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Category: UK Canal Trip

Up, Up, And Away – But Mostly Up

Up, Up, And Away – But Mostly Up

Today we bid a fond farewell to the thriving metropolis of Leeds, home strange brick towers… …and the cheapest office space in Europe (coincidence?), and headed up the east face of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. The Leeds and Liverpool took forty years to build, mostly thanks to Desmond (god of cost overruns) and they still got it wrong. Instead of spacing the locks out evenly like the great flights at Caen Hill or Tardebigge they are clumped together in…

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The Whole Hog

The Whole Hog

I know that if I put this picture first, the rest of the post will be an anticlimax, but I have to do it. Leeds is a town where none of a pig goes to waste. Apparently if you chop up pig rectum, dip it in breadcrumbs, and deep fry it, it tastes just like calamari. Of course, no Yorkshireman would go shopping for something as poncey as pig rectum. Up here they call an arsehole an arsehole. You could…

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Leeds At Last

Leeds At Last

We set off bright and early for the run into Leeds, but were stalled at the first gate, Woodlesford Lock. “There’s trouble at t’sluice,” the Canal and River Trust man tells me, “But it ain’t bad.” We had time to look around the lock while he worked on it. It’s a contender in the Best Kept Lock competition, with flower beds sponsored by local businesses, a community orchard, deer statues, and a bug hotel. Also a tuxedo cat, because cat…

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Waiting For The Electrician

Waiting For The Electrician

Last night all our twelve volt systems except for the fridge and the inverter went down. That meant no lights or running water. It wasn’t anything obvious, so we summoned our engineer, Clive, who made it up from Milton Keynes about 2:30 today, having stopped off to pick up a solar panel for us on the way. He got increasingly frustrated as various bits of circuitry turned out to be still live and he could not find what was broken,…

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Where There’s Muck There’s Brass

Where There’s Muck There’s Brass

There’s a Yorkshire saying, “Where there’s muck there’s brass.” Brass is slang for money up here and muck refers to the filth of unregulated industry: coal mining, steam powered factories, and industrial pollution generally. It was early anti-environmental framing, stating that you have to put up with a filthy environment if you want to get rich. Curiously, the people who were most impacted by the filthy environment were not the ones getting rich. Dirty industry, and in particular coal mining,…

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Ey Up. Welcome t’Yorkshire Waterways Museum

Ey Up. Welcome t’Yorkshire Waterways Museum

No, I haven’t gone native, that’s what the sign just inside the door says. The Yorkshire Waterways Museum has an interesting collection of local boats ranging from a reproduction coracle… … to a Humber keel, descendent of the Viking longship… … to the Wheldale, the last of the tom pudding tugs. The Wheldale was built in 1959 which means there are things younger than I am being preserved in this museum. Damn! There is a story that repeats for many…

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Goole, Gateway to the Ouse

Goole, Gateway to the Ouse

The day dawned bright and sunny, so we got off to an early start up the New Junction canal. From the map I thought it was going to be a fast run as it is wide and straight and there is only one lock, but there were lift bridges every few hundred yards, so I got to practice my docking skills letting Paula off to work the bridges. Happily the were all electric, so there was no grunting to be…

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Thorne in the Flesh

Thorne in the Flesh

So far the northerners we have met live up to the stereotype. They speak a strange dialect in which the definite article is reduced to a clicking sound, and are friendly, welcoming, and uncontrollably chatty. Graham, the lock keeper who shepherded us through our first lock and swing bridge, kept coming back to our boat to tell use about World War II reenactment and stuff he had bought on eBay. I suspect it is all a front. It was less…

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How a Wet Little Island Changed The World

How a Wet Little Island Changed The World

For the next three months Paula and I will be exploring the canals of England in the narrowboat Wharram Percy. We are starting out in Yorkshire, and will be crossing the Pennine Hills to Lancashire on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and then probably back by the Rochdale Canal. These canals were built to connect the textile mills of the Pennines with the seaport of Liverpool. I’ll be posting about our travels, probably with rants about the Industrial Revolution, the…

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The ABCs of Travel

The ABCs of Travel

Airplane! Spend 10+ hours on a Norwegian Airline “Dreamliner”. Norway hasn’t produced too many notables, so Norwegian has done some cultural appropriation from other Scandinavian nations. We taxied past Danish Victor Borge on the tail of one plane. We had bulkhead seats in Economy. Plenty of leg room but narrow seats, not much shoulder room and a stranger on one side. I took my first ever Ambien sleeping pill, hoping to get knocked out. No. Such. Luck. Pretty groggy yesterday…

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