Hands, Face, Space. 31st July

Bradley Swing Bridge to Lanehouse Swing Bridge 189

Strange dreams for both of us last night, until I realised that the smoke/CO detector above our heads was beeping, announcing it required a new battery. Mick removed the detector from the ceiling and popped the battery out, deciding it could wait for morning.

Next thing we knew was boats going past at just gone 7am, two heading back to base at Silsden the other a private boat heading towards Skipton. Our mooring had some shade but it was busy with passing boats. Most of the day boats from Skipton came past us yesterday and winded a little bit ahead of us before returning. Maybe we’d be better off elsewhere to sit out the heat of the day.

Bradley Mill

After our cuppa in bed we rolled back the covers and pushed off, leaving Bradley Mill (an old spinning and weaving mill) behind us. Breakfast could wait until we were moored up again, hopefully in a larger area of shade away from the busy road.

Just around the bend was our first swing bridge of the day, Hamblethorpe. Easy to move and enough time to have a look at the memorial to seven Polish Airmen who died when their plane crashed near Skipton in 1943.

Plenty of shade here

A fine wooded stretch follows, perfect for shade on a hot day but very close to the busy road below, we continued.

This way or that

The next swing bridge is Milking Hall sat at the edge of the wood, a path leads up the hill away from the canal with a mossy sign pointing the way. I like this bridge, if it was snowy it could almost be in Narnia. One thing I did remember about it was how the landing has an overhang, this caught us out when passing through last time on Lillian, crunching off a chunk of paint on the top of a gunnel. Mick kept well away as I opened up the bridge, a hire boat with a 60th birthday party came round the bend so I let them through before walking on to the next bridge.

Such a picturesque village

Redman Swing Bridge links the towpath to footpaths in Kildwick, a village that clings to the hillside, the road to the valley dipping under the canal. Mick now had to go very slowly indeed as I needed to get up ahead to take a photo I’ve been wanting to take for four years.

This is the bridge

Four years ago as we passed through Kildwick I’d paused after letting Lillian (our old yellow boat) through Warehouse Swing Bridge to take a photo. At the time we were heading over the Pennines to spend that winter up on the Macclesfield, where we hoped Oleanna would get launched. The photo I took of the stern of Lillian passing through bridge 186 became the photo to keep of her, as if we were saying goodbye.

Out with the old

Since then I’ve been wanting to take the same photo but with Oleanna coming towards the camera, saying hello. It’s taken us four years to get back here, but today we finally managed it.

In with the new

I couldn’t quite remember where I’d stood last time, so stood on the bridge to take the photo. This was maybe just as well, being at a slightly different angle otherwise the moored boats would have blocked the view of Oleanna. It is close enough for my liking, different seasons and a very blue boat, but the post box is still in view. Our four year mission now complete.

Views but a touch too warm

We now hoped to find shade and stop for the day. The first possible mooring didn’t have much in the way of trees, then the depth wasn’t sufficient. On through Grange Swing Bridge where a new stretch of pilling is being put in.

Is this Tumbelweed No 5 who used to write a blog?

Then we could see shade up ahead and a view to the off side. This would do us for the day. The back doors were opened, along with the front, hoping for a breeze. Tilly was given eight hours and we settled down to have breakfast at 10:30.

A text prompted Mick to turn on BBC1. Here was Mr Johnson confirming what had been mentioned on the news last night regarding local lockdown measures across the North West and West Yorkshire. Better to stand in front of the cameras rather than announce the new measures by tweet!

Full of fish

Our route ahead remains open, but no meeting friends or family other than on park benches until we reach Leeds! The next stage of lockdown relaxation has been put on hold for at least another two weeks. So the doors of any theatres that were about to reopen for socially distanced performances remain firmly closed for the time being.

The new three word slogan for the pandemic way of life was mentioned at the press conference. So we decided we’d have a look at where Mr Johnson was suggesting we should head using what3words

To Wigan

To reach our new destination, we would have to head back west over the Leeds Liverpool Canal to Wigan.

Via Liverpool Docks

From here we’d have a choice, either all the way to Liverpool docks, out across the Mersey, round Liverpool Bay heading west, across the River Dee then follow the coast line westwards to LLandudno and the Irish Sea.

Via the Ribble

Or at Burscough turn onto the Rufford Branch, out onto the River Douglas, turning left onto the River Ribble continuing out to the Irish Sea to turn southwards to follow the coast to Llandudno.

Via Pomona Lock

Or into Manchester on the Bridgewater Canal, drop down Pomona Lock onto the River Irwell followed by the Manchester Ship Canal, joining the River Mersey at Eastham Locks.

Via the AndertonBoat Lift

Or the Bridgewater Canal to Preston Brook, down the Trent and Mersey to Anderton, down the boat lift onto the River Weaver, head westwards to Weston Marsh Lock where we’d drop down onto the Manchester Ship Canal.

Via Chester

Or the Bridgewater Canal to Preston Brook, down the Trent and Mersey to Middlewich, across the Middlewich Branch, turn northwards on the Shroppie to either Chester, dropping onto the River Dee (this route may not be possible due to the lock onto the Dee) or continuing to Ellesmere Port to join the Manchester Ship Canal.

Via Ellesmere Port

Or at Barbridge Junction on the Middlewich Branch turn south onto the Shropie, onto the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal to Stourport, River Severn to Gloucester, Gloucester and Sharpness to Sharpness, then onto the River Severn again continue on past Portishead hugging the south coast of Wales, then head northwards until reaching the Irish Sea, up the Menai Straight and eventually Llandudno. But this route would just be silly!

Via the Severn, such a long way round

Maybe we’ll not bother and carry on with our original plan, Norway. 😉


A very warm day followed, we were glad we’d found some quality shade. I headed out for a walk to stretch my legs. I headed along the canal passing two open swing bridges. Down a very rubbley footpath towards the River Aire.

Poor Mum having just landed

From here I had to play cow pat hopscotch, then cross a field of sheep, the now fully grown lambs still wanting to suckle from their Mum, two of them so forceful they actually lifted her off the ground. Then back up onto the towpath, shortly before a cooling breeze and rumbles of thunder came past.

Sunset after the storm

0 locks, 2.79 miles, 5 swing bridges, 4 years for a photo, 1 lorry, 1 tractor, Tumbleweed 5, 29.7 degrees, 1 hot day, 8 hours, 1 hot tired cat, 1 boat still heading eastwards, 0 roast tonight, 1 salad, 1 Mrs Tilly Stamp of Approval, 1 theatre designer in need of a job!


2 thoughts on “Hands, Face, Space. 31st July

  1. christinegeraghty

    Great blog, good to see Lillian again as well as Oleanna serenely moving through the same scenery. Those maps were something else, every square having a name, I shall be careful where I walk.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      We are currently moored at digs.island.stuff
      When we moor up at the end of the day we take note of the 3 words in case we need any assistance from the emergency services.

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