Midweek Break boating holiday to Wakefield - from Sowerby Bridge
Four night weekend break 42 miles 52 locks 27 hours
This route is largely on river navigations. In normal conditions the rivers are placid but in prolonged wet weather they can flow too fast for safe navigation. In such cases boats wait at safe moorings while flood water recedes - usually quite quickly.
Elland 3 miles 5 locks 3 hours
Arrive at our base in one of the 200-year old canal warehouses at Sowerby Bridge. After a thorough briefing, you set off, and travel along the side of the valley to Salterhebble Locks, where we meet you and take you through your first three locks. You then do another two locks on your own, hidden away in the trees. At Elland you have a choice of two canalside pubs, one with food, or lots more in the town up the hill - along with shops, takeaways and a Co-op supermarket. and of course good pubs and restaurants.
Broad Cut 15 miles 19 locks 10 hours
Next day you head down, past glimpses of lakes, to Brighouse, a busy small town with interesting shops and a Sainsbury's with its own moorings and of course good pubs and restaurants. From Brighouse you go down into the River Calder. Pass under a towering motorway viaduct, a reminder of the world you left behind - and who cares which motorway it is? The river provides a sweeping contrast to the canal cuts with which it alternates, as it winds its way down the wooded valley to Mirfield. The locks grow further apart and the whole landscape is gentler. A dramatic cutting leads to Double Locks (which are not joined) and Figure of Three (which is two locks) before you end up at Broad Cut, with pleasant moorings outside the Navigation (which does pub food till late, 7 days).
Shepley Bridge 12 miles 12 locks 6 hours
Carry on, and soon you are in Wakefield. You can moor right outside the stunning new Hepworth Wakefield, with sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and changing contemporary works. If you don't fancy the culture injection, there's fantastic shopping in town. Turn and start back, stopping overnight at Shepley Bridge (the Ship Inn is a Hungry Horse pub/restaurant).
Salterhebble 10 miles 16 locks 7 hours
On your return journey, you can take in more details of this historically important navigation, significantly older than most of the canal system - partly designed by John Smeaton, of Eddystone Lighthouse fame. You have splendid views of the hills. At the top of the last lock, detour right along the short Halifax Arm, and overnight here (Brewer's Fayre and ordinary pub).
Sowerby Bridge Wharf 2 miles 0 locks 1 hour
A short sail without locks brings you back to base by 0900.
This trip gives you plenty to see and do, with the highlight of the Hepworth gallery.