We’re now pretty much where we intended to be yesterday, if the weather hadn’t been so grim. We saw one or two hardy souls in the afternoon, but they didn’t look to be enjoying themselves very much.
Today has at least been mainly dry, but it’s still windy. We were a bit concerned about the swing bridges and Mags holding off waiting for me to open them. But the first had landings on the offside so I could do them solo, the second was open and the third, although Mags helped, was fairly sheltered.
The trip today has been often through the built up areas of the mill towns and villages that flank the canal, with stretches of open country giving views out across the Lancashire moorlands.
Away, heading towards Clayton-Le-Moors
Foster Swing Bridge, with landings on the offside for solo boaters.
Every coal producing area has had it’s share of mining tragedies, and East Lancs is no exception.
In November 1883, at nearby Altham, an explosion ripped through the underground workings of Moorfield Colliery. Fifty-five men and 13 boys died in the disaster, some so badly burned that they were difficult for the families to identify. The youngest was just 10 and another 11 year-old was only on his third working day.
The hero of the event, the under-manager James Macintosh, was among the first back down the pit and spent the next 24 hours searching for the dead and injured. One of those killed was his father, Thomas. James was offered the management of the colliery after it re-opened, but he declined and never went below ground again. He never got over the horror of the day, and on the 10th anniversary of the disaster took his own life. A sad post-script to a tragedy that affected almost every family in the Hyndburn valley.
The colliery was not far from the canal, and there’s a memorial to those lost just to the south of Bridge 114c.
Passing through Clayton the canal heads south, west and north around the head of Hyndburn Brook, past Church, Oswaldtwistle and Rishton.
There are several short arms connecting industry to the canal, this one leads around the back of an engineering company.
Church also marks the halfway point between Leeds and Liverpool. It’s celebrated by a pierced-iron marker.
Derelict mill on a sharp bend near Simpson’s Bridge
Where the parish boundary of Church meets that of Oswaldtwistle there’s a long mural painted on a wall on the towpath.
The centre panel is a map of the canal.
Another blocked off and dried up arm at the edge of Oswaldtwistle was probably built to service a collection of lime-kilns.
We stopped for lunch on the moorings at Rishton Bridge and I made a quick trip up to the Co-op before we pushed on again, pulling up on the outskirts of Blackburn.
The section between Rishton and Blackburn feels very remote…
Where we stopped is not the most salubrious mooring we’ve used but it’s handy for the retail park alongside.
I’ve been having trouble with my mouse, finally coming to the conclusion that his tail is broken. So I popped into PC World and bought a new one, this time tail-less.
They come in all shapes and sizes now, don’t they!
Into Blackburn tomorrow, and down the locks.
Locks 0, miles 7½