Saturday 31 August 2019

Blackburn (just)

Today's Canal - Leeds and Liverpool

The day was dry, if generally grey, when we set off but some heavy spells of rain arrived and dogged us for the rest of the day until just before we moored when some bright sunshine lifted our horizons.

At the bridge close to our overnight mooring there was an information board which said, "Each section was built under a separate contract and was called a 'cut' - look out for the boundary markets between sections" We wondered whether this stone near to,our mooring was one such marker -if not perhaps it was an early milestone.

For much of the day we continued to have splendid views of the hills in the distance.

Old Hall Mill was one of the many mills in Burnley and this one has had a great makeover, now being used as offices for the adjoining factory. Before this the building looked rather run down. However, we have been so far unable to find out much about the mill or the present users.

As we passed over Sandholme Aqueduct we started to encounter edge-to-edge surface duckweed. We had heard about this and that it had made problems for others but we managed to make progress, sometimes slower than usual, but did not ave to make a visit to the weed hatch.

We stopped on the Burnley Embankment in order for Christine and Andrew to walk down the steep steps to the Tesco supermarket below.

The Weaver's Triangle is a named invented in the 1970's to refer to one area that was dense with weaving activity in the past and to help promote preservation of some of the heritage. The former Toll Office (now a visitor centre) and a former loading wharf are just two of the buildings.

The project has at times been difficult and controversial but the area is now substantially redeveloped, in part by re-purposing old mills and in part by demolishing the less usable or interesting ones and replacing them with new.

There are still some sites in need of a new future, but they are now very much in a minority.

This new Sandygate Canal Footbridge was opened in 2014 and links old and new parts pf the redevelopment.

Just before Gannow Tunnel we crossed over the M65 - we would have many more encounters with it between here and Blackburn.

Spa Mill, listed in Graces as having 634 looms, could do with a makeover!

We called at RoseGrove services and then a little later took a pause from the rain to have lunch.

The afternoon was also wet but we did not have any lengthy showers. However, some of the higher hills had their heads in the clouds.

This former lifeboat will no doubt one day join our Unusual Boats Gallery but for the moment looks more like Noah' Ark on Mount Ararat!

Back out into open countryside, the swing bridge serving a remote farmhouse have both fallen into disrepair - will either be still here when we come by again?

There were three swing bridges today, all close to Clayton-le-Moor and Church. They were easy to operate but all had an unusual locking mechanism that required both a key and a windlass to open a locking leg.

We did have some welcome sunny spells.

Another weather forecast - we are 100% certain of rain and intend to shelter under the trees.

This towpath bridge spanned a former arm that went a short distance to serve a colliery, long since disappeared.

This is the mid point of the entire length of the canal - 63 miles from both Leeds and Liverpool.

Still more views of the hills - at this stage  we were envious of their sunshine!

Eventually, the day came good and the last hour was very pleasant. We moored just on the edge of Blackburn, a little earlier than usual as we we unsure of where we might find a sensible mooring any further on. Back in 2007, on hire boat Poppy we moored reluctantly in Blackburn but awoke in the night to find that some 'lively' passersby had pulled our mooring pins out and tossed the lines into the water!

17.0 Miles - 0 Locks

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