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Leeds and Liverpool, summer 1979

This was not quite my first experience of a narrowboat as I had spent one night on a private boat with my parents and their boat-owning friends. It was my first experience of real canal boating, with lots of locks, working all day, and a pub every lunchtime and evening.

It was a fortnight trip, with a friend of mine from school, some of his university friends and some friends of theirs. This was a typical Clive Bowman trip, a crew who met for the first time at the boatyard, but got on with the job and enjoyed a drink. We went from Dewsbury basin via Wakefield, Castleford and Leeds to the top of Wigan flight and back, taking in parts of the Calder and Hebble Navigation, the Aire and Calder Navigation and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, a total of 231 miles and 168 locks.

By modern standards the boat was crude, no central heating, and a single Elsan between six of us. I can remember mooring near a sanitary station with a lot of gongoozlers around, and making a show of bringing out the bucket and emptying it, carried between two of the crew each holding their noses with their free hand.

The weather was good, and the scenery excellent, combining the Pennine crossing with industrial towns. I was hooked, and have been on the canals almost every year since.


Sat 1979-09-01 {9273}
[probable] Start of 2-week Leeds & Liverpool canal trip.
Sat 1979-09-15 {9287}
[assume] Return from Leeds and Liverpool trip.

©nib 2003-02-16..2005-12-07

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