|Where was Buddy?|
On Thursday we fancied cruising to Burnley and then pushing on through Nelson and Colne to end up out in the country for the night. We heard a boat go past just before seven in the morning and assumed it was Charlie & Linda getting an early start. That made us decide to get up and get going but by the time we’d done what we needed to do first it was nine o’clock.
As we pulled away, we could see Clive & Jennie coming towards us in the distance, but they were far enough away that it wasn’t rude to pull out in front of them. Karen and Buddy walked some of the way to Burnley whilst I drove, but they got back on at Gannow tunnel as the route over the top wasn’t easy to follow through the estates.
Before going into the tunnel, I cleared the prop for the first of three times during the day. That’s a drawback of travelling through towns, the prop gets fouled far more than in the countryside. Mind you, this canal is a bit like the River Stort in Hertfordshire and is very weedy so quite often the fouls are weed rather than plastic bags or wire etc. Apparently, it isn’t weedy from Colne onwards so we should have some happy days cruising without getting arms wet up to the armpits; it’s not that bad in the summer really but in the winter it can get a bit tedious.
The entrance to Gannow tunnel is at a sharp left-hand turn, making it impossible to see if a boat is coming the other way:
|The southern portal of the Gannow tunnel|
The 560-yard tunnel was practically dry, and we managed to avoid all the points where water was spouting through the roof.
|Stone lined tunnel rather than bare rock or brick lined as many are|
Approaching Burnley centre we passed several fine old mills and warehouses and also this wharf at the entrance to the area now called Weavers’ Triangle:
The wharf was built in 1801 when this part of the canal was opened. The area is known as Weavers’ Triangle because there are many cotton mills and terraced weavers’ cottages that have been lovingly restored.
|Restored wharf master’s house and toll house just past the wharf now housing a visitors’ centre|
|Modern plaque on the toll house|
Just around the corner we entered what is known as the Burnley mile. It isn’t quite a mile long but is a 60’ high embankment that cuts through Burnley – quite an impressive sight when seen from the town.
|Moored at the start of the Burnley mile|
We had a walk around the centre of Burnley and then, whilst Karen picked up a few bits, I took Buddy for a walk around the Weavers’ Triangle (in any other town/city it would probably be called Weavers’ Quarter). I can attest that most of the terraced cottages were really well looked after but not so, the entrance to the old British Waterways wharf.
|Not so easy to replace the BWB with CRT 😉 (CRT are still trying to replace any mention of British Waterways with Canal & River Trust)|
We set off again and had lunch on the move as we thought we could press on and get up the seven Barrowford locks the other side of Colne as it was such a nice day.
|Looking across the old and new of Burnley from the embankment (not many mill chimneys left)|
At one point the embankment crosses a main road on an aqueduct and the canal narrows. These narrows are good places to dam with a stank if a section of canal needs draining for inspection or there is a breach that needs fixing.
|Disused stanking plank crane at the narrows|
Throughout our twisting journey through Burnley we kept getting sight of the 1,827’ Pendle Hill which overlooks Burnley and other towns like Nelson and Colne. Although not particularly high it stands out as it is a lone hill separated from the rest of the Pennines.
|The best shot we could get of the '1918' with the hazy day|
|Laying the commemoration (photo courtesy of the local 2BR radio website)|
We were soon approaching Nelson which also has many old mills and warehouses still standing, albeit some not in a good state of repair.
A selection of the buildings we passed in Nelson
On the outskirts of Nelson, was a three bedroomed end of terrace house which is on the market for just £90,000 and has its own mooring. Seems good value compared with what we’re used to coming from down south (you could probably buy a mooring on the Thames for that, but it wouldn’t come with a house 😉). All the houses in the street looked well looked after and, like many back streets in Nelson and Cone, it was still cobbled.
|May just be worth having a look…|
When we left the house, I was still taking more notice of it rather than the cut ahead and hadn’t noticed a particularly sharp bend. I had to reverse back to make the turn at the second attempt, all the more embarrassing as a couple were having a picnic with their baby on the canalside of their garden. They were quite happy and said they see it all the time. It then became even more embarrassing as a hire boat came in the opposite direction ☹
Leaving Nelson, we stopped at a recycling centre which has pontoon mooring for passing boaters. Even better, it has a used oil collection point, so we pulled up and took advantage of the facilities.
|Boaters’ recycling point complete with used engine oil disposal|
Whilst at the recycling point, Clive & Jenny came past so I asked them if they were going up the locks at Barrowford. They said no, as they were meeting local friends at the bottom and going back to their house for dinner. We had plenty of time considering it was the longest day of the year so were happy to carry on and go up on our own.
When we got to the approach for the lock flight it looked like Clive was about to moor up on the lock landing. I assumed they had decided to go up the flight after all and were just waiting for us. Even though they were foreigners I didn’t believe they would actually moor on the lock landing 😉
|Approaching the bottom lock with Clive holding onto his boat whilst the girls got the lock set|
The third lock was practically under the M65 just before the motorway finishes at Colne. Since first going under the M65 30 canal miles and three days ago we have been under it six times and over it twice. The length of the motorway between the first and last bridge is 26 ½ miles and I’m surprised it wasn’t less given the twists and turns the cut makes.
|The old and the new|
Half way up, Clive & Jenny’s friends joined them and cruised up to the top of the flight with us. Going up the locks Clive and I had been discussing alcohol free days; ours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and theirs are Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. We do have one thing in common though and that’s the rule can be broken if you have visitors or you are invited out. It’s wasn’t really a coincidence that their friends were visiting on a Thursday and my brother is visiting next Wednesday 😉
We agreed to stop and have a drink together at the top to make a perfect start to the evening. They were carrying on through Foulridge tunnel afterwards but found out that it closed at 4.30 therefore not giving them enough time to stop. Shame, but there’s always another day.
|Coming into the fifth lock|
At the top two locks sheep were able to graze right up to the lockside (see lamb picture at top) and we were so relieved Karen was on the towpath side with Buddy on a lead. It could have been disastrous if he had been on the boat as he would have been straight off after them we’re sure ☹
We moored up soon after the top lock even though there were other boats around.
|Moored at the top of the Barrowford flight for Thursday night|
It was still quite windy, so we brought the sunflowers back down onto the deck for protection during the night. During the day we travelled 11 ½ miles up seven locks and with 11 miles and nine locks to go to get to Gargrave we may well get there on Friday.