There are places that are neither here nor there, sometimes because both sides want them (Kashmir, The West Bank) and sometimes because neither does. Berwick-upon-Tweed, might perhaps be part of England or Scotland, but neither really wants it. Legend has it that when the Crimean War was declared in 1853, it was declared by Great Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed (pronounced BER-ick) and all British Dominions. When the Treaty of Paris was signed to end the war, Berwick-upon-Tweed was omitted, so they remained at war first with Czarist Russia, and then with the Soviet Union, until 1966 when the Mayor of Berwick was persuaded by a reporter from Pravda to declare peace.
Tonight we are in another such disputed place, Barnoldswick (pronounced BAR-lick). From 876 CE until 1974 CE, Barnoldswick was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, but then the Tories decided to ‘reform’ local government and moved it to Lancashire. Actually to be precise, the town stayed in the same place, and Lancashire moved to devour it. It’s hard to explain the importance of this to an American, but imagine if the inhabitants of the Bronx were one day told that they were now living in New Jersey.
Massive culture shock, right?
Except that Yorkshire and Lancashire fought a war for a generation to decide who was going to run the country. Lancashire won, but I get the feeling that Yorkshire is ready for a rematch. See the white rose on that cannon?
I rest my case.
But the fact that we have crossed the (current) border into Lancashire means that we have made it to the highest point of the canal, 487 feet above sea level. Considering we were 8 feet above sea level in Goooooooole on May 21st, that means that we fourteen days we have brought the boat up 497 feet, which means our average vertical speed was seventeen inches per hour.
We started out today with a flight of nine locks. By the third one we teamed up with a rental boat with a large crew, which made things easier, though not necessarily faster. At one point the two boats were trying to get into a lock at the same time. Paula won, but only by pushing the other boat out of the way, whereupon it got its bow caught in the current from a weir and started to spin around, till it was lodged crossways across the canal.
Luckily there was room to turn it all the way around, and some tugging on ropes accomplished a 360 turn.
Above the locks there were five glorious miles of beautiful countryside with no swing bridges or locks. However, I don’t have any pictures, because at this point the weather decided to have some fun with us. First there was a short but vicious rain shower, and then a strong wind that made the boat hard to control. Was this Yorkshire’s last attempt to wuther us? Before we knew it we were at the final set of three locks up to the summit, so up we went.
It’s turned into a beautiful evening. Here’s the current view from the bow of the boat.
However, heavy rain is forecast for the whole day tomorrow, so we may be sitting tight and binge watching House of Cards.