We are moored in Blackburn at the wonderfully secure Eanam Wharf. I don’t know much about its history as the building is now used by a number of small businesses all fronting away from the canal. Only a small section of the ancient building is a restaurant facing the canal across the towpath with seating arranged for clients beneath the canopy.
At each end of the remainder of the towpath adjacent to the building is a large iron gate secured in the closed position with a Waterways Handcuff Key, making the covered mooring between them totally secure between 5pm and 8am in the week and for twenty four hours throughout the weekend. The mooring is long enough for two 57 footers end to end.
When we arrived on Thursday there was already one boat moored so we eagerly breasted our two boats together and moored them in the remaining spot and we’ve been happy ever since.
The building was obviously used as a warehouse and though I’m not certain what cargo would have been worked here undercover, it would probably have been Yorkshire wool that was discharged for the mills at Blackburn.
Beyond the canopied area to the north but adjoining is an ancient pub now called ‘The Wharf’ while directly over us, above the canopy, is a ballet and stage dancing school so for much of the day we have music. When it ends in the school at around six it begins at the pub as clients begin to arrive.
Perhaps the one drawback to the mooring is that though the Sun is shining brilliantly outside none of its life-giving properties reach our solar panels and we have to run our engines every day to boost the batteries.
Otherwise it’s wonderful; complete with security man patrolling during the day when the gates are open.
Under the canopy at Eanam Wharf, Blackburn
Apart from this mooring there is nowhere else suitable in Blackburn for mooring. Though the tow path lies along an embankment across a wide frontage of the city, it is all too shallow certainly for ‘Futurest’ to moor, with a rock ledge just below the waterline in many cases and lock landings at the six accompanying locks non existent.
The local Swan family
But the city is beautiful now, especially in the sunshine of course.
When the wool weaving industry died quickly at the end of the last century, unlike a lot of other northern towns we have visited this year that are ghosts of their former selves, the City of Blackburn appears to have re-invented itself somehow in this modern ‘IT’ world. There are many new and thoughtfully architected buildings and the work still continues today on a large scale to the south of the recently extended cathedral. I was last here in the early sixties but cannot recognise any feature from that period even though many of the old buildings must remain.
Blackburn new Railway Station and newly extended Cathedral
The covered Market and Mall over
A view up modern Church Street
I do remember vaguely the covered market of those earlier years and that still remains today though relocated in a very recent building with an enormous and prestigiously designed shopping mall above. Blackburn looks on the up at the moment and feels thoroughly optimistic to me.
Inside Wetherspoons however, where I write this now, it seems the same as all the others that we have been to; only the accents of the clientele are different. Here the pub is called ‘The Postal Order 'and the outside is the frontage of what must have been once a very grand Post Office indeed.