A wet walk along the canal.

Horses and Canal stitch

Yesterday, we set off with the heartbeat gang on a walk along the canal at Mirfield. Because of my illness and also the rotten weather, we haven’t been on one of these walks for ages, and it certainly showed! The others left us for standing, and as usual the weather spoiled itself by throwing it down! Luckily I had had the foresight to take my brolly along, as a second sense told me that as soon as he who is in charge of the weather knew I was out and about, he’d send the rain. Happens every time! (somebody up there doesn’t like me!)  Kerri fell further and further behind, but T said he would stay with her and encouraged me to catch up to the others but I couldn’t do it. 

We three turned around at the ford across the canal, and then slowly made our return. By this time, the rain cloud had disappeared, and the sun came out amongst the fluffy clouds. It was perfect apart from all the puddles and mud that was now adorning the towpath.  Nevertheless, it was lovely to be with the gang again, and we eventually arrived at one of our favourite lunch venues, the Railway Inn, where we enjoyed a very tasty lunch. I had a Turkey dinner and Kerri had a burger meal. All for £4.99 each.  We swilled that down with an Appletizer and Soda with ice. 

Some of our walking friends who live not far from us offered to give us a lift home which we very gratefully accepted.

Here are the pictures taken on our walk along the canal.  Hope that you enjoy them.

TG

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A Walking Disaster.

 

Elland Bridge

On Saturday we decided to through caution to the winds, cock a snook at the constant rain and risk going on a walk along the canal.  Suitably armed with umbrellas and raincoats and optimism that the rain would hold off just for one morning, we set off to catch the E8 bus and alighted at Elland bridge for the beginning of the walk.  We have done this particular walk many times, its a pleasant enough walk along the canal towpath just as long as you don’t happen to be deaf.  If so, you are in constant danger of being run down by the numerous cyclists who seem to consider these canal towpaths as their domain.  They are requested to ring their bells twice in order to alert walkers to their impending presence, but this rule takes for granted that walkers are not hard of hearing and are able to move swiftly aside to let the bikers through.

As we began our walk, I felt quite optimistic, there was actually some blue sky to be seen and it was reasonably warm into the bargain, a good day for a walk I thought. Then we reached the canal towpath and my heart sank.  Despite the fact that the towpath along this stretch of canal is tarmacked, it was covered in a layer of thick slimy mud. It looked like someone had tried to cover the path with thick brown chocolate.  It stretched along the towpath in front of us for at least 4 or 5 metres or so.

Thick oozing mud Now anyone in their right mind would have turned around at this point and beat a hasty retreat back to the mud free road and called it a day.  Any sane mother with an ounce of brain who can recall how her daughter is none too happy walking on anything but a flat surface, and who has endured previous slides and falls in just a tiny patch of mud would have turned back at the sight of it all.  But readers, you all know me by now!  Never one to be beaten by an insurmountable quest such as thick sticky mud, I simply took hold of her hand and we both gingerly plodded our way through the first mud patch.  In my defence, I was reasoning that it was only this patch, after all (I reasoned) this path was tarmacked so it was surely just this area, and we would soon be walking on a nice dry tarmacked surface as we continued our way onward back to town.

We ploughed our way through the next patch, even deeper and stickier and harder to get through than the last one.  I couldn’t understand it!  What had caused this mud to appear on the canal path? As we struggled on, both of our shoes began to become covered up to the laces with slimy gooey mud, and we made some vain attempts to get it off with grass, puddles anything bar dangling our feet into the canal, and at one point I have to confess that I did even consider doing just that.  By now, we had reached a sort of en passé.  In front was yet another huge patch of thick mud, but behind us were all those patches that we had just struggled through.  A vivid illustration of being between a rock and a hard place I thought to myself, as I looked guiltily at my daughter clutching grimly to the fence at the side of the mud covered path.  What sort of mother was I?  Dragging her Down’s Syndrome daughter on one perilous venture after another, and for one horrible moment I remembered the nightmare incident where I foolishly took her up the 275 spiral staircase steps in the York Minster tower and how that incident had left me with nightmares!

The lesser of two evils was to negotiate this last patch as there was a canal lock where we could hopefully get back onto the main road. As I stood there contemplating which was the best way forward, two cyclists rode past us, churning through the mud with their bikes as if it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Ah hah!  Now it all fell into place!  This stretch of the canal is a very well used route by cyclists, so maybe they were the reason why the mud was all over the path!  They were covered in it, all the way up their legs, but the bikes went through it like a knife through butter.  Meanwhile, we squelched our way through the remaining patch of mud, walked across the lock gates and out onto the main road. 

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We must have both looked a sight, with mud covered shoes on! Luckily there was a pipe gushing water out further up the road, so we both stuck our shoes under it to hopefully remove most of the mud. I had some tissues on me and we did manage to get quite a lot of the mud from each shoe, before continuing our walk along the road which is not a easy task in itself.  Elland Road is a very busy road, lined with trees on either side and snaking continuously as it does from left to right, and yet for some strange reason,  everyone seems to drive like lunatics on this particular stretch of road despite the poor visibility around corners.  It has always been a notorious road for accidents, and I was more than a little apprehensive as we both walked along. The pavement isn’t all that wide either, so eventually I rang our local taxi service to come and collect us to take us the rest of the way back into town. 

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We decided to have our lunch in Wetherspoons for a change, and as we sat waiting for our meal, mud stained shoes tucked under the table in the vain hope that no one else would notice them, I went over in my mind the whole mornings adventures.  Instead of being thwarted by the weather as we had expected, we had ended up being stopped in our tracks by mud, thick mud of the kind that I had never seen before in my entire life, probably churned up by all the cyclists who were probably revelling in it.  And for me a stark and valuable lesson. Stop being such an idiot and admit defeat when its staring you in the face, and stop dragging your daughter through impossible tasks!  I rewarded her for her all her endeavours with a luscious chocolate sundae! 

Not a lot of photos I’m afraid, as I was far too busy helping Kerri and myself stay upright to take many pics.

TG Confused smile

The mystery of the old canal side ruin.

My post today is about one of our walks that we embarked upon a week or so ago. It’s a walk we have done many times before where we set off by joining the canal towpath at the side of the Barge and Barrel in Elland. It was a very pleasant spring day and we all set off at a steady pace along the canal towpath going in the direction of Halifax.

It’s not long before you pass an old crumbled ruin that stands on the far side of the canal bank. It’s an attractive ruin with its two almost church like windows staring out at you from across the water. There was obviously a third window but that has lost its curved mantle. The ruin is now overgrown with ivy entwined around its stonework, and through those glassless windows you can see only trees.

Why does it stand so empty and forlorn, left abandoned and forgotten on the bank of the canal? What was it built for? Was it a house? A factory? Someone spend their hard earned time building and crafting those arch windows that now peer out emptily over the water. Why?

I would love to investigate it further but in order to do so, I would have to approach it from the road which is out of view but behind the ruin. If it was some sort of factory, then it seems to have been quite a substantial one as remnants of its size can be seen further down on the far left of this photo.

The Ruin by the Canal stitch

It intrigues me every time our walk takes us past it. Doing some sleuthing online has allowed me to glean some information about the ruin.  It was a flour mill and was called Woodside Mill. As I had already concluded by the spread along the bank of the canal, it was quite a substantial building that stood between the canal and Halifax road. It actually stood 5 storeys high and in 1890 was the largest flour mill in Yorkshire. Here is a picture of it taken when it was in all its glory.

In this old photo its the very substantial building on the right. In the photo you can seen the river Calder snaking its way through the middle on the left of the canal. The mill was first owned by J.F. Milner (1890) and then Elland Flour Mills Limited from 1905. On Friday 4th March 1892 there was a dispute in the corn milling trade between the management and workers of J.F. Milner. Apparently a fire took place there on Monday, 22nd April 1907 which caused damage estimated at 2,000 to 3,000 pounds, quite a sum in those days.

In the photo above, you can also plainly see the cause of the demise of the canals as a method of transportation of goods. Yes, the railway steaming its way through the photo from left to right. Whether it was this that sealed the fate of this once huge building which had obviously been built alongside the canal for ease of transportation of its products remains to be seen.

Of course, during the summer months, the ruins are almost completely covered over with flora and the trees encroach almost entirely through those empty windows obliterating their stare across the canal.

How many feet used to walk behind those walls I wonder? How many people’s lives revolved around the Mill? How many bags of flour were produced and loaded onto those waiting barges, and what would be those workers thoughts if they could return and see it as it is now? As with any ruin I come across in my travels, I always wonder about the people who inhabited it, how they lived or worked and what life was like for them. Thanks to the Internet I’ve been able to find out at least a small amount of information about that intriguing ruin by the side of the canal.

TG

Walking on the frosty side.

We went on a walk yesterday along our local canal.  As in other parts of the country, our canal has become a haven for walkers, joggers and also cyclists. Yesterday was one of those days when your not quite sure how to dress, it was bitterly cold and there had been a sharp frost during the night, causing the pavements to glitter with a thousand tiny stars as the sun shone down on them. We were all dressed in warm coats scarves and the like, and in my case gloves as well. Determined to get some really good shots of both the canal and also try to capture the frosty conditions, I also toted my camera with me. As soon as we set off, daughter ‘hooked’ herself up with the tallest member of our walk that she could find who is well over six foot, which looked rather comical as they both strolled along seeing as she is only five feet tall.

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A short walk that ended up long.

We went on another walk with Heartbeat yesterday, the intention was to catch a bus up to Southowram and then walk back down to the bottom, where we would continue along the canal tow path back to town. We actually began the walk right at the top of Southowram where the bus does a turn around before its journey onwards to Halifax. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and we all set off back down the hill at quite a pace. In fact, K and I were leading the party and setting a cracking pace. You get some wonderful views across the countryside during this walk as you are quite high up in regard to the vista afforded from the road. There are few houses along the route but those people who are lucky to own one of them must enjoy some stunning views from their windows. K was in a rush to see the two ponies which are usually to be found in one of the fields as you begin the steeper descent down to the bottom of the hill.

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A Canal walk in the October sunshine.

Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful walk alongside the canal in the gorgeous sunshine that we are all currently enjoying in the UK.  In a way, it’s not the best weather to walk in, simply because you do tend to get rather hot, but we were all armed with plenty of bottles of water to drink in order to avoid getting dehydrated.  After all meeting up in the bus station where we all distributed ourselves into various cars for the journey to the start of the walk, we set off at about 11.15am. It wasn’t too warm at this stage, and the side of the canal that we were on was well shaded by the trees.  We have both missed going on the walks of late, and therefore K was having a real problem keeping up with the others. She has never been too good at walking on uneven surfaces, and this part of the canal does not have a very wide ‘walkway’, its  just a narrow path with lot’s of uneven grass at either side.

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A frosty walk along the Canal.

I’ve been on a walk this morning with Heartbeat along the canal towards Halifax. Beginning at the The Colliers Arms on Elland Road, we made our way to the canal towpath where we enjoyed a fairly long walk past the Watermill Inn at the bottom of Salterhebble Hill. After journeying under the road we then turned around and retraced our footsteps back to the Colliers Arms where we had a very enjoyable lunch before all returning home.  I didn’t take many photos, it was quite nippy so I wanted to keep my gloves on, and in addition we were walking at rather a brisk pace to keep warm.  Enjoy the photos of our walk.

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