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Saltaire Stroll


I hadn't intended walking along the canal, I was hoping to go up Wharfedale but the weather forecast wasn't too good for the afternoon. On a whim I pulled in to the car parking area near the bridge by the The Fishermans Inn at Bingley with the intention of doing a bit of Kingfisher spotting. I walked along the canal bank back towards Bingley and didn't spot a damned thing so I decided to abandon my Kingfisher twitching, turned round and decided to walk to Saltaire, hoping the herons would be about over that way. 

If you go purposefully looking for something you never see it but if you aren't, the chances are that you will see something and that proved to be the case. After a hundred yards of so I caught a flash of bright green/blue out of the corner of my eye, could it be the illusive Kingfisher? 

Yes it was! I watched the little fellow shoot into some trees farther down the canal. Doing my Elmer J Fudd walk I slowly approached it, I knew it was in there as I occasionally saw the leaves moving and rustling. And there I stood with camera in hand waiting for it to reappear. The little blighter was much too wick for me and my camera though and just shot off down the canal with me standing there like a lemon. It was not to be seen again that day!

Even on a dull day this walk is always quite busy with most people out with their dogs. I walked down to Saltaire via the River Aire and came back via the canal. No herons were seen either way though I did see one squirrel going about it's business by the side of the Aire. Apart from that though it was wildlife free walk. Maybe it was the wrong time of day for the herons to be about, I don't know.

Autumn hasn't really hit this area yet. A few of the trees were just starting to turn but I should imaging it will need a couple of weeks for them to be in full autumn colour. It's still a lovely relaxing walk though no matter what season of the year it is and one I always enjoy.

And now a bit about the old canal -

"The Leeds to Liverpool canal originates from a proposal in 1765 to construct a canal from Preston to Leeds to carry woollen goods from Leeds and Bradford and limestone from Skipton. Prospective backers in Lancashire argued for the canal to start from Liverpool. 

In 1773, the first part to open was the lock-free section from Skipton to Bingley. In 1777, the canal was open between Liverpool, Parbold and Gathurst, near Wigan, and from Leeds to Gargrave, including the branch to Bradford. However, at this point all the funds had been spent and work came to a halt. By 1781 enough money was found to complete the branch to Wigan and the branch to Rufford.


It was ten years later, in 1791, that work re-started on building the canal west from Gargrave. In 1794 a new Act was passed, changing the route to run via Burnley and Blackburn instead of Whalley and Walton-le-Dale. Foulridge Tunnel was opened in 1796 making the canal navigable from Leeds to Burnley. The section from Burnley to Blackburn took a further 14 years to construct and the missing link west of Blackburn to the Lancaster Canal at Johnson's Hillock was not complete until six years later in 1816.


The plan to continue the canal as planned from Johnson's Hillock to Parbold was abandoned through lack of money. An arrangement was made to use the section of the Lancaster Canal between Johnson's Hillock and Wigan, and to incorporate that and the Wigan "branch" into the main line of the canal. In 1820 the new branch was opened between Wigan and Bridgewater Canal at Leigh, linking with the rest of the canal system. In 1864 the Leeds and Liverpool Canal took over the southern section of the Lancaster Canal.

Bingley Five Rise Staircase Locks. The canal prospered through the nineteenth century and was used for carrying stone, coal and many other goods. The impact of the railway age was not as great as with other canals but the coming of the lorry finally saw commercial traffic on the Leeds and Liverpool dwindling. The Bradford Canal closed in 1922 but commercial traffic continued along the main canal until 1964. Regular work stopped in 1972 when the movement of coal to Wigan Power Station ceased." 

 http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/ll/
 

The canal near Bingley

Canal reflection

The canal near Bingley

The canal near Bingley

Berries outside the Fishermans.

Dowley Gap Locks

Dowley Gap Locks

Dowley Gap Locks

River Aire

River Aire

River Aire

River Aire

Start of River Aire path

Slowly turning

Autumn Leaves

In need of tender loving care.

Leeds to Liverpool Canal

Leeds to Liverpool Canal

Leeds to Liverpool Canal

Leeds to Liverpool Canal

Mile post

Leeds to Liverpool Canal

Back to the start.

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