From the Towpath of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal


This was to be a steady enough walk from the centre of Leeds along the said towpath for about 4 miles to the Forge Locks, just beyond Kirkstall Abbey, and then back again. I took the camera, obviously enough, telling myself that landscape photography is full of clichés, and that I shouldn’t be adding to them! Canals are full of opportunities to do that – in a sense every image of lock gates and bridges and reflections in the water is a potential cliché – and I wanted to look for something just a little different.

Fortunately, along this civic / urban / industrial / rural 4 mile stretch there was ample opportunity, and I like to think that I avoided the worst and found some images with which I am really pleased. The gallery has 20 of them and I hope that by and large they can speak for themselves. I did keep finding instances where recent human intervention has impacted, for good or ill, on the canal-scape. The artwork that seems too skilled to be dismissed as “graffiti”; the rather more formal and presumably commissioned artwork on the walls of a factory building; the detritus and debris abandoned along the way; all these contribute to the sum of that, and indeed are sometimes complementary to the canal and its infrastructure in rather surprising ways.

The citiscapes in the last mile were fascinating. Brightly coloured as lego bricks, these stand above the industrial “must once have beens” of the north bank of the canal as work in progress, and then come together in all the sophistication of the city centre that has been and indeed is being remade in so many ways.

Good day out, and perhaps to be continued further along the line of the canal, although I doubt we’ll be trying to walk all of its 127 miles!

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