I love canals. Towpaths that pass through grotty old industrial areas are just as appealing to me as the ones that run through open countryside. Boatyards, urban living, old villages, you get to see them all on a canal run. I managed to persuade my friend Kimmy to find out if she loves them as much as I do by taking an early morning jaunt from Saltaire to Leeds along the Leeds-Liverpool canal – 13 miles of pure gorgeousness (even the grotty bits). Here’s a brief photo blog of our journey.
It’s amazing how quickly you move on from the Victorian splendour of Saltaire (where you find: Salt’s Mill, a huge gallery with a vast collection of original Hockney paintings, among other treasures; a worker’s village built my mill owner Titus Salt, now a highly desirable urban postcode; some great little antique and vintage shops; the buzz of a thriving, arty small town). In no time at all, there’s nothing to hear but the putter of canal boats, birdsong and the sound of your own footfall. Gorgeous.
The thing I love most about canal running is that it’s incredibly peaceful but there are a million things to see. You can find canal routes to run with this great resource from the Canal and River Trust – just pop in a town or postcode and it will map the nearest canal route for you (something that Google maps haven’t quite caught up with yet).