Posts Tagged ‘Leeds & Liverpool Canal’

Friday 19th August 2016

The summer weather had taken a turn for the worst & when we awoke this morning it was pouring with rain, dark & very gloomy, however the trusty weathermen had suggested that it would brighten after lunch, so we all agreed to wait & leave Hapton once the rain eased & it brightened up.


Around 1pm we saw a glimmer of brightness, nb Pheobe Joan has a pram cover so they were ok, we donned our safari hats & showerproof jackets & set off, it brightened up nicely for about 10 minutes, then the heavens opened & the rain didn’t stop!



We came through Clayton le Moors, negotiated 3 swing bridges, there are 4 on the map but  Rileys swing bridge seems to be disused & permanently open.

Half way marker

We passed the Leeds & Liverpool halfway marker at Church.

We were hoping to moor at Rishton but probably because it was pouring with rain & we were the only dafties on the move there were no spaces at Rishton.  What the hell, we were soaked through the showerproof jackets now so we carried on & headed for Side Beet Bridge, this is the recommended safest stopping place before passing through Blackburn, so we had to stop there!


Eventually we arrived at the bridge & there were no moorings, we both managed to get onto a rough section of bank just before the bridge, Jeremy & I walked through the bridge & saw one space nearly big enough for their 50ft boat so we walked back debating on them moving, another boater must have seen us & called down & offered to move along closing the gap & making room for them, this meant we could pull forward in the rougher area enabling us to get on & off without risking broken limbs! Blackburn1

This picture was taken about an hour after we moored up, we settled down with some wine & food, put the heating on to dry the clothes out!

Jeremy & Rachel were at the posh end & we were in the undergrowth & the rain returned!

9.5 miles     o Locks     4 Swing Bridges  3.5 Hours

Saturday 20th August 2016

It rained & it rained. We stayed put & decided to tackle Blackburn on Sunday.

Colin spent the day making more lucky Touchwood key rings & I cooked. I made garlic soup, corned beef hash & red velvet cake, 2 slices of which were taken along to those at the posh end! There was enough corned beef hash for tomorrow aswell as tea today & we may need a quick easy meal tomorrow depending on how Blackburn goes.

It rained all day, only 1 boat came past us all day!


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Friday 19th August 2016

So Burnley wasn’t too bad, we moored the night under the wharf canopy, near The Wharf pub, room for about 4-5 boats, it was very quiet & we had no issues what so ever.



Today we walked into town about 5 mins away to collect some stock & raid the charity shops.  Our travelling new companions had decided they wanted to visit an event at one of the museums with live demonstrations of cloth making but still wanted to head for Blackburn later that day,  we set off about 1pm as we needed to fill up with water at the CRT depot in Rose Grove,  Burnley, who ironically have a card pump out machine but don’t sell the cards!  We had a look at the piles of detritus taken out of the canal during the recent dredging prior to the Blackburn & Burnley canal festivals & the  Leeds & Liverpool Canal 200th anniversary  celebrations flotilla.

Burnley7          Burnley8    We had come through Burnley with

nothing more than a few plastic bags & some weed on the prop, so after this lot being hauled out, fingers crossed we can get through Blackburn unscathed.

Leeds & Liverpool Short Boat Kennet was moored at the CRT Burnley depot, ready to head off for Leeds in a couple of weeks to lead the flotilla.

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It was quite pleasant coming out of Burnley but you can still see many signs of the previous weaving & textile industry all around you.

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We then came to the Gannow Tunnel, a doddle after Foulridge, only 559yds long but beware of a very tight turn when you exit, its easy if there are no oncoming boats, but plenty of widebeams on this canal & that could be a bit tricky.

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It starts to get greener again as you leave Burnley behind.

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We headed for Hapton for the night, the cottage by the towpath had a trig point in the garden.

Burnley4       Burnley3

It was a lovely evening & we sat out & enjoyed a few drinks with our new friends Jeremy & Rachel,


6 Miles     0 Locks     4 Swing Bridges      2.5hrs







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Wednesday 17th August 2016

Up early & wandered down to the locks with the rubbish, couple of 55′ boats going down, very leaky locks & not much space behind when gates open to leave. a bit apprehensive as on the trip so far we have only ascended the locks all the way to the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool & it seems an age since we descended. Unlike some folk, I don’t mind going up but I hate going down in these short locks. We have a tarpaulin skirt around the deck now, protection for the animals but helped my worries about water gushing onto the deck.  We have had so many previous trials with this boat it is taking me a long while to get my confidence with her, but it’s coming.


Just setting off towards Barrowford Top Lock when another boater asks to share the 7 locks with us. Jeremy & Rachel on nb Phoebe Joan, what a lovely couple & they now have two mugs with their boat sign writing on.



They waited for us at Reedley Marina as we planned to stop there but there are no moorings outside the marina & we were told next suitable stop would be Bridge 130b outside The Wharf pub in Burnley after the embankment

ReedleymarinaNot in the plan for today but off we went.



We noticed that we have lost our picturesque scenery & the surrounding areas were a lot more industrialised & a lot of old wharf buildings & rubbish, we hadn’t seen any rubbish really since we started our trip.



We dipped in & out of old mills buildings, industry & green areas again.




Just before the embankment I thought I might be back in Yorkshire again by the name on this new widebeam!


We cruised along the mile long Burnley embankment, not very scenic but the views over Burnley were quite interesting, shops & town centre one side & the old cobbled streets lined with row of houses.





Looking back along the embankment 60ft above the town.


The end of the embankment.


We came across this oddity on the way into Burnley. I have no idea what it is or why it is there!


We moored up behind nb Phoebe Joan on Burnley wharf & have all decided a visit to town & a bit of shopping tomorrow.


9 Miles       7 Locks      0 Swing Bridges      0 Tunnels     5 Hours







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Tuesday 16th August 2016 

Barrowford is lovely but the “towpathers” are mainly joggers or dog walkers so we decided not to trade but to have a day doing something for us & we liked the pretty town so we ventured across the sheep field again, past the pretty flowers , along the river to the Pendle Heritage Centre.

This is the old Toll House at the bridge just before the Heritage centre.

The heritage centre occupies Park Hill, a two-storey former farmhouse which has a 1661 date stone but was developed over an extended period between the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The centre has an 18th-century walled garden and woodland walk, and houses the Pendle Arts Gallery.

Park Hill is an old farmhouse that has been restored using traditional building techniques to provide visitors with an insight on how the house has been developed and adapted from the 15th century.

I found the explanation of the holes in the wall of Park hill fascinating & any of my acquaintances  from Golcar & Holmfirth will probably already know about these as they appear in buildings there.


We walked around the walled garden, picked some of the purple pod peas & enjoyed them as we wandered. We looked at the timber framed barn, a massive barn, the main arches made from a suitably bend log, split in half to form the arch. You can see the stables too.

One thing i did notice in the exhibition was the beautiful handwriting in some of the old documents. I wish I could have handwriting like this & that we still taught good handwriting to kids.


The Pendle Witches

The rest of the exhibition is dedicated to the story of The Pendle Witches. The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history, and some of the best recorded of the 17th century. The twelve accused lived in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire, and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of  witchcraft.   It was a time when witchcraft was not only feared but also fascinated those from common village folk to King  James I  who had been greatly interested in witchcraft even before he took the throne in 1603 The scepticism of the king became reflected in the feelings of unrest about witchcraft among the common people.

It is important to understand the background to the events of these trials. Six of the eleven “witches” on trial came from two rival families, the Demdike family and the Chattox family, both headed by old widows in their 80’s, Elizabeth Southerns known as “Old Demdike”and Anne Whittle “Mother Chattox”.

Old Demdike had been known as a witch for fifty years; it was an accepted part of village life in the 16th century that there were village healers who practised magic and dealt in herbs and medicines. The extent of the spate of witchcraft reported in Pendle at this time perhaps reflected the large amounts of money people could make by posing as witches.

The story began with an altercation between one of the accused, Alizon Device, and a pedlar, John Law.  Alizon, either travelling or begging on the road to Trawden Forest, passed  John Law and asked him for some pins (it is not known whether her intention was to pay for them or whether she was begging). He refused and Alizon cursed him. It was a short while after this that John Law suffered a stroke, for which he blamed Alizon and her powers. When this incident was brought before Justice Nowell, Alizon confessed that she had told the Devil to lame John Law. It was upon further questioning that Alizon accused her grandmother, Old Demdike, and also members of the Chattox family, of witchcraft. The accusations on the Chattox family seem to have been an act of revenge. The families had been feuding for years, perhaps since one of the Chattox family broke into Malkin Tower (the home of the Demdikes) and stole goods to the value of £1 (approximately the equivalent of £100 now). Furthermore, John Device (father of Alizon) blamed the illness that led to his death on Old Chattox, who had threatened to harm his family if they did not pay annually for their protection.

The deaths of four other villagers that had occurred years before the trial were raised and the blame laid on witchcraft performed by Chattox. James Demdike confessed that Alizon had also cursed a local child some time before and Elizabeth, although more reserved in making accusations, confessed her mother had a mark on her body, supposedly where the Devil had sucked her blood, which left her mad. On further questioning both Old Demdike and Chattox confessed to selling their souls.  Also Anne (Chattox’s daughter) was allegedly seen to create clay figures. After hearing this evidence, the judge detained Alizon, Anne, Old Demdike and Old Chattox and waited for trial.



The story would have ended there had it not been for a meeting held at Malkin Tower by James Device (Alizon’s brother), for which he stole a neighbour’s sheep. Those sympathetic to the family attended but word reached the judge who felt compelled to investigate. As a result, a further eight people were summoned for questioning and then trial.

Nine year old Jennet Device was a key supplier of evidence for the Pendle witches’ trial which was allowed under the system from King James; all normal rules of evidence could be suspended for witch trials, someone so young would not have been able to supply key evidence normally. Jennet gave evidence against those who attended the meeting at Malkin Tower but also against her mother, sister and brotherer son John Bulcock, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Gray, and Jennet Preston.  Many of the allegations resulted from accusations that members of the Demdike and Chattox families made against each other, perhaps because they were in competition, both trying to make a living from healing, begging, and extortion.


The trials were held at Lancaster between 17th and 19th August 1612.  Old Demdike never reached trial; the dark, dank dungeon in which they were imprisoned was too much for her to survive & she died there in the arms of her daughter.

After all that we had a coffee in the centre’s coffee shop & wandered back across that sheep field.







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Monday 15th August 2016

Lovely still sunny Monday morning, I have so far conquered one fear……The Bingley Five Rise, now it’s The Foulridge tunnel. We have done Harecastle Tunnel & Hyde Bank Tunnel & both times I never ventured above deck, today I was determined to stay above deck although was not prepared to be on the tiller as I am normally.

Foulridge is the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool canal at 487ft  6ins above sea level.


Looking back at Café Cargo



Moving onto the tunnel moorings ready to go.



Red lights……is anyone coming through?



On the hour & we are green to go, no boats came through this time.



That exit seems along way off!



The exit getting bigger now…



Looking back, we are over half way now after 15 minutes. You have 30 minutes maximum to get through, ideally it should take 20 minutes.


We emerged safely at the other side & just a about 1/2 mile further on we arrived at Barrowford Top  Lock moorings. Here you can actually appreciate that you are at the summit of the canal.


looking towards Barrowford Top Lock



Barrowford Top Lock


Barrowford Reservoir


Looking across the reservoir towards Colne


Looking back towards Foulridge from Barrowford Top Lock






This colourful boat with the doggies home complete with umbrella to shade it from the sun or I suppose equally the rain!


It’s a dogs life!

It’s a lovely spot but the shops are a fair trek away.  If you cross over the Top Lock & follow the track across the sheep field (4 cows also) go through the gate at the top, follow the road to junction, turn left follow the busy road along the river & you will see Booths ahead of you. If you need supplies & fancy blowing the budget to pieces this is a fabulous store, top notch produce, meats, fish & wines plus a fabulous coffee shop which was well appreciated after the walk to get there in the afternoon sun. A tangy Fentimans Ginger Beer for me & Dandelion & Burdock for Colin, a couple of Prawn sandwiches & a to die for Vanilla Marshmallow bar. Now for a bit of shopping……….well that emptied the purse!


On the way alongside the river we saw a couple of young lads doing what young boys do best, playing outside at being daredevils, diving off the wall above the weir into the deep pool below.


The weir just beside the Pendle Heritage centre



Taking a dive!



Climbing out for another go!

we noticed how colourful the town is, they love their flowers, this is the pretty stretch with the weir below that takes you to Booths.




Looking back towards the weir


The river before the weir running behind quaint little houses.



Flowers along the pavement



A real welcome to the town, so pretty.

Refreshed but now skint we trekked back across the sheep field to the moorings, too tired & hot to cook, so the recently purchased fresh baguette was consumed with the gorgeous Ginger Spice Cheese I had purchased from roving traders The Cheese Boat ( http://thecheeseboat.co.uk/ ) earlier in the year & copious amount of cold Pino Grigot.




2 Miles,    0 Locks,    0 Swing Bridges,    1 Tunnel,    1 Hour

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Saturday 13th August 2016

According to the weather forecast the wind is supposed to have dropped & no rain is forecast………well, it’s still blowing a hooley & it’s pouring with rain. I’m putting it down to the fact that we are at the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal & on the Yorkshire Lancashire border.


Even the cows are still laying down, looking very content though.


When we walked down to have a look at the moorings by the tunnel yesterday we spotted some good firewood from a tree fallen on the opposite side of the canal, it must of fell right across as big logs were in the undergrowth down by the dry stone wall along the towpath side…….todays job! A lot of the logs were far too big for our tools but we added some to the winter stock pile. Why is it when you are new to this, you know you are not breaking any laws & not on private land but you feel guilty? I could never be a real criminal!


This metal plaque on the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool Canal explains how wooden rollers protected bridges from the tow ropes used by horses when towing the canal boats.

towline rollers     Poles

The sun eventually came out after lunch, we had gained a few logs & moved down to moor at The Wharf just before the Foulridge Tunnel.


Café Cargo is well worth a visit & if you are a trader gets very busy. It is quite wide on the wharf as is at a winding hole, so plenty of room.

We decided to trade tomorrow, Sunday as the weather is supposed to be much improved.

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So this afternoon we took a short walk to the village.



The plague below explains about the water trough situated outside the village hall that faces the village green.



It has a pretty village green, just up the steps is a Butchers, Café & Chinese T/A & Florist.


It turned out to be a beautiful evening after the rainy, windy start.


Sunday 14th August 2016

We awoke to a lovely warm, still, sunny morning, ideal for some trading.



We set up the shop, not expecting too much but were pleasantly surprised. we had a rush on “Touch Wood” Key Rings & sold quite a few mugs, one Witchy mug going to Japan to back up the story of the Pendle witches! another going to Spain to remind a lady of home Lancashire. As we were on the border we hedged our bets on stock, whilst Caley the dog supervised all day.

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Tomorrow will be a challenge as I hate being underground, I get very panic stricken & we have to go through the Foulridge Tunnel, but tonight a glass of wine will do after a successful & enjoyable day.

1 Mile    0 Locks     0 Swing Bridges      30 minutes





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Thursday 11th August 2016

The wind was still blowing a hooley & the rain was lashing, the Great British summer in all its glory, so we decided to have a day making soup & baking scones.

Newbie single hander Jayne moored behind us asked if she could travel up Greenfield locks with us tomorrow. of course will enjoy the company.

Friday 12th August 2016

It was still blowing a gales but was dry so we had some breakfast, gave Jill a knock both secured cats inside & set off.

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The canal is very windy on this stretch & with the strength of the wind it was quite hard going, only lost it a bit at one bridge which was a very tight turn going into the wind, then the 3 Greenfield locks. unexpectedly there was a volunteer lock keeper on duty, we think it was maybe because of the hire boat incident a couple of days before. He was a cheery chap & told me to hug the towpath between locks 1 & 2 to avoid being caught by the wind.


the tight turn into a bridge where the wind caught us.



We completed the locks & said cheerio to Jill as she headed off in front of us, we wanted to stop at Barnoldswick to get a few supplies in so we moored up just before Lower Park Marina. We walked back to Long Ing Bridge which is just a short walk to the co-op & other shops.

Near the county border with North Yorkshire, it is just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Barnoldswick is the highest town on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, lying on the summit level of the canal between Barrowford Locks to the south west and Greenberfield Locks just north east of the town.


We walked back to Long Ing Bridge which is just a short walk to the co-op & other shops.  The Dolphin Fish & Chip shop was open so on the way back we popped for some chips…….don’t bother, the worst yet. Very greasy & very overcooked.

Barnoldswick, with 12 letters, is one of the longest place names in the UK which doesn’t  repeat any letters. Only Buckfastleigh,  Buslingthorpe West Yorkshire and Buslingthorpe Lincolnshire are longer, each have 13 letters.


Lower Park Marina


Looking back at boats lined up at Lower Park Marina

Barnoldswick used to be a major cotton producing town, now it is the home base for Silent Night Beds who had the longest running strike by workers from 1985-1987.   Rolls Royce is also a major employer in the town, the model number of many Rolls Royce jet engines start with the initials RB  which stands for Rolls Barnoldswick, as Rolls Royce Aero design centre was  in Barnoldswick.

We set off again hoping to get a mooring at Salterforth outside the pub to trade for the weekend.


Lovely spot but too high for me & the animals.

A lot more narrow stretches & tight bends then we happen upon the pub, private moorings before the bridge & only two moorings under the bridge adjacent to pub car park, both taken, nowhere else close suitable for trading. Oh, well we carry on & find a lovely spot about 1/2 mile on but unfortunately once moored up it was too high  & dangerous for the animals, so we upped pins & found a better spot  Hatters Bridge just past the private boat club,


moored up then the boat was surrounded by hundreds of wasps…….oooops must of blocked a nest in the bank, moved just under the bridge & finally moored up for the day with a fab view over the Dales.


From here the towpath provides a picturesque walk back to Barnoldswick or forwards to Foulridge.

3.5 Miles    3 Locks      0 Swing Bridges     2.5hrs


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Wednesday 10th August 2016 

We were up a bit earlier today as we had a few locks to negotiate & the weather forecast has predicted rain by mid afternoon.


Gates Closing!


We a few peaceful days under the trees at Gargrave, we traded on Saturday & Sunday. It wasn’t anything like Skipton but the Sunday saw a few sales & an order for two mugs  from nb Kiandra, owner Artist Mike Bowman & his wife were lovely neighbours for the few days, Mike works from his narrowboat when they are out cruising http://www.mikebowmanimages.com . We also had a surprise visit from my lovely friend Nichola who worked with us in Slawit & her hubby…….they brought wine!

We set off about 9.15am & as we got to Scarland Lock the last one at Gargrave we already had a queue behind us, the very wide Hotel Boat Teal whom we had already seen on our travels a few weeks ago, such lovely folk & another widebeam hire boat.  We hadn’t come across another narrowboat to lock with but the skipper on Teal said one had passed him just before us, so we opted to miss the water point just before Bank Newton Bottom lock to see if we could catch them for the flight of six.


Beautiful Cottage at Lock37 Bank Newton


Hire boat Nutmeg waiting for us to catch up


We did catch up with them at the 2nd of the six & locked the rest together, which was sensible as the flight was very busy for the Leeds & Liverpool so saving the water by sharing is best & helps keep the pounds in between at sensible levels.


Hotel Boat Teal catching us up again!

The cruise from Bank Newton Top Lock to East Marton was an absolute pleasure with spectacular scenery as the canal twisted & turned around the Yorkshire Dales, the sun was shinning & the wind was minimal.



You can just see another boat as the canal snakes through the Dales

The canal started to close in a bit as we neared East Marton & became quite wooded as we approached the moorings,


A sad sight on any canal.

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We arrived at East Marton just in time to catch Carole on The Wool Boat who sold me some knitting needles, I’m going to try & relearn the art of knitting this winter starting with some wrist warmer fingerless gloves. I sold her a beautiful chunky blue necklace from the jewellery collection, so two happy ladies on two trading boats.

East Marton6

It seems that the locks were busy today due to a slight backlog yesterday coming from Greenfield Locks due to a hire boat getting cilled in one of the locks, no-one was hurt & she was refloated by the end of the day.

We had moored on the water point as we needed a top up & as Carole & Colin were leaving to head for Gargrave we popped into their spot. You can just see us, second boat on the towpath side.

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Just as we got settled on the mooring the rains came down, a well timed very enjoyable day.

3.5 Miles      9 Locks     0 Swing Bridges       4.25 Hours


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Friday 5th August 2016  We left Thorlby Bridge now that the wind had eased abit & started the very short trip to Gargrave, the scenery was now becoming very beautiful & this was Yorkshire as I imagined it……


We spotted a cormorant on the way & a flock of young swans grazing in a field!


The first lock for a while was Holme bridge lock at the bottom of Gargrave, just past the lock it looks very pleasant & idyllic to moor, however the side is far too shallow unless you use a plank, not ideal with furry friends aboard! We completed Eshton Road lock & Hitherland Lock, filled up with water at the services ( which have a brand new shower room…..ssshhhhh!) then found a mooring alongside the school playing field.


This is the Piano Raft you can find him on Facebook “pianoraft”, th young man & his son that own her have set themselves a target of 20yrs to get the piano from Liverpool to London.  4 years in they are at Gargrave.  She has no engine so they punt or haul her along, gathering help along the way, Yes, they do use the bath tub as a rowing boat!




I believe by the time I wrote this post he is on the way to Skipton. Good luck fella.

This will be home for a couple of days & hopefully a bit of trading as well.


2 Miles    3 Locks     2 Swing Bridges  



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Tuesday 6th August 2016    We have had a fabulous 13 days in Skipton, trading, exploring the town, meeting some lovely folk & helping out a couple of hire boaters. The first was a lady who fell in just as Colin was passing with the dog, he managed to pull her out, no damage but very shaken while her hubby secured the boat & another couple who had no confidence in their abilities & asked us to turn the hire boat around in the basin so they could take it back to base a couple of miles down the canal, we helped them turn around in the quiet of the evening with no other boats around only for then to crash into Skipton bridge!

So we manoeuvred ourselves across the basin to get a pump out from the lovely folk at Pennine Cruisers & a diesel top up before we headed to the next swing bridge (Brewery) & the water point just beyond. (there is also another water point outside the Herriott Hotel at the next swing bridge (Gawflat, just a few hundred yards)

Skipton basin

We filled up, made a last visit to the supermarket & the wine warehouse & started on our way.  It was very windy today & we hadn’t planned to go very far as we are wasting time until the Canal Festival at Botany Bay on August bank Holiday weekend, so once out in the countryside again we decided to stop just before Thorlby swing bridge. if you look carefully at the picture below you can see a red narrowboat heading towards Skipton snaking its way along the winding canal. The view from here was lovely.


The boat moored in front was the charming couple we had moored with at Silsden a couple of weeks earlier, so we had the obligatory catch up. We made sure the pins were doubled & ropes secure as it was blowing a hooley across the hills.

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We decided to watch the weather & stay until the wind died down, probably a couple of days, but the peace was nice after the hustle & bustle of Skipton.

3 Miles       0 Locks     3 Swing Bridges

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