54 miles 120 locks 55 hours
Leaving our historic canal basin, your journey begins with the
excitement of a new tunnel and the deepest lock in the country.
The canal gradually climbs through woods, fields and small stone
towns to Hebden Bridge. This old mill town nestles in a fork in
the hills, houses piled tier upon tier. Hebden has excellent
shops and is full of surprises - everything from horsey clothing
to hand-made pottery. Untie, and go on up the valley, its sides
closing in with crags and trees and views of the moors high
above. A stream runs alongside, and the locks are set among
woods or stone cottages. The Pennine Way crosses at Callis.
So to Todmorden, completely untouristy yet with much to enjoy -
fine Victorian buildings, especially the Town Hall, a lively
market and many places to eat and drink, all dominated by a
curving railway viaduct.
From here the going gets serious – more Alpine than Pennine.
Pass the Great Wall of Todmorden, go under a splendidly overdone
Gothic railway bridge, then stop at the Cross keys (much
recommended). Keep going, with high hills on either side, to the
summit, the second highest (just) in England at 600’. Pause at
the Summit Inn, your first in Lancashire, before making the
steep drop into Littleborough, 12 locks in 2 miles. Visit the
secondhand bookshop, then carry on past Clegg Hall (a Grade 1
listed ruin) and through the edge of Rochdale - surprisingly
sylvan - and to its centre. Carry on to Lock No. 50, and turn
Return to Sowerby Bridge and on down the Calder Valley through
the woods to Brighouse. Good shopping, including a Sainsbury's
with its own moorings, plentiful pubs and time to relax.
Finally, make your way back to base.
This journey needs an
active, committed crew - it has a lot of locks!