Leeds – Liverpool Kayak (COMPLETED)

Kayak Training

A new challenge for 2015 and one I’d been looking forward to for a while.  On the 25th June I set off from Leeds on a solo Kayak home via the Leeds Liverpool Canal and I’d  hoped to complete the challenge in 4 days (that’s 32 miles paddling per day, I did it in 5 days.) This iconic waterway which is now a popular leisure route for pleasure boaters and barges is a physical challenge in itself with a total distance of 128 miles, 90 locks to navigate, at least 57 moveable bridges (of which 4 are usually left open) 8 small aqueducts or under bridges, 2 tunnels and 1 major aqueduct.  I’ve used this challenge as a  training exercise for my upcoming Cross Channel Kayak Challenge, which I’ll be attempting later in July (weather permitting!).  UPDATE – the weather was against me in the Cross Channel Kayak Challenge. When the seas were calm enough to cross, I prepared myself for the crossing, only to be thwarted by an unrelenting bank of Sea Fog. Next year I’ll try again !

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Again, I raised money for Crohns & Colitis Uk with members of the public donating generously along the way, so if you’d like to sponsor any of the challenges no matter how small (or large an amount) please visit my page here by clicking the donate button below or visit  (https://www.justgiving.com/paul-hardaker/)


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Background History : source Wikipedia

In the mid-18th century the growing towns of Yorkshire including Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford, were trading increasingly. While the Aire and Calder Navigation improved links to the east for Leeds, links to the west were limited. Bradford merchants wanted to increase the supply of limestone to make lime for mortar and agriculture using coal from Bradford’s collieries and to transport textiles to the Port of Liverpool.[1] On the west coast, traders in the busy port of Liverpool wanted a cheap supply of coal for their shipping and manufacturing businesses and to tap the output from the industrial regions of Lancashire. Inspired by the effectiveness of the wholly artificial navigation, the Bridgewater Canal opened in 1759–60. A canal across the Pennines linking Liverpool and Hull (by means of the Aire and Calder Navigation) would have obvious trade benefits.

A public meeting took place at the Sun Inn in Bradford on 2 July 1766 to promote the building of such a canal.[2] John Longbotham was engaged to survey a route. Two groups were set up to promote the scheme, one in Liverpool and one in Bradford. The Liverpool committee was unhappy with the route originally proposed, following the Ribble valley through Preston, considering that it ran too far to the north, missing key towns and the Wigan coalfield. A counter-proposal was produced by John Eyes and Richard Melling, improved by P.P. Burdett, which was rejected by the Bradford committee as too expensive, mainly because of the valley crossing at Burnley. James Brindley was called in to arbitrate, and ruled in favour of Longbotham’s more northerly route, though with a branch towards Wigan, a decision which caused some of the Lancashire backers to withdraw their support, and which was subsequently amended over the course of development. In 1768 Brindley gave a detailed estimate of a distance just less than 109 miles built at a cost of £259,777.[3]

An Act was passed in May 1770 authorising construction, and Brindley was appointed chief engineer and John Longbotham clerk of works; following Brindley’s death in 1772, Longbotham carried out both roles.