Lady Teal Takes a detour!

Lady Teal Craning out of the Leeds Liverpool Canal
Craning out at Reedley Marina
Lady Teal crosses the Leeds Liverpool canal
Lady Teal Crosses the Leeds Liverpool

Lady Teal has had a few interesting days on the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

The canal at Burnley, between Reedley Marina and Wigan, has a closure that is overrunning by a number of months. Instead of re-opening in March the canal will now re-open at the end of May. Normally we would look to reroute cruises and then make our way through the re-opened canal and catch up our schedule. But in this case the closure is so long, so disruptive to our schedule and only on one section that we decided to see if there were alternatives. We came up with the idea of lifting the boat out of the water and taking it to Liverpool where we could get it cradled back in.
Seems a straightforward thing to do? When you are trying to lift a 42 Tonne boat the options on where you can lift out and in are very very limited. We need a 220 Tonne crane that comes with two support vehicles, one carrying 80 Tonnes of balance weights and one a small crane to lift the pads. We also need a very large lorry to transport Lady Teal. In order to do achieve the lift we also need very solid ground very close to the canal and a crane company experienced in this sort of work so as not to damage either the ground or, more importantly, the boat. This really does limit where it can be done as the area the crane passes over cannot have drains that could be collapsed by the very large weights involved. Whilst lifting the boat the total weight will be approaching 200 Tonnes.
With some looking around we decided to go with Ray Bowern transport for a contracted lift and transport, they do a lot of boat lifts so know what is needed to successful.
Night before we were due to lift some ~@}{@~ gentlemen decided to take a JCB and destroy a bridge control unit just outside Liverpool , BBC Article , CRT initially thought it would be weeks to fix! But they pulled through and have figured a way to manually operate the bridge a couple of days a week till it can be fixed. CRT were brilliant in keeping us informed, but it was all a bit worrying.
Well we are now in Liverpool about to start our series of cruises down here with minimal disruption and change to our guests. This sort of excitement, and cost we could do without. Though one of our guests had the unusual privilege of starting her cruise in Leeds and ending it in Liverpool!

Big Boats

Well, we have been messing around on the Aire and Calder, South Yorks, River Don, Dun Navigation, New Junction Canal, Sheffield canal, Keadby Canal , Knottingley Goole canal and Goole Port, I think taht covers, oh yes the Rivers Aire and the Calder as well!

Seen lots of great things, a variety of locks and bridges, aqueducts and viaducts, so really good. But the most impressive in many ways are the big boats.

We are used to being the big player, 42 Tonnes with the other boats more like 20, but down here they over 400!! So we are definitely not the big boat here.

Great fun and all the guests love seeing true commercial boats carrying a cargo, oil in the case of Exol pride.

Big commercial boats
Big boats on the river with Lady Teal


Lady Teal and our wonderful guests

#WTY #LadyTeal #rivercruise

We always say it but we are so lucky with our lovely guests. The picture is of a great card that one of our guests did for us. The Kingfisher was on the front because she really wanted to see one, but unfortunately we didn’t. We frequently do see them, but this year there have been far far fewer of them.

Card and poem from one of Lady Teals Guests
Card and poem from one of Lady Teals Guests

Lady Teal shares a crowded lock

Lady Teal does not share locks very often, not because we don’t want to but because there is not normally any room. However, today on the Aire and Calder we shared a lock with 6 other boats, really busy for us.

Lady Teal sharing a lock on the Aire & Calder
A crowded Whiteley Lock on the Aire & Calder

Lady Teal playing with the big boys!

It’s always fun to mix in with the big vessels, and make use of my marine radio license!

Exol Pride, formerly Humber pride, is a tanker built in 1979. is 60 metres, almost 200 foot, long and 6 metres wide.

She takes oil from Hull, via Goole down to Doncaster. Someone bigger than us!!

Esol Pride, formerly Humber Pride oil Tanker
Exol Pride oil Tanker

An interesting day for Lady Teal & her guests

Lady Teal is always willing to share and we are back on the Aire & Calder sharing the big locks! This is Knostrop lock near Leeds. For the nerds amongst you Sheaf is a Sheffield Class built 1938 by Dunston, Richard, Thorne, she has been beautifully restored by the present owners.

It was also a first for me when we got hit by a mini twister! All moored up for lunch and I was standing on the back deck , a sudden roar, water spraying everywhere, chairs flying around, me and the boat being buffeted about, then all over. It was gone as quick as it arrived, but a bit of a surprise. No damage to people or boat so all’s well, but a bit of a surprise.

Lady Teal Aire & Calder
Lady Teal sharing a lock on the Aire & Calder

Lady Teal is now 5 Star Gold

Lady Teal now Five Star Gold    

At our recent VisitEngland assessment we are pleased to say that for the ninth year in a row we again achieved our Five Star rating. This year was a bit more special than even that! We are thrilled and proud that we also received the prestigious and rarely given Gold award. This accolade is for those who go the extra mile for their guests. While star ratings are based on a combination of quality, range of facilities and level of service offered, Gold awards are based solely on quality. We really feel that this award cements our position as the premier canal and river hotel boat in England.

VisitEngland 5 Star Gold
Five Star Gold

What wonderful weather and great sights for Lady Teal

All our guests on Lady Teal, and ourselves , can’t believe this weather, it has been super, but of course I start to worry about water! Haven’t seen the May rervoir report yet but I do hope there has been some rain on the tops.

There have been some huge storms around but they have passed us by. We have been basking in heat and sun forever it seems.

All the youngsters are doing well on it, see below, and it has been lovely, if a bit warm for some of the flights.

The new time limits on Wigan seem to be really good and we have to say the team there are superb, volunteers and seasonals.

Cygnet riding on Swans back
How cute is that. The cygnet was having a ride and preening


Celebrating another lovely day

Celebrating another lovely day on Lady Teal on the Bridgewater canal.

The weather has been wonderful and the scenery gorgeous. What more could we ask for?

This really is a wonderful canal with scenery, villages and plenty of places to moor, loving it.

Lady Teal cruising on the Bridgewater canal
Lady Teal cruising on the Bridgewater canal

Leaving Liverpool, and yes a sunset!!

Lady Teal leaving Liverpool again, such a great trip we do love it. Many thanks to Alison the keeper who gave us a hand at Stanley flight.

Lady Teal by the Three Graces Liverpool
Lady Teal Leaving Liverpool

There is a new regime now for coming into and out of Liverpool and I have to say I think it is a lot better.  It removes a lot of the time pressures that existed when you had to rush from bridge to bridge and to the locks, also you used to have to leave Salthouse at 8 but now it is up to 9.30, much more civilised.

So a lovely sail out and then a glorious sunset as we finished up dinner.


As those of you who regularly look at my ramblings know, and I hope there are some out there, I do love a good sunset.

There has been no post processing on this shot, though I do have to admit it was slightly underexposed in order to enrich the colours, I hope you like it.

Sunset near Bridge 10 on the Leeds Liverpool Canal
Sunset near Bridge 10 on the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Another Lovely run into Liverpool on Lady Teal

We had another lovely run into Liverpool today. They have change things a bit as it is a lot more self operation and the timings are a lot more relaxed, it does take a lot of the pressure off.

We were supposed to be coming in yesterday but a hydraulic hose broke at one of the bridges. CRT were amazing and on a bank holiday Sunday the fitters came out and the specialist van to make up a new pipe. They got it all fixed and we passed through spending the evening at Litherland and then coming down Stanley flight at 10 this morning.

It was lovely run through the docks and into our mooring in Salthouse Docks.

Coming into Liverpool & Three Graces
A view of the Three Graces in Liverpool from Canning Dock.

Every one is ready for Italian night on Lady Teal

New for this year, on 6 & 7 night cruises, we are now doing an Italian themed night.

So plenty of Italian food, Italian wine and Italian music, I even try to serve the dishes using their Italian names!

It’s fun to have a bit of variation and to challenge Gina with managing to put it all together.


Italian Night on Lady Teal
Italian Themed night on Lady Teal

Lovely Worsely Bridgewater Canal

Lady Teal is off CRT water and on the Bridgewater Canal, owned by Peel Holdings, currently at Worsley. I have never been able to discover why it and the Manchester Ship Canal were not nationalised with all the rest, maybe it was something to do with it being part of the mining network, but then they were all nationalised too!!

Feted as being the first of the modern commercial canals, it opened in 1761 and set off the canal mania era. Whilst it was the first of the single cut canals not following an existing watercourse an argument could be made that the Sankey, St. Helens Canal, was the one that proved the point.

The Sankey canal opened in in 1757 and was the only canal project not to have anyone object to it. Whilst not a new cut canal, it followed the line of the Sankey Brooke, it was built as though it was a new canal. Its act of parliament said “for making navigable the River or Brook called Sankey Brook, and Three several Branches thereof from the River Mersey below Sankey Bridges, up to Boardman’s Stone Bridge on the South Branch, to Gerrard’s Bridge on the Middle Branch, and to Penny Bridge on the North Branch, all in the county palatine of Lancaster” (Thank you Wikipedia)

But whatever the rights or wrongs of that Worlsey is a lovely spot with some super architecture and now the addition of some lovely sculptures.

Sculpture of Ducks at Worsley on the Bridgewater Canal
Sculpture of Ducks at Worsley on the Bridgewater Canal

Lady Teal at Worsley on the Bridgewater Canal
Lady Teal at Worsley on the Bridgewater Canal

Has it really been that long, still loving it not stopping yet!

It’s very hard to believe that this is our ninth season running Lady Teal, so 10th season celebrations next year. We are still loving it and have no plans to stop, in fact we will be releasing our 2020 schedule fairly soon.

On the canals in 1981
On the canals in 1981

When I was on a barge holiday in the early 1980’s I never thought that one day I would be skippering a hotel boat on the Leeds Liverpool. Yes that really is my on a narrow boat in 1981!

We visited Worsley and came up Wigan flight, it was very different then.

in 2009 Lady Teal was being built and then in 2010 we had our first full season.

Nine years and still going strong, with no idea when we will finish. We even have guests still coming with us who came in that first season, it really is quite amazing.

So season nine well underway now, and it’s still fun.

Well it looks like it has aged us a bit, but I guess it has been the best part of 10 years.

Lady, Nick and Gina Lady Teal
Lady, Nick and Gina Lady Teal



Lovely Lunch Stop for Lady Teal

Lady Teal at what has to be at one of the best parts of the whole UK inland waterways, and we get to stop here for lunch, how lucky are we.

Showers, Mud, wildlife and a good time on Lady Teal

Well a real mixed day today, we had some heavy showers and a very muddy tow path. In previous years we have been in shorts and t-shirts in April.

Muddy at the East Marton Water Point
A bit muddy at the Leeds Liverpool Water Point

But that was all made up for with the 20 minutes watching a Barn Owl hunt in a field. How amazing, I have never watched one for so long. It swooped silently over the field, sorry too far away for pictures. I then moved on with the boat but the guests stayed to watch it land, presumably having caught something. This really is one of the magic things about this job, we get to see fabulous wildlife.

Then a bit further up the canal there were two mad March Hares on the tow path, once again too far and too quick to picture, but really lovely to see.

Certainly lots of water around in the canal, roll on tomorrows sunshine!

Leeds Liverpool Muddy Boots
Leeds Liverpool Muddy Boots

And we are off, Lady Teal starts her voyages

Well the start of the season for Lady Teal has arrived and we are now out and about. I can’t deny it has been a much damper start that normal but at least it has been warming up.

Kingfishers have been spotted and the ducks are getting frisky.

Coming up Barrowford locks we had a few boats coming the other way so it was almost as busy as the busiest times on the canal.

It takes us all, myself, Gina, Glen and of course Lady, a few days to get back into the rhythm of things, and to remember exactly how do I set the breakfast table!

The tunnel was damper than usual with all the water run off and high water levels always makes it a bit more challenging. Lady had to sit lower down to avoid hitting her head and every time there was some water flowing down on her she give me a filthy look, “for goodness sake can’t you avoid that”, she seems to be saying.

Last Little jobs

Ok, so of course you have to vacuum the lawn before your done!

Vaccum the top Deck
Vacuuming the lawn on the top deck of Lady Teal

Does look a bit like I am playing golf though!

The start of the season draws near

It’s a busy time as we continue to prep the boat for the new season. We have had our food hygiene visit and retained our score of 5, full marks!

The boat spent a week in dry dock and along with being blacked we have done a lot of less visible stuff. For instance the battery bank has all been replaced, not like changing the batteries in a torch! The old batteries each weighed about 280lbs, so getting them out was fun and we upgraded some of the associated electronics.

There have been a number of other things as well , but we will leave you to spot those!

A few more odds and ends and , weather permitting, another good polish then we will be ready to go.


Lady Teal Dry Dock
Side view of Lady Teal in Dry Dock

Lady Teal in Dry Dock
Lady Teal in Dry Dock

View from the window of Lady Teal

Well not our normal view from our window. Lots of prep for the street of the season,v all on hold!

Snow and ice on lady teal
Reedley Marina snow

lovely sunrise at marina

Sunrise at Reedley
Sunrise over Reedley Marina

What an incredible sky over the Marina.

Starting a few jobs on the boat as we begin to ready her for the new season.

It’s always amazing how quickly the new season comes around.

Merry Christmas

Leeds and liverpool five rise
Bingley Five Rise in the snow, Leeds and Liverpool

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from Nick, Gina, Glen and Lady.🎅

Glorious evening glorious spot

Horse on Canal Bridge
Horse on Bridge on Leeds and liverpool canal

Another great spot to moor up for the night. Every time we go by here this horse is contentedly standing on the bridge, lovely. And what wonderful weather we are having so lucky

Swanning Around

Sorry and easy pun but difficult to avoid. Another lovely day on the New Junction Canal, with its interesting bridges and aqueducts.

These two swans flew low past the boat and swooped in to land, a lovely sight.

Lady Teal watches two swans land
Two Swans landing on the New Junction Canal

Lady Teal to the Rescue

Well it was up early this morning! Splashing noises and plaintive yelps from the other side of the Stainforth & Keadby, all at about 6am!

On going out there was a poor dog scrabbling, and failing, to get out the other side, bear in mind this is a wide navigation. It was clearly in distress and very tired. We were worried that starting the engine may scare it more so, as it bobbed under the water, Gina managed to call it across, I don’t think Lady barking was the help she thought it was!

We coaxed it across and with my trusted rope skills I managed to lasso it, not sure if the dog or me was the more surprised! A few tugs and we had it up onto the bank, panting and looking tired, the dog wasn’t too good either!

It seemed ok and despite trying to find someone, RSPCA, council whoever, to pick it up no one was interested. It perked up and seemed to know where it was going and with a look at us and a wag of its tail it went on its way.

This helicopter was not part of the rescue but flew low over us yesterday, brilliant!

Chinook New Junction Canal
A Chinook helicopter doing a low pass over us on the New Junction Canal


Lovely Leeds

A great run through the middle of Leeds, such a contrast from the countryside. It is such a lovely vibrant city.

So what better time could be to have a Kir Royal on lawn on Lady Teal!

Lady Teal and Kir Royal Leeds
Kir Royale on the River Aire Leeds

Leeds & Liverpool – Wigan

What is there not to like on a glorious day like today as we pass through Wigan.

Lady Teal Leeds & Liverpool Wigan
Lady Teal Leeds & Liverpool Wigan

Big Swans, big water and big boats- short boat George

We are once again in lovely Liverpool home of giant swans & , at the moment, short boat George

liverpool swans Salthouse dock
liverpool swans Salthouse dock

But also large, all be it short, boats

Lady Teal & Short boat George
Lady Teal & Short boat George

We are moored next to the 1910 wooden L&L short boat. It may have been horse drawn or may have been towed by a stem tug or boat. She was built in Wigan and took coal from Leigh to Liverpool, an honour to share berth space with her. Sunk and abandoned in Worsley she was rescued and taken to the Ellesmere port boat museum. She has been in a number of colour schemes over the years but her brightwork is currently National Coal Board. She was taken to Tiverton in Devon, I know so sad nowhere nearer home, to have a fabulous restoration/rebuild, she does look good.

Here she is giving some kids a nice outing in 1943, much fancier brightwork than the NCB one she now wears.

L&L Short George wartime holiday 1943
L&L Short George wartime holiday 1943

Fabulous evening

Well last night was a lovely sunset and watching all the Black Headed gulls swooping over the flashes catching bugs, gorgeous.

Gulls over Scotsmans flash Wigan
Gulls over Scotsmans flash Wigan

Then one of those great mornings when the mist rises gently over the canal, we’ve not got a bad job!


Happy St Georges day

Mist over the Leeds Liverpool Leigh Branch
Mist over the Leeds Liverpool Leigh Branch

Lady Teal, Kennet & Wigan Flight

Well what a day, great weather and the Wigan flight, plus a few round the corner.

We also did it in a record time for us, 3 hours 15 minutes, sorry crew on the last record!

Lovely surprise to meet Kennet, the historic Leeds Liverpool short boat coming up the flight.

Kennet & Lady Teal meet in Wigan Flight
Kennet & Lady Teal meet in Wigan Flight

She is a great boat , built 1947, and kept in great shape by the Leeds Liverpool canal society.

We do enjoy doing Wigan as it is such a lovely flight, yes some locks are heavy but the views more than make up for it.


Easter on Lady Teal in Lancashire

Well it was Easter with Easter eggs, bunny ears and Easter Chicks.


Easter Chicks
Easter Chicks

Bit of a damp Easter but then mooring up at one of our favourite places in Lancashire between Burnley and Blackburn.

Lady Teal in Lancashire
Lady Teal in Lancashire



A Very Merry Christmas from all of us at Lady Teal

Wishing you all a merry Christmas. We have decided that rather than spending vast amounts on posting Christmas cards we will donate the money to charity this year. A tough decision as we love cards but we think that on balance it is the right thing to do, we do hope you agree.
So, a very merry Christmas and great new year to everyone, plus a huge thank you for making our summers with you all such great fun.
Here’s to another great season and weather in 2017, with just the right amount of rain, at the right time. We need the rain to be at night to keep the reservoirs and canal full, but not too much rain, that makes the river too high. Ok I think that covers it!

A very Merry Christmas from all at Lady Teal
A very Merry Christmas from all at Lady Teal

Out of season decorating

Decorating Lady Teal end to end has begun! All part of the many off season bits of work that have to be done.

Glen and her husband Ian working hard to help us keep the boat looking good, thanks guys.

Decorating the boat
Decorating the boat

Just added new YouTube Video of Lay Teal stuff

#HotelBoat #LeedsLiverpool Lady Teal video added to the Lady Teal YouTube channel.

Well not a lot to say, we have been relaxing! But we have also put together a little YouTube slide show about Lady Teal, click here to view it.

We have not updated this for a while and whilst we are doing slide shows this year we will do a lot more with video next year, or will try to!

Next thing is to do some work on pictures from the season just gone and get a 2016 slide show up.


What a Wonderful Day

Well mid October and what fabulous weather!

The last blog for a few days, ok all breath a sigh of relief. I am going to get something together about the season just gone and post that in a while. But a busy week this week with a presentation to Pendle Tourism, coming down from the summit with Kennet , the historic L&L short boat, as it makes its way from Leeds to Liverpool in a run to celebrate the bicentary of the opening of the L&L end to end. Then we have our presentations to do for the Lancashire tourism awards, and the bicentenary ball. Quiet a relaxing off season then!

October at Reedley Marina
October at Reedley Marina

Bright starts and rainbows

Well the day started well with a lovely morning on the curly wurlies, then it was sunshine, showers and rainbows.

I do wonder how much the working boatmen enjoyed the scenery. Whilst they worked hard the environment was quiet for the horse drawn boats and helming, whilst hard work on a big boat does give you time to think and ponder. Though they were probably concerned at getting this load delivered as quickly as possible so they could do the next one. Locks etc are a bit of fun for us but were just a delay for them as they tried to press on. Even more so for the flyboats who frequently left paddles up and bridges open! Also we complain about the state of things sometimes, though since CRT it is much improved, but looking at old pictures and reading stuff things were not always so great then, and certainly the boatmen were not gentle with stuff!

Start of the day on Lady Teal in the Dales on the Leeds Liverpool Canal
Start of the day on Lady Teal in the Dales on the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Lovely Rainbow, Greenberfield on the Lady Tel on the Leeds LiverpooCanal
Lovely Rainbow, Greenberfield on the Lady Teal on the Leeds LiverpooCanal

Morning on Lady Teal looking at the Dales

What a gorgeous morning. Lady Teal is moored overlooking the Dales on what are know locally as the curly wurlies. The canal meanders around the high contour avoiding the need for locks, aqueducts or tunnels. Lovely for us but the boatmen hated it as it added a good mile to their journeys. they wanted something done about it but it was just not economic to do anything, thank goodness!

morning shot of Lady Teal moored on the curly wurlies on the Leeds Liverpool canal in the Dales
morning shot of Lady Teal moored on the curly wurlies on the Leeds Liverpool canal in the Dales

Morning view of the Dales from Leeds Liverpool canal
Morning view of the Dales from Leeds Liverpool canal

Cows on the curly wurlies Leeds Liverpool
Cows on the curly wurlies Leeds Liverpool


Lady Teal goes through Bank Newton Locks for the last time this year

On Lady Teal we love the little flight at Bank Newton. It wends its way up the hill and presents lovely views of the Dales as we go.

So, for this year at least, we wish them a fond farewell as we make our up heading for Lancashire on the penultimate cruise of the season. What a lovely day, between the odd shower or two.

LAdy Teal passing through Bank Newton locks on the Leeds Liverpool for the last time in our 2016 season
LAdy Teal passing through Bank Newton locks on the Leeds Liverpool for the last time in our 2016 season

View of the Dales as Lady Teal starts up Bank Newton Locks on the Leeds Liverpool canal
View of the Dales as Lady Teal starts up Bank Newton Locks on the Leeds Liverpool canal

Feeding swans and opening bridges

A lovely day today feeding swans and doing swing bridges. After yesterdays bit of rain, though the Five rise was dry, it was a gorgeous day today.

Feeding Swans from Lady Teal
Feeding Swans from Lady Teal

Guests on Lady Teal opening a bridge
Guests on Lady Teal opening a bridge

Lady Teal at Bingley Five Rise
Lady Teal at Bingley Five Rise

We know who the boss is on Lady Teal

Don and June many thanks for this picture, we do know who the boss is on Lady Teal !

Lady in charge
Lady in charge


And a bright good morning to you Heron


Lovely Aire & Calder

#WTY #Chichhotelboat #Leeds @Welcome2Yorks

Lovely sunset on the Aire & Calder near Leeds followed by glorious morning. How lucky is Lady Teal to travel these waters.

This time of year that gently rising mist off the water  is so lovely and relaxing

Sunset Aire & Calder near Leeds
Sunset Aire & Calder near Leeds

Morning Mist Aire & Calder near Leeds
Morning Mist Aire & Calder near Leeds


It is fun going down into Goole with the big ships and the South Yorks Boat Museum.

Coudn’t resist being a bit arty with the tug pushing the false bow from the Tom Puddings.

Tom Pudding Tug Goole
Tom Pudding Tug Goole

In 1817, there was a proposal for an Aire and Don Canal, to connect Knottingley to the Dutch River at Newbridge, with a branch to Doncaster, and another for a Went and Wakefield Canal, to connect Cold Hindley on the Barnsley Canal to Newbridge on the Don. With revenue from tolls reaching £82,092 in 1818, which enabled a dividend of £54,000 to be paid, the company was in a healthy state, and proposed their own route from Haddlesey to the Dutch River.

The destination was then changed to Goole. John Rennie was asked to survey the route and proposed the construction of docks at Goole, rather than a lock into the river. Construction at Goole started on 28 September 1822, and the company eventually built much of the new town and docks.

So that’s Lady Teal mixes with the big boats, or ships!

Big Ship Goole
Big Ship Goole

Goodbye to Liverpool

Well its goodbye to Liverpool for another year. We do so enjoy the run in and our time in Salthouse.

Albert dock is so impressive, one of the first truly fireproof warehouses with no wood being used. They still had to have a hit squad fire team as stored items could catch fire but it could not spread to the warehouse with its stone and brick floors, metal window frames and cast iron columns, they wanted granite but it was too expensive.

Lady Teal Leaving Albert Dock Liverpoo
Lady Teal Leaving Albert Dock Liverpool

Passing out of Salthouse Dock its through Albert, into Mann Island Lock then through the Pier head tunnels past the three graces before going through Princess Lock and round the corner past the Titanic hotel, in the old rum warehouse, past Tobacco warehouse and up the Stanley flight locks back onto the Leeds Liverpool.

Stanley flight from Liverpool docks to Leeds Liverpool canal
Stanley flight from Liverpool docks to Leeds Liverpool canal

Just look at the amazing tobacco warehouse in the background.

What a glorious morning on Lady Teal and the Leeds Liverpool

A lovely overnight mooring for Lady Teal as we approach the fab locks at Johnson Hillocks.

We do enjoy taking Lady Teal through this flight as we meander, down or up. An interesting flight, for geeks like me! They were built as part of the Lancaster canal then leased and bought by the Leeds Liverpool once the final route was decided.

Lady Teal Leeds Liverpooll
Lady Teal moored near Riley Green not far from Johnson Hillocks

Somewhat disparagingly when in 1904 they were looking at lengthening all the locks to 70 foot a report stated“The worst Lock masonry on the Canal is undoubtedly at Johnson’s Hillock. These Locks were constructed by the Lancaster Canal Authorities, and the fact is rather remarkable, as most of the Lancaster Canal Masonry is extremely good, as may be expected considering that John Rennie, of Waterloo Bridge fame, was the Engineer.”

Oh dear, it was one of the reasons lengthening did not happen as all the locks would have had to be totally rebuilt.

A lovely spot though

Leeds Liverpool near Riley Green
Leeds Liverpool near Riley Green


Where we stop tonight & just how long is the Leeds Liverpool, where is half way?

A bit of a damp  start on the Leeds Liverpool,  but now a sunny evening for Lady Teal, at the half way point. The lovely Lancashire views never fail to enthrall me.

Near Church, Leeds Liverpool Canal
Near Church, Leeds Liverpool Canal

Lovely sky and view across the valley. Really is lovely. But just before we got here we watched a pair of swans chasing away some Canada Geese to protect their cygnets. No actual violence, on this occasion but they do look threatening. We have watched them try to drown ducks and Geese but not on this occasion. Urban myth has it that Swans can break your arm , but it seems unlikely as their wings are not that strong. I have separated fighting swans and not suffered even a bruise. The beaks have some sharp bits but they are more uncomfortable than damaging to us.

Leeds Liverpool
Swan seeing off Goose on Leeds Liverpool

But onto my other question, just how long is the Leeds Liverpool now? A marker, not an original mile marker is at Eldonian village in Liverpool and shows 127 miles, this is now the end of the canal and their is no distance marker on the original terminus warehouse at Pall Mall, now filled in. So is the canal now only 127 miles long, or even less, there seems to be no definitive answer.

Here is the official half way point, more or less based on the canals original length.

Half way point Leeds Liverpool canal
Half way point Leeds Liverpool canal

Mile markers, quarter and half, became most important when the toll act was passed in the 1890’s.

The Act of Parliament of 1893 is entitled: ‘Canal Rates Tolls and Charges (Leeds and Liverpool Canal) Order Confirmation Act’. This Act left little room for haggling between the canal company and the owners of the goods to be carried on its canals. Let me quote from the Act to illustrate how detailed was that regulation. It reads: “16. For a fraction of a penny in the gross amount of rates, tolls, and charges for any consignment for the entire distance conveyed, the Company may charge a penny.” And… “18. All stone, when conveyed by the Company, shall be charged by weight when the weight can be conveniently ascertained.

CRT are replacing or repairing all the mile posts for the bicentenary, which is great.

Heading up into the Dales

This really is a lovely section of the Leeds Liverpool that we love taking Lady Teal across.

We have small aqueducts, lovely flights of locks and amazing views.

We are so lucky to have all this to go through.

The first picture today is at Stegneck lock first thing in the morning.

Stegneck Gargrave
Stegneck Lock Leeds Liverpool Canal

What a lovely sky.

Then it was across Priest Holme Aqueduct crossing the River Aire. Not one of the largest or best known aqueducts maybe but nevertheless a lovely one.

Occasionally we get steam trains across the railway bridge as this is the Settle Carlisle

Priest Holme Aqueduct on the Leeds Liverpool
Priest Holme Aqueduct on the Leeds Liverpool

Skipton and Gargrave

A lovely run up through Skipton, fuel at Pennine cruisers, always seem to have it and at a fair price, not true of all marinas.

The Aire valley was a little windy, it can be relly bad, the swing bridges are protected to stop you being blown into them. We love the Leeds Liverpool.

Up above Holme lock there is a great little stable block and the old register house, unfortunately in a state of collapse now, 4 years ago it was pretty much complete, shouldn’t CRT heritage be saving things like that not just fussing over things others do?

A neat little aqueduct and then up through Gargrave a pleasant dales village, then off the other side heading to Bank Newton locks, more of them tomorrow.

A lovely sunset, OK I stopped this down a lot for effect, but I think its pretty cool.

Leeds Liverpool canal , Gargrave
View from by Scarland Lock near Gargrave Leeds & Liverpool canal

Big Boats, Big Bridges, Aqueducts and Night timefor a hotel boat

Well a load of pictures for this post, as a hotel boat we do get around a bit. Not a sunset this time but it was actually a long exposure at night on the New junction Canal heading toward Doncaster. A lovely “new” canal. It was probably the last commercial canal dug, completed in 1905. One lock, with swing bridge in the middle, and a bucket load of lift bridges, so you cant hurry, oh one swing bridge as well, just for good measure.

New Junction Canal after dark
New Junction Canal after dark

The River Don Navigation is also lovely with little villages and big views.

At one of the lift bridges we met Freda Carless, built in 1964 she carried various cargoes under the ownership of Flixborough Shipping. See her entry on the National Historic Boat Register, sorry ships. Owned by a lovely couple who really do continuously cruise with her, quite a sight and they skipper her really well.

Freda Carless on River Don Naviagtion
Freda Carless on River Don Naviagtion

Then the wonderful aqueduct come weir, look at the sides of it, over the Don. Guillotines at each each end, so careful about losing your head as you cross (sorry about that). They guillotine gates are they so that if the river is in flood it flows over the aqueduct and  stops it flooding the navigation.

Aqueduct over the Don
Aqueduct over the Don

Right guess I had better get back to polishing the boat, a hotel boat owners work is never done!