Day 2: Leeds Liverpool canal trip September 2014
After a good nights sleep we woke to a rather grey morning but I suspect that the view from the bedroom was much nicer than we would have had from the pub in Burnley. We dressed in the same clothes as yesterday as our trip had now been extended into a third day we wanted to save our clean clothes for tomorrow. It was not long before we encountered the first problem of the day… where was the canal in relation to our luxurious hotel? We looked on Google maps on our phones and noted it was near (or so we thought). It was only when Susan looked up the” near” location that she was horrified to see it was 20 miles away… it certainly didn’t look that far on my smart phone. We were a little pissed off at the thought of 20 miles on the road when Susan came up with a really good idea, we would phone Disco Taxi and get it to take us back to Blackburn where we would continue from where we left off, what a bloody good idea. That sorted we headed down for a leisurely breakfast of the usual unhealthy stuff I always eat when in a hotel, poached eggs, toast, sausage, black pudding yes the works. Susan was a little more restrained having just scrambled eggs with toast; she did try my black pudding but decided it was disgusting. As if breakfast was not enough we helped ourselves to a large chunk of fruit loaf to help us on our way. We were just finishing off when the taxi arrived. We hastily packed and I went to get the bikes from the laundry room. Loaded them in the taxi and we were off back to Blackburn. The driver was not the same one as yesterday but he was very chatty, turns out he was from Sheffield and he shocked me by saying he was NOT proud to be a Yorkshire man!!! I honestly have never heard anyone say that before, we are as proud of our heritage as the Scots are.
Back at the Calypso pub we loaded up the bikes again fixing the panniers much more securely solving a minor issue yesterday that was causing my right rear heel just catching the pannier at times. We took a few more snaps and we were off.
Not far down the track I noticed that the batteries on the GPS were about done in. In my haste to get to the bar and have dinner I had created the cardinal sin of not recharging them overnight Paul would have been ashamed of me. This left me with quite a sense of unease as we had to leave the canal a couple of times when it went through tunnels and there are stories on the internet of people getting lost rather like in the “Bermuda Triangle” trying to find the tow path after leaving it. We came across a little cafe and asked about local shops; lucky Mick there was one only about 200m away over the bridge. I left Susan chatting to a couple of old boys at the cafe and nipped off to buy some replacement batteries. GPS full of life again we continued on our way.
About another hour down the path we stopped for a snack and another issue came to light, Susan had a message from the hotel telling her that I had left her keys in the laundry room. We could have turned round and gone back but that was never going to happen so we admitted what an idiot I was and asked if they could post them to me which seemed a lot more sensible than cycling back for a couple of hours.
We pressed on and were soon at the metal symbolic gates / lock that signify the half way point, we again stopped to take pictures. While there another couple from Australia came down the path in the opposite direction on their bikes. As they were passing I suggested that they stop and take a snap or two, they had no idea that this landmark existed and were just going to cycle straight past. A brief chat where they told us how tough it had been then we learned that they were doing about 50k a day, they were quite impressed when we told them we had done almost 100k the day before.
On we went successfully navigating the gaps in the route where the canal went through bridges without a tow path; I was really pleased I had bought batteries! We arrived at Barnoldswick mooring where Susan’s cousin Michael had a narrow boat called Mata Hari. He had suggested we pop in for tea but when we arrived he was out… strange that, perhaps if we had not warned him we were near he may have been in!
Our plan today was to get to Gargrave which was less than 40 miles. The path was very tough at times rutted stony and sometimes not there at all. There were lots of gates to open and close but also some interesting things to see. The deep wear marks on the bridges from ropes then the rolling posts round bridges to stop the ropes cutting into the stonework. There was quite a spectacular lock with water pouring over the top with two narrow boats going through it. Today we even had some food to spare so Susan fed the swans.
We rolled into Gargrave knowing we had done the worst, everyone told us the path was bad between Gargrave and Skipton but we had done that before when we visited to watch “le Tour” so we knew that was not going to be an issue.
Dinner was in the Anchor inn…It was Susan’s turn to pay, two meals for £9.99 quite different from last night when it had been my turn LOL
Dinner over we retired to the room to get some sleep….. It was 7 pm!!!!!!
Interesting sign seen on route………………………………..