Wonderful Woods and Wildlife

Our journey westwards continued through some of the loveliest countryside, with the canal following the contours of the land. Land which rolled into hills, farms and valleys with woodland and views in abundance.

Milking time on the farm

And on the whole, we were lucky enough to be traversing this section in good weather. We took advantage of some shady towpath mooring.

Low wood woods

We found ourselves next to Low Wood Nature Reserve, which although next to a beautifully manicured golf course to the south,

Keighley golf course

took us ruggedly upwards through scrambling rocks just begging to be climbed.

Exploring Low Wood Nature reserve

Forget the golf course, this was our sort of playground.

Who’s the king of the castle

And we found plenty of nature around the reserve.

The common shrew, parasol mushrooms
Pygmy goat, Speckled Wood Butterfly

Of course being surrounded by ancient oaks, is an ideal place to build a business if you love wood.  Eric was beyond excited when he realised one of the companies he buys furniture grade wood from was within walking distance of our mooring.

The British Hardwoods candy store

And while he oohed and arred throughout the vast selection, okay admittedly I was also very impressed, he was very restrained and only bought a small piece to do some tweaks to Firecrest.

One very happy customer

When we downsized to move onto Firecrest, it was Eric’s woodworkshop that was the hardest to leave behind. Fortunately for me, wool is much more squashable and I was able to sneak a lot more into the hidden corners of Firecrest. So when the weather is as good as it was this week I was able to indulge my hobby and sit on the bank spinning.

100g freshly spun Jacob wool

While we were relaxing and enjoying the world go by we realised every now and then a sweaty runner with a number shuffled past. I just had to ask about their race as they were so spaced out. It turns out they were competing a mega marathon, one of three CanalSlams, which entailed running from Liverpool along the towpath, all the way to Leeds. Oh my goodness  that’s 117 miles. Not only is the distance mega, they were doing it non stop. After I’d picked myself up off the floor, I had a look at the website.  59 runners started the race, 36 completed it. There were checkpoints every 10-15 miles and they were allowed buddy runners for encouragement, although the buddies were not permitted to run ahead In case that made them pacers. They were allowed to sit in a support vehicle for up to 40 minutes break provided it didn’t move. They left Liverpool at 6am and the winner arrived 22 hours later. The last – I  refuse to say looser- took 39 hours. According to AC canal planner it takes 66 hours for a narrowboat to do the same journey, I guess the runners didn’t have any locks or swing bridges to negotiate. I could have taken photos but I decided I would stand up and cheer as each one went past, I even topped up a couple of water bottles for them. I forgot to ask how they were getting back to the car park in Liverpool.

Nice place for a run

While we were in this area, we were lucky to meet fellow Braidbar Boaters on Mr Blue Sky. We took it as a great complement that they had designed their boat with a similar style bow as ours and had followed the continuing innovations in using an electric motor.