Leeds-Liverpool canal

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.

Jo’s Monday walk : Canalside in Skipton

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What drew me to Skipton, in the Yorkshire Dales, for our wedding anniversary?  Heaven knows, I’m no cricket fan (sorry, Freddie!)   Why boats, of course!  This little market town is at the heart of a network of canals where I could walk the towpaths to infinity. (well, Liverpool is 99 miles away- that’s infinity to my husband’s way of thinking, but then he’s a cricket lover)

Skipton sits on the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal.  Perfect for walking.  York is a mere 38 miles away.  Is that too ambitious?  It was only an overnight stay, so boundaries would definitely have to be set.

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In any case, the canal basin seemed like a good place to start.  I had an ancient town guide to hand and one of its recommends was a walk along Springs Canal.  This takes you around the back of Skipton Castle and promises fine views.  Unfortunately it was dull, verging on damp, at the time so my photos are much less splendid than I would have liked.

Continuing past an old sawmill, the walk weaves through Skipton Woods, a leafy stroll, and a favoured promenade since Victorian times.  It’s an atmospheric place, yet busy with dog walkers.  A circuit takes you past the Round Dam and parallel to the Long Dam, before climbing steps to follow the top edge of the wood, back into town via The Bailey.

At this point you might want to visit Skipton Castle.  Dating back to 1090, it is a wonderfully preserved Medieval castle, with an early Tudor courtyard.  I’ve visited the castle before, but not the neighbouring 14th century Holy Trinity Church.

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Emerging onto the High Street, I found the market in full swing.  I hadn’t come to shop, but there was ample opportunity and I enjoyed the lively atmosphere.  More to my taste, the ‘ginnels’ and narrow alleyways linking many of the side streets.  I couldn’t resist a few brollies for Meg, but then it was time to eat.  And just to prove that I don’t only eat cake…

A saunter down delightfully cobbled Sheep Street offers plenty of choices.  The Three Sheep Tea Rooms has remarkably fine cake, and I can vouch for the pear and apple chutney.  Even though I managed to squidge some down my white trousers!  Time to get back to the canals.

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The day was brightening beautifully, and I crossed over Belmont Bridge to join the towpath of the Leeds-Liverpool canal.  Few things delight my heart more than a narrowboat.  Wreathed in smiles I set off, reveling in such beautiful surroundings.

There are all manner of diversions along the way.  Curious wildlife inspect the prowess of the boat crews.  “Hold steady while I take this selfie!”  “Watch out for those cows!”  Just when all is going smoothly, lock gates present a challenge.

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So much to love!  Smiling faces on board, and on the towpath.  Boat names.  Pretty gardens to admire.  A slow, peaceful way of life.

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All too soon I have to return to the canal basin, for one last linger.  Watching the canal boats depart for their half hour trips, I strike up a conversation with a couple, over a drink outside The Boat House.  They used to own a barge in Belgium, and are as enamoured with the narrowboats as I am. It obviously suited Freddie Trueman too.  He made his home in The Dales and the dynamic statue by Graham Ibbetson is a fine tribute.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my anniversary walk with me.  It’s been a pleasure to take you along.  Time now for my second cup of coffee!

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Many thanks to you all again for sharing and caring this week.  The weather’s been great and I’ve barely been indoors.  Got to make the most, don’t you?  I have some wonderful walks to share.  If you’d like to join in any time, it’s pretty easy.  Just click on the logo or take a look at my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be very welcome.

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Who knew a walk round a pumping station could be so interesting?  Thanks a lot, Violet Sky!

High Level

Take a ride through some lovely countryside with Lady Lee?

Thekkady Jeep Safari

My good friend Leya is joining us with some real enchantment this week.  Please pay her a visit :

The Enchanted Monastery

In case you were in any doubt, Debbie shows us just how beautiful is Corsica :

Stroll around Ile Lavezzi

No place like Glasgow!  Just ask Anabel.  She knows!

Glasgow’s Clyde

Got to love Jackie’s energy!  Toronto is another good-looking city :

Summer in the City

Liesbet knows I love waterfalls.  They always make a walk worthwhile :

Hiking to Tannery Falls

You could say Drake is a black pearl.  What do you think?

A pearl without a hard shell

Laia reflects on life in beautiful Switzerland.  Wish I was there!

A walk along the Lake Leman

Please welcome Hanna to my walks.  She’ll show you a little of life in wonderful Copenhagen :

An Entertaining Stroll in The Citadel

I didn’t have Elaine down as a wicked temptress, did you?  But just look at the evidence!

A blustery afternoon in Largs

You couldn’t find a greater contrast than our Becky, in the Algarve.  Blue skies and beautiful wildflowers :

A stroll down memory lane, also known as PR5

Lovely Gilly has found  a calm and peaceful place this week.  Come with us and enjoy!

Buckfast Abbey

That’s it for another week.  It’s a Bank Holiday next Monday and I don’t hold out much hope for the weather.  I’ll still be here though. And smiling! Take care till then.