Nearly had a casualty last night when I took Meg out for her last walk. This little chap was sitting in the middle of the path, just waiting to be stood on.
He disappeared off into the undergrowth after I explained the perils of jay-walking. Or should that be hopping?
A steady 1½ hour run this morning took us to the top of Johnsons Hillock Locks. This is an attractive 4 mile stretch, especially when you leave the motorway behind.
Last look at the M65, with “traffic calming” in the foreground. I’m pleased to say we’ve not found any speed bumps, unless you count the sofa in the water under a bridge yesterday…
The navigation hangs on the side of the hill, passing Withnell Fold with its 48 hour moorings near the nature reserve.
Withnell Fold Moorings
There are also good moorings a little earlier, near Riley Green Bridge.
Some very nice property in the area, too.
Johnsons Hillock is a popular spot for mooring, the Wheelton Boat Club has a good ¼ mile along the towpath, and there are more boats on the offside. 2 “short boats” made a chicane of the approach to the top lock.
Johnsons Hillock Top Lock
All the locks were in our favour so we made good time down the flight of 7, finishing them in 1½ hours.
Johnsons Hillock Bottom Lock, disused Walton Summit Branch on the left.
The Walton Summit branch intended to link up with the Lancaster Canal at Preston. This meant an expensive aqueduct carrying the canal over the River Ribble. A temporary link was made by tramway in 1803, which was never replaced by a water route in the lifetime of the branch. Hence the Lancaster Canal was never properly joined to the main network, at least not until the opening of the Ribble Link in 2002, using the Rufford Arm and the tidal rivers Douglas and Ribble.
We didn’t want to push through to Chorley today, so moored about ½ mile below the locks.
We’ve seen very few boats on the move the last few days, just 2 today.
Locks 7, miles 5.