Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pub Review: The Constitution, Camden

The Constitution is right next to the Regents Canal, a short walk along the towpath from Camden Lock. When we got there at Sunday lunchtime there were only a couple of people there. The beer was nice and the garden out the back over looking the canal would be lovely in the sunshine. The Oktoberfest beer was lovely. 
I would like to go back to this pub when its busy and have a good night out. Definitely a pub worth stopping at if you are walking along the Regents Canal. 

Canal Walk: Paddington to Little Venice

On the Sunday morning we went for a walk. For a change Kate the official, but probably not chronic alcoholic, beer reviewer of was coming for a walk rather than a pint. Admittedly we were walking to Camden and a pub but for now she was just walking. 
We found the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union and did a lap of Browning's Basin at Little Venice. 

Pub Reviews: The Narrow Boat and Prince of Wales, Islington

We took the tube to Angel, Islington and found our way to the top of the tunnel that takes the Regents Canal underneath Islington. Its a short walk from the tunnel to Wenlock Basin and the Narrow Boat pub. 
The Narrow Boat is a modern pub with access from the street above or the towpath below. There are windows over looking the Regents Canal and balconies to sit out on in good weather. The pub is as much about food as it is about drink. But the drink was good, Red Fox and London Pride by Fullers and Sharp's Doom Bar. The drink prices weren't too bad either. 
Despite it being busy it wasn't too noisy and we found a table. When we ordered food it came surprisingly quickly. There are specials on the blackboards and a single sheet menu. The prices are not bad, this is Islington after all.  The wild boar and apple sausages were very nice. 
If the Narrow Boat is for people who want wild boar sausages and wine, then the Prince of Wales a little further along the cut is for people who want a pint of beer and a pickled egg. It did have Spitfire and Adnams but that was about it. The pub was fine, the tv was showing the football and some old people were enjoying a quiet drink. No one was enjoying the pickled eggs. 

Out of the two pubs the Narrow Boat was far nicer. I will definitely go back there. 

On the Trail of the Ripper

The best laid plans of mice and men and towpath trekkers often go tits up. The main purpose of this trip to London was to walk the streets of Whitechapel looking for Jack the Ripper. We picked a guided Ripper walk and decided what to wear weeks ago. It was all planned to the minute, we knew where to go, when to be there and who to meet. During the day we heard the Circle Line was closed. Not a huge problem, we would go to another station on another line and walk to the meeting point. 
We got changed at the hotel, I was suitably dressed all in black, my companion dressed as a Victorian whore.  And so we headed off into the night. But wait, we didnt know how to get from the tube station to the meeting point and I didnt have a map. So with lightening speed, I grabbed the first map from the nearby shop and we headed off to the station. On the way to the station I glanced at my watch only to find that for some inexplicable reason it was 7:15pm, the tour started at 7:30pm a long way away. There was no chance the tube would get us there in time. So we needed a taxi.  After standing by Euston Road watching endless numbers of cabs drive passed with their lights off we were beginning to lose hope. We crossed the road. We looked at the station. We looked at the buses. We looked at each other. What we weren't doing was getting anywhere. In the end we saw a taxi with its light on and ran into traffic and jumped in. We tried not to notice that the taxi took us past the hotel we had started in and sat back to watch the clock and fare competing with each other. We drove down the back streets and alleys of London and got to Tower Hill at 7:41pm. Too late? A very large group of people walked past. Too many to be a Ripper Tour. We walked around the station and found the posters for the Ripper Tours, they started at 6:30pm, 6:40pm, 7:00pm and 7:30pm. It was 7:45pm. There was no sign of any Ripper Tours. We had no idea which way the tours would have gone. So a man in black and a short whore stood by the station wondering what Plan B was.  Plan B was to go to the 10 Bells pub and drink gin. The problem with that plan was we didnt know where the 10 Bells was. In fact we didnt know where any of the Ripper sites were, that was the whole point of the tour. A phone call to Southport got us the address of the 10 Bells (and the Blind Beggar) so after much staring blankly at a map (one that was the wrong scale for this sort of thing) we headed off into the dark streets of Whitehall. We walked for a few minutes, I was reluctant to say I had no idea where we were going. We stopped. I admitted we had no idea where we were. My companion looked close to tears. A street sign and a better look at the map got us on the way again. But what was that...? An Irish voice in the night. Talk of murder and prostitution. It could only be a Ripper Tour! We dashed as fast as a woman in a corset can down the side street. And there under a railway bridge they were. A very large group of people was stood looking up at a man talking to them about murder most foul. This was the very tour we wanted. These were the people we saw earlier. We joined the group and with great relief listened to the guide talk about women being killed. 
Whitechapel at night is closed. There are no bars or shops or restaurants. The whole place is deserted. Empty. Apart from the Ripper tour groups. There are a lot of them. This fact was most obvious in Mitre Square, the site at which Catherine Eddowes, prostitute and fire engine impersonator, was killed by the Ripper. Mitre Square is one of the more famous Ripper sites. As we entered the square there were 3 or 4 other groups there, each either being lead across the square or being spoken to by their guide. There was a real danger of losing our group as we passed through the other groups. Our guide had to keep his voice down so as not to compete with the other people talking about intestines and knives and Victorian policemen. Quite a surreal sight. As was the race to the next ripper site, rushing up the road with another group rushing up the other side. There were about a hundred in our group. We stood in front of the former workhouse, once home to all the Ripper victims. The building is now accommodation for students. Every now and again one would come out of their front door and find 100 people stood looking up at them. It was obviously a little disconcerting.  
The tour finished by the 10 Bells and we went in for a much needed gin. The pub relies on two things, the Ripper walks and students. The students out numbered the Ripper fans. It was packed with annoying people in fashionable glasses and silly hats. Hipsters I believe. Or maybe just plain old wankers.
The pub has some original tiles from the days when the Ripper victims and maybe the Ripper himself drank here. There is no real reason to go here other than its link with the gruesome murders 120 years ago. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

London Weekend Trip

Towpath Treks went to London this weekend. We went to review canal pubs, hunt for Jack the Ripper, find Ophelia and watch the shadows. The trip trod the line between triumph and disaster at all times. 
We left Liverpool at lunchtime, at least one of the party was slightly hung-over I am ashamed to say. In just 2 hours 20minutes we were in the nations capital and soon after that we were in the first canal pub of the weekend the Narrow Boat, Islington. 
After reviewing a couple of pubs we divided our group and while Kate the fearless beer reviewer went chasing shadows, the rest went chasing a diabolical serial killer.
After much walking and some dressing up we were worn out. 
The next day brought a towpath trek from Paddington to Camden, another pub review, a fruitless search for Ophelia, umbrellaless rain and a train ride home to Liverpool. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pub Reviews: Salterforth to Snaygill

Time to add some new pubs to Towpath Treks Canal Pub Guide. You would think that going to a pub, taking a photo of it and having a pint would be top of my list of things to do but it seems to have taken years to get some new pubs on the guide. Too much time spent in other pubs probably. Anyway if we were going to do it we may as well head off to the wrong side of the border and look at the pubs on the Yorkshire side of the Leeds & Liverpool canal. 
The plan was to drive up to the Anchor Inn, Salterforth (not sure if this is in Yorkshire but its close), the Cross Keys at East Marton, the Anchor Inn at Gargrave, the Bay Horse at Snaygill, the Copper Dragon Brewery, and then to Skipton and the Royal Shepherd and Narrow Boat. 

After a look round the Astrid Kirchherr exhibition at the Victoria Museum and Gallery in Liverpool we headed off up the motorways, following the canal to Salterforth. After some minor disagreements with the SatNav we arrived. Kate the official (and still undefeated) beer and pub reviewer was on board and it was time to get to work. 

The Anchor Inn was the only pub on the days list that I have been in before. It is most famous for its cellar of stalactites and stalagmites. Maybe we were a bit early, it was only just gone 12noon, but the pub was anything but busy. The pub has some black and white photos of the canal on the walls. We had planned to ask to have a look in the cellar but this being the first pub and therefore the first pint, we were feeling a bit shy so after our drinks we crept out and back to the car. 

The plan was to eat in the next pub which was luckily only a 10 minute drive away. The Cross Keys is near enough to the Double Arch Bridge to count as a canal pub in my book and besides it gets good reviews and we were hungry. I think we timed our arrival just right. Not long after we had sat down the place was full. This was our first pub selling Copper Dragon, the Skipton brew. 

There was an impressive menu, Kate had a psychic knack for picking the items off the chalk board that were sold out but eventually she went for the Keys Burger and we could all move on with our lives. The burgers when they arrived were excellent and more than either of us could finish. This pub is one of the best for food on the canal. It is well worth the short walk up a busy road from bridge #161, but you may end up waddling back full of food. And so waddle on we did. 

There isnt much to say about the Anchor Inn at Gargrave. Its a Brewers Fayre pub with a Premier Inn on the side. If you want a cheap hotel room in Gargrave this could be the place for you. If you are looking for a pub with interesting beer or character then this is probably not the pub to head for. 

On the way to the next pub I stopped at Higherland lock to see how the water level was. The levels are down a foot or so but not as bad as they have been. 

the canal at Gargrave

From Gargrave we drove to the Bay Horse in Lower Snaygill. This is a chain pub but nicer than the Brewers Fayre. Its the sort of pub that you would go to for a meal rather than a drink. Kate had a Timothy Taylor while I had yet another J20. A purple one this time. We read the Towpath Talk and sat back while through the window the hire boats headed back to Skipton. 

Before we headed into Skipton we stopped off at the Copper Dragon Brewery, a building as far removed from the Cains brewery in Liverpool as is possible. Unfortunately the shop was shut and the bistro just too strange for me to drink in.  I dont know why anyone would go to a side door of a shed on an industrial estate for a meal. 

In Skipton we walked up the Springs Branch, beneath the castle walls. The Kennet is moored in Skipton at the moment. Run by the Leeds & Liverpool it is a floating promotion for the canal and a reminder of what a real boat looks like.  It started to rain so we headed to the penultimate pub. 

The Royal Shepherd is a traditional pub. I guess that is short hand for saying it hasn't been done up for 20 years. Like all pubs it does food and the chips looked good but you can imagine a microwave and a sandwich toaster out the back. Worn seats and dodgy carpet is not retro chic. Still the pub was full of drinkers so they must be doing something right. The beer was good, I managed a pint of Copper Dragon Scotts 1816 which was nice, Kate had the Best Bitter. 
With time ticking on we wondered about missing out the last pub but to have done that we would have missed out on the best pub of the day. 

The Narrow Boat is just round the corner from the Royal Shepherd but is a million miles away in terms of style and décor. Its a spacious clean pub with roses and castles decoration alongside beer advertising on the wall. The range of beers is something like The Fly in the Loaf or Ship and Mitre in Liverpool, and for those who dont know, thats very good. If I was trying to create a pub that was aimed directly at me, this would be it. Its just a shame it was over 100 mile round trip for a pint. As it was the last pub before driving home I was back on the coke while Kate had a Midnight Bell, from the Leeds brewers. Looking through the drinks menu I noticed an alcohol free beer, perfect for the driver. Sadly it smelt so bad I couldnt finish it. With no booze in the bottle it wasnt worth holding my nose and pouring it down my neck. Still, not the pubs fault. 
We finished our drinks and went for chips by the canal. It rained all the way back to Liverpool. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Daniel Adamson

Today I visited the steam tug-tender Daniel Adamson. 

From the website of the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society:

The DANIEL ADAMSON was constructed as the “Ralph Brocklebank” for the Shropshire Union Canal and Railway Company in 1903 by the Tranmere Bay Development Company. She was one of three new tug-tenders built in the first decade of the 20th Century to operate the S.U.C. & R. Co. barge towing service between Ellesmere Port and Liverpool . The passenger carrying capability of the tug-tenders facilitated the provision of a scheduled cross-river passenger service something which the Shropshire Union company had provided on previous vessels since the 1880s.
In 1936 further modifications were made to the “Ralph Brocklebank” with the bridge being raised to its present level. The passenger accommodation was also upgraded, with the interior being furnished in wood laminates and light fittings in the then contemporary art-deco style.
Following the 1936 refit the vessel was renamed “DANIEL ADAMSON” in honour of the Manchester Ship Canal Company’s first chairman. 
 Following decades of neglect and vandalism the boat is now at Sandon Dock in Liverpool where it is being restored. 
The boat is covered in tarpaulins so there wasnt much point taking photos. We were shown around the engine room and saloons. There is clearly a long way to go with the restoration but it will certainly be worth the time and effort when it is completed. 

For more details have a look at the website:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Caen Hill Locks at Devizes

Looking down the flight

Looking up the flight

Looking up the flight

A boat waiting to go up in one of the famous side ponds. 

Boats locking up the flight

Concrete cylinders by the bridge, WW2 vintage. 

The Barge Inn at Bradford on Avon

Bradford on Avon is quite a contrast to its northern namesake near the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The busy road passing through it is the only drawback to this small Wiltshire town on the Kennet & Avon. What attracted my attention was the Canal Tavern, Lockside Cafe bar and Barge Inn all practically next to each other near to the lock and wharf area on the canal.

We parked at the Barge Inn and had lunch there. The pub is typical of the newly refurbished contemporaryily styled with painted wooden panels, sticks in vases and rope coiled mirrors.

At the bar was a good range of ales, Moles - Best, Marstons - EPA, Fullers London Pride, Summertime Blue and Boondoggle. Sadly towpathtreks was without its official beer reviewer so we may never know what these ales tasted like. The food however was good, the soup of the day and the prawn baguette were as good as anywhere and better than most. Not the cheapest maybe but I have paid more for less before now.

At the rear of the pub is a fair sized beer garden, with steps up to the canal side. From the pub you cannot actually see the canal.

I would have no problem going back to the Barge Inn and wish I had been able to do a full towpathtreks review of this pubs beer and the nearby Canal Tavern and Lockside Cafe Bar.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chester Pub Reviews

Walking to the station in Liverpool I couldn't help but notice the number of scousers in suits. Women in Liverpool may be infamous for going to The Asda in their pyjamas but today they were out in their full WAG-a-like outfits. At the station it became obvious that it was race day in Chester. Oh dear. This was a bad day to get the train to Chester to visit the pubs. The train was packed with hilarious comedians, footballers wives and make-up that would have been a bit much at one of those American beauty pageants for 4 year olds. Finally the hot train arrived at Chester and the horde disgorged onto the platform. Luckily the races started at half two so they soon tottered off to the racetrack leaving the first pub suddenly much quieter.

The first stop for me and Kate (the still unpaid but official towpathtreks beer reviewer) was the Old Harkers Arms. This bar is in the basement of a large former warehouse. At canal level on the towpath side by City Road it was once a canal chandlers run by Mr Hawker.  The pub is fairly big and the decor is nice, we sat next to the wall of book shelves. 
There is a good selection of wines, spirits and beers. We had the Old Bear Goldilocks and Weetwood Ales Cheshire Cat. Both were fine but neither were particularly memorable. 
The Old Hawkers Arms has an impressive menu, plenty on there from 'Feta, potato and spinach filo pie with ratatouille' to 'Pan fried pigeon with beetroot and orange salad with blackberry dressing'. Regrettably we decided not to eat there and moved on to the next pub. 
Actually the next pub is just the other side of the bridge, the Canalside bar. We walked in, it was empty and had a lot of red walls and black furniture. We turned around and walked out and headed to the next bar along the canal.

The Mill Hotel and Spar is, unsurprisingly given its name,  a former canal-side flour mill. There is a narrow space for sitting out next to the waters edge. Unfortunately this quite nice hotel is stuck between a 1970s bridge built in the functional concrete Soviet style and a 1980's footbridge linking the hotel to a gym/pizzeria built in the 1980's bourgeois Capitalist style. Bridges aside the bar has a fair few beers on tap.

Kate had the Spitting Feathers (Special Ale I think) but its always a mistake to put something that dark in front of a daughter of Éire if it isn't Guinness.
And even then you have to be pretty confident of its quality if you want to avoid upset. I had a bitter that was named after the old mill we were sat next to. The first mouthful was quite nice, but after that it was just the usual dishwater. I dont know why I bother, I should stick with the fizzy chemical laced commercial ciders and lagers. Which is was all they had at the next pub.

The Frog and Nightingale is probably one of the better known pubs in Chester, especially with boaters. There are usually a few boats moored up along here. They had Bombadier and not much else. I had a pint of Strongbow, in your face CAMRA! The DJ was obviously missing Ibiza of the mid-90s, so like everyone else we left him to play his records in the empty pub and went outside. We had left eating a bit late so the Frog and Nightingale won by default. I have to assume the bold sign proclaiming "Fresh and Imaginative Food" is from another time long gone. The burgers we had were not very imaginative. Plenty of other people seemed to be enjoying the food and the Fosters though. This is a city centre pub and if you dont expect much you will be fine here. 

the Frog and Nightingale

With everyone escaped from the Frog's handle-less toilet cubicles, we walked along the canal through the rock cutting below the city walls. I think this is one of my favourite bits of the canal network. I certainly visit it often. At the staircase locks there was a boat locking up. We had only seen a couple of boats on the move, mostly restaurant boats but one nice narrowboat from Riddlesden. Yes, there are some narrowboats out there that I like. We left the canal and went up into town to meet a fellow librarian for a drink in Alexanders and a couple of pitchers of cocktails in another bar. The races had finished and be-suited lads and highly heeled ladies were swarming back to the station. The Falcon was shut, the Brewery Tap full, the Cross Keys has closed down, so we squeezed into the Bear and Billet for a pint of IPA. 
Then it was back to Liverpool for far too many drinks in the Ship and Mitre and then, with my weariness amazing me, branded on my feet, home to bed through the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.

It was a shame the races were on but I still had a nice time. Other than the Bear and Billet in town, the only pub I would go back to is the Old Harkers Arms. Next time I will definitely eat in there, as long as people keep clicking the adverts on to fund these days out! 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Windmill Hotel Parbold

Today we went to the Windmill Hotel in Parbold for lunch. Sadly I was without the official beer taster so no beer reviews today. But I can say that the food was very good and reasonably priced too. My gammon was lovely, but the burgers looked pretty good too. Its just a shame we had to eat it in the back yard (our fault for bringing a spaniel with us). From what I saw of the inside it is lovely and I hope to go back soon and try some of the beers they had on tap. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

6 Pubs One Canal One Day

Today along with's official (and unpaid) beer reviewer, Kate, I visited 6 pubs on the western end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 

The first stop was the New Running Horses in Lydiate. The Running Horses had been a bit run down in recent years but not any more. The pub has had a major refurbishment inside and out. It has even changed colour, no longer white it is now what my Humbrol paints might have called Light Buff. Inside was very nice but as we turned up on a Friday lunchtime minutes after opening it was empty.  The choice of beer wasnt too good, but the Bombardier was good and the prices were average. Rather than sit in an empty (but nicely decorated) pub we sat outside. There is plenty of outdoor seating and this pub should be a popular spot this summer. The menu had the usual pub food on it and was reasonably priced. There is a noticeable absence  of any horses running or stationary. 

Next pub was the Scarisbrick Arms, also recently refurbished. The Scarisbrick Arms is a big building with high ceilings. This may explain the very tall menus. The pub feels more like a restaurant but a restaurant in a big late Victorian house. There was something odd, maybe it was the so very tall menus...
The food looked good though and we were mesmerized by the slowly rotating strawberries in the display cabinet. The beer selection was good, the White Witch went down well. We went outside with our drinks and wandered round to the back of the pub and the lawn by the canal. They haven't yet made the most of this side of the pub. But there were some swings which Kate tried and there was a trampoline which I did not try. 
There are a few boats moored there these days. One in particular caught me eye, not sure about the covers but it had a 50's or 60's style about it. We finished our pints and left the hideous French Chef statue with the empties. 

A boat at the back of the Scarisbrick Arms

Just a short drive down the road and we were at the Ship Inn, Haskayne. I have been to the Ship quite a few times before so I pretty much knew what to expect. I had a pint of '1966', explaining to Kate why we English remember that year so fondly and persistently. The Ship has a fair selection of real ale that changes frequently. We did eat there, 2 meals for £12. I thought the fish and chips was okay, I have had better to be honest and for less. There were lots of ducks on the lawns by the picnic tables where we ate. Inside there were no ducks but some canal themed art on the walls and it was the first pub that felt like a pub. 

We walked under the bridge, down the towpath, through Halsall Cutting to reach the Saracens Head our next pub. The Saracens Head is another pub that is more of a restaurant these days. Its a very smart one too and the last time I ate there it was very nice. Today was too warm to be inside though so we took the Spitfire outside to sit next to the canal. This pub has the best canal side seating, even the gents toilet has a canal view. The beer wasn't so great but they do work hard on the quality of service. 

We walked back to the Ship Inn pausing to photograph two local gentlemen by the bridge. Seldom have I seen two happier men on the towpath. 

locals at Haskayne enjoying Lancashire's version of continental style outdoor drinking

Under the bridge and through the little gate, we went back to the car. We drove the 15 minutes or so up to the Ship or Blood Tub at Lathom. The Blood Tub has had a turbulent time in recent years. It was part of the Cains company's disastrous expansion of its pub ownership. But the pub itself hasn't changed much over the years, it has survived. There is a good choice of beers at the bar and if we are being charitable we were given plenty of time to choose what we wanted. The prices were good when we were served. 
Again it was too nice to sit inside so we went out and walked up to the second lock on the Rufford Branch with our drinks. There was a boat going down the locks on their way to the boatyard at the river lock. They had been to Chester,Manchester and up the Ship Canal. There was another boat going up the locks. Hating to sit idly by I gave a hand with the gates, eyeing enviously the windlasses and gate paddles when operated by the boat crews. We finished our drinks and wandered up to the bridge and graving dock by the boatmens cottages. Time for heading back home. 

On the way back to Liverpool we stopped off at the Heatons Bridge Inn for one last drink. This is a pub from my childhood. Though obviously back then, in those rose tinted halcyon days children weren't allowed in pubs and had to sit outside with their mothers and some KP nuts and a lemonade.  The pub makes the most of its front with its hanging baskets but cant avoid the busy road. It also manages to hide the canal from its picnic benches with trees and fences. the pub is cheap and cheerful but the Tetleys wont be fondly remembered.  

We walked down to the canal and along the row of moored boats where I once played. I have seen kingfishers here before but not today. The kingfisher is associated with the mythical Greek Alcyone. And so another halcyon day came to a close. 

Give your opinion of the pubs on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Canal Bike Ride: Liverpool to Aintree and back, 20 miles

It took me until the Thursday of my week off to actually get my bike out and get myself down to the canal here in Liverpool. By the time I had got to the canal at Eldonian Village the sun was out and it was nice and warm. The towpath at Eldonian was quiet, just a few dog walkers and some lads fishing.  The surface itself is good, loose gravel, a bit crunchy but good enough. It wasnt long before I caught up with some boats that were leaving Liverpool. Workers on their tea break were sat in the sunshine and watched the boats go by. I quickly left them behind and headed off towards Bootle. Just outside Bootle a pitbull dog had an unexpected bath in the canal, not the last dog to do that today. 

In Bootle I stopped to take a photo that I hope will be the same as one of my postcards from the early 1900s. 

The locals were sat drinking their cans of Tennents and Excalibur and having a laugh. From the 3 mile point the towpath is at its best. Its like flapjack, very smooth and, apart from the wind being against me, it meant I could increase my speed a bit. I should say I am not the fastest cyclist and I get slower on the return trip but I did manage to go what passes for fast for me. 

Leaving Litherland behind the canal is very quiet, lined with trees on one side and a tall hedge on the other. The canal itself is covered in lillies. Coots were arguing and feeding their young. The juvenile coots on the towpath look like something from Jurassic Park. Little dinosaurs running to the water. 

the new Bridge 2G

Up to Aintree, still not many people around, a few parents out with their kids, dog walkers and a couple of people sitting with their cider. 
I went as far as Hancocks Swing Bridge, this is the first bridge of the assisted passage for boats into Liverpool. There were 3 or 4 boats waiting for their turn to sail to the Pool of Life. 
I turned around at the spot where the 10 mile milepost should be. I tried my camera out on its new handlebar fitting. It works well but my camera needs more memory if I am going to be doing a lot of videoing. Its a shame my camera wasnt on when a cocker spaniel was prancing about on the towpath and pranced too close to the edge and went in for a quick bath. 

The wind was against me on the way back, which was annoying because it was against me on the way out too. I plodded my way back, passed the fishing men and the winos who had moved down to the towpath to roll their cigarette. 
The first 10 miles of towpath are very good for cycling, the only hassle are the anti motorbike barriers.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Towpath Trekking in Cambridge

This weekend was spent in Cambridge. The first time I have been there and I enjoyed it a lot. There are some interesting boats on the river, some nice wooden cruisers, but not as many really expensive boats as I would have expected. Plenty of floating liveaboard sheds. Punting on the Cam is jolly fun they say, and it is still popular even in the rain. I was a bit unlucky with the weather and camera batteries but walking along the river was very enjoyable. The pubs and people were very nice too (although some of the people were very strange). 

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Old Canal Photographs

Bank Hall Colliery

Burnley Depot

Unloading coal at Whitebirk Power Station

the Lancaster Canal

more old photographs of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the Lancaster Canal can be seen here:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Canal Walk: Scarisbrick

Today was just a short stroll on the towpath in the sunshine. 

Boats of the MMBC

The New Marina at Scarisbrick

Wooden Canal Boats

Wooden boat Lilith

My old boat the Pride of Sefton coming through the bridge. 

Blue Bells in the Woods

Arty shot of bark

This graffiti must be almost 30 years old now, it did say TED NUGENT 

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Charity run on the L&L Canal

David Turner and  Paul Willan are about to embark on their toughest challenge yet.  Running the Leeds to Liverpool Canal.  They will be running the canal in blocks of at least 26 miles over a 5 day period, starting off in Liverpool and over 4 weeks, running a marathon a week (2 in the first week) we will run to Leeds.  

Paul says "My charity is Derain House Childrens Hospice based in Chorley, Lancashire.  Derian house is currently building a new teenage wing to provide the much needed continuing care to older children.  The funds I raise will go to the running of the wing."  

"My cousins charity is Martin House which provides provides care and support, free of charge, to families in which there is a child or children with a short life expectancy. Its aim is to provide a home from home with a lively friendly atmosphere where children and their families can enjoy the best quality of life."
Please help them reach their target of over £1000 for these charities.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Museum Mile Markers

Mile Posts

The Ellesmere Port Boat Museum has some interesting displays. One is a collection of wooden patterns for metal items like lock gate hinges, and mile posts. The milepost pattern is adaptable, the places and numbers could be changed for each mile. 

The patterns were made out of different woods, yellow pine, box wood, lime wood or jelutong. These woods were easy to carve and could be given a sharp edge and a smooth finish. 

The patterns would be usually in two parts and slightly bigger than the size of the finished casting. They would be put into a mould box full of sand and the sand mould created with their impression. 

Mile post pattern with changeable numbers and place plaques

As well as the patterns there are examples of different metal boundary markers and mileposts. 

Mile posts were important for calculating tolls. 

Boundary markers marked out the extent of canal company property. There were often disputes with local landowners or locals using canal property as tracks or for grazing. 

An old original mile marker showing 28 miles to Lancaster, 15 to Garstang and 2 to Preston. 

more Ellesmere Port Photos


L&L Wide/Short Boat

A Raised Wreck

L&L Barge

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Ellesmere Port Boat Museum

Today there was a model boat meeting at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. The good thing about this was the reduced admission price to the museum, £3.00. When the model boaters played with their little boats I walked around and had a look at the big boats. 

Bigmere by the little boats

Bacup looking very smart

Mossdale looking a bit tatty

the bones of a boat

cabin door