Wigan

This was an even windier day than yesterday. We were up quite early and waited for a boat to come along to accompany us through the locks to Wigan. About 11.00 four boats came along travelling together, then one that was going through two locks to Crooke so we tagged along at the rear of the group. Everyone was having a lot of difficulty as the boats were blown this way and that across the canal. I walked our boat along holding onto the front rope while Alan steered. The boat that we finally shared Appley Lock with had a family group on board including two young men who set the locks up. I walked between Appley and Dean Lock which meant that I was the first at the dreaded swing bridge that had caused so many problems on our way down. When I got there it was to find a boat with a woman steerer hovering just past the lock and a young man trying unsuccessfully to close the bridge so that he could retrieve his key. Our boats were approaching fast so, as we needed to push the bridge open again to be able to slam it shut we let them through. Then the two of us with the help of a young man who was walking with his family grabbed the bar. “Run, run, run” I yelled and we crashed the lock into place. Apparently the BW maintenance people did come out after our calls on Thursday but it is still giving everyone problems, though it doesn’t seem to be taking at least three people to get it moving now.

We waved goodbye to our companion boat at Dean Lock and were on our own for the remaining four locks until our present mooring at Wigan. It was a fight against the wind all the way along and I had such a job getting round the sharp bend after Wigan Pier as the wind caught me broadside. We had cancelled our booking for the Ribble Link for tomorrow but I just had a call from the Tarleton lock keeper because there was some confusion from the office about which boat had cancelled. He said that they hadn’t let the boats go today and it wasn’t sure that they could go tomorrow either. The canal outside is like a sea with waves crashing against the boat.

We tried to get into a mooring space in front of the BW office but, although we just fitted in, the mooring bollards were in completely the wrong place and we were banging into the narrowboat behind us, and more importantly the plastic boat in front of us, neither of which were occupied. If this is the secure mooring for Wigan it is a shame that there aren’t more bollards which would be comparatively cheap to provide. We decided to go up to the Henhurst Lock mooring where we stayed on Wednesday night. Just after we tied up the two historical working boats Gifford and Shad from Ellesmore Port museum passed, breasted up. They were on their way to the festival in Liverpool. Alan says that they have managed to moor outside the BW office because the cruiser has now moved forward to the water point.

We are ready for our ascent of the Wigan flight tomorrow and now hope that someone will come along to share the locks with us. Fingers crossed!

Working Boats

Today we did 5.93 Miles, 6 Locks and 1 Swing Bridges

Statistics so far:-

2489.28 Miles, 1473 Locks, 134 Swing Bridges, 90 Lift Bridges, 43 Tunnels

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