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

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


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

5 thoughts on “Going With the Flow

  1. Very interesting to learn more about the canal, boats, locks and bridges. It seems like a perfect choice of a holiday break for your family with the two boys…and Spud. Since it is autumn, I am wondering if it was cold as the evening approached and how they are heated. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of ‘going with the flow’ on a canal, so perhaps I’ll have to put in on my wish list.

  2. To be able to stop a line of cars with an imperious gesture–that’s living! And what fine hills rise above the canal. I would have been greatly distracted. Probably would’ve fallen in myself.

  3. Just out of interest, how deep is the canal? I ask because we panicked a few years ago when my daughter’s friend fell into the canal near us, only to realise she was standing on the bottom, and the water was at her waist.

  4. Thanks for such an interesting and informative post! xx

  5. Pingback: A View on Time « Uphilldowndale

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