If you mention the name of Oldham to anyone they will probably frown, pull a face and make some derogatory comment about a “God forsaken hole” in the north west of England.
The race riots in recent years have not helped and the architecture does little to welcome the visitor.
Having worked in Oldham for seven years I got to know the area well and found that it has many beauty spots.
(Young lady waiting to buy LARGE ice cream)
Today I drove over the Pennines on the A62 and parked just outside Uppermill (just a few miles from Oldham city centre) and began a walk along the old canal which runs from Uppermill to Huddersfield through Standedge Tunnel
At 3.25 miles long, Standedge is Britain’s longest canal tunnel and was opened in April 1811 making it over 200 years old. Typical cargos through the tunnel included wool, coal and horse manure! Before diesel power, boats were legged through the tunnel (this is were the men lay on their back and pushed the boat by running their feet along the tunnel roof)
The countryside is beautiful around Uppermill and it is a pleasure to simply walk along the canal path past the numerous locks, which current canal boats have to negotiate on their journey across the Pennines.
The backdrop to this is the Pennine hills which today could be seen in all their glory, the heather on them this year has been stunning.
During my walk I came across a little coffee place on the canal called Grandpa Green’s (see photo above) and it is well worth a visit. Customer service was first class and tea and coffee were good. Their speciality is ice cream made locally and although I didn’t try it a little girl was thoroughly enjoying hers. Just sit outside, sip your coffee and enjoy the tranquility of the place.
I then stopped to watch a gentleman negotiate his way through several locks, with his dutiful dog supervising matters from the rear of the boat and with the help of some locals.
With blue skies, wonderful countryside and a camera in my hand what more could a man ask for? (well, a Heron taking in the sun at the side of the canal).
And yes, it is only 20 minute from Oldham city centre!