SKIPTON AND RETURN FROM REEDLEY GATEWAY TO YORKSHIRE DALES
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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.
This cruise takes you along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, through beautiful countryside, and often rugged, mountainous areas. It is a pretty stretch of canal, and a joy for nature lovers, walkers and cyclists alike.
Green Light – enter for through traffic at half past the hour for 10 minutes only. Passage time 30 minutes.
Lights will be green on the hour until 10 past the hour.
Head north east as you leave the marina, towards Nelson to your right and Barrowford on your left, with the M65 closely following the canal, until the Barrowford Locks.
There are a couple of pubs in Barrowford – the Old Bridge Inn, where children and dogs are welcome, and the White Bear, where children over 14 years old are welcome if eating.
The seven Barrowford Locks, take you up a rise of just over 69ft.
Once at the top of the locks, and at the summit of the canal, you will see distant mountainous countryside, old stone farms, and then the brooding Foulridge Tunnel. (see Navigational Notes above for details of entry into the Tunnel).
The Tunnel is 1,640yds long. There is no towpath, and the Tunnel is only to be used by approved boats. Be aware that the Tunnel roof drips profusely!
At the other end of the Tunnel, you can moor for the night, and take a stroll around the village. There is also and old wharf there, where there are showers and toilets. The village has a central green, and has a homely feel to it. An old warehouse on the wharf contains a small museum.
The New Inn at Foulridge is a popular village pub, where good food and real ales are served, and children are welcome until 9.30pm. Dogs are allowed in the snug only. There is outside seating.
It is 3 hours to here from the Marina.
The canal continues northward through pretty, remote countryside, towards Salterforth, which is a tiny village with terraced houses and narrow streets. There is a children's playground just north of Bridge No. 151.
A little further north, is Barnoldswick, to the left of the canal. The town's claim to fame is that it is where the Rolls Royce factory is situated, and experimental work is done on aero engines.
Bancroft Mill Engine Trust houses a 600hp steam engine, with two boilers, which used to power the looms of Bancroft Mill. There are regular demonstrations, and a shop selling refreshments and gifts on site.
Canalside, at Bridge No. 151 is the historic Anchor Inn. Real ale and traditional pub food is served daily. There are moorings, a beer garden and a children's play area.
Soon you will reach the Greenberfield Locks, three locks that will raise you by just over 29ft. The locks were built in 1820 as a replacement to the original ones. You can see the dry bed of the original ones on the towpath side of the canal. The Locks are set in beautiful countryside, with a few miles of scenery made up of mountains, and clumps of trees, perched on hillocks.
Continuing through the winding, mountainous countryside, at Bank Newton you will encounter the Bank Newton flight of six locks, descending just over 56ft.
You might like to visit the Gargrave village, which is very popular, and has a pretty station and stone cottages flanking the village green.
There are many pubs locally – the Mason's Arms, the Old Swan, The Dalesman and the Anchor Inn, all in Gargrave.
Leaving Gargrave, the canal curves around to go in a south westerly direction, with the Yorkshire Dales National Park bordering the canal to the left.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park was designated as a National Park in 1954. Covering 680 square miles, and with hardly any habitation, you will see some fantastic scenery, hills, valleys and moorland. It is an ideal place for walkers and nature lovers, and if you have time, you might like to moor up and perhaps explore a little.
At Niffany Swing Bridge No. 175, a winding stretch of canal changes its direction to south easterly, as you cross the railway, and approach Skipton Junction.
Skipton is soon approached and there are moorings on the towpath side only after bridge 176 and before and after bridge 178 .
It is only a short walk into the centre from the canalside.
The High Street is lined with many fine old Georgian houses, with the magnificent Skipton Castle at its head, to the north. There are also woods to explore, Craven Museum and the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.
It is 8.5 hours from Foulridge Wharf to Skipton.
Once back at your boat, you will need to carry on for 3.5 miles to Bridge 183a at Farnhill to turn the boat, which will take 3 hours there and back from Skipton and back to Skipton, 13 hours in total from Farnhill Bridge 183a to Burnley marina, so cruise for about 7-8 hours per day.
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.
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Maps and Guides
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