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April 4th, 2006

Dandy

Walking

Every muscle in the body aches, including some I didn't know I had.... and it was only a short walk, so we were told.
Did a church walk yesterday morning with the walking group, all the rest were ladies, and older than me but they were in better shape , I suppose I ought to walk more often.
WE were scheduled to go out into the country but it haad been muddy when they did the walk survey the fortnight earlier and there had been two weeks solid rain, so we did a town based walk in stead.
We left from the edge of town and turned down a footpath between some houses to a track that led eventualy to a reservoir,(Rowley Lake) and then headed cross country and into the grounds of Townley Hall in front of which we sat and enjoyed our packed lunches. I had cheese and pickle, and ham sandwiches, an apple, a banana and a bottle of fruit juice.
Thence along the Hall nature trails to a canal alongside which most of the return journey was made. About four and a half hours all told. Boy did I feel tired.

I thought I knew Burnley and its surrounds quite well but it was all new to me.

More to follow on canalsides and litter......and the glories of April weather

The more I see of Canals in this country the more I marvel at the ingenuity of the men who built them....today they are mostly relegated to being the pleasure haunts of the rich who drive their narrow boats across the countryside and the rurally minded who go walking and the cyclists who appreciate the more or less level towpaths. Sad really that British engineers led the world in canal building to the extent that Britains canal system was virtually finished before the continentals realised what a good idea canals were, and they were even better if you built them twice as wide.Then the railways got their act together, and sucked up the engineers, and bought up the canals to make as sure as possible that their railways were used for the majority of goods traffic.

It is usually possible to find a family of ducks or of swans,and sometimes coots and moorhens, and there are places where fishermen can sit all day under green umbrellas and catch very little,rods propped against thumb sticks
pushed hard into the soft ground beside the water. Some canals were built straight,and cross viaducts, and bridges and go through cuttings and tunnels, but equally ingenious are those that follow the contours, along the edge of a valley so that the need to use locks in minimised.In the higher areas of the canal there needs to be some way of having a water supply to keep water in the canals,which flows away every time a lock is opened and closed, and so in areas such as ours there are lots of ponds, held back by embankments built across valleys to store up water which may then also be used for fishing or boating. The water in canals rarely flows as a river flows, but when the breezeis up there are waves sweeping across the surface, blown up by the wind which also carries the flotsam on the surface along the length of the canal.