Stage 7: Lake Lock to Castleford
Bob: It was pleasing to see the river was still where we had left it some weeks ago. Different but the same, a reassuring presence in the dull drizzle. We did a bit of circling around the contours imagining we were parallel with the river bank even though we couldn’t see it. And a relief when we hit the Trans Pennine Trail. At least we knew where we were when we saw a sign pointing to where we thought the River Calder actually was, but the path wasn’t, if you know what I mean.
The Trans Pennine Trail has a handsome artistic sign post which has been further embellished by the local Rothwell Cub Scouts, a practice I approve of, and well executed. I have often fancied putting a few of my own buildings into some of Lowry's urban landscape paintings. Such as the house where I was born.
We almost missed the point at which the River Calder joins the River Aire and loses its Calder identity. It was very quiet, only a slight swirl of water going on. Good bye River Calder.
Castleford keeps its spirits up in spite of everything. The magnificent wave-like Millenium Bridge brings a flare of optimism to a town that otherwise often looks tired of trying. Considering Castleford was built by the Romans it manages to look very 1970s.
There was a worn out mural in the worn out Market Hall telling us something about the history of Castleford, but I couldn’t really work it out.
Yet everyone we met in Castleford was upbeat and friendly, from the ladies in the tea rooms, to our personal guided tour of the restored flour mill on the riverbank, and our landlady at the pub B&B opposite Castleford Tigers rugby league club.
Annie: We were excited to be walking again, but a bit nervous about stepping out into the unknown. Our bags were heavier than normal, because of our two overnight stays, despite carrying the absolute minimum. We walked in drizzle most of the day, searching for paths along the river but frustratingly missing them and only seeing signs to them when we had already gone past the path. We were lucky to avoid the heavy rain which started just as we arrived in Castleford and were able to have an extended lunch in the Queens Mill tearoom. The wonderful volunteer team at Queens Mill made us very welcome and we had a great tour by an enthusiastic volunteer who operates the flour mill. He had to learn how to run it from volunteers at other mill museums and milled over £4000 worth of flour during the flour shortage in the first lockdown.
Ending the seventh stage in Castleford.
Here are a few photos from today's walk, not many as we saw very little of the river! See if you can spot where the Aire and Calder met.