There is so much to see on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal! Our week Out and Back trip from Barnoldswick (“Barlick”, apparently, to the locals) was superb. Snow, hail, rain and sunshine – and that was just Tuesday. Our aim was Saltaire, the Victorian “model village” founded by Sir Titus Salt for his mill workers, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and that we reached with ease.
However, on the way there and back, there was so much to see. We like visiting churches as a hobby, in my case especially for the stained glass, and the canal provided us with many opportunities. We only started at 1pm on the first day, but passed St Peter’s church in East Marton that afternoon. We admired it from the canal, but left a visit for the return trip. After a night’s stop in glorious countryside north of East Marton, St Andrew’s church in Gargrave was soon reached and was open for visitors. On to Skipton, a wonderful market town with much to see (the walk up the short canal arm beneath the castle is highly recommended). However we also went to see the stunning war memorial at the top end of the High Street and Holy Trinity church. Then we stayed for an evening meal in the Cock and Bottle Inn.
After a night in Skipton, the next day was lock-free cruising, but with many swing bridges to negotiate. After another night’s stop, this time near East Riddlesden Hall (National Trust, but unfortunately closed on Thursdays and Fridays), we reached the Bingley Five-Rise Staircase Locks, one of the Seven Wonders of the Canal World. Some of us had walked it before, but going through it afloat was so much better! Then on to Saltaire, especially to visit Salt’s Mill – for its architecture and for the David Hockney art exhibitions. Sadly the amazing United Reform church was not open.
Cruising back west was just as good, many thinks looking very different when approached from the opposite direction – and giving us a second chance to experience the Bingley locks. We also stopped before the Three-Rise Locks to visit All Saints, Bingley, well worth a visit for its stained glass and with a wonderful-looking old coaching inn next door. The canal journey back included a night at Kildwick, with an excellent evening meal at the White Lion and a visit to St Andrew’s church next morning – the church was locked, but the kind vicar lived close by and let us in. Then on to Skipton, which we could not pass without stopping for another look round.
On the return journey there was still no time to visit St Peter, East Marton, but on to the Anchor Inn, just beyond Barnoldswick, where we moored up for the night and went for a wonderful last meal on the canal – and also visited their stunning cellar to see the stalactites and stalagmites. A superb week – and after leaving the boat we finally made it to East Marton church – by car.
Peter & Cheryl Jones and friends, North Wales