Blackburn to Burnley
To cross Goal 070 and Goal 071 off my 101 goal list as completed I need to walk over 100 miles on a route across England. I’m doing that this week by walking 100 miles of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. The LLC is 127 miles in total length from Liverpool to Leeds so we’re starting 27 miles in and walking from Parbold to Leeds.
Day Three of the LLC walk covered 14 miles from Blackburn to Burnley. Photos are on Flickr.
Back in Blackburn railway station on a colder, greyer Wednesday morning we’re cheered by the sight of a steam train which is making its way up to Carlisle. We stand and watch the passengers board and take a few photos but all too soon the train is gone and we must be on our way. We find our way back onto the canal and concentrate on getting that hard first mile nailed.
Blackburn it seems is a collection of smells that morning – the coal of the steam train, a strong scent of malt from Thwaites brewery in action which follows us for a quarter mile (making me crave Ovaltine) and then finally the sickly sweet and vanilla tinged aroma of Nestle’s factory producing caramel as we round the bend and leave Blackburn behind.
The third day’s walk is bleak. There is no escaping the bleakness. There’s no pubs or cafes or shops on the canal itself or near by. We’re passing the backs of housing estates, broken factories and stretches of high, bare flatlands. We can see hills and roads, skirt the edges of Accrington and a village named Church, but the most interesting thing to see is the clouds as they change from white to grey to black to blue and back again as the weather shifts throughout the day.
The highlights of the day are passing the Canal’s halfway point (63 and 5/8 miles to either Leeds or Liverpool), racing a boat called Red Fox on and off for most of the morning and the odd flock of geese wheeling about above us as they prepare for winter. Other than that there’s just us, the path and occasionally a dog walker.
It’s hard to stay motivated and there’s more music, lots of jabber about a pint at the end of it all and which bits of whose feet hurt more. It’s a long day mentally and we end in Burnley, relieved to be crossing this particular 14 miles of the canal off our list. The Blackburn to Burnley stretch is easy walking and there’s good railway connections from either station but it is remarkably remote.
(To see other posts from this walk click here)