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You can do this route from :
Athena at Skipton.

Athena at Skipton



Take a trip back in time to see life in the 19th century, with steam powered Mills powering vast Cotton Mills , pretty stone cottages, and beautiful scenery in the Yorkshire Dales , and take a steam engine railway trip to Haworth home of the Bronte sisters.

Visit the magnificent Norman Castle at Skipton which has been called the most handsome town along this Canal.

Take another steam engine railway ride at Skipton, visit the magnificent dwellings of the 19th Century Industrial millionaires of this region and negotiate the famous Bingley Five-Rise staircase locks.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 7 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 8.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 23.50 hours

Total Distance : 38.00 miles

Number of Locks : 22

Number of Tunnels : 0

Number of Aqueducts : 0

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Read our cruising notes.


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Cruising Notes

Day 1

From Thorlby Swing bridge the canal turns south east towards Skipton with open countryside and moorland topped hills, and begins a 17 mile lock free pound . However there is an abundance of swing bridges that require a Handcuff Key and some that require a Watermate Key!!
You soon pass over Stirton Aqueduct.

Skipton is soon approached and there are moorings on the towpath side only after bridge 176 and before and after bridge 178 .

It is 1.5 hours to here so an ideal place to moor for the night.

Skipton is probably the most handsome town along the Leeds and Liverpool canal. You can moor about one minutes walk away from the centre. As the gateway to the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, people travel the length and breadth of the country to visit this charming market town.

With its famous 900 year old castle, romantic ruined priory and historic cobbled High Street, Skipton is endlessly rich both in history and outstanding natural beauty.

Skipton Castle is a magnificent Norman castle with 17th century additions that dominates the High Street. The 6 massive round towers have survived since the 14th Century. Open daily 10-6pm. Over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England and is well worth a visit at any season of the year.

Visitors can explore every corner of this impressive history-rich castle, which withstood a three-year siege during the Civil War. View the Banqueting Hall, the Kitchen, the Bedchamber and Privy. Climb from the depths of the Dungeon to the top storey of the Watch Tower.

The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is a heritage railway 1 mile north of Skipton, catch a bus from the town centre. A 4 mile round trip either steam or diesel powered.
The preserved railway was part of the former Midland Railway route from Skipton to Ilkley.

Day 2

On leaving Skipton the canal continues down the valley of the River Aire , with breathtaking views.

The village of Bradley has an attractive waterfront, and there is a pub the Slaters Arms ¼ mile up the hill , take the 1st turning on the right over the lift bridge. Visitor moorings on the tow path side only.

The village of Kildwick has some nice restored Canal buildings, now private residences. There are good moorings here. The streets are extremely steep and one goes under the canal. Kildwick is steeped in history, St Andrew’s is a historically significant church. Fragments of 9th century crosses have been excavated from its walls, evidence of the Anglos Saxon church built here before the Norman Conquest.

Silsden is to the west of Bridge 191a , a well contained stone built industrial town with attractive canal wharves and an old corn mill dating from 1677. It is close to the Yorkshire Dales, and there are plenty of shops near the canal. Silsden was mentioned in the 1086 Doomsday Book (Siglesdene) as the most important village in Craven. Industry came with the canal and the Industrial Revolution. The town hosted a number of mills none of which now operate in their original form.
It is 3.5 hrs to here

The green wooded hills hide the town of Keighley, and the constant succession of lift bridges impede the boats progress. All require a handcuff key.

There is a stores just south of Bridge 197 and an attractive mooring by woods to the east of Bridge 195.
Compared with other industrial towns Keighley is a clean and pleasant town with a large new shopping centre.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a 5-mile-long branch line that served mills and villages in the Worth Valley and is now a heritage railway line. It runs from Keighley to Oxenhope. The line was made famous by the film The Railway Children.

The train stops at the lovely village of Haworth which is is best known as the home of the literary Bronte sisters who lived with their father in the local parsonage. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte, were the authors of some of the greatest books in the English language. Haworth Parsonage was their much-loved home and Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were all written here. Haworth Parsonage, next to the interesting churchyard, is now a museum known as Bronte Parsonage Museum .It has 19th century furniture and personal mementoes of the family. The dining room is furnished with pieces bought by Charlotte Bronte from her royalties from Jane Eyre. It is set out just as when the three sisters discussed their literary projects in the evenings.

Set between the unique village of Haworth and the wild moorland beyond, this homely Georgian house still retains the atmosphere of the Brontes time. The rooms they once used are filled with the Brontes' furniture, clothes and personal possessions. Here you can marvel at the handwriting on their tiny manuscript books, admire Charlotte's wedding bonnet and imagine meeting Emily's pets from her wonderfully lifelike drawings. Gain an insight into the place and objects that inspired their works.

The writing desks belonging to the three sisters are always on display, and their other personal possessions are changed on a yearly basis so that you can always be sure of seeing something new.

Cliffe Castle in Keighley was originally the home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer Henry Butterfield, and built in the 1880's. Visitors can see sparkling Victorian rooms and furniture, paintings, and decorative art. Special galleries deal with natural history, archaeology and social history and there is an internationally important display of stained glass by Morris and Co.

It is 1.75 hours to here from Silsden.

If you decide to moor up in Riddlesden then you must visit The National Trusts East Riddlesden Hall, a 17th-century manor house with romantic, intimate gardens. Friendly room guides bring the house to life and share the fascinating stories. Just south of Bridge 197a. The hall was built in 1642 by a wealthy Halifax clothier, James Murgatroyd. There is a medieval tithebarn in the grounds.

There is a nice pub the Marquis of Granby by bridge 197.

It is 5.5 hours from Skipton to here but plenty to see and do along the way.

Day 3

The impressive and famous Bingley Five-Rise staircase locks mark the end of the long level pound from Gargrave, and bring the canal steeply down into Bingley. These locks were built in 1774 .

See CRT advice for lock opening times -Through the 2019 summer season, our customer operations team will be on site to offer assisted passage through Bingley Three & Five Rises and Kirkstall to Newlay Locks. To help us manage boats and water resources efficiently. we are asking customers to plan their passages using the following information. Passages down through Bingley Five and Three Rise Locks as well as Newlay, Forge and Kirkstall Locks in the morning between 08:00am - 12.00pm (last entry). Passages up through these locks in the afternoon from 1.00pm with last entry into Bingley Three Rise and Kirkstall Locks at 4:00pm.

Offside visitor moorings have been created adjacent to the Damart Mill just before bridge 202. There are pubs south and west of Bridge 202
It is 3 hours to here from Granby Bridge 197 a

Bingley is listed in the Doomsday book of 1086 as Bingheleia. Steeped in history going through all the ages starting with the Normans, Medieval and Tudor through to the Industrial Revolution.

The Old White Horse Inn is one of the oldest surviving buildings, a Grade II listed coaching inn, built in the mid 17th century. There has been an inn on the site since 1379. Note the two stone lanterns on the gable which signify the building was once owned by the Order of the Knights of St John.

During the Industrial Revolution Bingley had several mills and a tannery. The Bingley Building Society was also formed at that time.
The town has plenty of local shops, a street market, banks and the Little Theatre.
Most textile mills have closed except for the Damart factory.

Leaving Bingley trees lead to Dowley Gap and the 2 staircase locks.
Bingley Five-rise lock staircase is the most spectacular feature of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and the steepest in Britain.
The locks are supervised by a lock keeper and are closed at night. The Bingley Five Rise Lock was opened in 1774 and has a total fall of 60 feet. The locks are a Grade 1 listed structure and have been awarded a Red Wheel plaque by the Transport Trust.

The canal crosses the River Aire over a massive stone aqueduct.

Soon you will come to the village of Saltaire -
Saltaire is a purpose-built "model" Victorian industrial village and was built in the mid-nineteenth century by the Victorian philanthropist Sir Titus Salt to provide self-contained living space for the workers at his alpaca wool mill - a welcome alternative to the then "dark satanic mills" of Bradford and nearby Leeds.

More recently (in the 1980s) Salt's Mill was converted by the late Jonathan Silver into shops and the "1853 Gallery" which houses a collection of the works of the famous artist, David Hockney (who was of course born in Bradford), a development which sparked a renaissance for the village.

Saltaire is built in the Italianate style, giving it an enduring beauty and charm. In December 2001, Saltaire has designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You are free to wander around and enjoy this Victorian industrial model village. There are places to eat, some shops, a lovely park and adventure playground for the children.

Other buildings in the village have now been similarly transformed into shops and licensed restaurants and pubs (just a little touch of irony here - as Sir Titus was a staunch advocate of abstinence from alcohol !)

Village Moorings near Bridge 207e It is 4.5 hours to here.

The Shipley Glen Tramway is the oldest working cable tramway in Britain and is near Saltaire.
Dating from 1895, the line was built to serve the local beauty spot of Shipley Glen near Saltaire in West Yorkshire. At nearly a quarter-mile in length, the woodland ride provides a pleasant alternative to the steep path.

A short walk brings a Cafe within reach as well as the rocks and woods of Shipley Glen. The bottom station allows access to Roberts Park and the River Aire and the delights of Saltaire with Salt's Mill and its famous Hockney Gallery.

Soon Shipley is reached with moorings by Gallows Bridge or Bridge 207B, with the town centre 5 minutes away. There is a canalside supermarket between bridges 207d and 208.
The town was built on textile and engineering industries, and large Mills can still be seen.

It is 12 minutes from Saltaire to Shipley, turn just after bridge 208

Day 4 5 6 7

It is just over 11.5 hours cruising back to Thorlby Swing bridge, so plenty of time to stop and explore the places you didn't get time for on the way, take time to explore Bingley, Saltaire and Skipton !!


NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)
Eos Canal Boat
Class : Eos
(Sleeps a maximum of 2 People).

Athena Canal Boat
Class : ATH4
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).


Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.


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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.