Burnley canal rolls back the years

TROT BACK IN TIME: The horse drawn boat is pulled along the banks of Leeds Liverpool Canal. Pictured at Burnley Wharf.

TROT BACK IN TIME: The horse drawn boat is pulled along the banks of Leeds Liverpool Canal. Pictured at Burnley Wharf.

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A SIGHT not seen for around seven decades appeared on Burnley’s stretch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal when a horse-drawn narrowboat stopped at the marina.

The 60ft. Elland, built in Leeds in 1865, was pulled by 18-year-old cob Bilbo Baggins the full length of the canal, as part of an event organised by the Horseboating Society.

The 127-mile canal played a crucial role transporting cotton, wool, coal and other goods during the Industrial Revolution.

Sue Day, chairman of the society, said: “A lot of people don’t realise that horses pulled the boats from around 1740.

“This event has been 10 years in the making.

“A horse hasn’t pulled a boat the length of this canal for around 70 years.

“Cobs pulled the narrow boats, and vanners pulled the wide-beam boats.

“The canals were the motorways of the age and transported everything, but particularly textiles, in this part of the world.

“We are doing five miles a day and we stopped in Burnley to give the horse a break.

“The response from the public has been fantastic.”

Sue, Bilbo and the six-man crew hope to reach Liverpool next month.

The society is keen to recruit new members to work the boats.

Anyone interested can visit www.horseboating.org.uk.