Prelude To Wigan. 28th May

Bridge 84 to Bridge 61

Subjects covered on the Geraghty zoom this morning included dayglow macaroons, coming in 14 seconds behind and contraband chilled medication. Don’t worry no names being mentioned here, just in case!

Part way through a boat started to slow more than normal as it passed us, from the azure blue I knew who it would be. NB That’s It would be our locking partner for the Wigan flight, the owners Brian and Jo come from York. I popped my head out of the hatch to say hello and make tentative plans for the boats to meet on Tuesday.

Being waved into the lock

Once the zoom was over we were ready to push off shortly after a Silsden Wide Beam had come past us. Not far to the top of the flight where we could see that the hire boat was on the water point and NB That’s It was just moving in to the lock. Thankfully they’d glanced behind them and spotted us, we were waved on.

Time to get into training for the Wigan flight, today would be a prelude. Seven locks, a third of Wigan. Jo said that there was a cruiser ahead of us, they’d not been able to share the locks with them as they were wider than a narrowboat. A volunteer had been seen walking down the flight, maybe setting the locks ahead of the cruiser.

Heading down the flight

Once the top lock was set emptying I walked ahead to fill the next lock, the cruiser visible in the lock below. Apparently the lady was a complete novice, so we didn’t want them to feel they were under pressure, so we took our time emptying the second lock and then walked down to the third.

Jo, Mick and Brian

Here a chap walking his dogs asked if we’d a spare windlass and he would go and set the lock ahead for us, what a nice man. He’d walk ahead help the lady on the cruiser, refill the lock for us and open the gates. We were starting to get into the swing of only opening one gate for the boats to exit making our work less at each lock. At Wigan if we have no volunteers this will help as one of us can already be setting the next lock down the flight.

There will be a few more photos like this in a couple of days

The volunteer walked back up the flight and offered to finish closing a gate for me. He then stood looking at his phone for five minutes before carrying on up the flight. Our volunteer was much more help. There was plenty to chat about with Brian and Jo, I suspect there will be plenty more on Tuesday. They pulled over stopping for lunch, but we wanted to carry on, getting a few more miles ticked off today. A rendez vous time for Tuesday was made, early!

Hmm, him again!

We soon passed the cruiser that had been ahead of us. Now seeing it up close it was familiar, it was the chap who’d stolen the lock off us in Blackburn! A pause at Botany Bay water point where we managed to avoid a day boat winding unintentionally.

Flag iris’s, Micklemas Daisies and Rhododendrons filled the banks with colour. This stretch always seems to take an age with lengths of moorings. The bottom of the canal a touch lumpy. We’ve been hearing on social media that the level here is down by a foot, well that is man’s speak for about 8 inches. This of course does mean the bottom is closer to the top than usual, hence the bumpyness.

We passed Frederick’s Ice Cream parlour. Yes I did say passed, next time! Outside was NB Burnt Oak who trade as Jubilee Fibres, spinning and dyeing yarns as they travel the waterways. I only found this out now whilst writing the blog, another next time!

Our chosen mooring before the Wigan flight is a stretch of armco just after bridge 61. On our previous stops here we’ve been on our own. Today however we joined four other boats. The first place we stopped at Tilly was allowed off the boat to explore, soon afterwards Mick noticed quite a few bees buzzing around the bathroom window, we’d found another bees nest.


Thankfully Tilly wanted to come and tell me all about what was just down the bank, so she got whisked up and back onboard so we could move without confusing her. She still got to have a couple of hours shore leave before she decided it was dingding time.

A catch up phone call with the London Leckenbys was had. 60th birthdays to hear about along with Andrew catching covid, thankfully after 8 days he’s now testing negative and Josh his son is willing to be in the same room as him again.

7 locks, 10 miles, 1 locking partner, 1 swirling day boat, 1 wide beam, 1 handy man, 1 novice being shouted at, 2nd bees nest in a week, 1 brother on the mend.

2 thoughts on “Prelude To Wigan. 28th May

  1. Adam

    I didn’t know Martina and John did fibres. We set our record down Hatton with them, exactly two hours.

    1. Pip Post author

      There was a lady spinning on the towpath as we passed, couldn’t see what was for sale. Only clocked the sign on their bow. Two hours is very speedy.

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