Thursday, 25 August 2016

We're in Lancashire so it must be raining

Even rubbish has its uses
And it is! Raining. If the stretch of canal west from Burnley wasn't dreary enough then the weather has added its own dark charms today. It's been dank, damp and finally downright wet.
I'm grumbling two days in a row, which I try not to do but, frankly, I would say the dozen miles we've done today show the canal at its least endearing. Out of Burnley it's unloved and unkempt, passing decrepit old factories, derelict sites and scrappy housing. As for the canal, that's treacly with silt, weed and rubbish. And all to the backdrop of that M65.
Pendle Hill last month
The weather makes such a difference to your spirits - six weeks ago we sat moored in glorious sunshine looking out at Pendle Hill. Today we were huddled inside, supping soup, crouched round the back cabin stove at the same spot, with Pendle shrouded in misty gloom.
And Pendle Hill today
And on to Church - not to worship but perhaps to pray for some change in fortune for this little town whose run-down, tumbledown canalside seems to sum up everything that has changed about northern England in the last hundred years. It's so sad to see sliding into irreversible ruin the once wonderful warehouse building with its large arch under which barges loaded cargo.
Slipping slowly into ruin, the fine warehouse at Church
From Church – halfway spot on the canal – the waterway twists and turns along the contour line of steep sided hills, crossing over the M65 at onre point (that must have taken some doing) before weaving past Rishton and closer to Blackburn.
That's not a town whose six locks you want to tackle at night in the rain so we shoved ourselves as close as possible to the bank (which wasn't very close) and battened down the hatches.
Tomorrow it should be brighter - and so should our moods.
But there's nowt like rainwater for washing with

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