|Karen knitting a wedding shawl whilst we waited to go through Foulridge tunnel|
After the wind of Thursday, that seemed to carry on all night, it was strangely calm when we got up in the morning. We had a council of war and thought we would cruise for the day and get up to Bank Newton which is about two miles from my parents in Gargrave.
|Sunny and still morning at our Thursday night mooring between Barrowford and Foulridge|
We were setting off at 10.30 and a guy stopped for a chat and mentioned that the tunnel is only open in our direction for ten minutes every hour, at half past the hour. We were ten minutes cruise away so by the time we got there the lights were on red ☹ Ironically, if the chap hadn’t stopped for a chat we would have got there whilst the lights were green but, as Karen pointed out, time is our own so it didn’t matter.
|Buddy seemed to be happy we had nearly an hour to wait (you can just make out the red light in the entrance)|
You may wonder why we hadn’t planned things a bit better, which would be fair. The trouble is, is that we have an old guide book to this canal and it says that you can only enter Foulridge tunnel if there are no boats coming – no mention of traffic lights or timings. We have laughed at several out of date things in the book recently, e.g. it often mentions things like, ‘On the left there are stunning views to the distant hills’, in reality there is nothing to see as trees have grown thus blocking the view.
Lauren, my middle daughter, is getting married just before Christmas and Karen, Sophie and Jo are knitting shawls for her and her bridesmaids as it may be cold. Karen took the opportunity of a 50-minute wait to get a bit more of her shawl knitted.
As we are staying around Gargrave for a while, Karen had rung around local bridge clubs on Thursday to find one that ran duplicate sessions during the day (we don’t really like traipsing out in the evenings). It’s strange that clubs don’t have more daytime sessions as most of the members must be retired folk, anyway, I received a call back whilst we were waiting and we are now signed up to Ilkley bridge club and will be going on Monday afternoons.
At 11.30 the green lights came on and we were off again:
|The couple on the parapet had waited 45 minutes to see us go!|
The tunnel is about a mile long and stone lined like Gannow tunnel that we went through the previous day. As expected we didn’t meet anyone and were through in about 15 minutes. When we came out the other side we noticed that the wind had got up again and it stayed windy for the rest of the day.
We stopped for water at Foulridge services:
There was a milepost right by the water point with handwritten distances rather than the usual embossed ones. Not only that, the distances added up to 127 ¾ miles between Leeds and Liverpool; all the other mileposts we have seen add up to 127 ¼
Buddy, as usual, was just laying across the towpath in order to aggravate speeding cyclists. As there was a café/bistro at the services there were many people around and Buddy got a lot of fuss and attention because we obviously don’t give him any. I said bistro as I noticed some people had bottles of lager with their sandwiches and that was before midday!
|Buddy being a tart|
Many canal bridges across the country have rope marks where years of tow rope pulling has worn away intricate patterns in the bridge supports, especially where softer stone has been used. The abrasion is caused by build-up of grit and dirt in the towing ropes. Sometimes, wooden rollers were installed to decrease the wear caused by the ropes. This canal has had many of its rollers reinstated:
Around Barnoldswick we passed a sign indicating the Lancashire-Yorkshire county line. We don’t know how current the information is as Barnoldswick has been in Lancashire since 1974 but used to be in Yorkshire. Many residents still won’t recognise they are in Lancashire and fly Yorkshire flags 😊
Talking about recency, Karen saw a sign warning people about the presence of blue green algae. It must be at least six years old as it was issued by British Waterways which was replaced by the Canal & River Trust in 2012:
After lunch we left the summit and went down the three locks at Greenberfield; from now on the cut slowly descends to Leeds. These locks are in one of the best locations we have seen which more than made up for the fact that it took both of us to open some of the gates.
The top lock had strange ground paddle gear that we hadn’t come across before – it has to be lifted by hand rather than with a windlass:
|Wooden ground paddle gear|
The other two locks also had a type of ground paddle gear that we hadn’t come across for a while:
|Again, windlass not required|
|Half way down|
|Leaving the bottom lock|
At East Marton we went under a two arched bridge, strangely called the Double Arched bridge 😉 The other double arched bridges we have seen on our travels are at Cowley on the Shropshire Union and at East Mills off the Peak Forest canal. The second arch was added at East Marton when the road was converted to the A59 which runs between Liverpool and York.
After another few miles we reached Bank Newton and moored up for the night. When I tell you that the nearest road is over a mile away and that it is the dead-end lane that leads into tiny Bank Newton then you can appreciate that the only sounds we could hear all evening were those of birds and sheep and the occasional tractor.
Although we haven’t got the heat of the south at present, it was still pleasant enough to sit outside for a couple of hours. We were constantly serenaded by the beautiful sound of five curlews that kept flying past. Their call gets shriller and quicker before reaching the end. I think they are majestic looking when on the ground but look quite strange and unbirdlike when flying.
|Our mooring for the next few days|
|One of our views – this one is looking east to Bank Newton|