in nature

Jaspa has a rare find this week.  Seeing’s believing!

Walk on the Ocean Floor at Hopewell Rocks, Canada

Here’s value for money.  Two walks for the price of one, from Peta :

Morning walk ; Afternoon walk

And I’d like to share a very beautiful post I found.  Please say hello to Vanessa :

Sandankyo Gorge, Hiroshima- Wandering off the Beaten Track in the Mountains of Western Japan

And another great find!  I love sharing walkers that are new to me.  Happy to introduce Ostend Nomad :

Walking the Vintnar Gorge

And one more for luck!  Sophie makes Siena look absolutely stunning!

Night walk in Siena

And, getting the Christmas walks rolling, who could be better than Becky?

Beginning to feel like Christmas

That’s it for another week.  Maybe I’ll be in Christmas mode next week.  Take good care of each other!