Canal adventure #7 – Parbold to Burscough Bridge

After a couple of weekends with no towpaths, we got back on track with the canal miles and decided to resume our westward journey. We started from Bridge 34 (the starting point for Canal Adventure #4) and did an out and back to Bridge 28, four miles away. One of the things that I’ve looked forward to about this project is seeing the weather and seasons change as we go. It was a lovely day for Adventure 4, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, but comparing the photos (with a month between them), April brought a deeper blue and a brighter sun.

Bridge 34 - March

Bridge 34 - April

Now, canals are great but towpaths generally have very little shade and even at 9 in the morning, it was uncomfortably hot. Having said that, as I was grumbling my way through 8 miles up north, down in Brighton Adele, Hels, Tom and Stephen were putting in some fantastic performances in the Brighton Marathon – I had no right to complain! That didn’t stop me, mind you.

It didn’t help that the majority of interesting things were in the first (and last) couple of miles, which left 6 miles of fairly unchanging rural terrain. Except for the anglers. There were many anglers. Normally, I can’t see the point of fishing (regardless of the ethics of it), but that day, I couldn’t help thinking that they had the right idea of how to enjoy the canal – none of them were sweating buckets for starters. Luckily, they were all very tolerant of us running past them (twice) and most had (in some cases, surprisingly) good reactions for moving their kit out of the way. I suggested that they were more concerned about protecting their expensive stuff more than helping our run, but that was dismissed as cynicism.

For once, I had remembered which bridge we were running to and it was with great relief that the picturesque and penultimate Bridge 29 came in to view.

Bridge 29 - the end is in sight!

Bridge 29 brought with it a bit of an increase in grumbling as we had no idea what distance lay between Bridges 29 and 28. Bitter experience has taught us that there may be any number of As, Bs, Cs, AAs or AAAs between each bridge. My heart sank when a modern looking road bridge appeared in the distance. Obviously, the old bridges on the canal have whole numbers and as the Victorians tended to not build motorway bridges, the modern ones tend to be the As, Bs etc. It was with even more relief that I realised that this was Bridge 28. Yay!

Bridge 28 - Sneaky

On the way back we passed…

Some lovely sheep seeking shade...

Someone living my dream...

A spiky duck...

Some industrial heritage...

With detail...

And you can see where the canal horses ropes have worn along the bridge. There is probably a more technical way to describe this.

And there were some smashing hens

Locks with real life lock keeper (well British Waterways chap)

With a mile to go, we stopped for a breather and to watch the locks in action at the junction with the Rufford Branch canal.

Miles run = 8
Canal miles completed = 4
Total canal miles = 32.4/127*
Bridges = 34 to 28*Over a quarter completed!

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