An earlier start today. We were moving into unknown waters and wanted to leave our options open to push on further than normal if we wanted to.
So we were on the move at 09:30, and arrived at the first of the Poolstock pair of locks an hour later.
Poolstock No 2A boat was just leaving, so that was a good omen.Through this and No 1, and we arrived at Wigan Junction.
Wigan JunctionA right turn takes you to the bottom of the Wigan flight of 21 locks, lifting the navigation 215 feet. Not going that way!
No, we turned left, dropping down now towards Liverpool.
Henhurst Lock, the first on the downhill slope.
The next is Wigan Bottom Lock.Alongside here used to be the main maintenance area at this end of the canal. It’s all been redeveloped now, and BW’s Wigan office occupies a smart new building. The only bit of the original yard is the dry-dock beside the lock.
The canal passes just south of the town, and has been attractively refurbished. Along the way are interpretation boards describing past activities in the area, accompanied by life-size reproductions of contemporary folk.
Meg was fascinated by a mill-worker from Trencherfield Mill.
This chap was staring pensively at The Orwell, across the canal. Probably wondering what all the fuss is about…..
Wigan Pier is a bit of an anticlimax. It’s been restored….Maybe didn’t cost very much, though.
In fact the structure, made famous in the title of George Orwell’s book, was a humble coal loading staithe.
Leaving the town Pagefield Lock is close to the DW Stadium, home to Wigan Athletic…..
And Ell Meadow Lock is overlooked by a new housing development.Welcome to Legoland…
We had a slow chug past Crooke, where an angling match was in progress, watered up at Dean Locks in the shadow of the M6, then arrived at Appley Lock at around 15:00.
Dean LocksYou can see this from the carriageway (so long as you’re not driving)!
Appley Locks was a recommended mooring by a couple of boaters we’ve spoken to, and I can see why.
The original pair of locks are now derelict, replaced by a new 12’ deep chamber. The old lock cut makes a superb overnight stop, away from the towpath and the new cut.
Moored in Appley old lock cut.
The derelict Appley Locks.
We’ve made more progress today than we needed to, but it was worth it and the weather has been kind.
We’ve about 20 miles, 1 lock and a scattering of swing bridges to negotiate before meeting our BW crew at Bridge 9 on Sunday morning. We might take a day off tomorrow..
Meg and I had a walk along the canal for a mile or so, to where the River Douglas swings close by the canal and is crossed by a bridge.
Thankyou, very kind.
River DouglasThis turns north a bit further on, and becomes the last bit of the Rufford Branch, taking boats down to the Ribble Estuary and across to the Lancaster Canal via the Ribble Link.
We were thinking about going up onto the Lancaster after Liverpool, but couldn’t get a booking till July. There’re only so many passages in either direction each year. The tide has to be right to navigate up Savick Brook, on the other side of the Ribble.
Thanks to Martin from the excellent Pennine Waterways who left a comment on an earlier post. He points out that the Huddersfield Narrow Canal does not actually begin at Dukinfield Junction as I stated, but at Lock 1W a little further east.
A bit more research (which I should have done first!) shows why. The Ashton predates the Peak Forest, and therefore, by definition, any connection thereto. The Ashton's terminus is where it now makes an end on connection to the HNC, at L1W, completed in 1798.
Locks 7, miles 9