Friday, July 29, 2011

Popular Parbold

Today could have been quite a long one, encountering our first self operated locks for a while and unsure about traffic levels on the Leeds and Liverpool Main Line.

So we decided to pull pins at 08:30. If the trip went well we’d be tied up by early afternoon, if there were delays we’d still have plenty of time in hand.

Leaving Dover Bridge, through the chamber of the original Dover Top Lock.

Nearing Wigan there are several of those flashes caused by subsidence, Scotsman’s being the biggest.

Past Scotsman’s Flash.

There are 2 locks to ascend before reaching the Main Line at Wigan Junction, and I believe these replaced those at Dover Bridge when the canal was re-levelled.

In Poolstock Bottom Lock (No1)

These locks lift the canal by around 10 feet. If you look at the bank height on the Scotsman’s Flash picture and imagine the canal 10 feet higher? Well, that must have been the water level down to Dover Bridge before the surrounding land sunk into the mine workings below.

Poolstock Top Lock (No2) with St James' Church in the background.

Yes the church clock DOES say 10 to 10. We’re not usually moving yet. But today we’ve done 3 miles and 2 locks already.

At Wigan Junction a right turn takes you up the main run of the Wigan Flight, then up and over to Leeds. We turned left for Liverpool but we’ll be turning off before then onto the Rufford Branch.

Wigan Junction.

Strictly speaking the last 2 locks of the Wigan flight are on our route although they are separated from the rest by a ¼ mile pound, in fact inscribed on the stonework is L No XXII and L No XXIII, Locks 22 and 23.

Henhurst Lock, No 22 on the flight, has “power assisted” gate gear.

Hand power, that is.

Cruising past the BW Wigan offices.

Wigan Bottom Lock has a dry dock alongside.

A cruise through Wigan wouldn’t be complete without a picture of Wigan Pier, however disappointing.

Wigan Pier

Even George Orwell’s “The Road To........” seems to be blocked by a brick wall.Winky

Two more locks take us clear of the town, the first near Wigan Athletics DW Stadium and the second ½ a mile further on at Ell Meadow.

Ell Meadow Lock

There’s an old lock chamber on the left.

We had a chance of a bacon butty in the 2 mile pound through Crooke to the pretty Dean Lock.

Dean Lock with another derelict chamber alongside.

It’s a shame about the M6 motorway crossing just to the east. The old lock cut makes a lovely mooring, apart from the noise.

Just before the lock there are 3 generations of transport stacked up.

The 18C canal crossed by the 19C railway then the 20C motorway.

We’d intended to stop at Appley Bridge but were making good time so pushed on a bit further, through the deep Appley Bridge Lock to moor at Parbold.

In Appley Bridge Lock.

It’s deep because it replaced 2 now derelict chambers in the cut alongside. We were moored in the cut for a few days last spring, when our starter motor gave up the ghost. Then we only just managed to get below Poolstock Locks, scraping our bottom on the canal bed, before the Leeds and Liverpool was closed due to shortage of water. No such problem this year, better management and the recent rain have kept levels up.

Parbold was busy with moored boats but we got in on the towpath just through the village. Not the best spot with underwater rocks but it’ll do for the one night.

We were moored by 14:30, having had good locks all the way. Only one was against us and that had a boat in coming up. Slowly though. He’d left a bottom paddle up so it stopped filling at ¾ until he realised. Good job we’ve plenty of water……

Locks 8 miles 11

1 comment:

Carol said...

A good days cruising then - those locks are mighty deep! Will be thinking about you on Tuesday - have a good trip!
Regards xx