Leeds and Liverpool Canal: Saltaire to Bingley  28.2.12

Unseasonably mild it was, but still grey and overcast with a frustratingly flat light. Complaints made though, it was a good day for a walk, on a well made and firm towpath and the clear objective of the “Bingley Five Rise Locks” to look forward to.

Most of the images can speak for themselves. It was interesting making our way through Bingley itself, and emerging from the peace of the early stretch of the walk into the noise and bustle generated by the major road through the town, which runs very close to the canal – as of course does the railway, with the River Aire never all that distant; the classic valley combination of industrial West Yorkshire. Just the 4 images included here, from the Tower Blocks through to the Damart chimney – lots of verticals here it occurs to me, and all in portrait format!

The “5-rise” itself is quite a sight, rising in stately fashion from the stillness of the canal water – it’ll be rather different during the season of course with boats working their way up or down. Four of the five locks have just had new gates fitted, and it made an usual sight to see the fresh, new timber, untreated (as yet?) instead of the more usual selection of blackened and slowly rotting wood of many of the other locks we’ve seen on these walks. There are no boats on the move just yet, but plenty moored alongside, and I thought that the heavily craned working boat was an interesting contrast to the finely decorated “No 1”.

There’s many a cyclist on the towpath, and although we didn’t always hear their bells, relationships remained generally cordial. It was though great to see the little group of children, who seemed to be with a teacher from one of the Saltaire Schools riding out together. They were particularly polite as they passed us, and constituted a small but significant good omen for the future.

I do enjoy the architecture of these industrial towns and the two towers of the Pace Building and the United Reformed Church duly welcomed us back.

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