We enjoyed a few days in our ‘shed’ at Blackburn and I remained aboard while Janis spent a weekend in North Yorkshire with her good friend Tina. But when she arrived back we felt it was time to go; the conveniences and pleasures of the city become tedious after a while and we both yearned once more for the open country.
It was time to be on the move.
Here we were not yet at the top of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Even so we meandered happily through a pound of twenty three miles, through urban areas large and small with many sad looking derelict cotton mills in evidence, interspersed with beautiful rural parts of green hay pastures and lush rolling meadows filled with wild flowers and heady aromas while contented sheep and cattle grazed unperturbed by our passing.
In parts the canal was quite shallow and ‘Futurest’ progressed with some difficulty with her two feet nine draught aft and in the areas near the towns a great deal of rubbish had accumulated; on two occasions so far, I’ve had to stop to clear debris around the propeller and twice also at other times the vessel has pitched and rolled somewhat violently as she’s pushed her way alarmingly over large submerged items. So finding idealistic rural moorings that both Janis and I love, which allow me to get alongside satisfactorily, are difficult to come by.
However on the first night we were fortunate and found a suitable spot to tie up, close to, but not in Accrington. The following day we moved on and moored in the afternoon at the water point at Rose Grove, near Burnley. There were a couple of moorings available here too, so as the National Trust property of Gawthorpe Hall was close, we decided to stay for two nights altogether so we could visit. The house is of late Tudor origin and was full of ancient oak panelling inlaid with designs made from a lighter coloured timber and intricate moulded plaster ceilings. It was quite outstanding.
Gawthorpe Hall, near Burnley
Common Spotted Orchid
There was one more night spent adjacent to Morrison’s Superstore when we were able to replenish our supplies before we passed through Gannow Tunnel and on Sunday climbed up the seven Barrowford Locks. In beautiful sunshine once more after a few dull days we tied up at the moorings just to the north of the top lock after filling up our fresh water tanks at the nearby tap.
One of The Hanging Gardens of Barrowford Locks
Astrantia of the carrot family from ‘The Gardens’
We seem to have shaken off all the big towns now and instead are treated to lonely stone built farmsteads and the occasional small village. The views are magnificent across the rolling countryside. To the west just abaft our port beam we can see Pendle Hill at 557 metres, the highest around among the others. Yesterday the Sun graced us again and Janis and I made the most of it by walking into the nearby Village of Barrowford to visit the Pendle Heritage Centre and Museum. It is housed in a house that dates back to Tudor times and much is mentioned here of the notorious witch trials that were held in Lancaster in 1612. Two local families were involved mainly and these were the Demdykes and the Mattoxes. Twelve of them altogether were found guilty and hanged accordingly.
Janis’s new friend, the Mare
and mine, the young Foal
A Medieval cruck roofed Barn at the Heritage Centre