Thursday, 12 July 2012

Second time around

We weren't meaning to but I'm glad we've made this second trip along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. It's given us the chance to have another look, see some changes and revise some opinions.
Burnley regeneration under way
Before today, if you'd asked me what was the nastiest stretch of canal I would have unhesitatingly replied "Burnley and Blackburn". We've haven't got to Blackburn yet but what I'd quite forgotten that the ten miles between the two towns has some of the most stunning countryside we've yet seen, with distant views north into the heart of the Pennine hills.
On a sunny day (yes, it was sunny again!) it looked gorgeous. Sure there were some scrappy industrial townships in between but also some handsome old stone buildings, elegant canal bridges and sturdy stone walls. Starwoman even saw one old stone building she fancied as our own next renovation project. Ha! ha!
Looking across to the distant hills
As for Burnley, well the stretch I called 'desolation row' last time is showing heartening signs of improvement. True, some of the big old mill buildings in what is called 'The Weavers' Triangle' are still derelict but others are being restored with help, it seems of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Northwest Development and Prince Charles's charities. In fact the Prince has visited the area four times in six months. See details here.
It's not just tidying up old buildings for the sake of it - Burnley is a seriously deprived area with higher than average unemployment and this is all part of a programme to revitalise the whole town.
It will be good to return again and find more improvements, especially if they embrace the canal. The canal's entry into the town is already delightful, a tree-lined course twisting past a large park. Then comes the famous 3/4 mile long embankment that strides high across the centre of the town which looks like a giant model village way down below it. All we need now is the Weavers' Triangle to complete the scene.
Nice little project perhaps...


Nicholas said...

We were pleasantly surprised by Burnley when we came through a few days ago on NB Bridie Bear. We met some "interesting" characters in Blackburn though, having a barbecue at the top lock, but they seemed friendly enough when we talked to them and didn't give us any problems.
Happy Cruising and say hi to stardog for me!
Nick F

Starman said...

Hi Nick, we passed Bridie Bear back at Riley's Green just a few hours ago and moored up round the corner in the pouring rain (yet again!).
Thanks for your assistance on all those staircases and hope you enjoyed your trip. Blackburn was quiet when we came through but sadly still as shabby as the last visit.
Stardog sends a bark to Lucy. Cheers K