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Archive for September, 2016

The Wigan Flight

Wednesday 31st August 2016

I woke up really anxious this morning due to all the horror stories I had heard & read about this flight of 21 locks taking us down to Wigan. We cruised the mile or so to the services at the top lock with Phoebe Joan, water was topped up, toilets emptied & rubbish disposed of. The CRT man at the top was filling me with fear about broken paddles, leaky gates & dry pounds whilst he was letting some water down & clearing some of the thick weed around the top lock.

I had read FB posts & blogs recently with all sorts of horror stories about the Wigan 21, flooded decks, front fenders wrenched off, groundings, broken paddles the list goes on……

Nothing for it, we had to go. Rachel led the way into the first lock & the guys set themselves a time of 4 hours to complete the mission & seemed somewhat excited. I made a complete lash up of entering the top lock but I think in hindsight it was just nerves as normally I would not of had a problem, right I was in, lets get this done!

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Going down!

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Have seen a lot worse leakage.

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Gates in a lot better condition than I expected.

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The guys getting their system going!

Starting to relax, no problems so far, sun is shinning, guys are on schedule, Rachel & I are leaving & entering locks in single file. The flow into some of the pounds is quite strong so I have to let Rachel get well past as it would push me over to the side otherwise, but hey after what I’ve been hearing that’s no problem at all!

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All the pound were like this with good side flow.

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Looking down the flight.

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Letting Phoebe Joan out first as she’s shorter than us.

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Not far to go now.

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Looking back up the flight.

Already down to 81 & so far its been nothing but pleasurable, one other boat a widebeam coming up but apart from that no other traffic that we could see, no dry pounds, leakage no worse than some other locks we had come through on the Leeds & Liverpool so far.

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Looking back.

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81 to 82

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Bottom lock done….

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Under the bridge

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Leigh Branch Junction

As you leave the bottom lock & go under the bridge the canal opens out with a big car showroom on one side, just past that to the left you have the Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool canal which we will be going down in about a week to the Leigh Festival. Carry straight on, directly under Henhurst Bridge is Henhurst Lock which takes you down to 14 day moorings handy for walking into the town centre & visiting the newly located CRT  offices in Trencherfield Mill.

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Henhurst Bridge

We moored up opposite the old CRT building, knackered!  Mission completed from top to bottom lock 3.5hrs, maybe we just had a lucky day but I have to say it again as there are so many scary stories around about this flight of locks, we had NO issues what so ever & all my stressing was unnecessary, so be prepared, be sensible but don’t take everything you read as gospel.

 

3.5 miles  22 locks   0 Swing Bridges   5 hours (in total)

 

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Thursday 1st September 2016

There was no dancing at Wigan Pier, firstly because it is now closed & secondly I don’t think I’ve got a dance left in me!

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There is a water point along here after Bottom Lock before the bridge at Wigan Pier

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Wigan Pier a wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was made famous by the writer George Orwell In his book, The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell highlighted the poor working and living conditions of the local inhabitants during the 1930s. Following the decline of industrial activities in the region, Wigan Pier’s collection of warehouses and wharfs became a local heritage centre and cultural quarter

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We said goodbye to our now dear friends Jeremy & Rachel on NB Phoebe Joan as they had a schedule to keep to get to Liverpool.

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Today we set off to explore the town & raid the charity shops. It is only a short walk to the centre but a longer stride in the other direction if you want Aldi, B & Q, Asda etc. We found the new CRT offices hid away amidst other offices in Trencherfield Mill via the entrance facing the town & up two flights of stairs. We got 2 pump out cards for emergency use & managed to secure ourselves a Leed & Liverpool 200th Anniversary brass plaque! (We didn’t manage to win one in a raffle at Botany Bay!)

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It is quite interesting around this are, a lot of the towns history explained.

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Statue gazing over to the Wigan Pier wharf

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This was the original Wigan Pier where the coal boats were unloaded, with another statue.

The first coal mine was established at Wigan in 1450 and at its peak there were 1,000 pit shafts within 5 miles (8 km) of the town centre. Mining was so extensive that one town councillor remarked that “a coal mine in the backyard was not uncommon in Wigan”. Coal mining ceased during the latter part of the 20th century.

Wigan Pier, a wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, was made famous by the writer George Orwell. In his book, The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell highlighted the poor working and living conditions of the local inhabitants during the 1930s. Following the decline of industrial activities in the region, Wigan Pier’s collection of warehouses and wharfs became a local heritage centre and cultural quarter

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Later we had a wander around Wigan, all the usual stuff, but the supermarkets a huge Asda & Aldi are a bit out of the town centre.

Simon & Debbie nb Gloriana arrived later in the day after completing the Wigan flight.

0  Miles   o Locks     0 Swing Bridges    0 Hours

 

Friday 2nd September 2016

We made our way out of Wigan, through a rather drab previously industrial now retail landscape,

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This must be the poshest floating duck house on the canals

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3 locks & now back in the countryside we happened upon Crooke, there is a pub, historic fuel boat Ambush is often moored in front, there are permanent mooring on the offside & plenty of space to moor on the towpath side,

We decided it was a nice enough spot for the night & the animals needed the freedom after Wigan.

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3.5 Miles     3 Locks    0 Swing Bridges    2.5 Hours

 

Saturday 3rd September 2016

It was a damp rainy day today so we just did a short cruise to Appley Bridge.

You will see at Dean Locks to the right is the now unused old lock, it seems to have become a quiet mooring spot, there always seems to be a boat there!

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Appley Bridge is a very peaceful place, plenty of mooring, just a pub & railway station.

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The swing bridge as you enter Appley has a very modern landing platform.

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3 Miles    1 Lock      2 Swing Bridges     1.5 Hours 

 

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