Wonder #4 – Burnley Embankment

I have a feeling that the man who masterminded the creation of the seven wonders of the waterways, Robert Aickman, may have been having us all on a bit. For how else can he go from the majesty and triumphant fizz of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to the damp squib of Burnley Embankment?

Felucca approaching Burnley Embankment, aka The Straight Mile. Can you feel the anticipation in the air?

Felucca approaching Burnley Embankment, aka The Straight Mile. Can you feel the anticipation in the air?

To be fair, the Straight Mile’s underwhelming nature may have something to do with its environs. Burnley seems to be suffering a bit from trying to live up to its own stereotype. Shopping trolleys in the canal, dog shit on the towpath, one of Tesco’s “Finest” monstrosities, kidz shooting fish with air guns (to a rounding and slightly patronising chorus of ‘shouldn’t they be at school’ from Felucca) and the ubiquitous derelict warehouse. I found myself channelling some sort of late afternoon ITV programme, imagining all the wonderful things you could do if you had the money to convert one or two of them.

That grey, 1960s carpark-like structure is the Biggest Tesco I Have Ever Seen.

That grey, 1960s carpark-like structure is the Biggest Tesco I Have Ever Seen.

Warehouse. One of many.

Warehouse. One of many.

View of Burnley. View of rubbish in the cut.

View of Burnley. View of rubbish in the cut.

And to be fair to Aikman, I think an embankment is one of those feats of engineering that is not at all flamboyant but still rather tricky to pull off with aplomb. I wouldn’t want to have been Robert Whitworth, struggling with probable landslides and breaches and moving people out of their homes. And it was built with shovels (not even steam shovels). And did I mention it’s a mile long? Strewth indeed. But secretly, I’d vote for the Anderton Boat Lift over Burnley’s Straight Mile any day of the week.

Not even the pretty terraces can impress Jon

Not even the pretty terraces can impress Jon

Jon finds a nice view

Jon finds a nice view

Halfway through

Burnley's bridge of sighs?

Burnley’s bridge of sighs?

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Posted in Visitors, Wonders of the waterways
2 comments on “Wonder #4 – Burnley Embankment
  1. somarosmith says:

    Hey Feluccas, were you too scared to address the kids directly (they had guns afterall) or were you refering to the fish? oooh I’ve only just realised what I did there… Maybe the fish were already in a school…

    • Hey Somaros, you know me, I said it in a stage whisper, just too quiet for them to hear, just loud enough so that I could pretend I’d said it to them. To be fair, I’m such a bad judge of age these days that they might well have been over 16!

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