We didn’t just moor up in the bushes last night….
Leaving Boothstown the canal runs through an area reclaimed from pit spoil heaps. Not particularly attractive with only scrub vegetation being able to get any benefit from the poor soil.
The harsh concrete edges don’t help, but are essential to keep the water in as the land either side slowly subsides due to the extensive coal mining.
The towpath has also been built up with clay-like spoil, not bad in dry weather but filthy when it’s wet.
Astley Pit has the only headgear left, 50 or 60 years ago they would have been all around. This one is now preserved as part of the Astley Green Pit Museum.
Just after the village we pulled in to let a wide load past.
Takes up quite a bit of the channel, but at least the water is deep.
The first sight of Leigh is a large mill which stands beside the canal.
We pulled in on the handy (but unmarked in Nicholson’s Guide) services on the offside just before Butt’s Bridge, filled the water tank and emptied a loo, then pushed on through the town.
At Leigh Bridge the Bridgewater ends and the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal begins.
We had to weave our way through a group of novice canoeists on the edge of the town, before heading out into open country again.
This shallow lake, formed by subsidence, is now a nature reserve and country park.
Plank Lane Swing Bridge (actually a lift bridge) is manned by a bridgekeeper, and we arrived just after he’d knocked off for lunch. No problem though, we’d plenty of time.
The land across the way has been cleared of all the buildings associated with Plank Lane Pit, and a basin has been dug out for a 40 berth marina. The land alongside has approval for housing, but as yet no developer has come forward to take on either project.
Another boat came up behind us, wanting water. As the tap is alongside the holding mooring they breasted up with us to fill.
We had a good chat with them, Amanda and Alistair on NB Caromanda are heading for the Liverpool Link, but moor on the Nene. We’re planning to go that way next summer, so may meet up again.
A little further on the grotty towpath surface is being replaced with an all weather surface.
Under Dover Bridge and we pulled in, between the narrows where the two redundant locks have been removed. Why redundant? Subsidence, of course!
Locks 0, miles 8¼