Saturday, May 16, 2015

Barnoldswick to Foulridge

We have been traveling today through a gorgeous landscape of dry stone walls and gently rolling hillsides inhabited by sheep and, this time of year, frolicking lambs.  I was awakened this morning by the baaing of lambs in the field opposite our mooring.

We are crossing the summit of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and will then begin our journey back down the Pennines by transversing a flight of seven locks.

Barnoldswick, where we started from, is the home of a Rolls Royce factory doing experimental work with airplane engines and is the town's main employer.   The first aircraft fighter jet engines were developed here near the end of WWII.

Bancroft Mill, powered by a 600 hp steam engine with two boilers used to be the mainstay of the village but is now only open for steaming and weaving demonstrations.

Foulridge, pronounced Foalridge, is where we ended up the day and is the site of a 1640 yard tunnel that took 5 years to create.  In bygone days, due to the lack of a tow path for the donkeys, the crew had to "walk" the boat through the tunnel by using their feet to push it through the canel from on top of the roof.

Today, a system of colored lights of red and green control boat passage through the tunnel.  One side allows you to begin passage between the time of the hour and ten past.  From the other side you may begin passage through the tunnel on the half hour until 40 minutes before the hour.  Since it takes approximately 15 minutes to move through the canal this heads off head on collisions.

A local story often told is of a cow named Buttercup who fell into the canal at the mouth of the tunnel and decided to swim through the tunnel.  Upon reaching the other end she was revived with brandy,  from the local pub would be my guess.

Foulridge itself is an pretty hamlet of stone houses and a few shops including a butcher, hairdresser and florist.  Also there is a gift shop and a cafe that serves good coffee as well as the specials of the day.

Tomorrow we are on through the locks.

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