I had a chance to tour the southern Pennines, with a train ride through the southern dales (lots of tunnels) but really pretty country. Then, a drive back from Burnley where I had parked the car for the last month. A different Pennine experience: the motorway goes over the back of the ‘mountains’ while the railroad snakes its way through the valleys and through the major hills. The motorway proudly proclaimed the highest motorway summit in England. Reminds me of the summit of the Yellowhead Highway in Canada: you would never know there was much of a hill unless on a bicycle, except for the sign.
I am now on the way to Sheffield. This involves a number of very large locks (to 700 tonne standard) that are about 50m long by 5m wide. I feel lost in them with my boat. Fortunately, they are all power operated- just push buttons. Unfortunately, their large size means a lot of to-ing and fro-ing which takes a significant amount of time. I fell lucky if there is any help and I can get through in 25 minutes. The canal is wide and industrial- lots of evidence of the Sheffield steel industry, though the pollution that was really scary, has mostly been cleaned-up. I just finished Ickles Lock. The names are SO interesting. I wait here for the lock-keepers who must assist with the rest of the locks into Sheffield (I don’t know why, but maybe for the same reasons as into Liverpool- I’ll see!).