Our Blog

A Canal Odyssey

The Leeds Liverpool canal is 127 miles long and is the second longest waterway in the United
Kingdom. There are 91 locks to travel through. Officially completed in 1816 it took 46 years of
manual labour to complete. Join us on our Lancashire Canal Cruises narrowboat for a relaxing
cruise from Scarisbrick to Appley Bridge via Parbold.


It’s possible to travel coast-to-coast from Liverpool to Goole via Leeds and the Aire-Calder
Navigation – a journey of around 3 weeks. Today’s adventure is a four hour trip from where the
Lancashire diggers commenced their arduous task, through Burscough Wharf, calling at Top
Lock, Parbold and Appley Bridge.


Our 30’ narrowboat seats 12 passengers, is warm and comfortable and allows perfect visibility to
take in the countryside views and to spot wildlife such as Mallard ducks, coots, moorhens and
iridescent kingfishers flitting past at speed. The gentle journey takes us through the heritage site
of Burscough Wharf, home of stabling for the horses that used to pull the coal barges that made
the canal such a commercial success. Ancillary industries sprang up to support the trade –
blacksmiths, carpenters and rope weavers were kept busy tending the horses and the barges.


We call at Top Lock on the Rufford Branch which allows us a view of a beautiful sandstone bridge,
built in 1816 from locally quarried materials. The first of a series of locks plus picturesque white
cottages allow for some nice photographs plus amusing visits from moorhens in search of
crumbs. From here we travel through two swing bridges and a view of ‘stop planks’ alongside the
bridges. Used as emergency dams in case of breaches – another example of engineering
ingenuity of the Victorian times.


We saunter through Newborough and wide open views of the West Lancashire countryside and
hills. The approach to Parbold is narrow and is another good photography opportunity with lots of
moored boats adding to the fun. We moor at the historic village of Parbold – the home of a quarry
and a flour mill in Victorian times. Enjoy an ice cream from the quirky ‘Yours is the Earth’ artisan
coffee shop and call in to ‘The Mill House’ gallery. Housed on three floors of a Victorian windmill it
is the home of the very talented James Bartholomew’s work which includes local views.

The stretch from Parbold village to Apply Bridge is beautiful. Bluebell woods in Spring and a very
good chance of kingfishers as they prefer this quieter part of the canal. Stone bridges where you
can see the score marks of tow ropes that have marked the arches. Milestones that show
distances that hold a little known fact (all will be revealed!). In warmer weather we have the French
doors open and you can sit in the bow and enjoy the fresh air.


Apply Bridge is the home of Deep Lock. Number 91 it is 80’ deep and allows you to witness some
key parts of the clever and long lasting skills of the original engineers. If a boat is coming through
the lock they always appreciate help with ropes and gate opening and closing. There’s a nice
camaraderie amongst boaters as you never know when you might need help with a bridge or
catching a thrown rope. There is also a derelict lock that is worth a look and another photo
opportunity with the decaying winding gear and wooden gates.


The trip is available for a private charter with your own circle of family and friends or can be
booked for couples. We can provide a lovely afternoon tea accompanied by wine or soft drinks/
hot beverages. We also offer wine, craft beers or gin tasting as part of the experience.

Holly, on the admin side was brilliant and was so accommodating. She helped me so much and understood that I needed to change my date. The overall experience was beyond brilliant. Thank you all so much!

Leah Johnson
Trustpilot

A really nice assortment of cakes, chocolate, battenburg, fruit tart, scones cream and jam. plenty of fresh fruit, strawberries, raspberries, tangerine. Unlimited tea, with juice and a wine for the non driver. A very nice journey circa 2 hours, very informative about the area and it's history, learned so much.

John Lyne
Trustpilot

Fabulous day out had by all..we will be returning very soon..x

Anne Murdoch
Trustpilot

Had a wonderful afternoon, the last trip before lock down 2. Greeted really well by our captain and host. Everything explained by really well. Plenty of food and really fresh. Beef chicken and cheese sandwiches, gerkins and tomatoes.

John Lyne
Trustpilot

Fantastic experience plus I loved the hotpot loaded with mince and topped of with crisp baked crusty potato it's a slow look at what's on show that we miss in our cars it's a must do trip

Howard Moss
Trustpilot

Lovely afternoon tea cruise along the canal. Mark was very knowledgeable and friendly. Would definitely recommend this.

Carol Eastwood
Trustpilot

It helped that it was a beautiful sunny day. The skipper, Mark was very insightful giving us a talk on the local history of the canal as we made our way to Burscough Wharf and back again.

Tony Houston
Trustpilot

Nice way too spend a few hours took my mother for a mothers day treat great food fantastic host wish it hadn't been raining thanks very much

Gary Chadbond
Trustpilot

Just got back from an amazing cruise with afternoon tea with this company. The food was lovely and fresh!
The skipper, Mark was lovely and professional! He was so naturally friendly and explained everything about the history of barges and the area. He was so knowledgeable. The cruise itself was beautiful and relaxing.

Leah Johnson
Trustpilot

What a wonderful experience! Mark was such a great host, very kind and helpful. We miss our trip because of car crash on the road, he not only accommodate us on the next trip but he make us fresh afternoon tea and he place us in the best part of the boat! I can’t explain what a wonderful people and what a experience we had ! Truly amazing! Definitely try for yourself !!! Thank you Mark! See you soon!

Plamena Dimitrova
Trustpilot