Author Topic: Leeds-Liverpool Canal  (Read 504 times)

Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« on: July 25, 2020, 11:00:14 am »
Having just had a few days camping (in the car with the big tent), on a site just off the Leeds-Liverpool Canal near Skipton Mrs B is quite keen to cycle the whole canal before the end of the school holidays.

It would be me and Mrs B on the tandem with 10 year old little Joe on his own bike.  We’ll start with a train to Liverpool and then have a few hours visiting family before cycling a short distance to our first campsite, a CL near Maghull.  After that a couple of longer days to get us to within 20 miles of Leeds and our final campsite, we'll then just have a short ride to Leeds station and a train back to Newcastle.

Anyone have any experience of riding the Leeds-Liverpool Canal?  The short section of tow path we rode on last week between Cononley and Gargrave was ok but I’ve got no idea how well surfaced / accessible the rest of the path is.

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2020, 12:12:16 pm »
Joe, I've ridden it from Burnley as far as Gargrave. It's a bit fiddly approaching Gargrave but otherwise ok except around Foulridge (near Colne) where the towpath is closed and you have to work around.  Pearson's Canal guide might help - it's an excellent publication for about a tenner.  I've also ridden from Shipley to Leeds, which is very well surfaced and a great finish!

Hope you enjoy yourselves!

Peter

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2020, 01:01:30 pm »
I've ridden from Nelson* to Blackburn and to West of Wigan starting from where L-L meets the Bridgewater Canal.
The surfaces are variable; some good paved bits and some parts that are literally a groove worn into the soil.
If it's been raining (!) it's quite tricky to ride on a solo machine on the latter.
I've used both 28mm 4 Seasons and 32mm Gravelking SKs. The bigger, treaded tyres were better but even larger more aggressive tyres would have been worthwhile.

It does strike me as being an excellent route but the surfaces I've ridden on put me off doing the whole thing.

* After visiting Carradice to get a repair done.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2020, 01:22:26 pm »
I've done Skipton to a bit after Foulridge (not quite as far as Nelson, IIRC) on the Streetmachine (you end up on a parallel path for a bit), shod with 40mm Marathons.  It was completely dry at the time, so it was mostly an exercise in finding exactly the right setting for the suspension damping on the pump-track bits.  Anything non-recumbent and with larger wheels would be an improvement there.  Most of it was fine, and I have no specific memories of anti-recumbent/tandem infrastructure.

As usual for unsurfaced canal towpaths, it's likely to be a very different proposition if it's wet, with stretches where you'll be wanting mountain bike tyres and waterproof footwear.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2020, 03:21:11 pm »
I've done Skipton to a bit after Foulridge (not quite as far as Nelson, IIRC) on the Streetmachine (you end up on a parallel path for a bit), shod with 40mm Marathons.  It was completely dry at the time, so it was mostly an exercise in finding exactly the right setting for the suspension damping on the pump-track bits.  Anything non-recumbent and with larger wheels would be an improvement there.  Most of it was fine, and I have no specific memories of anti-recumbent/tandem infrastructure.

As usual for unsurfaced canal towpaths, it's likely to be a very different proposition if it's wet, with stretches where you'll be wanting mountain bike tyres and waterproof footwear.


I doth my cap to you riding that section on the Streetmachine Kim. Having just spent a few nights camping just at Cononley I've used the short section between there and Skipton several times, the grumpy dog emptiers were bad enough to pass on the tandem, would have been awkward on the bent, especially through Skipton itself.

I think dog empties and towpath congestion in general could be a theme of this ride, around the more urban areas certainly.  That said it’s a family ride so there won’t be any demanding daily distance targets and the pace will be rather relaxed.

We’re fitting this tour in on a bit of a whim, a long towpath ride might not be my normal cup of tea but it’s a rare thing for Vanessa to suggest a trip like this as she isn’t fond of lightweight camping.  Once we’re finished and back in Newcastle I’ve got a couple of days to get turned round and back out onto the tour me and little Joe are doing through the East of England.  He’s nuts about fast jets so we’re starting with a trip to the Duxford museum and then winding our way back to my brother’s house in Gainsborough via some airbases and other aero museums. 

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2020, 11:32:59 am »
Did a stretch from Barnoldswick to Burnley on a Dawes tourer a few years back. Really enjoyed it as this section is generally of good quality towpath. Need to walk around the odd tunnel. Bridge underpasses always made me a tad nervous as they are quite low arches in some cases, particularly the accommodation bridges. Visiting Carradice is of course compulsory, as it it two mins off the track.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2020, 01:24:56 pm »
Visiting Carradice is of course compulsory, as it it two mins off the track.

I opted to keep moving, on account of being on a bike covered in Ortliebs.   :D

(I also brought a Specialized to the Brooks factory tour.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2020, 06:57:21 pm »
Living in Skiptonia, so I can give you hourly updates for that bit :)

There has been talk about updating the surface from Gargrave to Farnhill and beyond.

Skipton to Bradly all done, wonderful surface.

They were working on the bit further south (Leeds direction)  late last year and I haven't been that way since Covid. So I don't know if they have manged to finish that bit yet or if the canal is still blocked. I know you can get to the Polish war memorial just south of Bradly.

From Farnhill to Silsden is rough, grassy trough with roots, but I have cycled that on a recumbent when dry, a bit slippy when muddy and wet. Beyond that I think it fully surfaced to Leeds.

Skipton to Gargave and beyond, I haven't been on that bit for a fair while. It is a grassy trough and in places very bumpy, but can be done. About a mile out from downtown Gargave the surface becomes better and is pretty good through to past Gargrave. Near Bank Newton it becomes a grassy hard packed path and faily easy to ride to East Marton, after that there is places that easy mud up when went.

If you managed to get past that you should hit Barnoldwick and from there the path is really good all the way to Liverpool I'm sure.
#bollockstobrexit

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2020, 10:03:21 pm »
Cheers Woolly,  If I get a quiet day at work tomorrow I'll check out those sections on Plotaroute. From what you say though it looks like the poorly surfaced sections are quite short.

Visiting Carradice is of course compulsory, as it it two mins off the track.

I opted to keep moving, on account of being on a bike covered in Ortliebs.   :D

(I also brought a Specialized to the Brooks factory tour.)

Yes, we'll be loaded up in the same way as although I own four pieces of Carradice luggage (bar bag, Barley saddle bag & x2 rack top bags) only the bar bag will be in attendance.

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2020, 10:18:17 pm »
They don't bite.  ::-)
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2020, 10:53:16 pm »
They don't bite.  ::-)

No, but the missus and kid do protest when I attempt to spending a whole ten minutes inside such a place.

Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2020, 10:58:51 pm »
Skipton to Gargrave is currently being being upgraded, nearly finished a few weeks ago and  passable on road tyres.

 I tried to ride the stretch out of Silsden recently and it's still a grassy trough, not great in wet conditions.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk


woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Leeds-Liverpool Canal
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2020, 09:05:35 am »
So that explains it, when I have seen the riders coming from Liverpool in the last few weeks, they don't look so knackered and dirty as they used to.
#bollockstobrexit