Across its summit, around Skipton and Silsden, the grandeur of the canal is matched only be the rugged pennine scenery, and the landscape of drystone walls is mirrored in the simple canal architecture. This contrasts with the monumental features of the famed Bingley Five Rise locks and the 'Straight Mile' in Burnley - a high embankment crossing the Calder Valley.
The Aire & Calder Canal
Following the Aire Valley into Leeds is without doubt the finest entrance into the city, and after exploring the revitalised canal wharves, the Aire and Calder beckons. This remains a successful commercial waterway and is becoming increasingly popular for pleasure boating. Electrically operated locks make life easier, and the tankers and coal boats offer a reminder that canal transport still makes environmental sense.
The Rochdale Canal
Restored to the main system in 1996, the Rochdale Canal climbs out of Sowerby Bridge sheltered in the Calder Valley with intoxicating moorland scenery on either side. Climbing steadily, the canal reaches a high point of 600 feet (the summit of the entire canal network) before dropping down to Littleborough, across the border with Lancashire. Take a break from the locks and explore a section of the Pennine Way or savour the Victorian heritage of fine mill towns such as Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.
Not To Be Missed
Skipton; a fine Georgian town with Norman Castle.
Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds; opened in 1996, this canalside museum is probably the finest example of an interactive journey through the development of weaponry down the ages.
Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, Leeds; proving once again that not all the best galleries are in London, this centre features fine work from Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Jacob Epstein.
Tetley Brewery Wharf, Leeds; a trip into the history of that British institution, the Pub, and the brewery tour.