Sunday, 23 July 2017

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal - Canal and Waterways (A Bridge of Two Locks) Talk

I had an opportunity to attend a talk by Trevor Roberts, founder of Canal Connections, one Thursday evening in July.  He passionately shared his interest for the Leeds Waterways (the Heritage Canal Zone between Thwaite Mills and Armley Mills).


Interesting facts were given out about the waterways, nationally and locally:

  • 80% lived within five miles to a waterway.
  • Many haven't been on a boat or realised there is a waterway in Leeds.
  • Leeds Bridge (situated between Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Aire and Calder Navigation) was the city's first bridge which held the first cloth market.  It had a natural ford to get across the River Aire.
  • Aire and Calder Navigation was the country's first inland waterway to be opened.
  • It's claimed Leeds started the Industrial Revolution (though other cities may not agree with) because of its furthest inland port.
  • River Aire was once the worst polluted river though a lot of improvements have been made to make the river cleaner.
  • Leeds and Liverpool Canal celebrated 200 years since its completion last year.
An overview was given about Canal Connections, a social enterprise, including its project's aims and outcomes as follows:
  • Engagement with young people and connecting them with heritage
  • Viewing the waterways as a "Living Museum" (still operating 200 years later) and "an opening to the new world".
  • Continue to break down perceptions and barriers with engaging with members of the public.
  • Running activities programmes especially the summer school holidays.
Future plans were outlined including a new Port of Leeds in Stourton and increasing its commercial activity on the waterways.

The ultimate aim is for the younger generation to become "custodians of this heritage" and highlighting its importance.

An enjoyable and inspiring evening at Left Bank Leeds - formerly a church and now beautifully restored to its former glory and with an overpriced bar!

Please check out Canal Connections here.

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (Leeds to Kirkstall)

It was an accomplishment completing by foot the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in June 2017. There are many happy memories and relationship with my family has grown stronger.



I have made a couple of trips to the canal since June.  I mainly walked the Leeds stretch on the canal a couple of times - it is encouraging to see improvements and differences, albeit small ones, to the canal and its environs.


More people are using the canal whether cruising, cycling, running or walking.  The Stables Cafe, by Oddy Locks, held in a former horses stables, is a perfect place to stop for a coffee. This is an area which was once run down, derelict and smothered in graffiti.  Now the area has been regenerated, developed and now a pleasant place to stop and travel through.  The residents there take pride where they live including its canal.


On another canal visit I accessed the Armley Mills Industrial Museum.  Enroute I stopped at The Stables for a coffee then walked further to the museum.  Housed in a former mill, I saw Winterreise (Winter Journey) in the museum's Victorian intimate cinema.  The building is situated at a strategic point between the River Aire and the canal.  It certainly shared its purpose when the mills were in operation. The film screening connects people with nature. As well as nature this particular building can allow people to interact with their minds the industrial heritage and social history.



Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will give me an opportunity to embrace the past, present and future of England's single longest canal.



Whenever I make visits to the canal, depending on what I do and if I have anything interesting to share, I'll be blogging!