We were joined by my wife and daughter for this trip as they enjoyed some retail therapy in Leeds whilst we did the walk. It had been a while since we last used the train and we discovered our Friends and Family rail card had expired. I bought another at the station for £24. Add to this £34.90 for our tickets and the total cost for the return trip from Wigan to Leeds cost £58.90 which was around £3 cheaper than the fare without a railcard.
Leeds was a busy place bustling with shoppers. I was glad to get out of there - after a quick look around we were soon on our way. I asked a man in a newsagents for directions to the canal. Incredibly, not only did he not know where it was, he didn't even know what a canal was! You couldn't make it up. Oh, and the canal was within 600yds of his shop.
It took us a while to start the walk because we went to Lock 1 but were unable to join the towpath there. So, it was over the road bridge in order to cross a footbridge. The footbridge was closed because of massive re-development of the area (new flats I think) - so, it was back over the road bridge again and down some side streets before we eventually managed to join the towpath.
We were surprised by how quiet the stretch of canal was in Leeds. I think it was about 5 miles or so into the walk before we saw a boat in use.
We walked a few miles before looking for somewhere to eat. As the canal left Leeds and headed into countryside we decided to look for a pub. We found a good one, the Abbey Inn at Newlay which was about 50yds from the towpath. Good, home cooked food at reasonable prices. Good beer too - the pub had won a CAMRA award for community pub of the year 2008.
After lunch we continued our walk which was in a more rural setting and we soon forgot about Leeds. There weren't many boats at all but there were plenty of cyclists. The towpath here was part of the National Cycle Network.
We soon completed our walk. When we left the canal at Apperley Bridge we had a huge hill to climb in order to reach the bus stop. A mere 4 minute wait and we were on the bus back to Leeds. The hustle and bustle was too much, we met up with the girls and headed to the station to head back home.
On the train journey back, after the change at Manchester Piccadilly, the Wigan lad who recently starred in Big Brother along with his girlfriend from the same show caught the train. A party of drunken girls also caught the train and it was noisy, with the girls taking and having their photos taken with the "stars". Where were they all heading? Wigan of course, for a night on the town.