Thursday, 31 October 2019

Bingley to Leeds

I was so impressed with my ride along the towpath of the Liverpool and Leeds Canal in August that I went along again in October for second time to see more of it.
Both rides were based on Leeds, the first an out and back ride, but for this ride took the train to Bingley and cycled back to Leeds.
At Bingley are a series of impressive locks. - one group of five and a further group of three.  Boats are raised/lowered a height of 60 feet at the five rise locks and half that distance by the smaller staircase locks.
Below is an aerial view of the Five Lock System where we start the ride having travelled by train from Sheffield via Leeds. The locks are a short distance North of Bingley Station but not difficult to find as the canal is next to the station.
Cost-wise an economical journey, by using a Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket for the Derby/Sheffield return trip, a single Sheffied to Bingley and a single Leeds back to Sheffield.  Total cost £16.70.

Click on pictures to enlarge to full screen.

Turn right from the railway station, crossing the bridge over the Bingley by pass and the railway. This is your first view of the canal.

Follow the right side path to the bottom of the three rise lock.

On your right is the Damart factory where thermal underwear is manufactured.

First sight of the five rise locks.

The five rise staircase locks lift boats 60 feet. This impressive structure was built in 1772 and although the wooden lock gates have been replaced several times, most of the stonework is original.

A steep climb up this path to the top of the flight.

Passing this reminder of the length of this ride.

Above the top lock we see on the right a popular cafe. The building was originally a stables which housed horses which used to pull the boats before the days of steam and diesel propulsion.
From the top lock turn round and head down the steep path adjacent path and on our way to Leeds.

This bridge takes the towpath over the canal to the left side.

 A view looking downstream from the crossover bridge.

 Shipley Wharf.  This is not my bike, but a "decorative" feature.

Sustrans milepost at Shipley.

 The towpath is Route 66 of the National Cycle Network, not to be confused with Regional Route 66 which encircles the City of Derby.
Regional route signs have a blue background to the numbers.

 Well on our way to Leeds now.

And here we are in back the City of Leeds.

An excellent ride alongside the Liverpool and Leeds Canal., mainly on good surfaces with no hills.  Lots of interesting industrial architecture to see and some nice countryside views as well.
Good access from Leeds Railway Station with train links along the line towards Skipton.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The National Forest

A previous post on this blog (see April 2019) took a brief look at the excellent off-road cycling opportunities available  in the National Forest, and here on a second visit we take another look, this time concentrating on videos which you can view on YouTube via the links below.

Ride 1
This ride starts from Conkers Waterside where there is an excellent free car park, a cafe, and toilets.

Here is the car park which is accessed from Bath Road in Moira.  Drive past the National Forest offices to park opposite  the Ashby Canal Basin.

This is the main building of Conkers Waterside,

Here is the cafe which unfortunately is only open on Sundays.

Follow this exit from the car park turning left to cross the railway.  See video.
The remainder of the ride to Measham is on YouTube via this link.
Click  HERE1

Ride 2
This ride starts from the Hicks Lodge Cycling Centre which is to be found just off the main Moira to Ashby Road.

Car parking is not free here, but proceeds go to improving and maintaining the adjacent cycle paths.
The ride starts with a lap around the adjacent lake, which was once an open cast coal mine,  On completion we follow another path which takes us out onto the road through Moira which leads to Moira Furnace, an ancient iron works.  From there we ride on the towpath of the Ashby Canal and back to Conkers Waterside,
The video for Ride 2 can be found on YouTube via the following link.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Aire Valley Towpath

This ride from Leeds follows the River Aire Valley on the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.  The canal itself is 128 miles long being the longest canal in the UK, although the two cities are only 64 miles apart as the crow flies.

Throughout it's length the path is well surfaced and as you would expect on a canal path, there are minor gradients only where there are locks. The rise over 12 miles was a mere 33 ft.
Conveniently the path starts very close to Leeds Railway Station at Granary Wharf.  Here there are several eateries where you can stock up with food and drink for the journey, although there are several cafes and pubs along the route.
Travel from Derby by train is via Sheffield and best done with a Derbyshire Wayfarer Ticket and single tickets from Sheffield to Leeds.  For Seniors (ie over 60) the cost is £6.70 and the Sheffield to Leeds ticket costs as little as £2.95 each way, so a total of only £12.60.  The downside is that the Sheffield to Leeds train takes an hour and 15 minutes, stopping at every intermediate local station.
As with most canal rides you cannot get lost so no need for maps or more sophisticated means of navigation.
The canal-side scenery is superb with views of the surrounding countryside and lots of interesting infrastructure, with both old and new buildings.  The only thing that spoils it is the appalling graffiti sprayed by the local morons on the beautiful stone walls and even on the lock gates and the bridges.

At Sheffield station we await a train crew for the Northern Trains service to Leeds.

          Accommodation for cycles on Northern Trains is excellent.

Here in Leeds the canal appears to flow beneath the railway station so not difficult to find in the dark tunnels.

Some impressive modern buildings surround the station and the canal basin.

Here is Granary Wharf at the start of the ride, with plenty of places to buy food and drink.

Straight ahead here, guided by helpful police.

Straight on here onto the towpath.

The start of the towpath is here.

More high rise apartments overlook the canal and the City of Leeds.

A strange sight on the opposite bank of the canal.  Not sure what it is but you don't see many of these anywhere.

The Abbey Inn - not recommended
A few miles on is The Tiny Tearoom (recommended). Obviously a popular stopping place for cyclists, being right next to the towpath.

And the path ahead.

Several railway bridges cross the canal.

From here on just follow the towpath and enjoy the scenery once you are clear of the appalling graffiti on the walls.  This is not a feature as you
get out of Leeds and into the countryside.

A superb scenic ride with good surfaces apart from a few short stretches.  Minor gradients only, such as this (above) on approaches to the locks.  Return along the same route back to Leeds Railway Station.
Regarding the mileage for this there-and-back ride there is no limit of course.  I cycled about 13 miles out, making a total of 26 but would hope to cycle further on my next visit.
Take a camera for some great photographic opportunities to record memories of a wonderful day out.
Expect path to be busy at weekends, holidays etc. so best ridden midweek if you can.