- Date: 14 August 2022
- Distance: 10 Miles
- Start: Woodlesford
Woodlesford back to Leeds
In view of the extreme weather we experienced and the fact each day was hotter than the last we decided to walk from the east of Leeds back to the centre. Apart from the heat this was an easy train ride to start the journey and we knew we could be back before the hottest part of the day.
Leaving the railway station we made our way down to the Aire and Colder navigation, following the Trans Pennine Way along the tow path. We came across an automated lock, it had traffic lights to prevent narrow boats from entering unless they had permission, then motors attached to the large gates to open them, no muscle power needed. Shade was at a premium so we utilised every inch of it we could find. Making sure we stopped to drink every 15 minutes we passed under the M1 still walking between the river and the canal on a narrow stretch of land.
Suddenly we were forced off the tow path onto a very spongy, wobbly pathway that felt like it was going to tip you into the water at any minute. Having managed to remain upright we followed the diversion along the southern side of the waterways. We were keen to stop at Thwaite Mills- on an island in the river so had to walk past it and then back track due to the diversion. The place was heaving, not just with visitors but also due to the fact there was a bus and coach meeting, with vintage vehicles everywhere. We made our way to the cafe grateful for a cold drink and ice cream. The thought was to look around the mills but listening to the fact that part of the buildings was closed, that it was hot in the mills, that the visit would take 2 hours we decided against it.
Therefore, we continued to follow the Trans Pennine Way as we walked into the outskirts of Leeds with the thermometer rising by the minute. It was fascinating to follow a path, not well signposted or easy to find as we wended our way through new housing built alongside the water. Suddenly a pond appeared, complete with fountain, surrounded by houses. It certainly kept our interest.
We ended up back at the Armouries Museum that we had visited the previous day on our ramble around Leeds City Centre. With difficulty we found a way alongside the water as we made our way through the city centre savouring the variety of buildings, so very old and some still being constructed.
Eventually we were on the last leg along the canal. We stopped to watch a narrow boat negotiating the lock and chatted to the helmsman. He was rather disgruntled as he had had a phone call that day to say they were closing the canal at 5 o’clock. He therefore had a few hours to navigate through Leeds centre and get onto the river system otherwise he would be stranded on the canal until it reopens- and that could we weeks.
Waving him a cheerful farewell we left the canal back to our hotel. Four days of walking, one day of sightseeing, 70+ miles of walking in temperatures rising to 31 degrees, we felt we had had a great time, lots of fun and learnt many things about the Leeds area. Now we are planning the next part towards Liverpool.
Author and Photographer: Lynne Burge