Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bingley Five Rise Locks

As I mentioned a few days ago, the Five-Rise Locks in Bingley is a few miles along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal from Saltaire. This is a hugely popular spot with locals and tourists alike. It's a very pleasant stroll from the centre of Bingley - which is itself quite an attractive little market town. You pass the Damart factory (stock up on your thermal underwear for the winter from the mill shop!) and then climb alongside the three-rise lock. A further short walk brings you to the five-rise. At the top there are always boats moored and there's a nice little café too, where you can sit outside in the sun (perhaps!) and watch the activity.

The locks (and therefore the canal from Gargrave to Leeds) were opened in 1774, with 30,000 people enjoying great celebrations, all the local church bells ringing and a ceremonial firing of guns by the local militia!

It's fascinating to watch how the lock keepers move the boats up and down the stair. Because it involves very intricate series of moves, which have to be done in the right order, lock keepers are employed full-time there and the locks are locked(!) at night. As you can imagine, it takes quite a while - a good hour and a half - to move a boat up or down the whole series of five locks. And with the three-rise just a bit further on, boaters are advised to allow plenty of time to negotiate this stretch of the canal. (There's a funny little time-lapse film of a boat going through Bingley's three-rise lock on this link.)


  1. What a feat of engineering!

    I enjoyed the link to the film.

  2. At my junior school (way back when) we did individual topics. Of course I chose to do one on canals and I remember being fascinated by the Five Rise locks. I still haven't visited. Maybe I can do something about that soon :)

  3. I visited this very area about two weeks ago. Mind you it was not the best of day's weather wise. Slow drizzle and overcast (and the cafe was closed).

    Fine photo of this site.

  4. A lovely photo. Those locks and canals never cease to amaze me. We went through many locks between Amsterdam and Budapest.

  5. beautiful place and well described

  6. Oh, this is so interesting to see from this view. We don't have anything like that here (obvious I guess).
    And in reference to your question, quite a lot of unusual people pass the orange wall due to that area of town.


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