Canal boat holidays—Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Published: Wednesday, 19 January 2011

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IT HAS to be stated that the Eastern section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal out of Leeds, another of the Pennine waterways is not recommended for a canal boat holiday, due to the recognised vandal activity.

However once the Pennines are reached it is an ideal holiday hire waterway. It has a very interesting section both through Leeds itself and particularly the multiple lock staircases climbing out of the city. If it is attempted, it is advised that it be done on weekdays, preferably when schools are in session.

'Sink' estates

When we attempted it we were told that there were three 'sink' estates in the vicinity, and we must clear the particular section by midday. The locks are usually secured after early morning to prevent passage.

This is a broad canal, and not particularly easy for the beginner with its fairly heavy lock gates and host of swing bridges that need unlocking, working then re-locking, though with a good strong crew this would create no difficulty.

Regular readers will have noticed the report on the badly leaking gates that add a further difficulty. Private boat owners should notice it is restricted to 60ft boats, though many have told us not to attempt it, with 58ft being the maximum advised.

It is one of the least used waterways in the country, and for this reason with a decent crew is an ideal get-away from it all, for you will be lucky in fact if you can find someone to share a lock with. During three eight hour pleasant September days cruising the Eastern section we met just three moving boats.

Spectacular scenery

However it must be stated that the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, notwithstanding its problems, is of great interest and passes through spectacular scenery as it winds its way up and then down the Pennine waterway, and really, for a good crew it is recommended as a holiday destination.

The former industry of the towns is also prominent by the waterway, with many impressive buildings, though some have been turned into either housing or commercial units.  Some retaining their original character, others being 'modernised'.