|Facing back again; ready to head west once more|
|The fine view from the Five Rise locks|
Swingbridges: there are loads of them on the way out of Skipton. I think we did 13 in the six miles to Keighley. Mostly in the rain. Most are just over farm tracks and footpaths but a few are over roads. I think our best effort there was holding up 30+ rush hour motorists on one at Keighley.
Staircases: everyone's heard of the Bingley Five Rise. We've been on it three times now and it's still as spectacular as ever. But that's just one staircase; there are seven more on the trip into Leeds. Most of the three-lock ones have lock-keepers but one doesn't and that's where we had our Disaster.
We've also experienced plenty of history along the route. The canal runs through Saltaire, the spot where Victorian entrepreneur mill owner and philanthropist Sir Titus Salt built a 'model village' away from the smoke and disease of Bradford to house employees at his new mill – the largest factory IN THE WORLD at the time. It produced 18 miles - yes miles - of cloth a day! Today it's a desirable township and the redundant mill reborn as a magnificent mix of cafes, bookshops and a gallery of local lad David Hockney's works
|Hockney's latest iPad generated art on show at Saltaire|
|The long cobbled climb to Haworth|
Then into Leeds, a city that is an enjoyable mix of old and new. The regenerated waterfront is terrific; its bustling cafes, bars and restaurants clear evidence to its affluence and affluence that comes from the flashy commercial blocks that line the waterway - Direct Line, First Direct, KPMG, Asda and so on.
|Wonderful Italianate architecture - for factory chimneys|
|The River Aire flows under the station to meet the canal|
Tonight we are back on the edge of the city, having gone through the 'badlands', a five mile stretch where, legend has it, the scrotes appear from the undergrowth to rape and pillage innocent boaters. But only on sunny afternoons. Fortunately we saw no-one more alarming than large lady joggers in pink lycra and speeding cyclists.