Friday, October 30, 2009

Poised for Wigan Locks….

It’s been a lot cooler today, a wind from the south and no sun kept the temperature a lot lower than the last couple of days. But we’ve had an enjoyable cruise, heading south now, through mainly rural areas.

Just 35 minutes after leaving Withnell Fold we started to pass the long line of moored craft on the approach to Johnsons Hillock Locks. These are run by the Wheelton Boat Club.

WBC Moorings.
2 boats were just leaving the top lock as we arrived, so we were able to go straight in, and the rest of the locks were full (or almost) as well, so we had a very quick trip down. Not entirely without incident, though. A combination of the wind and a strong flow over the bywash at one of the locks left Mags stuck across the crest of the bywash weir. But a bit of welly in reverse and a push off got her clear.

Johnson’s Hillock Top lock
We cleared the bottom lock after just 1 hour 15 minutes, not bad for 7 broad locks over about a mile.

Leaving the Bottom Lock
On the left of the picture is the Walton Summit Branch of the Lancaster Canal, now un-navigable, heading off to Preston. It should have linked up to the southern end of the Lancaster at Preston, after passing over an aqueduct over the River Ribble. But the cost of construction proved prohibitive, and a tramway over a trestle bridge was constructed to link the 2 sections instead. This “temporary” solution remained in use until the branch was closed in 1880. The branch has since been cut in two by the building of the M61.
It’s a shame it was never completed; it would have offered a far more suitable alternative to get to the Lancaster Canal than the Millennium Ribble Link.

The 7 locks at Johnsons Hillock drops the canal down to the last pound before Wigan. This is 10 miles long, running around Chorley and Addlington.

Botany Bay Village was busy, people getting Christmas presents early?
The windsock is for the helicopter lurking in the shed on the left of the picture

Chorley is only a vague presence on the right side, hardly infringing on the canal corridor at all. Addlington is much the same, but a mile of offside moorings above White Bear Marina reminds you that you’re not far from civilisation.

Leafy bits after Chorley

White Bear Marina

We came here to look at a boat for sale in 2006. Didn't buy it though.

Clearing Addlington the canal is once again in the country, passing Haigh Hall Country Park.
It was opposite the golf course here where we decided to pull over for the night. It’s only about ½ an hour from here to Wigan Top Lock, but we’d preferred to be out in the sticks, especially tonight….

Locks 7, Miles 8

No comments: