Famous for being the Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, from your starting point in Skipton you can go east to Leeds or west to Liverpool and discover England’s canal heritage against a backdrop of rolling hills.
Explore North Yorkshire and Lancashire from England’s longest water highway, the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Cruise this popular route – often described the most beautiful countryside of all canals – to discover historic sites, quaint cafes, award-winning pubs and restaurants, and if you like to walk, hop back on dry land to hike well-known pathways such as the Pennine Way.
Our short break canal holidays begin in the market town of Skipton, home to one of England’s best preserved medieval castles. Venture east towards Leeds and along the way visit National Trust’s East Riddlesden Hall – a 17th-century manor house in Keighley. Take a short walk to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway for a unique 5-mile stretch of tracks set in the heart of West Yorkshire running heritage steam and diesel trains through stunning Brontë Country (also the location for the film The Railway Children), before heading down Bingley Five-Rise locks to the UNESCO Heritage Town of Saltaire where Salts Mill is a must visit. A former textile mill, now an art gallery (home to a permament David Hockney exhibition), shopping centre, and restaurant complex in Saltaire, Bradford. It was built by Sir Titus Salt in 1853, and the present-day 1853 Gallery takes its name from the date of the building which houses it. The Metropolitan District of Bradford was recently awarded City of Culture 2025 and events will take in the surrounding area.
Blue Otter Skipton comfortably accommodates 2 adults. Fitted out with a main bedroom (queen-sized bed with a king-sized duvet), bathroom with a hot-water shower and an open plan kitchen with two chairs in the lounge, you can meander along the canals in style. Within minutes on board you’ll enjoy a charming narrowboating experience. How far you go depends on how often and how long you wish to stop. You decide the route and the pace to go as far as Leeds or stay as near as you wish to Skipton during your time on board.
Please note that for the remainder of the 2022 cruising season, due to water shortages the locks westward of Skipton from Gargrave to Wigan are closed.
If you haven’t been boating before, on the first day we’ll go with you through the first swing bridges, locks, show you how to moor up and navigate the canals until you feel at ease to enjoy the rest of your time on board in full command.
Skipton is easily accessible by road and the train station is just 40 minutes from Leeds. Buses are also available to Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the filming home for the new series of All Creatures Great and Small.
Blue Otter Skipton
Tel: 07435 306950
50 foot narrow boat | 1 bedroom | Suitable for 2 passengers
Full Week Routes
7 nights – Leeds and return: 60 miles, 58 locks
The emergence of Leeds as an industrial powerhouse was one of the reasons for the creation of the Leeds-Liverpool canal. A week’s cruising will take you through tranquil woodlands and picturesque villages, such the 17th century village of Kildwick, past historic sights such as National Trust Riddlesden Hall, the UNESCO Heritage Site of Saltaire and down engineering masterpieces such as Bingley Five Rise Locks. The descent into Leeds is green and scenic, dispelling all preconceived notions of an industrialised landscape, to suddenly arrive in the centre of the city behind the main train station. The city centre visitor moorings at the wharf allow for 2 nights complimentary stay before making your way back to Skipton.
7 nights – Burnley and return: 74 miles, 60 locks – CURRENTLY OUT OF ACTION FOR 2022, BACK IN 2023
From the market town of Skipton cruise across the Pennines and over the highest point of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal near Barnoldswick. Just past here, a cow named Buttercup is reported to have floated through Foulridge Tunnel in 1912 and was revived with rum at the other side. The scenery becomes more industrial with the town of Nelson being followed by Burnley and its old waterside buildings. The historic Weaver’s Triangle museum and mooring in the city centre has recently been renovated, as has much of Burnley’s pedestrian area. One hour cruising past Burnley is a beautiful countryside mooring spot for the night before turning around and cruising back to Skipton.
7 nights – Bingley and Foulridge: 68 miles, 52 locks – CURRENTLY BINGLEY AND BEYOND ONLY. GARGRAVE TO FOULRIDGE ANTICIPATED TO RETURN IN 2023
This route takes in the two iconic parts of the canal with contrasting views of woodlands and wide open countryside, dotted with points of interest along the way. From the market town of Skipton in the direction of Leeds, the canals are flanked with woodlands taking you to the Bingley Five Rise, a staircase of five locks lowering you 60 feet down the Aire valley. Visit the model village of Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to it’s founder in Victorian times, Sir Titus Salt, designed to improve the live of his mill workers. Today the mill is a gallery and art space, home to a permanent David Hockney exhibition. Return past Skipton and then cruise into the rural Yorkshire Dales countryside to Foulridge – perhaps venture through the tunnel
Short Break Routes
Travelling West from Skipton direction Liverpool – CURRENTLY OUT OF ACTION DUE TO WATER SHORTAGES IN 2022. AVAILABLE IN 2023
5 nights – Skipton to Barrowford and return – 24 hours and 30 locks and 2 tunnels
Travelling East from Skipton direction Leeds
5 nights – Skipton to Saltaire and return – 18 hours and 20 locks (including Bingley Five Rise)