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Route No.216 - Monday 23 April 2007 (St. George's Day)
Skipton, Gargrave, canal tow path circuit - 17km
Skipton, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Map OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas at 1:25000
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Leeds & Liverpool canal in the centre of Skipton
Leeds & Liverpool canal in the centre of Skipton

This turned out to be a mistake as the car park charge was £3.60 for 4 hours or £8 for all day. My route was to take me through Gargrave where the car parks are free! I rashly decided that I could walk this flat route in four hours and paid the £3.60 fee.

This week both my usual walking companions were otherwise engaged with grand-parenting duties on the days we normally have a walk so this morning I drove to Skipton on my own. I parked in the main car park off the main road through the town where both sides of the road were lined with market stalls.

Leeds & Liverpool canal in the centre of Skipton
Leeds & Liverpool canal in the centre of Skipton

Leeds & Liverpool canal leaving Skipton for Gargrave
Leeds & Liverpool canal leaving Skipton for Gargrave

After about 2.5km I reached the point where I planned to leave the tow path. A farm track passes beneath the canal and about 50m before the canal reaches the track there is a path off to the left.

I set off at 5 to 10 and walked down the main road to the bus station and joined the canal tow path at map ref. SD 988514. I walked along the tow path past all the canal boat mooring in the centre of Skipton, heading toward Gargrave.

Leeds & Liverpool canal leaving Skipton for Gargrave
Leeds & Liverpool canal leaving Skipton for Gargrave

A new family of ducks on the canal
A new family of ducks on the canal
A new family of ducks on the canal
A new family of ducks on the canal

Leaving the tow path for the track to the A6069
Leaving the tow path for the track to the A6069

Here I turned right and walked along the road for about 200m, then crossed over to the old disused road bridge over the river Aire. The bridge is still used as a pedestrian bridge and brought me to the A59 just opposite the public footpath I planned to take across the fields.

It's quite a big drop off the tow path at the end of a wall. The path drops down through the briars to the track just by a level crossing over the railway. It's quite an active line so I crossed the level crossing through the pedestrian gates very carefully and came out on to the A6069.

Looking back to the tow path from the path down to the A6069
Looking back to the tow path from the path down to the A6069

Crossing the fields toward Gargrave
Crossing the fields toward Gargrave

Crossing the fields toward Gargrave
Crossing the fields toward Gargrave

I crossed under the railway and turned left to continue along the path following the railway for about 1.5km to map ref. SD 936536 where the path joined a track leading into Gargrave by the church. Just beyond the church I turned right to follow a road through Gargrave to the canal at map ref. SD 931543.

I crossed the A59 (very fast traffic) and climbed the stile to join the footpath at map ref. SD 960516. I followed the path across the fields and across the route of a large diameter steel pipeline which was under construction, until I reached the railway at map ref. SD 949526.

The church in Gargrave
The church in Gargrave

The Leeds & Liverpool canal heading back toward Skipton
The Leeds & Liverpool canal heading back toward Skipton

This was by far my best walking performance for about a year, in fact since my trip with my friend Jim to the "Fat Lamb" on the edge of the Howgill Fells. I just hope things continue to improve.

Here I rejoined the canal tow path and followed it for about 6.5km back to the centre of Skipton. I got back to my car with just a couple of minutes to spare on my parking ticket.

The Leeds & Liverpool canal heading back toward Skipton
The Leeds & Liverpool canal heading back toward Skipton


A new family of ducks on the canal
A new family of ducks on the canal
The Leeds & Liverpool canal heading back toward Skipton
The Leeds & Liverpool canal heading back toward Skipton

Water Aven growing by the canal
Water Aven growing by the canal

Factory chimney by the canal on the edge of Skipton
Factory chimney by the canal on the edge of Skipton

The A629 crossing the canal
The A629 crossing the cana

Canal moorings in the centre of Skipton
Canal moorings in the centre of Skipton