Leeds and Liverpool Canal – Calverley to Shipley  23.2.12

It was a different sort of day again for our third stretch of canal – much milder than the spectacular frost of last time, but greyly overcast and a touch damp underfoot. Pleasant enough walking conditions, but a bit bland for landscape type images, and although I made a few I found myself concentrating on the detail of things. Not truly “close-up” in the macro sense, but definitely not the bigger picture either.

There’s scope for that by a canal. First shot was the sunken dreams of somebody – depressing beginning perhaps, but most stretches of water have something like this. The Locks themselves, cliche-ridden though they inevitably are, offer fascinating detail I think. The timbers that make them up are huge, and because timber and fresh water don’t make a good combination, they rot and get overgrown by moss and lichen, and I enjoyed the fruit of that.

The big piles of ex-lock gates were at a canal-side depot and looked as odd as does anything out of its normal functional context. We pondered on whether they might actually have come from the Bingley 5-rise which will be the main event on the next stretch that we walk, and which has apparently been re-gated – I look forward to seeing that. The mechanics are good too – essentially simple, but always on a big scale.

An intriguing feature on this stretch is the Waterworks – or are they sewage works? – about 3 miles in from Calverley. There are relatively modern and visually uninteresting concrete pools behind the high fence, but also the rather ornate old building with it’s heroic motto – “Labor Omnia Vincit” – assuming that the omnia referred to is the muck in the sewage, then it’s as well that labor does indeed vincit – and the rest of us should be duly grateful! I was rather taken by the almost sinister pipes, nigh on a metre in bore, that carry either treated water or the other stuff across the canal.

Other bits and pieces can speak for themselves – the train was on a whim, and maybe works, a bit at least. A reminder if nothing else that times change and the commercial functioning of the canals was superceded by rail, at least until their renaissance as a leisure facility.

The landscapey pictures (the last 7 here) can claim a few leading lines if nothing else. Incidentally Dobson’s Locks might actually have been Dawson’s Locks – to whom I apologise. The final image is of part of a large and visually sympathetic development that maybe replaced a mill complex – liked the bandstand!

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