The river flows through it
Most mornings on the walk to work rather than head up to Bridgewater Place and bang right onto Water Lane, I cut off Neville Street early – before the Hilton – and head along the tunnel towards Granary Wharf.
One, it’s a pretty decent break from the wind and rain. Two, it’s a quieter walk than the amble along the main road. Three, there’s a bridge at the far end of the tunnel (before you get to the Hop) that the River Aire flows under.
The river flows down through three tunnels underneath the train station overhead (you can see these in the middle of the Google Map above). On a good day you can see the far end of these tunnels. The bridge where I walk over the river is the culmination of the water’s journey on this subterranean trek, before it heads back out into the open air. It’s compulsive just watching the Aire continue on its determined route.
Today the river was amazingly high, the rushing surface close to the bridge I walk over. A culmination of the recent wind and rain the roar was immense – and exciting. On the home time walk back into town, I peered into the dark tunnels, the visibility of the river diminishing, the strong flow of the water coming out of this darkness. Looking down I watched the river flow, turning around to see it head out into what seemed a quieter, more serene pool outside. The noise behind me was a constant reminder of the force of the river being split into three and being funnelled down through these man-made diversions.
I thought of the immense and busy train station above my head and the train lines through it, cutting across where I was and the river travelled. How many of those people in that hustlin’ and bustlin’ train station at that moment knew about what lay beneath?
How many people knew that underneath them was something could be an awesome kayak run – or better still a secret, urban level of Toobin’?