Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


A Taste of Things to Come

I interrupt this broadcast of photos of our holiday on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to bring you a glimpse of the future.

Err, well; what I mean is the future in terms of the forthcoming  season, I actually took the photos last Monday, the 25th of October, in the grounds of where I work.

Enjoy, winter weather  is not all bad.

Monday morning 6-1

There had been a very sharp frost, the air was perfectly still and leaves were raining down from the trees like poppy petals at the Albert Hall

Monday morning 1-1

The light was crystal clear

Monday morning 2-1

Splashes of water had glazed the  ornamental grasses.

Monday morning 7-1

and late season revellers in the flowerbed had a second blast of beauty

Monday morning 3-1

The clocks have changed*, dark evenings have descended, but there will be light.

Monday morning-1

and glorious things.

Monday morning 4-1

*we won’t mention the pickle Mr Uhdd got in with the clocks today, it may have been due to the early hour he set out for a run on the hills, or as a result of low blood sugar, but what he thought was afternoon tea was in fact an early lunch: that’s all I’m saying.


A View on Time

There were plenty of old buildings to catch my eye on our holiday, you know the sort of thing I’m drawn to, workaday, vernacular farms and homesteads that have changed only a little over the centuries or that wear their histories on their faces.I may struggle to convince you of the fact that  I struggled to capture them with the camera, they just whizzed by it seemed.

Window 1-1

I mean, canal boat holidays are supposed to be slow languid sort of affairs aren’t they? But somehow we always seemed to be on a mission!

Window 2-1

The plus side of that is that we got as far west as the Foulridge Tunnel and as far east as Saltair and I have the photos to prove it!  The fact is I could have spent longer mooching around such places.

These windows all come from buildings that had date stones over the door from the 1690’s

Window 4-1

All is not what it seems

Window 5-1


Smooth Sailing

Dappled light-1

Just out of interest, how deep is the canal?

Asked Fee in the previous post: not very, is the answer, when Joe took his dip he could touch the bottom, but said (having lost his Crocs) ‘It was gross, mud, hundreds of years old mud, I wasn’t putting my feet in that!’

Mill and canal-1

We weren’t overly concerned about the boys (or Spud) falling in (I’m the least competent swimmer in the family) except for the risk of them getting crushed between boat and bank and the inherent danger around the locks, with lock gates, paddles and strong currents to worry about, along with being aware of the small, but very real risk of Weil’s disease the quote below is from last weeks press.

Weil’s disease, believed to have caused the death this week of Olympic gold medal-winning rower Andy Holmes, is the acute human form of a bacterial infection with a raft of different names: mud fever, swamp fever, haemorrhagic jaundice, swineherd’s disease, sewerman’s flu. All are known as Leptospirosis, mild cases of which affect millions of people every year worldwide.

Canal Bridge 2-1

There are some beautiful bridges on the Leeds-Liverpool canal, the white bar on the painted arch is where you should aim your boat, it indicates the deepest point of the canal, not necessarily the centre; many of the bridges are on bends in the canal, it’s important to get the line of approach right.

Bridge 161 the double arch bridge at East Marton is  an especially elegant solution to an engineering problem.

double bridge arch bridge 161-1

It looks like the original bridge wasn’t high enough, when the road was improved, so they built another arch on top and more recently it has been widened further.

Bridge 160 Leeds Liverpool Canal-1


Going With the Flow

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is the longest canal in Northern England at 127 miles long. It passes through 91 locks with a summit level of 487 feet.

It originates from a proposal  to build a canal from Leeds to Preston in 1765

So a little about canal boats, on the Leeds-Liverpool canal you are likely to see two widths of boat (also know as the  ‘beam’) narrow and broad, can you guess which is which?

Broad V Narrow-1

The Leeds-Liverpool is a broad  beam canal the locks will take two narrow boats at a time, but only one broad beam. We shared our accent of the Bank Newton Flight of locks with another narrow boat. Joe tells me that sharing locks like this  saves over 1,000 baths full of water at each lock, more than a lifetimes worth of baths as far as he is concerned.

2 narrow boats one lock-1

Each lock and bridge is numbered, for the locks the numbers run from Leeds to Liverpool and for the bridges the numbers run from Liverpool to Leeds, it strikes me that this must have been a committee decision, centuries may pass but committees ( and local politics) remain the same.

Lock are quite hard work, they are used to lift or lower a boat from one level to another.


Tom suggested it might have been a good idea to have chosen a canal boat holiday in an area that was flat not hilly.

The boys were particularly fond of the swing bridges,

swing bridge 3-1

where they got to stop the traffic.

stop the traffic-1


swing bridge-1


The Final Score

We are back home safe and sound from our adventure on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.


For the record:

Spud fell in twice

Joe fell in once, emerging with his glasses still in situ, his Crocs took a little longer to retrieve.

Tom fell in once, but managed to keep sufficient grip on the side of the boat to keep his mobile phone dry. (Phew, who’d have wanted to share the confines of a narrow boat with  a teenager with no text facility, for a week eh?)

Spud has adored being in such close confines with his ‘pack’ and was a total babe; he was, however, less enamoured with hissy swans.

Swan V Spud-1

He had to be kept under close supervision, as feathery wildlife was abundant

Young swan on the Leeds Liverpool canal-1

and on a short leash!


And when it came to locks, kept out of the way for everyone’s safety (I’ll come back to locks in another post.)



Where do I begin?

There was I thinking I’d have plenty of time to poke around editing my photographs and write leisurely blog posts, whilst we were pootling along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal; but it seems life on a narrow boat is not like that, but I’m not sure I can tell you where the time has gone,

Frosted web-1

it’s just gone. But I’ve plenty of blog fodder for the next few weeks, promise.


Frosty Morning on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Gone fishing-1

It strikes me you have to be especially keen and committed to want to fish on a canal, but each to their own.

The hills are above the town of Skipton

fog frost and hills-1

There’ll  be a few root vegetables in these allotments that will have benefited from a sharp frost.

Frosted root veg-1