West of the M60 to Gerrards Bridge 6, Leeds Liverpool Canal, Leigh Branch
We nudged our way closer to Wigan today, we plan on ascending the 21 locks on Tuesday. A few days ago Mick put a notice on the Wigan Flight Crew page of facebook to see if we could team up with anyone, or see if any volunteers might be around to assist. By the end of today we had arranged to team up with NB Billy who are approaching from Liverpool, so we will rendez vous below Lock 85.
The towpath was busy today, the sun had brought everyone and their distant relatives out to enjoy themselves alongside the water. Our arms became tired from all the waving we were having to do to youngsters. One little lad told us ‘You’re on a boat!’
Through Vicars Hall Bridge we could see the pithead at Astley Green. We’ve never visited the Lancashire Mining Museum, currently closed, maybe we’ll stop next time we pass.
Yellow lilies fill the offside, most winding holes are full of them, today their green leaves shone out at us before they ducked under the surface. Boats were on the move too, most we’d seen yesterday so they must have been on an out and back trip for the weekend.
In the distance all morning we’d been able to hear gun shots, a shooting range somewhere, this was however soon taken over by numerous motorbikes at Astley Raceway MX. The raceway was open to prebooked bikes and no spectators were allowed, despite this the track was heaving! Talk about pollution! Both noise and from the fumes, we didn’t hang around to watch.
Gardens with ornaments kept us occupied, a little wendy house occupied by Monty and Montee (we think that is what female gnomes should be called).
Just a little bit further along I thought I could see two more gnomes, Darth Vader and R2D2, but disappointingly they turned out to be a toadstool and a water pump!
For the last few days Mick has been listening to the England West Indies Test Match. But today it was absent, yet he knew how we were or were’t doing. In the corner of the Waterway Routes map, he’d managed to get the score to show. Not good as we lost mid afternoon.
A peloton came towards us, the man out in front smoking a fag, all this exercise is good for you!
Three shades of hydrangia, back gates held together with yellowing expanding foam and the mill now refurbished, the windows on the corner looking right down the canal.
A new looking building at one of the little arms looks interesting, and the wild flowers alongside the moorings were stunning.
At Leigh Bridge 11 we left the Bridgewater Canal and joined back onto C&RT waters, the Leeds Liverpool Canal, Leigh Branch.
Footbridge 10 came into view and we started to look for somewhere deep enough to be able to pull in, it wasn’t that hard, we just had to do our best to avoid the woofer deposits. Tilly thought this would do for the day, we weren’t too sure though.
After lunch Mick set off with a bike to pick up a click and collect order half a mile away. On his return he had to call me for assistance as the footbridge did not have a ramp as he’d hoped. As I go to the bridge some cyclists who’d just crossed over the bridge were offering to help the old man with his shopping! We managed and were soon able to continue on our way.
But how much further? Pennington Flash looked appealing, but the shear volume of people about put us off.
The housing around Plank Lane has now been finished, every house with solar panels on the roof. It’s all quite different from when we first came here on NB Winding Down and we’re sure the basin is much bigger than it was back then. The housing may be complete on the east side of the bridge, but more houses are going up on the west side.
Mick pulled us over so that I could hop off to work the bridge, but we’d been beaten to it by a boat coming the other way. The chap turned his key of power, then pressed the button. Flashing lights, barriers and up the bridge went. They came through first then it was our turn. A quick count of cars suggested we’d held up 16 vehicles, but I suspect it was more.
We pootled along, the towpath now not so pristine, far fewer people. Pulling in a short distance on we were happy until I spied an ants nest, so we nudged up a few hundred yards further along a nice stretch of armco making mooring easy.
Out went Tilly to the birds displeasure and we settled down for the remainder of the day and a roast chicken. Tomorrow we’ll edge closer to Wigan to the last nice mooring before Poolstock Locks.
0 locks, 7.38 miles, 2 canals, 152 mx bikes, 58 kids to wave at, 4 aching arms, 0 ramp, 1 lift bridge, 16 minimum, 1 quieter stretch, 3 hours, 5 covid sketches, 1 roast chicken.