The Straight Mile

The Straight Mile

The Burnley Embankment, half a million tons of earth hauled into place by horse and cart, piled up with shovel and wheelbarrow to a height of up to sixty feet, and carrying the canal through three quarters of a mile past the rooftops of Burnley. They call it The Straight Mile, because after you build something like that you’re entitled to a bit of exaggeration. Yes, that is a bush growing out of the side of that chimney. I’m guessing…

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Foulridge Tunnel

Foulridge Tunnel

Yesterday was every bit as rainy as expected, so we sat tight and watched the first four episodes of the latest season of House of Cards. The boat has a small stove which burns coal based fuel, like overgrown charcoal briquettes, so we lit that up. This morning the rain stopped for a while and was not forecast to be as heavy, so we decided to make a move. We would have had to run the engine anyway to charge…

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Borderlands

Borderlands

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…

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Skipton to Gargrave

Skipton to Gargrave

Skipton Castle bills itself as one of the best preserved medieval castles. In fact the Tudor wing on the right of this picture is still a private residence. But though one or two of the walls have been around since the 11th century, it has been gloriously mucked about since then. For instance, here’s a perfectly serviceable medieval arrow slot turned into an air vent for a Tudor fireplace. You may notice the castle looks a bit on the short…

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For The Benefit Of Mr Kite

For The Benefit Of Mr Kite

Fifty years today since the US release of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and we passed a boat called Mr Kite. No locks today, but many swing bridges to get through. We are currently out of sheep country and into cow country, which makes the first cows of the day a much earlier event. Haworth was around the boundary. From one spot you could see sheep, horses, and cows all at the same time, which is actually pretty rare…

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Steam and Brontes

Steam and Brontes

Back in the 1960s, the Tory government decided that roads were part of the national infrastructure deserving of vast expenditure of taxpayers money, but that railways were not. They closed more than half of Britain’s railway stations and around five thousand miles of track. One little branch line running from Keighley up past Haworth was taken over by steam enthusiasts, and is still in use running vintage trains. What’s more, they’ve kept the original British Railways signage, as a reminder…

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Mallard With A Mohawk

Mallard With A Mohawk

He’s small. He’s muddy. He’s mad as hell. He’s … Mallard With A Mohawk! This morning we did a couple of miles in the boat, with no locks at all, though there were three swing bridges. Paula gets a bit embarrassed making the traffic wait while our boat sidles through a swing bridge, so she decided to drive while I worked the bridges. The most fun thing we passed was this this boat. Our goal was Stockbridge Wharf, on the…

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The Bingley Five Rise

The Bingley Five Rise

I did mention that the Leeds and Liverpool lumped locks together in staircases, where the upper gate of one lock is the lower gate of the next. Depending on the number of locks, these are referred to as a two rise, a three rise, or, in an insane overindulgence of the canal maker’s art, the Bingley Five rise. You look at it an you think, what the hell were they thinking when the built that? The water level rises 59…

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Rest Day

Rest Day

It was raining on and off today, so apart from a quick run to Argos and the hardware store, I stayed home, and wrote a blog post for Cloudmark, which should appear in a few days. Paula did another shopping trip while I was working. There is not real equivalent to Argos in America. There’s a tiny storefront with a huge warehouse behind it. You order the goods from a catalog, write down the numbers, hand in your slip at…

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Two Yorkshire Lads Make Good

Two Yorkshire Lads Make Good

Today we are in Saltaire where the Cult of the Alpaca runs deep. To understand this strange obsession we need to understand Sir Titus Salt, Bart. Here’s an introduction from guest blogger Charles Dickens (TL:DR Salt buys alpaca wool, make cloth, gets rich): One day — we won’t care what day it was, or even what week, or month, though things of far less national importance have been chronicled to the very half minute — one day, a plain business-looking…

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